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Catholic prelate calls on President Duterte to reject nuclear energy

Prelate urges Duterte to nix proposal to use nuclear energy in PH

By Leslie Ann Aquino   A Catholic prelate has called on President Duterte to reject the proposal to use nuclear energy in the country.

“I am greatly concerned with the proposed Executive Order that is said to be drafted by (Department of Energy or DOE) Secretary Al Cusi which would include nuclear power in our energy mix,” San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza said in a statement.

“We urge President Duterte not to sign this Executive Order and instead remind Sec. Cusi to make renewable energy our primary source of electricity.”

The vice chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA) said the disasters in Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Fukushima are “sorrowful reminders” of the risks of nuclear power that Filipinos need not be exposed to.

The prelate asked Duterte to stand firm on his previous directive to the DOE to promote renewable energy, which is a cheaper and safer source of energy.

“We hope and pray that President Duterte will not turn back on his word in the 2019 SONA (State of the Nation Address) which charged the DOE with the task of promoting renewable energy,” Alminaza said.

“This is what would truly be beneficial for our people, and would also serve as a concrete act of care for our Common Home.”

On Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters that Duterte will be studying the proposed inclusion of nuclear power in the Philippines’ energy mix.

March 5, 2020 Posted by | Philippines, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

 Russian Orthodox Church rethinks its practice of blessing nuclear weapons

Russian priests shouldn’t bless nuclear weapons, other weapons of mass destruction, Orthodox Church says, https://www.foxnews.com/world/russian-priests-shouldnt-bless-nuclear-weapons-other-weapons-of-mass-destruction-orthodox-church-says 5 Feb 20The Russian Orthodox Church thinks its priests should discontinue the practice of blessing weapons of mass destruction that inflict death upon thousands of people, according to a proposal published Monday.

The church released a draft document outlining its stance on the blessing of Orthodox Christians “for the performance of military duty” and “defense of the Fatherland.”

Russian priests have longed sprinkled holy water on various weapon systems, including submarines, ballistic missiles and space rockets, among others.

“It is not reflected in the tradition of the Orthodox Church and does not correspond to the content of the Rite of blessing of military weapons, and therefore, the use of this order to “sanctify” any kind of weapon, the use of which could lead to the death of an undetermined number of people, including weapons, should be excluded from pastoral practice indiscriminate action and weapons of mass destruction,” the church wrote.

The proposal noted the blessing of military vehicles used on land, air and sea is not  the “blessing of guns, rockets or bombing devices that the Lord is asking for, but the protection of soldiers.”

The proposals will be discussed on June 1 and the public is being asked to weigh in the debate, Reuters reported.

The request comes as the church and the Russian military continue to forge close ties. The armed forces are building a sprawling cathedral at a military park outside Moscow

February 6, 2020 Posted by | Religion and ethics, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The Russian Orthodox Church just might cease its blessing of nuclear weapons

 

THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH MAY STOP BLESSING NUCLEAR WEAPONS    https://futurism.com/the-byte/russian-orthodox-blessing-nuclear-weapons   JULY 10TH 19__DAN ROBITZSKI 

A faction of clergy within the Russian Orthodox Church wants to end the eyebrow-raising practice of blessing the country’s nuclear missiles.

First of all, yes: Russian priests currently sprinkle holy water on nuclear missiles as part of an old tradition in which Orthodox priests bless soldiers and their weapons, reports Religion News Service. But that may change, as some priests feel that intercontinental ballistic missiles belong in a different category from individual firearms.

Faith Militant

The Russian military and the Russian Orthodox church have long worked hand in hand, according to RNS, framing many of the country’s military conflicts as holy wars. The nuclear arsenal even has its own patron saint — RNS reports that St. Seraphim’s remains were found in a Russian town that housed several nuclear facilities.

As such, the push to stop blessing nukes faces strong opposition among members of the clergy, such as the high-ranking priest Vsevolod Chaplin, who referred to the country’s nukes as “guardian angels.”

“Only nuclear weapons protect Russia from enslavement by the West,” Chaplin once said, per RNS.

Changing Hearts

One priest, Dmitry Tsorionov, parted from the more militant aspects of the Orthodox Church after seeing men willingly sign up to fight Russia’s wars “under the banner of Christ,” he told RNS. Now he wants to see less warmongering among the clergy.

“It was not uncommon to see how church functionaries openly flirted with these toxic ideas,” he told RNS. “It was only then that I finally realized what the blessing of military hardware leads to.”

February 6, 2020 Posted by | culture and arts, Religion and ethics, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The idea of a “Nuclear Second Strike”: NOT morally justifiable , NOT ‘acceptable.’

January 9, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Faith leaders, heed pope’s call on nuclear weapons 

  https://www.heraldnet.com/opinion/commentary-faith-leaders-heed-popes-call-on-nuclear-weapons/   Washington state’s legacy is tied to nuclear weapons; its religious leaders have a duty to oppose them. Sunday, December 22, 2019   By Carly Brook / For The Herald

Just a few weeks ago, Pope Francis called for the global abolition of nuclear weapons while paying homage to the victims of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan. Nagasaki was destroyed by atomic weapons with plutonium produced in Washington state’s Catholic Diocese.

The Holy Father declared: “With deep conviction I wish once more to declare that the use of atomic energy for purposes of war is today, more than ever, a crime not only against the dignity of human beings but against any possible future for our common home. The use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral, just as the possessing of nuclear weapons is immoral, as I already said two years ago. We will be judged on this. Future generations will rise to condemn our failure if we spoke of peace but did not act to bring it about among the peoples of the earth. How can we speak of peace even as we build terrifying new weapons of war?”

Washington state has the largest collection of deployed nuclear weapons in the Western Hemisphere at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor on Hood Canal, just 20 miles from Seattle. This nuclear weapons installation, added to Washington state’s large city centers and many other military installations, makes our state a primary target in the event of a nuclear exchange.

Washington state is also home to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, the most contaminated nuclear site in the Western Hemisphere, and the Midnite Mine, a former nuclear weapons uranium mine located on the Spokane Tribe of Indians Reservation, and it hosts one of the largest communities of Marshall Islanders in the United States, whose home was the site of67 atmospheric nuclear weapons tests during the Cold War.

The legacy of nuclear weapons and their production in Washington has — and continues to — disproportionately affect communities of color and indigenous people, none of whom has been adequately compensated for the environmental and health consequences of nuclear weapons activities pursued by the United States government during the 50 years of the Cold War.

Congress recently approved funding to deploy a new kind of nuclear weapon: the W76-2 warhead. This gateway nuke, which is being called “useable” will be deployed on Trident nuclear submarines just 20 miles from Seattle in the coming months.

As a person of faith, and coordinator of the Washington Against Nuclear Weapons Coalition, we call on religious leaders in Seattle, especially the Seattle Archbishop, to heed the words of Pope Francis in Nagasaki. We call on faith leaders to join other faith-based members of the Washington Against Nuclear Weapons Coalition and actively preach to your congregants that the continuing possession and so-called modernization of nuclear weapons is immoral.

As the pope said, “Future generations will rise to condemn our failure if we spoke of peace but did not act to bring it about among the peoples of the earth.” I respectfully suggest that Seattle Archbishop Paul Etinne and other faith leaders should act accordingly.

Carly Brook is a member of the Washington Against Nuclear Weapons Coalition

December 28, 2019 Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Ethics of burdening developing countries with nuclear debts and nuclear wastes

Ethics of Nuclear Energy  Abu-Dayyeh (P.hD) Amman – H.K. of Jordan Ayoub101@hotmail.com E_case Society (President) www.energyjo.com  [Extract]  November 30, 2019

 

“…..5- Nuclear energy in the South!

If all the latter costs were reallocated to consumers, an increase in the price for electricity between €0.139 and €2.36 for each kilowatt-hour will have to be administered for a period of commitment of 100 years(45). These estimates explicate the true cost of electricity produced from nuclear sources, similar to some predictions discussed earlier in the Japanese case, and thus urge few more reflections on the issue, such as:

Can developing countries in the South afford the actual prices of each KWh?

Is it ethical to overburden these developing nations with loans and radioactive waste management for millions of years?

To what extent can developing countries afford the risk of experiencing a major nuclear accident?

If small developing nations disintegrate due to a nuclear catastrophe, does this outcome open the way to asylum seekers flocking towards the North?

If a nuclear catastrophe strikes in the South, is the North ready to accommodate environmental refugees from the South?

If the answer is still yes, we suggest reminding the North that corruption risks are much higher in the South compared to the North, which thus dooms the investment in nuclear energy a failure! Furthermore, extra load management, upgrading the electricity grid, providing cooling water, constructing desalination plants for the cooling towers and facilitating the proper infra-structure are all factors to consider. Not to mention that a higher risk of a catastrophe would be predicted in the South due to shortages in skilled labor and because of the loose ends of cultural safety values typical of under developed countries.

As for non-proliferation, each nuclear power plant of around 1000 MW produces around 200 kg of plutonium every year, which is enough to arm 20 nuclear warheads. Wouldn’t that be an incentive for some countries to plunder the resources of others by force?

Enriching uranium U235 to 3.5%, for use in nuclear reactors, produces huge amounts of U238 (depleted Uranium), enough to encase tonnes of missiles annually. Who can guarantee these lethal weapons not to be used in the future for the destruction of humanity, as it has already been used in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan?

Environmental degradation already accounts for 3-5% of GDP for some countries in the Middle East and North Africa, such as Jordan and Egypt. Uranium mining in these countries will worsen the environmental conditions which are already out of control, such as phosphate tailings in Rusaifa and Hasa in Jordan, which have bewailed the natural environment beyond recovery!

Creation of jobs is essential too when considering any investment in the South as unemployment is very high there. In a country like Namibia, were uranium mines had been utilized for a long time, the percentage of unemployment reached 51.2% in 2008(46). What about construction and operating nuclear facilities, are they labor intensive?

Energy source-jobs per tera watt hours are underlined in the following table:

Natural Gas 250 jobs / TWh
Coal 370 jobs / TWh
Nuclear 75 jobs / TWh
Wood 733 jobs / TWh
Hydro 250 jobs / TWh
Wind 918 – 2400 jobs / TWh
Photo-voltaic 29580 – 107000 jobs / TWh

Table 1: Jobs per tera watt hours of electricity production (47)

It looks quite obvious that the nuclear industry is the poorest concerning jobs per energy production. Hence, developing countries need to be motivated to resort to intensive labor energy sources, away from logging and deforestation, by promoting wind and solar energy which provide far more jobs than the nuclear industry. Renewable and clean energy jobs are both decentralized, require no high skilled labor and are safe and secure energy sources; decentralization and jobs are badly needed in the South as migration from rural areas to cities is intensifying and many skilled labor had already migrated to the North.

As for safety and security, we wonder! With the present reputation of safety and security in the South, can developing countries minimize the risks of a nuclear disaster?

Expert nuclear engineer David Lochbaum responds to our question:

It is not if we are going to have nuclear accidents but when” (48)!

If developing countries can afford nuclear accidents and can recover from such catastrophes, like what happened in Japan at Fukushima, developing countries of the South cannot for the reasons discussed earlier……”

December 14, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics | 1 Comment

Religion and climate change – Dr Katharine Hayhoe

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Climate Change But Were Afraid to Ask, Forbes, Devin Thorpe 9 Dec 19,   Dr. Katharine Hayhoe is a climate scientist who leads the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University and is the host and producer of the PBS series Global Weirding. I asked her everything you want to know about climate change but were afraid to ask…..

She explained why a difference as small as two degrees actually matters, why she calls it global weirding, how she explains climate science to skeptics who are religious, and the respective roles of big business, entrepreneurs and individuals in fighting climate science. ……
KH: Well, our most popular global weirding episode, the one that the most people have watched, is called “What Does the Bible Say About Climate Change?” And that’s sort of a trick question, because, of course, it says nothing about climate change. But it says a lot about our responsibility for this planet, God’s love and care for creation, and about how we are to care for our brothers and sisters, especially those who are less fortunate than us today. So I’ve looked into this and thankfully, as you just said, the correlation is not causal. So believing the Bible doesn’t make us reject the idea that climate is changing due to human activities. In fact, as I recently said in New York Times op ed just the other week, if we truly take the Bible seriously, we would be out at the front of the line demanding action on climate change, because that’s what we as Christians would do because of who we are……..

DT: What would you tell someone who wants to do their part to solve climate change?

KH: Well, I would say, first of all, we’re not saving the planet we’re saving us. The planet will still be orbiting the sun long after we are gone. We care about ourselves, our families, our kids, our communities, our city or state, our country. We care about ourselves. And that’s what’s at stake here. So one of the most important things we can do and actually talk about this is my TED talk is talk about it because it turns out we never have conversations about this because we’re worried, well, I’m not a scientist or I don’t want to pick a fight with Uncle Joe. But talking about it is the most effective thing that we can do……

https://www.forbes.com/sites/devinthorpe/2019/12/09/everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-climate-change-but-were-afraid-to-ask/#722e91ca3a60

December 10, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Ethics, Nuclear Power, and Global Heating – theme for December 2019

“Ethics” seems to be a dirty word in this strange era in which “Economics”, (i.e money) is apparently the only credible argument for taking any action.

Yet, now, under those truly awful shadows of a heating planet, and nuclear conflict, ethics might be our only sane guide.

What are ethics in relation to climate and nuclear issues?

Surely – ethical behaviour,  -behaving decently and honestly. In the face of these dire threats – this is the way to go.

Not that it’s easy. No-one wants to pay the price, – changed employment, lifestyle changes, increased taxes….

BUT – we have borrowed this world from our children, and great grandchildren.  We need to return it in good condition.

This means facing up to the reality of all the effects of climate change, the horrors of nuclear weapons, the environmental poison of ionising radiation.

And then – taking action on all levels, from the personal to global co-operation. A tall order?  It means plain, honest, speaking, just treatment of under-privileged groups and countries, taking investment out of dirty industries.

An impossible order? Perhaps, but it would be a shame not to try. Even in this period of ethically and often environmentally ignorant , narcissistic national leaders Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Boris Johnson, Jair Bolsonaro, Scott Morrison …….still there are thousands of individuals and groups working for a clean and nuclear-free planet.

We don’t need to be taken in by the big words and twisted arguments of the fossil fuel and nuclear industries and their bought politicians and journalists. The facts on climate change are clear. The facts on nuclear dangers are clear.

Even the economic facts point us to climate action and to scrapping nuclear power and weapons. But surely, human beings can do better than that, and be guided by ethics.

November 28, 2019 Posted by | Christina's themes, Religion and ethics | 9 Comments

Pope Francis, in Japan, Warns of ‘Selfish Decisions’ on Nuclear Energy

November 28, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Catholic doctrine; the use and even the possession of nuclear is immoral

Pope Francis: not using or possessing nuclear arms will be added to the Catechism, Catholic Outlook,27 November 2019 During the in-flight press conference aboard the plane bringing him back to Rome from Japan, Pope Francis answers journalists’ questions on a variety of issues: from the immoral use and possession of atomic weapons, to the financial investigation inside the Vatican.

“The use of nuclear weapons is immoral, which is why it must be added to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Not only their use, but also possessing them: because an accident or the madness of some government leader, one person’s madness can destroy humanity.”

In addition to repeating this strong message pronounced at Hiroshima, Pope Francis responded to many questions posed to him by the journalists during the flight bringing them back to Rome from Japan.

Now follows an unofficial translation of the in-flight press conference……….

Hiroshima was a real human catechesis on cruelty. I could not visit the Hiroshima museum because time did not permit, because it was a difficult day. But they say it’s terrible. There are letters from Heads of State, Generals explaining how a greater disaster could be produced. The experience was much more touching for me. And there I reiterated that the use of nuclear weapons is immoral, that is why it must be added to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Not only their use, but also possessing them: because an accident or the madness of some government leader, one person’s madness can destroy humanity. The words of Einstein come to mind: ‘The Fourth World War will be fought with sticks and stones.’ ” …….

The ugly hypocrisy of the ‘arms trade’. Christian countries, European countries that talk about peace and live off weapons. This is hypocrisy, a word from the Gospels: Jesus said it in Matthew, Chapter 23. We have to stop this hypocrisy. It takes courage to say: “I can’t talk about peace, because my economy earns so much through arms sales’”. These are all things we need to say, without insulting and vilifying any country, but speaking as brothers and sisters, for the sake of human fraternity: we must stop because this is a terrible thing. “………… https://catholicoutlook.org/pope-francis-not-using-or-possessing-nuclear-arms-will-be-added-to-the-catechism/ 

November 28, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

US Bishops stand with the Pope calling for a world without nuclear arms

A statement issued by the Chairman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops calls for action on the path to nuclear disarmament. Vatican News, By Linda Bordoni , 27 Nov 19, In the wake of Pope Francis’s powerful appeal for a world that is free from atomic warfare, and his affirmation that not only the deployment, but also the possession of nuclear weapons is immoral, the Catholic Bishops of the United States issued a statement calling on their nation “to exercise global leadership for mutual, verifiable nuclear disarmament”……. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2019-11/us-bishops-statement-nuclear-weapons.html

November 28, 2019 Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA | Leave a comment

Pope Francis i Nagasaki – calls for a ‘world without nuclear weapons’

Pope Francis calls for a ‘world without nuclear weapons’ during Nagasaki visit, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/24/pope-francis-calls-for-a-world-without-nuclear-weapons-during-nagasaki-visit  

Pontiff urges disarmament as he tours Japan’s atomic bomb sites and meets survivors of the 1945 attacks, Justin McCurry in Tokyo and agencies
 Mon 25 Nov 2019  Pope Francis has condemned the “unspeakable horror” of nuclear weapons during a visit to Nagasaki, one of two Japanese cities destroyed by American atomic bombs towards the end of the second world war.

Speaking on the second day of the first papal visit to Japan for 38 years, Francis urged world leaders to end the stockpiling of nuclear weapons, saying it offered their nations a false sense of security.

“Convinced as I am that a world without nuclear weapons is possible and necessary, I ask political leaders not to forget that these weapons cannot protect us from current threats to national and international security,” he told hundreds of people at the city’s rain-drenched atomic bomb hypocenter park on Sunday.
Earlier, Francis had placed a wreath and prayed at the foot of a memorial to the 74,000 people who died instantly and in the months after the US dropped a nuclear bomb on Nagasaki on 9 August 1945, three days after it had carried out a nuclear attack on Hiroshima, in which 140,000 people died by the end of the year.

“This place makes us deeply aware of the pain and horror that we human beings are capable of inflicting upon one another,” Francis said, standing next to a large photograph of a young boy carrying his dead baby brother on his back at a crematorium in the aftermath of the attack on Nagasaki.

Francis was given the photograph several years ago and has since distributed tens of thousands of copies. He was due to meet the widow and son of Joe O’Donnell, the American military photographer who took it.
The 82-year-old pontiff, who will visit Hiroshima later Sunday, has long been a vocal opponent of nuclear weapons. The Holy See was among the first countries to sign and ratify a 2017 nuclear prohibition treaty. But nuclear powers, and countries such as Japan that fall under the US nuclear umbrella, have refused to sign it.

“In a world where millions of children and families live in inhumane conditions, the money that is squandered and the fortunes made through the manufacture, upgrading, maintenance and sale of ever more destructive weapons, are an affront crying out to heaven,” Francis said.

He urged world leaders to recommit to arms control efforts and the eventual abolition of nuclear weapons. “We need to ponder the catastrophic impact of their deployment, especially from a humanitarian and environmental standpoint, and reject heightening a climate of fear, mistrust and hostility fomented by nuclear doctrines.”

A survivor of the Nagasaki bombing said he hoped the pope’s words would make nuclear powers think seriously about disarmament. Describing his experience 74 years ago as “a living hell,” Minoru Moriuchi, an 82-year-old Catholic, said: “My father’s sister ran away to our house with her two children and I never forgot the sight – their bodies were reddish-black and completely burnt.

“Four other relatives were brought in … but they didn’t look like humans,” he told Agence France-Presse.

November 25, 2019 Posted by | Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Pope Francis wants a total ban on nuclear weapons, visiting Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Pope Francis to take anti-nuclear mission to Japan’s ground zeros

Philip Pullella, VATICAN CITY (Reuters) 17 Nov 19, – Pope Francis takes his mission to ban nuclear weapons this week to the only places where they were used in war, visiting the World War Two ground zeros of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as part of a tour of Japan and Thailand.

A TOTAL BAN ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS

After four days in Thailand, Francis moves on to Japan, where international and domestic politics will loom large, particularly on Nov. 24, when he visits Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

About 400,000 people were killed, either instantly or from radiation illness or injuries resulting from the atomic bombs that the United States dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945 and on Nagasaki three days later as it sought to end World War Two.

Francis wants a total ban on nuclear weapons, going further than his predecessors when he said in 2017 that countries should not stockpile them even for the purpose of deterrence……..

Francis will meet blast survivors, pray, and read a major “message on nuclear weapons” at the bomb epicenter in Nagasaki. He later visits Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima.

Nuclear energy will also feature in the trip when the pope meets victims of Japan’s “triple disaster,” the 2011 earthquake that triggered a tsunami that in turn caused a meltdown at the Fukushima power plant. Radiation forced 160,000 people to flee and thousands will never return.

