The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

AS UN Climate Change Conference draws near, Christian leaders demand implementation of Paris Agreement

The Paris Climate Change Agreement Explained

Christian leaders demand implementation of Paris Agreement ahead of climate change conference Lorraine Caballero Christian leaders from various countries have signed a letter demanding action on the Parish Agreement in 2015 as the next phase of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany, draws nearer.


October 23, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

America’s Environmental Protection Agency gagging its own scientists on climate change

E.P.A. Cancels Talk on Climate Change by Agency Scientists  WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency has canceled the speaking appearance of three agency scientists who were scheduled to discuss climate change at a conference on Monday in Rhode Island, according to the agency and several people involved.

October 23, 2017 Posted by | civil liberties, climate change, USA | Leave a comment

For America’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “climate” is now a dirty, or rather, nonexistent, word.

EPA’s climate change website reappears, missing the word ‘climate’, Mashable, BY ANDREW FREEDMAN, On April 28, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) abruptly took down its long-standing treasure trove of online climate change resources, and put up a message stating that they were being updated to reflect the new priorities of the Trump administration.

 It’s becoming more and more clear that one of those priorities is to downplay the threat of climate change. And one way way to do that is to ignore it altogether.

To that end, on Friday, a group that monitors federal websites for changes in climate change content reported that the some of the climate websites taken down in April have returned to the EPA’s site, with all references to climate change removed.

According to the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative’s website monitoring group (EDGI), an EPA website that previously offered climate and energy resources for state, local, and tribal governments has been stripped of its references and links to climate science and policy. Prior to April 28, the site had contained programs and tools to assist these government entities in becoming more energy efficient, using more renewable energy, and developing climate change policies.

 Instead, that main site is now a page on “energy resources,” including a “Clean Energy Finance Tool,” Energy Information Administration state reports, newsletters, and other resources with links to previously existing EPA climate sites removed as well. The new webpage, which went online in late July, but was just analyzed in detail on Friday, omits about 15 mentions of the word “climate” from the main page for local governments.

“Large portions of climate resources that were formerly found on the previous website have not been returned, and thus have ultimately been removed from the current EPA website,” the EDGI web monitoring group stated.

 The new website’s main page has no links to pages such as the “State Climate Action Framework”, “Local Climate Action Framework”, and “Climate Showcase Communities,” among others, the report found………

he EPA’s voluminous climate change website had previously been maintained under both Republican and Democratic administrations dating back at least to the first Bush administration, and it had served as a valuable tool for teachers and students, researchers, and government officials looking for data and advice on climate resilience efforts.

 However, the site has become another casualty of an administration that appears hellbent on erasing as much climate science and climate policy from the books as possible.

Since becoming EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt has pursued an aggressive agenda of dismantling the Obama administration’s climate change regulations, culminating in his action on Oct. 10 to withdraw the Clean Power Plan, which would limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Pruitt has said he doesn’t believe that science shows greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels are the main cause of global warming, even though scientific evidence demonstrates exactly that link.

Pruitt instead wants to hold televised “red team, blue team” debates between climate scientists and deniers to contest the merits of mainstream climate science research. ……

October 21, 2017 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Pacific islanders and other vulnerable groups working to raise awareness and action on climate change

Climate Weekly: the vulnerable raise their voices Climate Home News, By Megan Darby

Portuguese kids, Fijian financiers and developing country scientists are among the movers and shakers just weeks before UN talks in Bonn.

The youth hit their initial crowdfunding target for a climate lawsuit against European governments; the Pacific island – and presidency of next month’s UN climate talks – issued a $50 million green bond; and a fund was launched to support research into the potential impacts of solar geoengineering on poor regions.

These are a few of the ways vulnerable constituencies are confronting the risks global warming throws at them.

And on Friday, the Philippines Commission on Human Rights set a date to interrogate 47 carbon majors on their climate impact. Companies including ExxonMobil, Shell and BP have been called to a preliminary meeting on 11 December, as part of an ongoing investigation.

Zero carbon NZ

Jacinda Ardern became the world’s youngest female leader after her Labour Party brokered a coalition with the populist New Zealand First on Thursday.

High on the agenda is an act to make New Zealand carbon neutral by 2050, a goal supported by both parties and the Greens, whose votes it will rely on in parliament…….

October 20, 2017 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

Rumblings in USA’s Republicans in Congress over concern about global warming

The Senate’s top climate advocate explains why Congress is doing nothing about global warming
“Trajectory points on the horizon aren’t part of our battle”: Sheldon Whitehouse on Democrats’ climate strategy.
 VOX, by Combating climate change couldn’t be further from the Senate’s legislative agenda, but one Democratic senator claims a deal to enact a carbon tax may be closer than many realize.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), widely seen as the Senate’s most active advocate on climate change, says he is in routine communication with “six to 10” Senate Republicans who, he says, privately support his carbon tax bill but are unwilling to publicly back it. Only one Senate Republican, South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, is willing to publicly support that idea.

In an interview with Vox, Whitehouse talked excitedly about the former Republican officeholders and George W. Bush officials who have formally voiced their support as well.

“If you want to have a valid Republican Party 10 years from now, you can’t have a generation of people that grows up seeing the Republican Party as climate deniers,” Whitehouse said in an interview, explaining his confidence that Republicans will move to address an issue their party’s president has called a “Chinese hoax.”

The issue is getting new attention as several severe hurricanes have made landfall in the US, causing expensive and lasting damage in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. After the hurricane in Florida, one Republican mayor said: “If this isn’t climate change, I don’t know what is.”…….

October 18, 2017 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

As sea levels rise, Kiribati’s islands and atolls are disappearing

Former president Anote Tong compares Kiribati’s future to the sinking of the Titanic, ABC News By Sarah Hancock , 13 Oct 17 Anote Tong is the former president of the Republic of Kiribati and his island home, in the central Pacific Ocean, is already suffering from the effects of climate change.

Rising sea levels are causing land to be engulfed by tidal waters, driving people away from their homes and leaving them displaced.

Anote Tong is the former president of the Republic of Kiribati and his island home, in the central Pacific Ocean, is already suffering from the effects of climate change.

Rising sea levels are causing land to be engulfed by tidal waters, driving people away from their homes and leaving them displaced.

“What I have seen in my lifetime over the years has been villages, communities, who have had to leave … because it is no longer viable,” he said. “The sea is there and there is nothing. Everything has been taken away so they have had to relocate.”……..

“As a grandfather I have got to think beyond that, as a leader I have to think beyond what will happen today, and knowing what we know today, what will happen to the next generation,” he said.

Mr Tong compared Kiribati’s future to the sinking of the Titanic.

“We are the people who will be swimming,” he said.

“The question will be — will those people on the lifeboats bother to pull us in or push us away because we would be too problematic?”

October 14, 2017 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

Finding Nemo? We may be losing him, says climate study

Finding Nemo? We may be losing him, says climate study, Guardian, 12 Oct 17 
Clownfish under threat from warming ocean waters, which are damaging the anemones that serve as its home 
The clownfish, the colourful swimmer propelled to fame by the 2003 film Finding Nemo, is under threat from warming ocean waters wreaking havoc with sea anemones, the structures that serve as its home, a study has found.

Closely related to corals, sea anemones are invertebrate marine creatures that live in symbiosis with algae, which provide them with food, oxygen and colour.

Clownfish, also known as anemonefish, in turn use the structures as shelter to lay their eggs and raise their young – keeping the anemones clean in return.

For the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, a research team monitored 13 pairs of orange-fin anemonefish living among the coral reefs of Moorea Island in the South Pacific……..

October 14, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

The role of climate change in California’s wildfires

Scientists See Climate Change in California’s Wildfires
Strong winds and months of record-high temperatures have fueled the destructive fires, 
Scientific American, By Debra KahnAnne C. MulkernE&E News on October 12, 2017 

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — As wildfires engulf nearly 170,000 acres of Northern California wine country, questions are swirling about the role of climate change in causing damage of historic proportions.

The fires, which started late Sunday night in the hills of Napa and Sonoma counties, quickly ballooned to 22 separate conflagrations in eight counties, killing at least 21 people by Tuesday evening. The Tubbs Fire, in Sonoma County, has been responsible for at least 11 deaths so far, making it the sixth-deadliest fire in state history. Nearly 300 people are still reported missing and 25,000 have been evacuated in Sonoma County alone, with more than 3,500 homes and businesses destroyed.

Strong winds were responsible for the fires’ quick incursion into urban areas, but months of record-high temperatures, preceded by heavy rainfall last winter, also fueled the destructive power of the fire that burned through the region, climate experts said.

Residents of inland Northern California are now experiencing the confluence of these trends. The fires are expected to persist for weeks, until the rainy season begins next month. Strong winds are predicted to return as soon as tomorrow, giving firefighters a narrow window to get the blazes under control…….

Temperatures soared in the San Francisco Bay Area in early September, hitting 106 degrees Fahrenheit in San Francisco, a new record, and 108 in San Rafael, north of the city. It was the warmest summer in more than 100 years of record keeping, said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist with UCLA: “It beat the previous record by a pretty wide margin.”

Those high temperatures dried out vegetation throughout the area, he said. While fires are a part of life in California, this one became more destructive because it had so much dry brush and grassland — fed by last winter’s rains — to burn.

Powerful winds pushed the flames farther, Swain said. Known locally as the Diablo wind, they’re similar to the Santa Ana wind in Southern California, and they reached an unusually high speed of 79 mph Sunday night. Coupled with relatively low humidity, the wind patterns quickly created havoc.

“This is very much a weather-driven fire, but there is definitely a climate component to the overall story, too,” Swain said.

The dead brush and trees were the result not just of this year’s hot temperatures, but also of the state’s historic drought, which officially ended with the rainfall last winter, said LeRoy Westerling, a management professor at the University of California, Merced’s School of Engineering.

Scientists typically hesitate to say any specific event happened because of climate change, Westerling said. Yet, he said, “we know that these events are affected by the weather and the climate and how dry it is. The climate system has been altered by people … all the weather we’re experiencing and what’s driving these wildfire events is climate change.”……

October 13, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

In fact, nuclear power plants are a cause of climate change, generating Krypton-85

Krypton-85: How nuclear power plants cause climate change

Nuclear power is often referred to as a low-carbon source of energy, implying that it would be a good idea to replace our fossil fuel based energy system with one based on nuclear energy. This is part of a dog and pony show, where the problem of climate change is reduced to its current main contributor, human carbon dioxide emissions. The problem with this approach is that replacing fossil fuel based energy with other energy sources is not a solution, if these other energy sources cause climate change through different mechanisms.

This brings us to the nuclear industry’s dirty little secret, known as Krypton-85. Natural processes generate small amounts of Krypton-85. This leads to an equilibrium concentration in the atmosphere of 0.009 PBq. However, nuclear power plants generate Krypton-85 as well. When spent fuel is recycled, Krypton-85 is released into the atmosphere. As a result, Krypton-85 concentrations in the atmosphere have risen dramatically. The concentration in 1973 was estimated at 1961 PBq. In 2000, the concentration was estimated at 4800 PBq, by 2009, this had increased to 5500 PBq.1

Why should we be interested in the Krypton-85 concentration in our atmosphere? Krypton-85 has a number of interesting effects. As a beta-emitter, Krypton-85 is capable of ionizing our atmosphere. This leads to the formation of ozone.2 In the stratosphere, we’re quite happy to witness the formation of ozone, as it protects us against harmful radiation from the sun. On the other hand, in the troposphere, the layer of the atmosphere beneath the stratosphere, the formation of ozone is a big problem. Unfortunately, Krypton-85’s ozone formation in the stratosphere is minor compared to that by cosmic rays.

In the troposphere on the other hand, Krypton-85 is believed to have a significant role in ozone formation compared to cosmic rays. This is especially significant at night, because normally ozone is not generated during the night, as it requires the presence of sunlight. Krypton-85 generates tropospheric ozone, during the day as well as during the night. Normally, Ozone concentrations in the troposphere drop to near zero during the night.3 In the presence of Krypton-85 however, ozone can be created at night as well.

What are the effect of this? Not a lot is known yet, unfortunately, despite the estimated eight orders of magnitude increase of ozone in our atmosphere. What is know about ozone however, reveals a cause of concern. Besides the fact that tropospheric ozone functions as a greenhouse gas, ozone damages plants. It is believed that ozone causes relatively more damage when trees are exposed to it at night, when concentrations are normally very low due to the absence of sunlight.4 Other worrisome effects of Krypton-85 are expected as well. In a 1994 study it was suggested that “there are unforeseeable effects for weather and climate if the krypton-85 content of the earth atmosphere continues to rise”.5 In its global atmosphere watch measurement guide, the World Meteorological Organization warned:

If 85Kr continues to increase, changes in such atmospheric processes and properties as atmospheric electric conductivity, ion current, the Earth’s magnetic field, formation of cloud condensation nuclei and aerosols, and frequency of lightning may result and thus disturb the Earth’s heat balance and precipitation patterns. These 85Kr-induced consequences call for 85Kr monitoring.6

Fortunately, there is good news as well. Thanks to the ongoing global phase-out of nuclear energy, global atmospheric Krypton-85 concentrations are estimated to have peaked back in 2009. If on the hand, a nuclear renaissance occurs after all, we could expect global atmospheric concentrations to continue to increase. It remains to be seen what the subsequent effects of this would be.

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2 – Non-CO2 Greenhouse Gases: Why and How to Control? Proceedings of an International Symposium, Maastricht, The Netherlands, 13–15 December 1993

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October 11, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Reference | 4 Comments

Unlike President Trump, USA’s military are keen to prepare for climate change disruption

The US Defense Department takes climate change seriously, PRILiving on Earth, October 08, 2017, Adam Wernick While President Donald Trump has dismissed climate change as a hoax, the Department of Defense is focused on understanding and preparing for continued climate disruption and the security threats it poses in a warming world.

October 9, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Sunlight and the right microbes convert Arctic carbon into carbon dioxide  From: Oregon State University , 5 Oct 17Nearly half of the organic carbon stored in soil around the world is contained in Arctic permafrost, which has experienced rapid melting, and that organic material could be converted to greenhouse gases that would exacerbate global warming.

When permafrost thaws, microbial consumption of those carbon reserves produces carbon dioxide – much of which eventually winds up in the atmosphere, but scientists have been unsure of just how the system works.

A new study published this week in Nature Communications outlines the mechanisms and points to the importance of both sunlight and the right microbial community as keys to converting permafrost carbon to CO2. The research was supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.

“We’ve long known that microbes convert the carbon into CO2, but previous attempts to replicate the Arctic system in laboratory settings have failed,” noted Byron Crump, an Oregon State University biogeochemist and co-author on the study. “As it turns out, that is because the laboratory experiments did not include a very important element – sunlight.

Read more at Oregon State University

October 9, 2017 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change | Leave a comment

Hurricane Nate Takes US By Surprise – Paul Beckwith

October 8, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Why Christiana Figueres chose optimism over climate doom

Christiana Figueres: why I chose optimism over climate doom, The leading climate change diplomat called for “stubborn optimism” New Statesman, INDIA BOURKE. 6 Oct 17,  “…….doom and gloom is not the method counselled by Christiana Figueres. The Costa Rican diplomat has won global acclaim for her leadership of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

As its executive secretary of the organisation, she was responsible for steering the world towards the epic success of the 2015 Paris Agreement – an accord which has so far seen 167 countries ratify their pledges to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.

 Speaking to a group of young environmentalists at a PeaceBoatevent last weekend, Figueres explained that she achieved this feat by refusing to give up on a message of hope:

“Name one battle that has been won with pessimism: None!” she told the assembled room. “You do not go at a battle or a challenge with pessimism, because by definition you will not win. So that is why I bring [a] tsunami of optimism to this whole darn thing – because we have to.”

“I call myself a stubborn optimist. And I invite you all to be stubborn optimists.” Then she added: “But you also have to be stubborn and don’t give up.”

If someone says they’re going to build a wall in your path, then “go around” it, “fly over” it, or “dig under” it, she counselled the audience. “Whatever barrier is put in front of you, if you know that you want to obtain something, do not give that barrier the power of paralysing you.”

 It’s a message Figueres herself has come to live by. Six years ago, when she first took over the secretariat, the prospect of a reaching a global agreement on climate change seemed impossible…….

This optimistic resolve eventually helped pull off an international agreement on climate change, in the form of the 2015 Paris Agreement. According to the event’s chair, Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, it was an essential change of approach. “This whole thing was revived in Cancun, really, by you and Patricia Espinosa. And it was a very different dynamic – it was very consensual, very bridge building.”

So how can the world add to these achievements and prevent the climate from breaching the all-important 1.5 degrees celcius rise? And how can individuals replace feelings of despair with a sense of empowerment and hope? Here are eight thoughts from Figueres’s talk:…….

Number 5. Change the system – not just individual behaviour:………

October 6, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Climate models have not ‘exaggerated’ global warming

Factcheck: Climate models have not ‘exaggerated’ global warming ,
Skeptical Science,  by Zeke HausfatherThis is a re-post from Carbon Brief 6 Oct 17 A new study published in the Nature Geosciences journal this week by largely UK-based climate scientists has led to claims in the media that climate models are “wrong” and have significantly overestimated the observed warming of the planet.

Here Carbon Brief shows why such claims are a misrepresentation of the paper’s main results. In reality, the results obtained from the type of model-observation comparisons performed in the paper depend greatly on the dataset and model outputs used by the authors.

Much of the media coverage surrounding the paper, Millar et al, has focused on the idea that climate models are overestimating observed temperatures by around 0.3C, or nearly 33% of the observed warming since the late 1800s. For example, the Daily Mailreported:

According to these models, temperatures across the world should now be at least 1.3 degrees above the mid-19th century average, which is taken as a base level in such calculations. But the British report demonstrates that the rise is only between 0.9 and 1 degree.

Lead author Dr Richard Millar and his co-authors have pushed back against such media coverage, releasing a statement which says:

A number of media reports have asserted that our [study] indicates that global temperatures are not rising as fast as predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and hence that action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is no longer urgent. Both assertions are false. Our results are entirely in line with the IPCC’s 2013 prediction that temperatures in the 2020s would be 0.9-1.3 degrees above pre-industrial [levels].

[Carbon Brief’s guest post by Dr Millar earlier this week includes the paper’s key figures. Additionally, one of his co-authors, Prof Piers Forster, provides further reaction at the end of this article.]

Contrary to media claims, the study found that warming is consistent with the range of IPCC models, albeit a bit lower than the average of all the models.

Indeed, as Carbon Brief explains in detail below, the difference between models and observations turns out to depend largely on what climate model outputs and observational temperature series are used……….

October 6, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Turkey Point Nuclear Power Station not adequately prepared for sea level rise

State Senator Says FPL Isn’t Preparing Miami’s Nuclear Plant for Sea-Level Rise, Miami New Times,  | OCTOBER 5, 2017 The Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station is built directly on the waterfront in Homestead — a location that has exposed the plant to serious natural disasters. The power plant survived Hurricane Andrew in 1992, but the storm’s 175 mph winds knocked out communication lines, disabled the emergency fire-safety system, and “severely cracked” an exhaust stack that could have destroyed the plant’s back-up power system if the stack had toppled, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

October 6, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment