the long-term effects of low-level radiation exposure have consistently been downplayed, distorted or concealed by scientists, the nuclear industry and the government.
It seems that while the US and the USSR had a hard time cooperating on nuclear arms at that time, they had a tacit agreement to cover up each other’s nuclear power mistakes.
these facts, like all those about nuclear power and nuclear weapons testing, were kept secret and released only through the efforts of private citizens and a few courageous researchers and journalists.
At least 250,000 American troops were directly exposed to atomic radiation during the 17 years of bomb testing here and in the Pacific, but they have been totally ignored by the government and the Army.
There is little doubt that hundreds died and that countless others developed illnesses that led to death from various cancers, blood disorders and chronic body ailments. Today the government still rejects all claims for such illnesses.
The press also played a role in soothing public fears.
the US has led the world in setting examples of deliberate deceit, suppression of information and harassment of nuclear critics
Professionals, in order to perform their work, resist truth strongly if it calls the morality of their work into question. They sincerely believe they are helping humankind. In addition, scientific research involves so many uncertainties that scientists can, with an easy conscience, rationalize away dangers that are hypothetical or not immediately observable. They also have an intellectual investment if not a financial one in continuing their work as well as families to support, and nuclear science in particular has been endowed not only with government money and support but great status and prestige.
In order to perform professional work, one must not only believe one is doing good but must also rationalize the dangers. Indeed, with regard to ionizing radiation, this is quite easy inasmuch as the risks of radiation exposure at any level are statistical and not immediately manifested.
Pro Nuclear Propaganda: How Science, Government and the Press Conspire to Misinform the Public http://www.lornasalzman.com/collectedwritings/pro-nuclear.html by Lorna Salzman Hunter College, Energy Studies program, 1986 After the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster in the Soviet Union, there was much finger-wagging in the US about the suppression of information there, and the purported differences in reactor design and safety requirements between Russia and the US, which made a similar accident here unlikely if not impossible Continue reading
The UN makes history on a nuclear weapons ban. Does the US care?, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, JOE CIRINCIONE
2 NOVEMBER 2016 Joe Cirincione is president of Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation.
It was a historic moment. Despite dozens of nuclear crises and war scares, UN members have never in the 71-year history of the body voted for such a sweeping measure. Yet no major US paper covered the vote. Why not?……
The United States, however, adamantly opposed the resolution and, according to some observers, fiercely lobbied its allies, particularly those enclosed in the US “nuclear umbrella,” to vote against the new process. ….
There is hope for a more optimistic and safer view of nuclear threats to re-emerge. The treaty vote is one sign that many nations have lost patience with the barely discernable, “step-by-step” process that nuclear-armed nations have followed in regard to arms control and eventual nuclear disarmament. The alternative process the countries voting for the ban treaty have begun–encouraged and aided by civil society groups–is having an impact, and may spur the nuclear-armed states to move faster……..http://thebulletin.org/un-makes-history-nuclear-weapons-ban-does-us-care10123
Sinking a bold foray into watchdog journalism in Japan , Columbia Journalism Review By Martin Fackler OCTOBER 25, 2016 IT SEEMED LIKE COMPELLING JOURNALISM:a major investigative story published by The Asahi Shimbun, Japan’s second largest daily newspaper, about workers fleeing the Fukushima nuclear plant against orders.
It was the work of a special investigative section that had been launched with much fanfare to regain readers’ trust after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011, when the Asahi and other media were criticized for initially repeating the official line that the government had everything safely under control.
The team had been producing award winning journalism for three years, but the story on the workers would be the last for some of its ace reporters. And its publication in May 2014 would come to mark the demise of one of the most serious efforts in recent memory by a major Japanese news organization to embrace a more independent approach to journalism.
The hastiness of the Asahi’s retreat raised fresh doubts about whether such watchdog journalism—an inherently risky enterprise that seeks to expose and debunk, and challenge the powerful—is even possible in Japan’s big national media, which are deeply tied to the nation’s political establishment.
The editors at Asahi, considered the “quality paper” favored by intellectuals, knew the culture they were facing, but they saw the public disillusionment in Japan that followed the nuclear plant disaster as the opportunity launch a bold experiment to reframe journalism.
No more pooches
On the sixth floor of its hulking headquarters overlooking Tokyo’s celebrated fish market, the newspaper in October 2011 hand-picked 30 journalists to create a desk dedicated to investigative reporting, something relatively rare in a country whose big national media favor cozy ties with officials via so-called press clubs. The clubs are exclusive groups of journalists, usually restricted to those from major newspapers and broadcasters, who are stationed within government ministries and agencies, ostensibly to keep a close eye on authority. In reality, the clubs end up doing the opposite, turning the journalists into uncritical conduits for information and narratives put forth by government officials, whose mindset the journalists often end up sharing.
The choice to head of the new section was unusual: Takaaki Yorimitsu, a gruff, gravelly-voiced outsider who was not a career employee of the elitist Asahi, and had been head-hunted from a smaller regional newspaper for his investigative prowess. Yorimitsu set an iconoclastic tone by taping a sign to the newsroom door declaring “Datsu Pochi Sengen,” or “No More Pooches Proclamation”—a vow that his reporters would no longer be kept pets of the press clubs, but true journalistic watchdogs.
The new section gave reporters a broad mandate to range across the Asahi’s rigid internal silos in search of topics, while also holding to higher journalistic standards, such as requiring using the names of people quoted in stories instead of the pseudonyms common in Japanese journalism.
The Investigative Reporting Section proved an instant success, winning Japan’s top journalism award two years in a row for its exposure of official coverups and shoddy decontamination work around the nuclear plant, which was crippled when a huge earthquake and tsunami knocked out vital cooling systems. The section’s feistier journalism offered hope of attracting younger readers at a time when the 7 million-reader Asahi and Japan’s other national dailies, the world’s largest newspapers by circulation, were starting to feel the pinch from declining sales.
“The Asahi Shimbun believes such investigative reporting is indispensable,” the newspaper’s president at the time, Tadakazu Kimura, declared in an annual report in 2012. The new investigative section “does not rely on information obtained from press clubs, but rather conducts its own steadfast investigations that require real determination.”
That is why it was all the more jarring when, just two years later, the Asahi abruptly retreated from this foray into watchdog reporting. In September 2014, the newspaper retracted the story it had published in May about workers fleeing the Fukushima plant against orders, punishing reporters and editors responsible for the story, slashing the size of the new section’s staff and forcing the resignation of Kimura, who had supported the investigative push.
A newspaper-appointed committee of outside experts later declared that the article, which the Asahi had trumpeted as a historic scoop, was flawed because journalists had demonstrated “an excessive sense of mission that they ‘must monitor authority.’”
While the section was not closed down altogether, its output of major investigative articles dropped sharply as the remaining journalists were barred from writing about Fukushima.
Emasculating the Asahi
The abrupt about-face by the Asahi, a 137-year-old newspaper with 2,400 journalists that has been postwar Japan’s liberal media flagship, was was an early victory for the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which had sought to silence critical voices as it moved to roll back Japan’s postwar pacifism, and restart its nuclear industry………..
Despite peer pressure, Asahi journalists say the newspaper initially intended to defend its Fukushima scoop, going so far as to draw up a lengthy rebuttal that was to have run on page one in early September. As late as Sept. 1, Seiichi Ichikawa, the head of the Investigative Section at the time, told his reporters that the newspaper was ready to fight back. “The government is coming after the Special Investigative Section,” Ichikawa said in a pep talk to his team, according to Watanabe and others who were present. “The Asahi will not give in.”
The rebuttal was never published. Instead, President Kimura surprised many of his own reporters with a sudden about face, announcing at a press conference on Sept. 11 that he was retracting the Fukushima-Yoshida article. Reporters say the newspaper’s resolve to defend the piece crumbled when journalists within the newspaper began an internal revolt against the article and the section that produced it.
This was compounded by a sense of panic that gripped the newspaper, as declines in readership and advertising accelerated markedly after the scandals. Fearing for the Asahi’s survival, many reporters chose to sacrifice investigative journalism as a means to mollify detractors, say media scholars and some Asahi journalists, including Yorimitsu.
The Asahi’s official line is that the story was too flawed to defend.The paper’s new president, Masataka Watanabe, continues to talk about the importance of investigative journalism, and some current and former Asahi journalists say investigative reporting will make a comeback.
However, scholars and former section reporters say the setback was too severe. They say the Asahi’s decision to punish its own journalists will discourage others from taking the same risks inherent in investigative reporting. Worse, they said the Asahiseemed to lapse back into the old, access-driven ways of Japan’s mainstream journalism. “The Asahi retreated from its experiment in risky, high-quality journalism, back into the safety of the press clubs,” said Tatsuro Hanada, a professor of journalism at Waseda University in Tokyo. Hanada was so dismayed by the Asahi’s retreat that he established Japan’s first university-based center for investigative journalism at Waseda this year. “It makes me think that the days of Japan’s huge national newspapers may be numbered.”
Martin Fackler is a Research Fellow at the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation, a Tokyo-based think tank. Prior to joining RJIF in 2015, he worked for two decades as a correspondent in Asia, including as Tokyo bureau chief for The New York Times from 2009 to 2015. http://www.cjr.org/the_feature/asahi_shimbun_japan_journalism.php
Washington moves to silence WikiLeaks, WSW, 19 October 2016
The cutting off of Internet access for Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, is one more ugly episode in a US presidential election campaign that has plumbed the depths of political degradation.
Effectively imprisoned in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for over four years, Assange now is faced with a further limitation on his contact with the outside world.
On Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry of Ecuador confirmed WikiLeaks’ charge that Ecuador itself had ordered the severing of Assange’s Internet connection under pressure from the US government. In a statement, the ministry said that WikiLeaks had “published a wealth of documents impacting on the US election campaign,” adding that the government of Ecuador “respects the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states” and “does not interfere in external electoral processes.” On that grounds, the statement claimed, the Ecuadorian government decided to “restrict access” to the communications network at its London embassy……
WikiLeaks cited reports that Secretary of State John Kerry had demanded that the government of Ecuador carry out the action “on the sidelines of the negotiations” surrounding the abortive Colombian peace accord last month in Bogota. The US government intervened to prevent any further exposures that could damage the campaign of Clinton, who has emerged as the clear favorite of the US military and intelligence complex as well as the Wall Street banks.
Whether the State Department was the only entity placing pressure on Ecuador on behalf of the Clinton campaign, or whether Wall Street also intervened directly, is unclear. The timing of the Internet cutoff, in the immediate aftermath of the release of Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches, may be more than coincidental…….http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/10/19/pers-o19.html
Charges Dropped Against Amy Goodman–No Thanks to Corporate Media, Common Dreams, byJim Naureckas , 18 Oct 16
After Goodman reported on the use of pepper spray and attack dogs against Native American demonstrators opposing the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (Democracy Now!, 9/4/16), North Dakota State’s Attorney Ladd Erickson charged her with criminal trespassing. Realizing that he couldn’t make that charge stick, he sought to charge her instead with participation in a “riot”—based on Erickson’s contention that Goodman “was not acting as a journalist” because “everything she reported on was from the position of justifying the protest actions” (FAIR.org, 10/15/16).
Few corporate media journalists took note of a fellow reporter being charged with trespass for doing her job (FAIR.0rg, 9/15/16). When the prosecutor upped the ante by trying to build a criminal charge based on his perception of a reporter’s point of view, this still did not provoke much attention—let alone outcry—from outlets whose lucrative commercial enterprises are dependent on the protection of the First Amendment.
A handful of journalists at commercial outlets did weigh in to defend Goodman. Will Bunch, columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News (Philly.com, 10/16/16), wrote that “the First Amendment was created to prevent exactly this: the jailing of a writer for his or her political point of view.” The LA Times‘ Michael Hiltzik (10/17/16) called out the charges as “an attempt to quash legitimate news reporting.” Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone (10/13/16) noted the odd fact that Erickson is an avowed fan of Taibbi’s work—but nonetheless urged him to stop prosecuting Goodman, saying she is “as close to the ideal of what it means to be a journalist as one can get in this business.”
That’s about it for journalists in the corridors of corporate media who defended Democracy Now!‘s reporter. A few others took note of the threat she was under; AP‘s James MacPherson and Blake Nicholson wrote a piece that was picked up by outlets like the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Idaho Statesman, Fresno Bee and Arizona Daily Star. Public Radio International‘s The Takeaway (10/17/16) ran a 12-minute interview with Goodman.
A few new media outlets covered the riot charges, like Jezebel (10/15/16) and TechCrunch(10/16/15). Some journalism sites also weighed in, like The Wrap (10/15/16) and Poynter(10/17/16)—though Poynter’s James Warren buried the item under ten other items, heading his one-paragraph report “Post-Pipeline Protest Hoopla,” a headline that may accurately convey the degree of importance corporate journalism accords to First Amendment threats to alternative reporters.
That would explain why people who wanted to be informed about an independent journalist facing criminal charges based on her presumed opinions mostly had to go to overseas outlets (BBC, 10/17/16 ; Independent, 10/17/16) or to alternative sources likeThe Nation (10/15/16) and Common Dreams (10/15/16)………
If there are any regretful reporters at the New York Times, Washington Post, the broadcast or cable news outlets, or any of the other media properties that neglected to cover Goodman’s case when she stood accused of thoughtcrime, they can make up for it by reporting on the still-pending case of documentary filmmaker Deia Schlosberg, who is facing up to 45 years in prison based on three felony counts derived from her reporting on the Dakota Access protests (Reuters, 10/13/16). The First Amendment you save may be your own. http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/10/18/charges-dropped-against-amy-goodman-no-thanks-corporate-media
This is part of a very important article, in which Dr Baverstock thoroughly refutes the claims that Professor Geraldine Thomas’ made in a BBC interview, about Fukushima ionising radiation not being much to worry about. The BBC has since withdrawn her statements.
But that hasn’t stopped the South Australian government bringing Thomas out here to spin her stuff, in support of Weatherill’s push for SA as the global nuclear waste dump.
Thomas’ comments in the video were insulting to the intelligence of the Japanese authorities and their advisors, and extremely ill-judged from a professional radiological point of view. The BBC was right to withdraw her comments as incorrect
‘This was quite clearly scientific misconduct’ by Dr Keith Baverstock, Fissiononline 23 Sept 16 . I will take the BBC interview first. In this interview Thomas questions the whole basis of the Japanese response to the Fukushima accident in terms of its evacuation policy. Is one to imagine that those authorities and the Japanese scientific establishment are so stupid as not to recognise that there is no risk entailing living in those areas?
The internationally agreed public dose limit is 1 mSv per year in addition to approximately 2 mSv per year from natural background radiation. The single measurement made in that television interview indicate 2.8 microsieverts per hour, which is close to 25 mSv per year. That includes the natural background doses o at that point the dose rate is at least 20 times the public dose limit.
Surely Thomas can recognise that this must demand serious consideration by the appropriate authorities as to the safety of those who would live there? However, to determine the safety or otherwise of living there it would be necessary to do a comprehensive survey of the area. My guess is that five years after the deposition of the radioactivity there will be a high degree of variability in measurements: some may be less in the measurement made on the programme, but others more and perhaps considerably more. Furthermore, if one were looking at a situation, for example in the UK, one would have to ensure that the most exposed person could not receive more that 1 mSv per annum. Therefore promises arguments that being indoors for example would reduce the dose rate are not valid in the context of the radiological protection of the public in general.
Whether a special dispensation applies when determining the return of evacuees to their homes is a question that I believe needs to be discussed, because as far as I’m aware the current situation in Japan is unique. Furthermore, we are not talking about a total dose of 20 mSv for someone who returns to live in this village. In many such villages remedial measures to reduce the dose rate are being taken, but only for the main “living areas”. Straying beyond these areas could lead to much higher doses, and eating natural produce, mushrooms etc, to even higher doses.
In the light of these considerations, Thomas’ comments in the video were insulting to the intelligence of the Japanese authorities and their advisors, and extremely ill-judged from a professional radiological point of view. The BBC was right to withdraw her comments as incorrect if that is indeed what they did.
Watching the video I am inclined to believe that Thomas is being disingenuous when she says she made a numeric al error when calculating the dose from the interviewer’s measurement. She made no attempt to do any kind of calculation: the figure she cited was something she clearly had in mond at the outset: she was delivering propaganda for the nuclear industry
That in the context in which the interview took place and the way in which she was introduced to the audience, is clearly scientific misconduct. One must also say here that the ninterviewer must have been, for an experienced journalist, amazingly gullible to have allowed the interview to be broadcast……….. https://issuu.com/fission/docs/fissionline_44
Dr Keith Baverstock led the Radiation Programme at the World Health Organisation’s Regional Office for Europe from 1991 to 2003.
the BBC Science team’s involvement in a shocking display of bad science during the commemorations of the 2011 disaster in 2016 March this year. Even though there was outrage in the scientific community at the Fukushima video, it was some months before the BBC quietly took down the video.
the public that saw the biased Fukushima video were unaware of the wrong and dangerous information that was given.
There are many other articles out there that show the BBC defending Geraldine Thomas (BBC Expert) after the complaints came in and rebuffs for that on fissionline magazine and this was also added pressure that forced the BBC to take the Fukushima video down. (Ed note: Geraldine Thomas is currently in Australia, extolling the benefits of the nuclear industry, and downplaying the health effects of ionising radiation) )
Sellafield – Contempt of Parliament – BBC News missed it. https://europeannewsweekly.wordpress.com/2016/09/19/sellafield-contempt-of-parliament-bbc-news-missed-it/by arclight2011part2 The nuclear industry supported press, in rebuffing the BBC Panorama teams claims of safety issues and lies to Parliament, we see some counters to the safety concerns but no response to the well documented evidence of the head of the Sellafield consortium lying to the Parliamentary committee and covering up the grave incident of plutonium release (and its cost) in November 2014.
Tony Price lies to Parliament (from Panorama Documentary) [on original]
The Spokesperson for Sellafield can be seen on the video acting a bit surprised at the questioning and revelations the Panorama reporter revealed. He just denied that any “spin” (ie lies) were said during the Parliamentary committee and that is the last word we have on this explosive revelation of criminality from the nuclear industry.
It is most surprising that the BBC News office did not pick this up as we see on the BBC web site they are fully aware of the issue of contempt of parliamentary procedure;
“….Examples of contempt include giving false evidence to a parliamentary committee, ….The Commons has the power to order anyone who has committed a contempt of Parliament to appear at the Bar of the House and to punish the offender…..”2008 BBC
Since that report was uncovered, the nuclear industry and their PR and government connections have swayed the public and eased their fears. The BBC and Science Media Centre (SMC UK) (Also called Sense About Science) was crucial to doing this and at the same time minimising the environmental and health impacts of the 2011 Fukushima disaster that had caused a huge drop in investor interest in nuclear projects.
So in the last 5 years the BBC has produced many supportive documentaries and educational materials favouring nuclear energy (Since the SMC UK started to receive large corporate funding) . In fact at the end of last year, the BBC science department was involved with promoting Sellafield and largely ignoring the many problems that existed there.
That was followed up by the BBC Science teams involvement in a shocking display of bad science during the commemorations of the 2011 disaster in 2016 March this year. Even though there was outrage in the scientific community at the Fukushima video, it was some months before the BBC quietly took down the video. Thereby, much of the public that saw the biased Fukushima video were unaware of the wrong and dangerous information that was given. Then just a couple of months ago a high profile visit to Sellafield by dignitaries was to underline the improvements and give Sellafield the all clear. Still other experts tried to combat the BBC and SMC UK PR management of all media regarding nuclear;
“The Ecologist, 12th August 2015 Dr David Lowry
Professor ‘Jim’ Al’Khalili’s ‘Inside Sellafield’ programme was a tour de force of pro-nuclear propaganda, writes David Lowry – understating the severity of accidents, concealing the role of the UK’s nuclear power stations in breeding military plutonium, and giving false reassurance over the unsolved problems of high level nuclear waste…”
The main thing for the BBC, government and nuclear industry was that the nuclear industry was still being perceived as above board and transparent. We saw a similar maneuver after the release of the Panorama Documentary on its You Tube site (Under BBC management orders?). The video was removed after just a few hours of being uploaded and after the link had been shared to an international social media audience. The video was put back up sometime later but after the interest had passed.
Although the media has largely ignored this story many experts have been commenting on the situation in Sellafield and there is a lot of well sourced data that bears the whistleblowers observations and claims (See source links below) . But it is the criminal manipulation of politicians during the Parliamentary committee process that demands our immediate attention. It undermines our Democracy.
Whilst discussing the issue of coverage, by the BBC, of the nuclear industry (with the exception of the excellent undercover investigative abilities of the BBC Panorama team) , I asked an experienced Science Media journalist and Author on how he viewed the BBC`s general coverage of nuclear matters over recent years and he had this to say;
“The BBC is guilty of a journalistic disgrace.” Karl Grossman, Professor of Journalism, State University of New York/College at Old Westbury, USA. [11th September 2016]
Meanwhile in the UK Paul Dorfman (Energy analyst spokesman for main stream UK media) said to me;
”Recent events reveal the ongoing national disgrace that is Sellafield, including the truly appalling state of the historic spent fuel ponds’….”
And Paul Dorfman was able to qualify his point through the excellent investigative work of the Panorama team. [11th September 2016]
In France an Energy systems engineer, well versed in La Hague (The French equivalent to Sellafield) and its impacts said this in response to a discussion on the Panorama revelations;
“….those plants, Sellafield and La Hague, would exterminate the whole world population in under 40 years, because there are tons of plutonium in Sellafield and tons in La Hague adding thousand times more than necessary to exterminate all animals through the world. The biggest aberration of history, the timing bomb for the global extinction, a potential aschimothusia .[“sacrifices” committed by force of a state ] …” Xavier Nast 11 September 2016
Marianne Birkby confirmed to me the ongoing “legacy” of dangerous safety practices at Sellafield;
“…The state of the Sellafield ponds is described by the BBC as an “historic legacy” but the “legacy” is ongoing with every reactor that continues to burn nuclear fuel whose waste is sent to Sellafield for reprocessing. . The now infamous photographs of the shocking state of the Sellafield ponds that were given to Radiation Free Lakeland by a brave whistleblower are not “historic.” Those shocking photographs are a graphic illustration of the continuing madness of nuclear power….” Marianne Birkby, Founder of Radiation Free Lakeland 11 September 2016
Sources for this article (Not already linked above)
The BBC Panorama You Tube documentary linkhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ1i3HScYak
Dr Lowry http://drdavidlowry.blogspot.ie/2016/09/inside-sellafield-and-military.html?spref=tw
Dr Ian Fairlie response to the Panorama findings and historical summary on Sellafield here http://www.ianfairlie.org/news/bbc-panorama-programme-sellafield/
Critical scientific analysis of the BBC Science departments dangerous and insulting attempts of reporting on Fukushima (And the reason that the BBC had to take down the video, some months later. The comments on this video are enlightening and you can see both pro nuclear and anti nuclear people actually agreeing and making known their complaints to the BBC) – March 2016https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrgdAA5oiIA
Note from writer; There are many other articles out there that show the BBC defending Geraldine Thomas (BBC Expert) after the complaints came in and rebuffs for that on fissionline magazine and this was also added pressure that forced the BBC to take the Fukushima video down.. The whole story of BBC bias in Energy matters is too vast to cover here but I leave you with the above Key words and links (for the researcher) . The truth will out!! – Shaun McGee
Deadly Radioactive Dust and Dying Children: US-NATO Use of Depleted Uranium (DU) Ammunition http://www.globalresearch.ca/deadly-radioactive-dust-and-dying-children-us-nato-use-of-depleted-uranium-du-ammunition/5545973
Award-Winning Filmmaker Shunned for Exposing the Truth The fate of Frieder Wagner is a peculiar example of what happens when you stand up to the establishment’s injustice. A notable director who won the prestigious German Grimme Award, responsible for numerous documentaries for the ARD and ZDF channels, he quickly became a pariah after making a movie called Deadly Dust (Todesstaub) about the use of depleted uranium (DU) shells by NATO forces in the Middle East and in the former Yugoslavia.
In an exclusive interview with Sputnik, Wagner explained that Deadly Dust is based on an earlier documentary called The Doctor, the Depleted Uranium, and the Dying Children (Der Arzt und die verstrahlten Kinder von Basra) that he filmed for WDR. In April 2004 the movie was screened during the anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. But even though that autumn it received the ÖkoMedia award, it was never screened again. And no matter what ideas he came up with, the TV channels that he previously worked with stopped sending him new orders for some reason.
“I contacted a head of the WDR editorial office whom I’d worked with before and asked him what happened. He paused for a second and then told me “The WDR editorial office considers you a ‘difficult’ person. And most importantly, the topics you suggest are especially hard. Right now I’ve got nothing more to tell you”,” Wagner explained.
He added that about a year ago he met with Siegesmund von Ilsemann, an editor at Spiegel magazine who wrote a comprehensive report about the ‘deadly dust’ and its effects, and who revealed to the astonished director that the use of depleted uranium by the military literally became a taboo subject in Germany.
“He told me that the issue of DU munitions use and its consequences became taboo in Germany. And no TV channel or newspaper would allow even him – a person who worked on this subject for a long time – to publish anything related to it,” Wagner added.
DU shells are made of byproducts of uranium enrichment. Their superior armor-piercing capabilities make them a potent anti-tank weapon, especially considering that when an armored vehicle gets hit by such a shell, the impact and subsequent release of heat energy causes it to ignite, incinerating the target’s interior. But it’s the ‘deadly dust’ produced by a DU shell detonation that is probably the most insidious aspect of this type of ordnance.
“At such a high temperature the substance – depleted uranium – burns down to nano-particles, each of them a hundred times smaller than a red blood cell. And due to their extremely small size, these particles ‘travel’ through a human body, infiltrating brain, lungs, kidneys, placenta, bloodstream and even sperm and egg cells which causes severe developmental diseases in newborns,” Wagner said.
According to him, US forces actively used DU munitions in Kosovo, Somalia, Libya and during both Iraqi campaigns, not to mention that they keep using them in Afghanistan up to this day.
“I’ve travelled to Iraq and Kosovo myself. We collected soil, water and tissue samples. All tissue samples contained depleted uranium particles, and even worse, they contained the so called uranium-236 which can only be produced artificially,” he said.
He also pointed out that the families of 16 out of 109 Italian soldiers who died of cancer sued the Italian government. During the trials, which the plaintiffs won, it was established that the fatal disease in all cases was caused by the use of DU munitions in Iraq and Kosovo.
And yet, much to Wagner’s surprise, no global wave of outrage spearheaded by the UN, Amnesty International and similar organizations took place over these developments.
“It should’ve happened a long time ago. In 2001 in Germany and in many other European nations the press wrote a lot about the first deaths among the Spanish and Portuguese soldiers in Kosovo. The then-Defense Minister of Germany Rudolf Scharping nearly lost his position. But then NATO and the UN decreed that this topic must be removed from the media – and they succeeded,” Wagner surmised.
The War Economy: CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Warns About Job Loss If US Stops Arming Saudi Arabia http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-09-09/war-economy-cnns-wolf-blitzer-warns-about-job-loss-if-us-stops-arming-saudi-arabia by Tyler Dur Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg,
Ladies and gentlemen, it appears the long anticipated moment of peak mainstream media stupidity may have finally arrived.
This is what passes for journalism in America today.
The Intercept reports:
Sen. Rand Paul’s expression of opposition to a $1.1 billion U.S. arms sale to Saudi Arabia — which has been brutally bombing civilian targets in Yemen using U.S.-made weapons for more than a year now — alarmed CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Thursday afternoon.
Blitzer’s concern: That stopping the sale could result in fewer jobs for arms manufacturers.
“So for you this is a moral issue,” he told Paul during the Kentucky Republican’s appearance on CNN. “Because you know, there’s a lot of jobs at stake. Certainly if a lot of these defense contractors stop selling war planes, other sophisticated equipment to Saudi Arabia, there’s gonna be a significant loss of jobs, of revenue here in the United States. That’s secondary from your standpoint?”
Paul stayed on message. “Well not only is it a moral question, its a Constitutional question,” Paul said. “Our founding fathers very directly and specifically did not give the president the power to go to war. They gave it to Congress. So Congress needs to step up and this is what I’m doing.”
Saudi Arabia began bombing Yemen in March 2015, and has since been responsible for the majority of the 10,000 deaths in the war so far. The U.S.-backed bombing coalition has been accused of intentionally targeting civilians, hospitals, factories, markets, schools, and homes. The situation is so bad that the Red Cross has started donating morgue units to Yemeni hospitals.
The Obama administration has sold more weapons to the Saudis than any other administration, pledging more than $115 billion worth of small arms, tanks, helicopters, missiles, and aircraft.
But hey, the Saudis aren’t really that bad, right. No, they’re just one of the most barbaric, inhumane terrorist supporting states on planet earth.
Need some proof?
Here you go:
U.S. Government Reaffirms Total Support for Saudi War Crimes in Yemen
Saudi Arabia Forces the United Nations to Remove it from a List of Child Killers
Record Beheadings and the Mass Arrest of Christians – Is it ISIS? No it’s Saudi Arabia
Additional Evidence Emerges That U.S. Government Officials Intentionally Whitewashed the Saudi Role in 9/11
“Getting Things Done” – The Brother of Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Chair is a Major Lobbyist for Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia Sentences Journalist to Five Years in Prison for Insulting the Kingdom’s Rulers
German Intelligence Warns – Saudi Arabia to Play “Destabilizing Role” in the Middle East
And yes, I could go on — and on and on and on.
Finally, let’s end with the clip referenced in the article at the top. [on original]
Media Trumpet Another Phony “Secret Nuclear Deal” Story , 08 September 2016 By Gareth Porter, Truthout | News Analysis Two major media outlets — Reuters and The Washington Post — pushed another Iran “secret side deal” story last week, ignoring obvious facts that revealed it as clever political deception aimed at sabotaging the nuclear agreement with Iran.
Stories in both of those outlets suggested that a leading think tank had revealed a secret deal that allowed Iran to exceed various qualitative and quantitative limits placed on it under the nuclear agreement reached last year — the main current theme of political opponents of the agreement. The stories were based on claims in a report co-authored by David Albright, the head of the Institute for Science and International Security, who has long been treated by corporate media as the leading “independent” expert on Iran’s nuclear program.
In fact, as Truthout revealed in 2014, Albright had abandoned any independence he had maintained on Iran as early as 2008 and had aligned his position on nuclear negotiations with Iran with those of the Bush administration and Israel…….
Albright’s attack on the Obama administration and the Joint Commission was only the latest installment in the current campaign by pro-Israeli media and political opponents of the JCPOA to claim existence of “secret side deals” between the Obama administration and Iran. Just six weeks ago, the Associated Press correspondent in Vienna, George Jahn, published a story that falsely portrayed Iran’s report to the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] on its plan for implementation of the agreement as such a “secret side deal.” The agreement reached between Iran and the IAEA on the issue of alleged past Iranian nuclear work, which included arrangements for taking environmental samples at Iran’s Parchin military facility, was also treated by JCPOA opponents as a “secret side deal.” http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/37527-media-trumpet-another-phony-secret-nuclear-deal-story
The Saudi Cables. Cables and other documents from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Foreign Affairs https://wikileaks.org/saudi-cables/buying-silence
A total of 122619 published so far
Buying Silence: How the Saudi Foreign Ministry controls Arab media
On Monday, Saudi Arabia celebrated the beheading of its 100th prisoner this year. The story was nowhere to be seen on Arab media despite the story’s circulation on wire services. Even international media was relatively mute about this milestone compared to what it might have been if it had concerned a different country. How does a story like this go unnoticed?
Today’s release of the WikiLeaks “Saudi Cables” from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs show how it’s done.
The oil-rich Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its ruling family take a systematic approach to maintaining the country’s positive image on the international stage. Most world governments engage in PR campaigns to fend off criticism and build relations in influential places. Saudi Arabia controls its image by monitoring media and buying loyalties from Australia to Canada and everywhere in between.
Documents reveal the extensive efforts to monitor and co-opt Arab media, making sure to correct any deviations in regional coverage of Saudi Arabia and Saudi-related matters. Saudi Arabia’s strategy for co-opting Arab media takes two forms, corresponding to the “carrot and stick” approach, referred to in the documents as “neutralisation” and “containment”. The approach is customised depending on the market and the media in question.
“Contain” and “Neutralise”
The initial reaction to any negative coverage in the regional media is to “neutralise” it. The term is used frequently in the cables and it pertains to individual journalists and media institutions whose silence and co-operation has been bought. “Neutralised” journalists and media institutions are not expected to praise and defend the Kingdom, only to refrain from publishing news that reflects negatively on the Kingdom, or any criticism of its policies. The “containment” approach is used when a more active propaganda effort is required. Journalists and media institutions relied upon for “containment” are expected not only to sing the Kingdom’s praises, but to lead attacks on any party that dares to air criticisms of the powerful Gulf state.
One of the ways “neutralisation” and “containment” are ensured is by purchasing hundreds or thousands of subscriptions in targeted publications. These publications are then expected to return the favour by becoming an “asset” in the Kingdom’s propaganda strategy. A document listing the subscriptions that needed renewal by 1 January 2010 details a series of contributory sums meant for two dozen publications in Damascus, Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Kuwait, Amman and Nouakchott. The sums range from $500 to 9,750 Kuwaiti Dinars ($33,000). The Kingdom effectively buys reverse “shares” in the media outlets, where the cash “dividends” flow the opposite way, from the shareholder to the media outlet. In return Saudi Arabia gets political “dividends” – an obliging press.
An example of these co-optive practices in action can be seen in an exchange between the Saudi Foreign Ministry and its Embassy in Cairo. On 24 November 2011 Egypt’s Arabic-language broadcast station ONTV hosted the Saudi opposition figure Saad al-Faqih, which prompted the Foreign Ministry to task the embassy with inquiring into the channel. The Ministry asked the embassy to find out how “to co-opt it or else we must consider it standing in the line opposed to the Kingdom’s policies“.
The document reports that the billionaire owner of the station, Naguib Sawiris, did not want to be “opposed to the Kingdom’s policies” and that he scolded the channel director, asking him “never to host al-Faqih again”. He also asked the Ambassador if he’d like to be “a guest on the show”.
The Saudi Cables are rife with similar examples, some detailing the figures and the methods of payment. These range from small but vital sums of around $2000/year to developing country media outlets – a figure the Guinean News Agency “urgently needs” as “it would solve many problems that the agency is facing” – to millions of dollars, as in the case of Lebanese right-wing television station MTV.
The “neutralisation” and “containment” approaches are not the only techniques the Saudi Ministry is willing to employ. In cases where “containment” fails to produce the desired effect, the Kingdom moves on to confrontation. In one example, the Foreign Minister was following a Royal Decree dated 20 January 2010 to remove Iran’s new Arabic-language news network, Al-Alam, from the main Riyadh-based regional communications satellite operator, Arabsat. After the plan failed, Saud Al Faisal sought to “weaken its broadcast signal“.
The documents show concerns within the Saudi administration over the social upheavals of 2011, which became known in the international media as the “Arab Spring”. The cables note with concern that after the fall of Mubarak, coverage of the upheavals in Egyptian media was “being driven by public opinion instead of driving public opinion”. The Ministry resolved “to give financial support to influential media institutions in Tunisia“, the birthplace of the “Arab Spring”.
The cables reveal that the government employs a different approach for its own domestic media. There, a wave of the Royal hand is all that is required to adjust the output of state-controlled media. A complaint from former Lebanese Prime Minister and Saudi citizen Saad Hariri concerning articles critical of him in the Saudi-owned Al-Hayat and Asharq Al-Awsat newspapers prompted a directive to “stop these type of articles” from the Foreign Ministry.
This is a general overview of the Saudi Foreign Ministry’s strategy in dealing with the media. WikiLeaks’ Saudi Cables contain numerous other examples that form an indictment of both the Kingdom and the state of the media globally.
The Danger of Excessive Trump Bashing http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/38405-the-danger-of-excessive-trump-bashing , Consortium News 04 August 16
The prospect of Donald Trump in the White House alarms many people but bashing him over his contrarian views on NATO and U.S.-Russian relations could set the stage for disasters under President Hillary Clinton, writes Robert Parry. Widespread disdain for Donald Trump and the fear of what his presidency might mean have led to an abandonment of any sense of objectivity by many Trump opponents and, most notably, the mainstream U.S. news media. If Trump is for something, it must be bad and must be transformed into one more club to use for hobbling his candidacy.
While that attitude may be understandable given Trump’s frequently feckless and often offensive behavior – he seems not to know basic facts and insults large swaths of the world’s population – this Trump bashing also has dangerous implications because some of his ideas deserve serious debate rather than blanket dismissal.
Amid his incoherence and insults, Trump has raised valid points on several important questions, such as the risks involved in the voracious expansion of NATO up to Russia’s borders and the wisdom of demonizing Russia and its internally popular President Vladimir Putin.
Over the past several years, Washington’s neocon-dominated foreign policy establishment has pushed a stunning policy of destabilizing nuclear-armed Russia in pursuit of a “regime change” in Moscow. This existentially risky strategy has taken shape with minimal substantive debate behind a “group think” driven by anti-Russian and anti-Putin propaganda. (All we hear is what’s wrong with Putin and Russia: He doesn’t wear a shirt! He’s the new Hitler! Putin and Trump have a bro-mance! Russian aggression! Their athletes cheat!)
Much as happened in the run-up to the disastrous Iraq War in 2002-2003, the neocons and their “liberal interventionist” allies bully from the public square anyone who doesn’t share these views. Any effort to put Russia’s behavior in context makes you a “Putin apologist,” just like questioning the Iraq-WMD certainty of last decade made you a “Saddam apologist.”
But this new mindlessness – now justified in part to block Trump’s path to the White House – could very well set the stage for a catastrophic escalation of big-power tensions under a Hillary Clinton presidency. Former Secretary of State Clinton has already surrounded herself with neocons and liberal hawks who favor expanding the war against Syria’s government, want to ratchet up tensions with Iran, and favor shipping arms to the right-wing and virulently anti-Russian regime in Ukraine, which came to power in a 2014 coup supported by U.S. policymakers and money.
By lumping Trump’s few reasonable points together with his nonsensical comments – and making anti-Russian propaganda the only basis for any public debate – Democrats and the anti-Trump press are pushing the United States toward a conflict with Russia.
And, for a U.S. press corps that prides itself on its “objectivity,” this blatantly biased approach toward a nominee of a major political party is remarkably unprofessional. But the principle of objectivity has been long since abandoned as the mainstream U.S. media transformed itself into little more than an outlet for U.S. government foreign-policy narratives, no matter how dishonest or implausible.
To conform with the neocon-driven narratives, much recent history has been lost. For instance, few Americans realize that some of President Barack Obama’s most notable foreign policy achievements resulted from cooperation with Putin and Russia, arguably more so than any other “friendly” leader or “allied” nation.
For instance, in summer 2013, Obama was under intense neocon/liberal-hawk pressure to bomb the Syrian military supposedly for crossing his “red line” against the use of chemical weapons after a mysterious sarin gas attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2103.
Yet, hearing doubts from the U.S. intelligence community about the Assad regime’s guilt, Obama balked at a military strike that – we now know – would have played into the hands of Syrian jihadists who some intelligence analysts believe were the ones behind the false-flag sarin attack to trick the United States into directly intervening in the civil war on their side.
But Obama still needed a path out of the corner that he had painted himself into and it was provided by Putin and Russia pressuring Assad to surrender all his chemical weapons, a clear victory for Obama regardless of who was behind the sarin attack.
Putin and Russia helped Obama again in convincing Iran to accept tight restraints on its nuclear program, an agreement that may mark Obama’s most significant foreign policy success. Those negotiations came to life in 2013 (not coincidentally after Secretary of State Clinton, who allied herself more with the bomb-bomb-bomb Iran faction led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, had resigned and was replaced by John Kerry).
As the negotiating process evolved, Russia played a key role in bringing Iran along, offering ways for Iran to rid itself of its processed nuclear stockpiles and get the medical research materials it needed. Without the assistance of Putin and his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the landmark Iranian nuclear deal might never have happened.
Obama recognized the value of this Russian help but he also understood the political price that he would pay if he were closely associated with Putin, who was already undergoing a thorough demonization in the U.S. and European mainstream media. So, Obama mostly worked with Putin under the table while joining in the ostracism of Putin above the table.
But Washington’s neocon-dominated foreign policy establishment – and its allied mainstream media – check-mated Obama’s double-talking game in 2013 by aggressively supporting a regime-change strategy in Ukraine where pro-Russian elected President Viktor Yanukovych was under mounting pressure from western Ukrainians who wanted closer ties to Europe and who hated Russia.
Leading neocon thinkers unveiled their new Ukraine strategy shortly after Putin helped scuttle their dreams for a major bombing campaign against Assad’s regime in Syria. Since the 1990s, the neocons had targeted the Assad dynasty – along with Saddam Hussein’s government in Iraq and the Shiite-controlled government in Iran – for “regime change.” The neocons got their way in Iraq in 2003 but their program stalled because of the disastrous Iraq War.
However, in 2013, the neocons saw their path forward open again in Syria, especially after the sarin attack, which killed hundreds of civilians and was blamed on Assad in a media-driven rush to judgment. Obama’s hesitancy to strike and then Putin’s assistance in giving Obama a way out left the neocons furious. They began to recognize the need to remove Putin if they were to proceed with their Mideast “regime change” dreams.
In late September 2013 – a month after Obama ditched the plans to bomb Syria – neocon National Endowment for Democracy president Carl Gershman wrote in The Washington Post that Ukraine was now “the biggest prize” but also was a steppingstone toward the even bigger “regime change” prize in Moscow. Gershman, whose NED is funded by Congress, wrote:
“Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents. Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”
By late 2013 and early 2014, with Gershman’s NED financing Ukraine’s anti-government activists and journalists and with the open encouragement of neocon Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and Sen. John McCain, the prospects for “regime change” in Ukraine were brightening. With neo-Nazi and other Ukrainian ultra-nationalists firebombing police, the political crisis in Kiev deepened.
Meanwhile, Putin was focused on the Sochi Winter Olympics and the threat that the games could be disrupted by terrorism. So, with the Kremlin distracted, Ukraine’s Yanukovych tried to fend off his political crisis while limiting the violence.
However, on Feb. 20, 2014, snipers fired on both police and protesters in the Maidan square and the Western media jumped to the conclusion that Yanukovych was responsible (even though later investigations have indicated that the sniper attack was more likely carried out by neo-Nazi groups to provoke the chaos that followed).
A Successful Coup
On Feb. 21, a shaken Yanukovych agreed to a European-brokered deal in which he surrendered some of his powers and agreed to early elections. He also succumbed to Western pressure that he pull back his police. However, on Feb. 22, the neo-Nazis and other militants seized on that opening to take over government buildings and force Yanukovych and other officials to flee for their lives.
The U.S. State Department and its Western allies quickly recognized the coup regime as the “legitimate” government of Ukraine. But the coup provoked resistance from the ethnic Russian populations in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, political uprisings that the new Kiev regime denounced as “terrorist” and countered with an “Anti-Terrorism Operation” or ATO.
When Russian troops – already in Crimea as part of the Sevastopol naval basing agreement – protected the people on the peninsula from attacks by the Ukrainian ultra-nationalists, the intervention was denounced in the West as a “Russian invasion.” Crimean authorities also organized a referendum in which more than 80 percent of the voters participated and favored leaving Ukraine and rejoining Russia by a 96 percent margin. When Moscow agreed, that became “Russian aggression.”
Although the Kremlin refused appeals from eastern Ukraine for a similar arrangement, Russia provided some assistance to the rebels resisting the new authorities in Ukraine. Those rebels then declared their own autonomous republics.
Although this historical reality – if understood by the American people – would put the Ukrainian crisis in a very different context, it has been effectively blacked out of what the American public is allowed to hear. All the mainstream media talks about is “Russian aggression” and how Putin provoked the Ukraine crisis as part of some Hitlerian plan to conquer Europe.
Trump, in his bumbling way, tries to reference the real history to explain his contrarian views regarding Russia, Ukraine and NATO, but he is confronted by a solid wall of “group think” asserting only one acceptable way to see this complex crisis. Rather than allow a serious debate on these very serious issues, the mainstream U.S. media simply laughs at Trump’s supposed ignorance.
The grave danger from this media behavior is that it will empower the neocons and liberal hawks already nesting inside Hillary Clinton’s campaign to prepare for a new series of geopolitical provocations once Clinton takes office. By opportunistically buying into this neocon pro-war narrative now, Democrats may find themselves with buyer’s remorse as they become the war party of 2017.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
People really do pay attention to climate change — when Leonardo DiCaprio talks about it https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/08/05/the-leo-effect-when-dicaprio-talked-climate-change-at-the-oscars-people-suddenly-cared/?utm_term=.8c0872bcf47e By Chris Mooney August 5 Do celebrities matter? The answer — modern, big data approaches are showing — is pretty clearly “yes.”
Earlier this year, a team of researchers documented that when Charlie Sheen told the world that he had HIV, media attention to the virus — which had been in long decline — spiked massively.
And now, many of the same researchers are back with another demonstration. They find that when Leonardo DiCaprio used his Oscar speech earlier this year to exhort action on climate change, tweets and Google searches about the topic were enormous and, at least in the case of tweets, appear to have set a new record based on analyses between 2011 and the present.
“A single speech, at a very opportunistic time, at the Oscar ceremony, resulted in the largest increase in public engagement with climate change ever,” says John Ayers of San Diego State University, who completed the work with colleagues from the University of California San Diego, the Santa Fe Institute, and other institutions. Their study was just publishedin the open access journal PLOS One.
DiCaprio, winning the Oscar for best actor for “The Revenant” on Feb. 28, said this:
Making “The Revenant” was about man’s relationship to the natural world — a world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history. Our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow. Climate change is real, it is happening right now, it is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters or the big corporations, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous peoples of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people who will be most affected by this, for our children’s children, and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed.
When DiCaprio said this, 34.5 million people were watching.
Ayers and his colleagues used a combination of media coverage searches using the Bloomberg Terminal, Twitter content searches and Google trends search data to examine the consequences. They also closely examined how the public response to this moment compared with past attention to climate change at key times, including during the Paris climate negotiations and the 2015 Earth Day.
They also used a modeling approach to estimate what typical media coverage and social media engagement with the subject of climate change would have been if DiCaprio had not spoken out — what a more “normal” level of attention would be.
The result was that while there was virtually no news media response to DiCaprio (most journalists don’t take their marching orders from celebrities speaking out), the social media and search response was enormous.
you’d never know any of this big picture once-in-a-century transformation from reading the New York Times, which just continues to write article after article that misses the forest for the trees.
the clean energy revolution means other low-carbon or zero-carbon technologies that haven’t reached the point of exponential growth — and that are not experiencing learning curve improvements in cost and performance — are very likely to fall further and further behind. That is where nuclear power finds itself. As do hydrogen fuel cell cars.
It also means that the electric grid in particular will go through some growing pains as it starts to integrate renewables at a faster pace than anybody thought possible just a few years ago. The Times, bizarrely, has chosen to publish article after article over-emphasizing and indeed exaggerating those growing pains, while projecting a future for nuclear power that currently doesn’t exist
Nuclear Power Advocates Claim Cheap Renewable Energy Is A Bad Thing, Climate Progress BY JOE ROMM JUL 28, 2016 Nuclear power advocates are trying a new line of attack on solar and wind energy — it’s too darn cheap!
In the real world, however, the unexpectedly rapid drop in the price of cleantech, especially renewable power and batteries, is a doubly miraculous game-changer that is already cutting greenhouse gas emissions globally and dramatically increasing the chances we can avoid catastrophic climate change.
As I detailed on Monday, the New York Times in particular keeps running slanted articles talking up nuclear and talking down renewables — articles that totally miss the forest for the trees. That culminated in a truly absurd piece last week, “How Renewable Energy Is Blowing Climate Change Efforts Off Course,” which is the exact opposite of reality, as Goldman Sachs has detailed in its recent reports on “The Low Carbon Economy.”
This post will focus primarily on the big picture, the forest. I will deal in later posts with a few of the more interesting trees, such as whether, the U.S. should consider give existing nukes some sort of short-term carbon credit so they are not shut down prematurely and replaced by natural gas.
The big picture reality of the clean energy revolution
The big picture reality is this: The world is finally starting to take some serious action to avoid catastrophic climate change, which means first the electric grid will decarbonize, and then the transportation system. That means global coal use peaks or plateaus first — and then oil does. Continue reading
Nuclear Power Advocates Claim Cheap Renewable Energy Is A Bad Thing, Climate Progress BY JOE ROMM JUL 28, 2016
“…………..For instance, in their “How Renewable Energy Is Blowing Climate Change Efforts Off Course” story, the Times asserts:
In Germany, where renewables have mostly replaced nuclear power, carbon emissions are rising, even as Germans pay the most expensive electricity rates in Europe.
I have kept both of the hyperlinks from the Times piece so you can see for yourself what game they are playing. It is quite rare that a newspaper story links to two articles that so thoroughly debunk the points the story is trying to make.
The first hyperlink is apparently meant to cover the assertion, “In Germany, where renewables have mostly replaced nuclear power.” But as you can see, the link goes to a December 2015 “Clean Energy Wire” story with this lead chart: [on original]
This chart does not, however, show “renewables have mostly replaced nuclear power” (orange). Quite the reverse. The chart explicitly shows that, for example, from 2013 to 2015, renewable generation rose 42 billion kilowatt-hours (bkwh) — while natural gas dropped 11 bkwh, hard coal dropped 9 bkwh, lignite dropped 6 bkwh, and nuclear dropped 5 bkwh. In short, renewables up 42 bkwh, fossil fuels down 26 bkwh, and nuclear down 5 bkwh (while overall, generation was up). Oops!
Since renewables have been mostly replacing fossil fuels, as the chart shows, you can probably guess that carbon emissions haven’t actually been rising. The second hyperlink goes to a March 2016 story that contains this chart: [on original].
As you can plainly see, this chart does not show that “carbon emissions are rising.” Quite the reverse. German emissions have generally been falling.
So how does the Times get to its claim that German will “carbon emissions are rising” when the most one can objectively say is in recent years they have been flat? Well the links do note that CO2 emissions rose a whopping 1 percent in 2015. Or, as the first article put it, “Germany’s CO2 emissions have inched up in 2015 despite a rapidly increasing share of renewables in electricity production.”
Why did emissions inch up? The first link immediately goes on to explain, “The main cause for the year-on-year rise were cooler temperatures compared to 2014.” Not exactly a compelling argument for “How Renewable Energy Is Blowing Climate Change Efforts Off Course.”
Yes, German electrical rates are high. The Times could have written an interesting story on why. It is actually a gift the Germans gave the world in its fight against global warming. The Germans decided to rapidly deploy solar power during a time when it was quite expensive to do so. Indeed, it was over five times more expensive to deploy in Germany back then than it is to deploy in the U.S. Southwest now!
That massive German investment helped solar power come down the learning curve faster than people expected, and today, as I’ve reported, utilities in this country and around the world are signing contracts for solar power at the unheard-of price of four cents a kilowatt hour or less — which is roughly one third of the average residential rate in this country.
Rather than trashing the Germans the way the New York Times does, we should all be thanking them! But the Times is not in the thanking business. They are in the slanting business.
The bottom line is that nothing that has happened in Germany supports the ridiculous thesis: “How Renewable Energy Is Blowing Climate Change Efforts Off Course.” The truth, as the second link the Times itself provides explains, is that “a 2011 decision to phase out nuclear power within a decade, lent impetus by Japan’s Fukushima disaster, has seen dirty coal maintain a significant share of the energy mix.”
It was Germany’s decision to speed up the shutdown of its nuclear reactors that caused the drop in CO2 emissions to (temporarily) stall. Personally, I wouldn’t have made that decision, since the short-term consequences were almost inevitable. But for reasons only known to itself, the Times seems to be trying to make one of the biggest heroes of the climate action story in Germany — renewable power — into a villain.
The Times piece tries to do the same thing in its discussion of the competition between renewables and nuclear power (and natural gas) in this country. I’ll deal with that in my next piece. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/07/28/3802326/nuclear-power-renewables-cheap/