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The world’s climate future – much depends on America’s presidential election

October 10, 2020 Posted by | climate change, election USA 2020 | 1 Comment

Trump’s harsh approach on Iran. Biden firm, but more conciliatory

Trump and Biden propose different paths for taking on Iran and its nuclear ambitions, by Stephen Loiaconi, Saturday, October 10th 2020  WASHINGTON (SBG) — With less than four weeks until Election Day, President Donald Trump is escalating a maximum pressure campaign against Iran that he has claimed will produce swift results if he is reelected, but some experts on the region do not share his confidence.

The White House’s latest actions appear intended to set up a second-term drive to corner the Iranian regime into accepting stiffer restrictions on its nuclear program and other activities or face economic collapse. President Trump’s Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, has promised a more conciliatory approach that harkens back to the diplomatic engagement he fostered during the Obama administration.

“The outcome of the American presidential election is existential for the Islamic Republic of Iran,” said Richard Goldberg, a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who previously served on Trump’s National Security Council.

“What the U.S. has now done, it has said essentially, if you are dealing with this Iranian bank, you’re going to be sanctioned and you’re going to have to pay fines,” said Hossein Askari, a professor emeritus of international affairs at George Washington University.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declared the new sanctions “cruel, terrorist and inhumane,” according to state media. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the Trump administration of trying to “blow up our remaining channels to pay for food & medicine.”……..

experts are skeptical humanitarian transactions can continue unimpeded with Iran’s banks blacklisted. Askari, who has acted as a mediator between Iran and Saudi Arabia and Iran and Kuwait, said he knows people in Iran who have been unable to get medication because of existing sanctions, and he fears the hardships will only get worse.

“The people that are going to suffer are the average Iranians because of what the United States is doing right now,” he said……..

Many countries have experienced economic strains because of coronavirus lockdowns, but the damage to Iran’s economy has been compounded by severe U.S. sanctions. Constraints on oil and other exports have limited the country’s ability to restart economic activity.

“These sanctions have now been building up ever since the Trump administration came to office This is an economy in really critical trouble and it’s also an economy that faces major military and defense expenditures,” said Anthony Cordesman, a national security expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former Department of Defense official……….

David Belt, an expert at National Intelligence University, warned in a post for Modern Diplomacy Friday that U.S. sanctions are pushing Iran into a closer relationship with Russia and China. The two countries have veto power on the U.N. Security Council, allowing them to challenge U.S. attempts to step up international pressure on Tehran.

“Necessity is the mother of all invention, and Iran has been forced to look to China and Russia for every national security need to avoid the impact of sanctions…The main rivals of the U.S. are cautiously weighing the costs of an informal economic and security bloc, in part to mitigate the impact of U.S. sanctions and other economic pressures on them as well,” Belt wrote.

The direction of U.S. policy toward Iran is one of many issues on the ballot in November. Trump and Biden have drastically different approaches, and experts are divided on which is more likely to produce results and avert a military conflict neither country wants.  ……..

Biden has made clear his top priority for arms control policy is to return to the nuclear deal if Tehran is willing to fall back into compliance with its commitments. He has called for using “hard-nosed diplomacy” to strengthen and extend the agreement while challenging Iran’s destabilizing activities on other fronts.

“We have lost our standing in the region,” Biden said during a primary debate in January. “We have lost the support of our allies. The next president has to be able to pull those folks back together, re-establish our alliances, and insist that Iran go back into the agreement, which I believe with the pressure applied as we put on before we can get done.”…………… https://mynbc15.com/news/nation-world/trump-and-biden-propose-different-paths-for-taking-on-irans-nuclear-ambitions

October 10, 2020 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

New Zoom link for Oct 11 Festival of Hope, Two to be Sentenced Oct 15, Four Others Continued Until Nov 12 & 13

New Zoom link for Oct 11 Festival of Hope, Two to be Sentenced Oct 15, Four Others Continued Until Nov 12 & 13  Bill Ofenloch, October 9, 2020/, Kings Bay Plowshares 7, Father Steve Kelly and Patrick O’Neill are scheduled to be sentenced in Brunswick, GA on October 15 & 16 in the early afternoon. It is expected that the two will be combined on October 15.  The remaining four defendants, Carmen Trotta, Martha Hennessy, Mark Colville, and Clare Grady, were granted continuances yesterday by Judge Wood to Nov. 12 & 13 because of COVID-19.

The defendants ask, “In the interest of public safety, and out of love for our supporters during this Covid 19 pandemic, the seven Kings Bay Plowshares members request that no one come to Brunswick for the sentencing hearings scheduled for Oct. 15-16. We do, however, encourage you all to join the Oct. 11 pre-sentencing Zoom meeting. Thank you all for your love and support, which sustains us.”

There is expected to be an audio link from the court to listen to the proceedings as was done with Liz McAlister in June. The call-in number and times will be posted on the website when we get them.

A virtual Festival of Hope is planned for Sunday, October 11, at 5pm EDT prior to the sentencing of Fr. Steve Kelly and Patrick O’Neill. It will now be hosted on the Code Pink Zoom channel. It will also be on the Code Pink YouTube channel and on the KBP Facebook page. Patrick and several of the defendants will appear. Fr. Steve Kelly will send a message from jail. Marcia Timmel, Susan Crane and Steve Baggarly, plowshares activists, will speak. There will also be a slideshow and music and a blessing.

The new Zoom link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86135062251

https://kingsbayplowshares7.org/2020/10/new-zoom-link-for-oct-15-festival-of-hope-two-to-be-sentenced-oct-15-four-others-continued-until-nov-12-13/

October 10, 2020 Posted by | Legal, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Global and European temperature levels for September – hottest on record

October 10, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Climate misinformation advertisements on Facebook, seen by millions

 

Climate denial ads on Facebook seen by millions, report finds

The ads included calling climate change a hoax and were paid for by conservative US groups, Guardian,  Damian Carrington 9 Oct 20, Adverts on Facebook denying the reality of the climate crisis or the need for action were viewed at least 8 million times in the US in the first half of 2020, a thinktank has found.The 51 climate disinformation ads identified included ones stating that climate change is a hoax and that fossil fuels are not an existential threat. The ads were paid for by conservative groups whose sources of funding are opaque, according to a report by InfluenceMap.

Last month Facebook said it was “committed to tackling climate misinformation” as it announced a climate science information centre. It said: “Climate change is real. The science is unambiguous and the need to act grows more urgent by the day.”Facebook uses factcheckers and bans false advertising but also says this process “is not meant to interfere with individual expression, opinions and debate”. Some of the ads were still running on 1 October. The ads cost just $42,000 to run and appear to be highly targeted, with men over the age of 55 in rural US states most likely to see them.

The Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren said: “InfluenceMap’s devastating report reveals how Facebook lets climate deniers spread dangerous junk to millions of people. We have repeatedly asked Facebook to close the loopholes that allow misinformation to run rampant on its platform, but its leadership would rather make a quick buck while our planet burns and communities – disproportionately black and brown – suffer. Facebook must be held accountable for its role in the climate crisis.”

Warren and other senators wrote to Facebook in July calling on it to close the loopholes.

Facebook’s former director of sustainability Bill Weihl, now at the NGO ClimateVoice, said: “Calling out the climate misinformation issue on Facebook is crucial because the company’s limited attempts to deal with the problem are failing to keep pace with powerful tactics like micro-targeting.”…….. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/oct/08/climate-denial-ads-on-facebook-seen-by-millions-report-finds

October 10, 2020 Posted by | climate change, media, USA | Leave a comment

Climate future depends on what action humans take

Climate scientists on Earth’s two futures   The worst effects of climate change don’t have to happen, scientists say. But humans’ actions in the near future will determine if they do. CBS News 60 Minutes Overtime,  2020 Oct 04, BYBrit McCandless Farmer  

    • For more than three decades, climate scientists have accurately forecast how carbon emissions would cause a global rise in temperatures. Now they’re looking ahead at the decades to come.

When it comes to predicting the future, scientists do not see just one possible outcome. Rather, they say the actions humans take in the near-term will have a major effect on how Earth changes for generations beyond.

“We need to change our course in the next few years because it’s still possible, I think, to avoid the worst outcomes,” Former NASA scientist James Hansen told 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley…….

California is facing the largest wildfires in its history, the East Coast has already been pummeled by nine powerful storms, and what may be the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth scorched California’s Death Valley.

But as bad as they are, Hansen believes, raging forest fires and destructive hurricanes will not be Earth’s worst crises if humans fail to change their actions. The worst consequences will come from permanent changes — rising sea levels and the potential extermination of species.

“We can get back to the old climate if we haven’t caused irreversible things,” Hansen said. “If we lose our coastal cities, that’s irreversible on any time scale that we would care about. And also, the loss of species. So those are the things that I worry about. But those are … late-in-century effects which our children and grandchildren will feel.”

Stopping climate change before irreversible effects have damaged the planet is possible, some scientists believe. …….

According to the latest models, how much the planet will warm is mostly a function of how much carbon humans have burned up to now. If all carbon emissions were to cease today, Mann said, both plants and the ocean would increase the amount of carbon they take out of the atmosphere. As a result, temperatures would remain fairly flat.

“We are only committed to the warming that has happened already,” Mann said. “If we stop burning carbon now, we stop the warming of the planet. In a sense, that is empowering. It tells us we can have a real impact.”

That does not necessarily mean the damage that has been done is reversible. Future generations may be able to figure it out, Mann said—but only if humans halt the planet’s warming. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/climate-scientists-earth-future-60-minutes-2020-10-04/

October 10, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Lower Saxony opposes building of nuclear power plants by Netherlands – location all too close

German state of Lower Saxony against nuclear power plant in bordering Netherlands, Nuclear phase-out  08 Oct 2020, Kerstine Appunn, NWZ Online

The northern German state of Lower Saxony has been rattled by Dutch plans to assess the construction of up to 10 new nuclear power plants, one of which could be located near the German border. “I will do everything in my power to prevent the Netherlands from seeing a new dawn of nuclear power,” Lower Saxony’s environment minister Olaf Lies (SPD) told Stefan Idel at NWZ online. The Netherlands has only one of formerly two nuclear power stations operating but governing party VVD has suggested that reaching the Paris Agreement climate targets would require the construction of new nuclear plants.

Lies said he was surprised by the Dutch announcement, calling it a “a gigantic step backwards into old times” to invest into new nuclear power plants and “irresponsible” to produce more nuclear waste. The minister said he expected strong resistance in the Northwest of the state. Members of the Green Party in Lower Saxony’s parliament announced they would work together with their Dutch sister party “GroenLinks” to stop this “economic and ecologic lunacy”.

While a study for the Dutch government said that nuclear power had a similar price as renewable installations, critics insist that nuclear power is by now much more expensive. Lies said he would focus on promoting joint renewable energy projects. Germany will phase-out its last nuclear power plants by the end of 2022 and is currently in the decade-long process of finding a permanent repository for the nuclear waste generated in the past 60 years.  https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/german-state-lower-saxony-against-nuclear-power-plant-bordering-netherlands

 

October 10, 2020 Posted by | Germany, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Citizens express opposition to dangerous increased plutonium pit production

Citizens’ Hearing Held at New Mexico Capitol about Increased Plutonium Pit Production at LANL, http://nuclearactive.org/

October 8th, 2020 The Department of Energy (DOE) has approved its plans to increase plutonium pit  production at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) by 50 percent as a way to comply with what is described in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review as a need for “an effective, responsive, and resilient nuclear weapons infrastructure” that can “adapt flexibly to shifting requirements.”

The Pentagon has stated it needs annual production of 80 plutonium pits, the triggers for nuclear weapons.  T   The DOE has approved its Supplement Analyses for four possible ways to execute thisapproved its Supplement Analyses for four possible ways to execute this.

At LANL, DOE proposes upgrades to both LANL’s Plutonium Facility and the Radiological Laboratory Utility and Office Building which is part of the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) Project.

Despite a mission that has been re-directed and an expansion involving about $15 billion in upgrades for two major buildings and related infrastructure, DOE has decided not to undertake a new Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement (SWEIS) for LANL.  https://www.energy.gov/nepa/downloads/doeeis-0380-sa-06-final-supplement-analysis and https://www.energy.gov/nepa/downloads/doeeis-0380-amended-record-decision  Neither our congressional delegation nor our Governor has voiced disapproval of bypassing the SWEIS.

On Wednesday afternoon, October 7th, a citizens’ hearing was held outside the New Mexico State Capitol Building. Testimony was taken about DOE’s dramatic expansion plans for LANL that involve an installation of the size and importance and with the attendant dangers of the closed nuclear weapons plant at Rocky Flats, Colorado. The event, which provided a place for dozens of citizens to express their opposition to DOE’s plans in Northern New Mexico, was sponsored by the Los Alamos Study Group.  http://www.lasg.org/

The DOE proposals are too broad and too expensive to go forward without an SWEIS with public review and comment opportunities.

Every day, new information is released about the increased hazards at LANL.  This week the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board issued a new report about the inconsistent and inappropriate consideration of potential energetic chemical reactions, or explosions, involving transuranic waste stored at LANL.  The Board conducted an analysis of transuranic, or plutonium-contaminated, wastes stored at the Plutonium Facility, the old Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Facility, the Transuranic Waste Facility, and Area G and the potential for explosions.  It found that LANL has not fully analyzed for possible explosions involving transuranic waste stored at these facilities that would result in high exposures to workers and the public.  https://www.dnfsb.gov/documents/reports/technical-reports/potential-energetic-chemical-reaction-events-involving

The Board asked DOE to respond within 120 days.

October 10, 2020 Posted by | - plutonium, opposition to nuclear, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

David Attenborough’s call – ‘Curb excess capitalism’ to save nature

Attenborough: ‘Curb excess capitalism’ to save nature, BBC, 8 October 2020  

Sir David Attenborough says the excesses of western countries should “be curbed” to restore the natural world and we’ll all be happier for it.

The veteran broadcaster said that the standard of living in wealthy nations is going to have to take a pause.

Nature would flourish once again he believes when “those that have a great deal, perhaps, have a little less”.

Sir David was speaking to Liz Bonnin for BBC Radio 5 Live’s new podcast ‘What Planet Are We On?’.

Speaking personally and frankly, Sir David explained, “We are going to have to live more economically than we do. And we can do that and, I believe we will do it more happily, not less happily. And that the excesses the capitalist system has brought us, have got to be curbed somehow.”

“That doesn’t mean to say that capitalism is dead and I’m not an economist and I don’t know. But I believe the nations of the world, ordinary people worldwide, are beginning to realise that greed does not actually lead to joy.”

Sir David said when we help the natural world, it becomes a better place for everyone and in the past, when we lived closer to nature, the planet was a “working eco-system in which everybody had a share”.

The 10-part podcast is being released on the second anniversary of the publication of a key scientific report on global warming.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change study looked at how the world would cope if temperatures rose by 1.5C by the end of this century.

The IPCC special report, released in October 2018 didn’t “save the planet” but it may yet prove to be the most critical moment in the story of climate change.

The study made two things very clear. The first was that there was a massive difference in keeping the rise in global temperatures this century to 1.5C as opposed to 2C.

Politicians had for years focussed on the higher number – the special report made clear that was a risky strategy, which could see the end of coral reefs and expose millions of people to the threat of floods.

The second key message from the IPCC was that the world could stay under 1.5C if carbon emissions were essentially slashed in half by 2030.

The urgency of the challenge laid out in the report inspired millions of young people to take action. This pressure is filtering up to politicians…….. https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-54268038

October 10, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Nuclear and renewables – mutually exclusive: renewables better for climate action

Comparative impact of nuclear and renewables on CO2 emissions, By Philippe Gauthier,   Resilience.org  October 9, 2020    Countries which are heavily invested in nuclear energy remain higher CO2 emitters, on average, than countries which have invested at the same level in renewable energy. This is the main finding of a study recently published in the journal Nature Energy. The results also tend to confirm the hypothesis that it is difficult to commit both to nuclear and renewables due to a systemic incompatibility between these two approaches.

The study, led by Benjamin K. Sovacool of the University of Sussex, England, is not based on simply on an analysis of various national case studies, but on a database encompassing 123 countries over 25 years (30 favouring nuclear and 117 renewables, with some overlap between the two). The information spans two periods, 1990 to 2004 and 2000 to 2014, which makes it easier to better track the impact of the emergence of renewables in the 21st century. The data was used to verify the existence of correlations, which often turned out to be very strong (a p value of less than 0.05, or even 0.001). The results of these regressions are presented in the form of rather dry tables.

The work aimed to assess three hypotheses. The first is that the greater a country’s nuclear power generation capabilities, the lower its greenhouse gas emissions are. The second is that the greater a country’s renewable energy generation capabilities, the lower its emissions are. The third is that nuclear and renewables coexist uneasily within a national energy system and that the dominance of either delays or prevents the adoption of the other………….

Explanatory factors

What explains these rather unfavorable results for nuclear power? Data collected by the researchers shows that, on average, the delivery time is 90 months for nuclear projects, compared to 40 months for solar and wind projects. Only hydropower has longer lead times. Nuclear and hydropower projects are more prone to delays and cost overruns than smaller-scale renewable projects, which yield low carbon energy more quickly.

Renewables are also associated with a positive learning curve whereby each completed project decreases the costs and increases the performance of subsequent projects. In comparison, nuclear power exhibits a negative learning curve. The study specifically cites the case of France, where each new generation of reactors has involved increased costs or lower performance. The tightening of safety measures after each major accident (Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima) has greatly contributed to these increased costs in every country.

The study concludes that renewables have a demonstrable record of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Nuclear power has a more mixed record, due to the different nature of the energy systems in which it operates. Finally, the results tend to confirm the hypothesis of mutual exclusion already widely noted in the scientific literature. According to the researchers, countries that think they can obtain emission reductions by investing in nuclear energy may actually be forgoing even greater reductions that could be achieved by renewables.

Source:

Benjamin K. Sovacool et al. Differences in carbon emissions reduction between countries pursuing renewable electricity versus nuclear power, in Nature Energy, October 5, 2020 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-020-00696-3.epdf?

https://www.resilience.org/stories/2020-10-09/comparative-impact-of-nuclear-and-renewables-on-co2-emissions/

October 10, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, renewable | Leave a comment

Fishing industry chief opposes releasing Fukushima No. 1 water into sea

Fishing industry chief opposes releasing Fukushima No. 1 water into sea, https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/10/09/national/zengyoren-fukushima-water-sea/ 9 Oct 20, The head of the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations, or Zengyoren, has voiced strong opposition against releasing treated water containing radioactive tritium from the disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant into the sea.

“We are absolutely against ocean release” as a way to dispose of tainted water at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture, Hiroshi Kishi, head of Zengyoren, said Thursday at a government hearing in Tokyo.

Kishi said that fishermen who are operating along the coast of Fukushima have been suffering from problems caused by the radioactive fallout from the 2011 meltdowns at the plant, such as fishing restrictions, as well as malicious rumors about the safety of farm and marine products there.

If the government chooses to release radioactive water into the sea, a leading option to get rid of accumulating low-level radioactive water at the plant, it will trash all efforts fishermen have so far made to sweep away such rumors and consequently “will have a devastating impact on the future of Japan’s fishing industry,” Kishi stressed.

Toshihito Ono, head of the prefecture’s fishery product processors association, who joined the hearing via a video call, warned that Fukushima’s processed marine products, including products that use ingredients from other prefectures, will become targets of harmful rumors.

In a report released in February, a government panel pointed out that a realistic option would be releasing the tainted water into the ocean after dilution or into the air through evaporation.

Many people fear that both methods will add to the reputational damage suffered by Fukushima products. But treated water storage at the power plant is expected to reach full capacity as early as autumn 2022.

After the hearing, state industry minister Kiyoshi Ejima told reporters, “We find it unadvisable to put off a decision on how to dispose of the water because not much room is left at the plant for tanks containing the water.”

This was probably the last hearing on the water issue, people familiar with the matter said.

October 10, 2020 Posted by | Japan, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Utah congressman takes action to stop future nuclear weapons testing in U.S.

 

October 10, 2020 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

China’s plan for dramatic switch to climate action and renewable energy

October 10, 2020 Posted by | China, renewable | Leave a comment

Ageing community in Hokkaido town – mayor agrees to survey for nuclear waste dump

October 10, 2020 Posted by | Japan, wastes | Leave a comment

Australia faces costly cleanup of Ranger uranium mine, still struggling with pollution legacy of other uraniu mines

October 10, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Uranium, wastes | Leave a comment