Following the Fukushima disaster, Japan’s Catholic Bishops Conference issued a document calling for the abolition of nuclear power generation.

They also oppose Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s moves to revise Japan’s post-war pacifist constitution……..https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pope-asia/pope-francis-to-take-anti-nuclear-mission-to-japans-ground-zeros-idUSKBN1XR0BV

November 17, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Spanish group gives summer holidays to kids from Chernobyl’s polluted region

Chernobyl nuclear disaster: Meet the NGO giving children a summer from the still present pollution,   Euro News 1 Sept 19, TV hit series Chernobyl may have revived interest in the 1986 nuclear disaster, but for one Spanish NGO, it’s never gone away.

Vallès Obert has helped organise summer holidays in Spain for around 2,000 children from the Chernobyl region since 1995.

It does this by finding families willing to host them.

The time away from the area helps their bodies recover from exposure to the toxic radioactive materials still present in the atmosphere around the diaster site…….

There are many people who have health problems”, explains Natasha, 14, who was born two decades after the incident.

She is being hosted by a family in La Roca del Vallès, near Barcelona, but will soon return to her hometown, Stanyshivka, about 60km from Chernobyl.

“After radiation, some people born cannot speak,” she told Euronews…….

Vallès Obert estimates two months a year outside the polluted environment helps their defences regenerate significantly.

Manuel, president of the association, explains that “there is an age range between 40 and 50 years old in which cancer problems begin to appear: larynx or stomach cancer, leukaemia… everything related to cancer”…….. https://www.euronews.com/2019/08/31/chernobyl-nuclear-disaster-meet-the-ngo-giving-children-a-summer-from-the-still-present-po

September 1, 2019 Posted by | children, Religion and ethics, Spain, Ukraine | Leave a comment

The awful dilemma for the world’s climate scientists

August 26, 2019 As fires rage across the Amazon – dubbed the “lungs of the planet” given it produces 20 per cent of the oxygen in the atmosphere – and while forests are ablaze in Siberia, Alaska, Greenland, southern Europe and parts of Australia, climate scientists might be justified in saying: “We told you so.”

They tend not to gloat, however, about the tragedy that confronts us all.

Brazil alone has had 72,843 fires this year. The pace of global warming is exceeding projections, astounding climate scientists. Within the past 70 years or so major shifts in climate zones and an accelerating spate of extreme weather events—cyclones, floods, droughts, heat waves and fires— is ravaging large tracts of Earth.

Scientists Jos Barlow and Alexander C. Lees write in The Conversation that “climate change itself is making dry seasons longer and forests more flammable. Increased temperatures are also resulting in more frequent tropical forest fires in non-drought years. And climate change may also be driving the increasing frequency and intensity of climate anomalies, such as El Niño events that affect fire season intensity across Amazonia.”

And yet the human causes of climate change remain subject to extensively propagated denial and untruths, despite their foundation in the basic laws of physics and the empirical observations of global research bodies such as NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the World Meteorological Organisation, and our own CSIRO.

Climate scientists find themselves in a quandary similar to medical doctors who need to break the news of a grave diagnosis. How do they tell people that the current spate of cyclones, devastating islands from the Caribbean to the Philippines, or the flooding of coastal regions and river valleys from Mozambique to Kerala, Pakistan and Townsville, can only intensify in a rapidly warming world?

How do scientists tell the people that their children are growing into a world where survival under a mean temperatures 2C above pre-industrial levels may be painful, and in some parts of the world impossible, let alone under 4C rise projected by the IPCC?

The Cassandra syndrome is alive and well. (Apollo gave Cassandra the gift of prophecy but, humiliated by her unrequited love, he also placed a curse on her, ensuring no one would believe her warnings.)

Throughout history, messengers of bad news have been rebuked or worse. Nowadays, many scientists are reticent to publish their climate change projections. Given the daunting scenarios they confront, many find it difficult to talk about it, even among friends and family.

Atmospheric levels of CO2, methane and nitrous oxide have reached a combined level of almost 500 parts per million, intersecting the melting threshold of the Greenland and west Antarctic ice sheets and heralding a fundamental shift in the state of the terrestrial climate.

As fires consume large parts of the land, it would appear parliaments – including Australia’s – are preoccupied with economics and international conflicts while they hardly regard the future of  civilisation as a priority.

Dr Andrew Glikson is an earth and climate scientist at the Australian National University.

August 26, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment