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

The Paris Climate Change Agreement Explained

Christian leaders demand implementation of Paris Agreement ahead of climate change conference http://www.christiandaily.com/article/christian-leaders-demand-implementation-of-paris-agreement-ahead-of-climate-change-conference/61336.htm Lorraine Caballero Christian leaders from various countries have signed a letter demanding action on the Parish Agreement in 2015 as the next phase of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany, draws nearer.

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

The message for nuclear disarmament- from determined Catholic nuns

Anti-war nuns to bring message of nuclear disarmament  https://www.stripes.com/news/us/anti-war-nuns-to-bring-message-of-nuclear-disarmament-1.491495#.WdqS44-CzGg By DEBBIE KELLEY | The Gazette | Associated Press October 7, 2017 COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — As political tensions mount over North Korea’s ballistic missile testing, two elderly Roman Catholic nuns who have spent decades sounding the plea for peace say they are more hopeful than ever that nuclear weapons — not the world — will be annihilated.

“We trust, we believe, we know that we are well on the way to a nuclear-free world and future,” said Sister Ardeth Platte, a Dominican nun.

Platte, 81, and Sister Carol Gilbert, 69, live at the Catholic Worker-affiliated Jonah House in Baltimore. They gained attention in Colorado in the past for pouring blood on a nuclear missile silo in Weld County and anti-war civil disobedience at Colorado Springs military bases.

Fifteen years later, they are returning to deliver the message that nuclear disarmament is at hand.

“We’re in an extremely dangerous time,” Platte said. “A strike could be launched from Colorado within 15 minutes and go 7,000 miles to its target within half an hour. It would be total devastation.”

At 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 9, they’ll present to Peterson Air Force Base personnel a copy of the new United Nations’ Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

They’ll repeat the action at 2:45 p.m. Oct. 10 at Schriever Air Force Base.

“We want the citizens of Colorado to know about this treaty,” Gilbert said. “The treaty would make nuclear weapons illegal.”

“We’re coming as peacemakers and peace advocates, to teach and show our concern,” Platte said. “Our politicians could be heroes of these times, if they start working with nations rather than against nations.”

Leading up to the Colorado Springs events, Platte and Gilbert will conduct a vigil at the N-8 missile silo in Weld County, where in October 2002 they poured blood on a Minuteman III missile loaded with a 20 kiloton nuclear bomb, one of 49 high-trigger nuclear weapons stored in Colorado. Their action symbolized taking it offline.

They were convicted of sabotage and received harsh sentences: 41 months for Platte and 33 for Gilbert.

In September 2000, Platte, Gilbert and three other Catholic nuns were arrested for civil disobedience at Peterson Air Force Base and jailed. The charges were subsequently dropped. They’ve also served time in other states for nonviolent acts of civil disobedience.

Prison provided the opportunity to do their best Christian ministry, Gilbert said. “We feel it is the closest that we can be with the poor of this country because jails and prisons are warehouses for the poor,” she said. “You learn people who have nothing are so generous in sharing, you learn what a waste the prison industrial complex is.”

The work of Platte and Gilbert has been “very significant,” said Bill Sulzman, founder of Colorado Springs-based Citizens for Peace in Space, an activist group that opposes the use of space for war-related activities.

“It’s unique in the sense that it’s primarily a moral argument against nuclear weapons and the phenomenon of modern-day war,” he said. “Not supporting it is one thing, actively opposing it is another.”

As part of a non-governmental organization, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the nuns attended a United Nations conference in New York, when on July 7, 122 countries — two-thirds of the 193-member states — adopted the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Treaty. It’s the first legally binding multilateral agreement for nuclear disarmament in 20 years.

The treaty came after months of negotiations, which the United States, Russia, Great Britain, France, North Korea and other nations did not attend.

To date, 53 countries have signed the treaty, and three ratified the document, which prohibits developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, acquiring, possessing and stockpiling nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, as well as the use or threat of use of such weapons.

The treaty opened for signatures at U.N. headquarters in New York on Sept. 20; the Vatican was the first to sign and ratify the treaty. The agreement would become law 90 days after at least 50 countries ratify it.

The sisters are optimistic that the treaty is the weapon needed to abolish nuclear capability.

“I’ve been working on this issue for 50 years, and this is the greatest hope I’ve had,” Platte said. “We finally have a tool, a treaty that declares criminality to the possession and threat of using nuclear weapons.”

Even if the United States, Russia and other countries with nuclear warheads never get on board, “it won’t matter because there will be great pressure by other nations,” Platte said. “People are much wiser as we come closer and closer to nuclear holocaust.”

The tactic has worked in the past, she said. At one time there were 70,000 weapons of mass destruction worldwide, now there are 15,000-16,000, due to disarmament.

“This is just the beginning of the implementation — we have gained real momentum,” Platte said.

The atomic bombs the United States dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in August 1945 were small compared to today’s weapons of mass destruction, the sisters said.

If a nuclear war were to happen now, “that is the elimination of the planet,” Platte said.

Nuclear weapons are the only weapons of mass destruction not universally prohibited. Biological weapons, chemical weapons, land mines and cluster munitions are banned under international law.

“We believe that the way to solve nations not having nuclear weapons is the total elimination,” Platte said. “It’s time to get rid of them.”

October 9, 2017 Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

40 large Catholic institutions put their money where fossil fuel investment isn’t

Shunning Fossil Fuels, 40 Catholic Groups Seek Climate Action, Scientific American 
The coalition is the largest number of Catholic institutions to team up for a shift to green energy 
By Alister DoyleReuters on October 3, 2017  OSLO (Reuters) – Forty Roman Catholic groups said on Tuesday they were shunning investments in fossil fuels and urged others to follow suit.

The coalition was the largest number of Catholic institutions, in countries including Australia, South Africa, Britain and the United States, to team up for a shift to greener energies, the Global Catholic Climate Movement said.

Among those taking part was Assisi’s Sacro Convento and other Catholic institutions in the Italian town, birthplace of Saint Francis, who inspired Pope Francis.

The “joint divestment from fossil fuels is based on both their shared value of environmental protection and the financial wisdom of preparing for a carbon-neutral economy,” the Global Catholic Climate Movement said.

It did not estimate the value of their fossil fuel holdings. Several, contacted by Reuters, said they had few or none to sell and wanted mainly to rule out future investments and urge others to divest.

The Assisi municipality allied itself with the 40. “Many people say that Assisi is the city on the mountain – all people can see the choices, political and environmental, that Assisi takes,” mayor Stefania Proietti told Reuters.

She said the town was investing in cleaner energy, such as solar panels on rooftops, and electric vehicles……..

The Catholic Church claims 1.2 billion members.

Ben Caldecott, founding director of the Oxford sustainable finance programme at the University of Oxford, said: “Groups with moral authority, religious groups being a good example, are likely to have a disproportionate impact in terms of increasing stigma” of investing in fossil fuels.

The International Energy Agency projects that fossil fuels will account for more than half of world energy demand in 2040, even with a big green shift. Fossil fuel companies such as Exxon Mobil or Royal Dutch Shell say they are limiting emissions.

“Today’s announcement is a further sign we are on the way to achieving our collective mission,” said Christiana Figueres, the U.N.’s climate chief at the time of the Paris Agreement. “We still have a long way to go, however.” https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/shunning-fossil-fuels-40-catholic-groups-seek-climate-action/

October 4, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Despite global crises – integrity and morals can still win – Naomi Klein

Battling climate change is a once-in-a-century chance to build a fairer and more democratic economy. We can and must design a system in which the polluters pay a very large share of the cost of transitioning away from fossil fuels. And in wealthy countries such as Britain and the US, we need migration policies and levels of international financing that reflect what we owe to the global south, given our historic role in destabilising the economies and ecologies of poorer nations for a great many years, and the vast wealth of empire extracted from these societies in bonded human flesh.

Around the world, winning is a moral imperative for the left. The stakes are too high, and time is too short, to settle for anything less.

A new shock doctrine: in a world of crisis, morality can still win, GuardianNaomi Klein, 29 Sept 17  Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and Podemos in Spain have shown that a bold and decent strategy can be a successful one. That truth should embolden the left. 

Naomi Klein’s Speech to Labour Conference

We live in frightening times. From heads of state tweeting threats of nuclear annihilation, to whole regions rocked by climate chaos, to thousands of migrants drowning off the coasts of Europe, to openly racist parties gaining ground: it feels like there are a lot of reasons to be pessimistic about our collective future.

To take one example, the Caribbean and southern United States are in the midst of an unprecedented hurricane season, pounded by storm after storm. Puerto Rico – hit by Irma, then Maria – is entirely without power and could be for months, its water and communication systems severely compromised. But just as during Hurricane Katrina, the cavalry is missing in action. Donald Trump is too busy trying to get black athletes fired for daring to shine a spotlight on racist violence. A real federal aid package for Puerto Rico has not yet been announced. And the vultures are circling: the business press reports that the only way for Puerto Rico to get the lights back on is to sell off its electricity utility.

This is a phenomenon I’ve called the Shock Doctrine: the exploitation of wrenching crises to smuggle through policies that devour the public sphere and further enrich a small elite. We’ve seen this dismal cycle repeat again and again: after the 2008 financial crash, and now in the UK with the Tories planning to exploit Brexit to push through disastrous pro-corporate trade deals without debate.

Ours is an age when it is impossible to pry one crisis apart from all the others. They have all merged, reinforcing and deepening each other like one shambling, multi-headed beast. The current US president can be thought of in much the same way. ,It’s tough to adequately sum him up. You know that horrible thing currently clogging up the London sewers, the fatberg? Trump is the political equivalent of that. A merger of all that is noxious in the culture, economy and body politic, all kind of glommed together in a self-adhesive mass. And we’re finding it very hard to dislodge.

But moments of crisis do not have to go the Shock Doctrine route: they do not need to become opportunities for the obscenely wealthy to grab still more. They can be moments when we find our best selves……..

In recent months the Labour party has showed us there’s another way. One that speaks the language of decency and fairness, that names the true forces most responsible for this mess, no matter how powerful. And one that is unafraid of some of the ideas we were told were gone for good, such as wealth redistribution, and nationalising essential public services. Thanks to Labour’s boldness, we now know that this isn’t just a moral strategy. It’s a winning strategy. It fires up the base, and it activates constituencies that long ago stopped voting altogether…….

What happened here in Britain is part of a global phenomenon. We saw it in Bernie Sanders’ historic campaign in the US primaries, powered by millennials who know that safe centrist politics offers them no kind of safe future. We see something similar with Spain’s still young Podemos party, which built in the power of mass movements from day one. These electoral campaigns caught fire with stunning speed. And they got close to taking power – closer than any other genuinely transformative political programme has in Europe or North America in my lifetime. But not close enough. So in this time between elections, we need to think about how to make absolutely sure that, next time, all of our movements go all the way………

Battling climate change is a once-in-a-century chance to build a fairer and more democratic economy. We can and must design a system in which the polluters pay a very large share of the cost of transitioning away from fossil fuels. And in wealthy countries such as Britain and the US, we need migration policies and levels of international financing that reflect what we owe to the global south, given our historic role in destabilising the economies and ecologies of poorer nations for a great many years, and the vast wealth of empire extracted from these societies in bonded human flesh.

The more ambitious, consistent and holistic that the Labour party can be in painting a picture of the world transformed, the more credible a Labourgovernment will become.

Around the world, winning is a moral imperative for the left. The stakes are too high, and time is too short, to settle for anything less.

 Naomi Klein is the author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. This is an edited excerpt of her speech at the Labour party conference https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/28/labour-shock-doctrine-moral-strategy-naomi-klein

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

Christian leaders make the moral case for climate action

We stand committed to protecting migrant families, all of whom deserve our help. But we’re also committed to limiting the cause of needless future suffering.

The scientific consensus on climate change is clear.

For believers in Jesus Christ, the divine command to love one’s neighbour requires us to understand how our actions – or inaction – affect others. Christians must reduce the causes of climate change. The call to love our neighbours requires no less.

The Christian case for tackling climate change https://www.christiantoday.com/article/the.christian.case.for.tackling.climate.change/114897.htm Bishop John Arnold and Bishop Martin Lind This autumn marks the 500th anniversary of the great schism that divided the Christian Church. Today, Christian brothers and sisters on both sides of this historical divide work together in pursuit of the moral vision that is laid out in the Gospels. We house the homeless together, feed the hungry together, and pacify conflicts together.

Droughts have happened in the Near East and around the world for millennia. Climate change is different. Climate change is deeply and drastically altering long-established patterns of rainfall. Small-scale farmers’ and herders’ livelihoods depend on predicting the weather, and for them, the drastic and ongoing alteration of weather patterns means disaster.

Syria provides a real-world example of the consequences of a climate-forced drought, with analysis provided by, among others, former leaders of the United States military. The Syrian drought drove newly impoverished people out of the countryside, creating enormous pressure in urban areas. In Damascus, Aleppo, and other cities, a dramatically expanded presence of desperately poor people fed into to a wider sense of unrest.

Climate change did not cause the refugee crisis. But climate change very probably contributed to the social crisis that prompted it. Events such as the drought are more likely to occur with greater frequency and severity due to climate change.

Unfortunately, the migration of the past several years is only a precursor of what’s to come. Drought is one consequence of climate change and one that will have long-lasting repercussions. Another is sea level rise.

Over the coming decades, the highly exposed, highly populated coast of Bangladesh will probably see sea level rise that will flood the homes of tens of millions of people, driving human migration on a scale the Earth has never seen. Caring for these migrants will challenge all of us.

We stand committed to protecting migrant families, all of whom deserve our help. But we’re also committed to limiting the cause of needless future suffering.

The scientific consensus on climate change is clear. Burning fossil fuels such as coal, gas, and oil adds greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. In the atmosphere, these added gases function like a blanket, trapping heat from the sun and holding it close to the Earth.

The consequences of a warmer Earth are profound – and they are already here. From the countryside of Syria to our backyards in London, climate change is disrupting how we live.

Because a warmer atmosphere holds more moisture, the United Kingdom has already seen increases in average rainfall. Heavier rains mean more flooded homes and businesses, more stresses on expensive infrastructure, and days of missed school or work. Coastal areas are also vulnerable to increased flooding from sea-level rise and storm surge.

For believers in Jesus Christ, the divine command to love one’s neighbour requires us to understand how our actions – or inaction – affect others. Christians must reduce the causes of climate change. The call to love our neighbours requires no less.

Worldwide, Christians are now observing the ecumenical Season of Creation, the period from September 1to October 4 when we pray and act together to protect the good gift of Creation. As was witnessed by the joint statement for World Day of Prayer for Creation, jointly issued by Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew, environmental protection is being met with a unified Christian response.

Here in the United Kingdom, the Catholic Church of Wales and England is supporting the livesimply Award. The Catholic communities that have received the award have made real progress in caring for Creation. In Stowmarket, Our Lady’s Parish created reusable shopping bags for parishioners. In Leamington, the Parish of St Peter Apostle encouraged parishioners to walk or cycle to church to shrink their carbon footprint. These parishes join 25 others who have achieved the rigorous standards of the award.

The Lutheran Church in Great Britain has taken steps to make its practices more sustainable and to incorporate care for creation into worship and education services. The church has diverted trash from landfills by instituting the use of reusable cups and service materials and installing recycling bins. It has highlighted climate change and environment issues in weekly intercessions and educated congregants about the need to reduce, re-use and recycle as part of Lenten Disciplines. The church has undertaken a significant education campaign, discussing the importance of caring for our environment with children during children’s addresses and children’s church, planning a ‘litter-picking’ event with the children in the near future.

Now it’s up to all Christians to continue and expand this collective response.

Catholic or Lutheran, ordained or lay, we’re all called by our Creator to love and protect the human family and our common home. We are standing together to answer God’s call.

John Arnold is Bishop of the Salford Diocese of the Catholic Church and chairperson of the Environmental Justice Committee of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

Dr Martin Lind is Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Great Britain.

September 30, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Pope francis tweets for a nuclear weapons -free world

Vatican at UN calls for nuclear-free world, Independent Catholic News, 

In his Twitter message today, Pope Francis said: ‘Let us commit ourselves to a world without nuclear weapons by implementing the Non-Proliferation Treaty to abolish these weapons of death.’ Meanwhile in New York, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Vatican Secretary for Relations with States addressed the United Nations General Assembly, urging governments to do more to prevent wars, protect human dignity and work for a nuclear-free world. ……..

Regarding the urgent need to prevent violence and conflict, Archbishop Gallagher said: “All countries should take a decisive and urgent step back from the present escalation of military preparations. The largest countries and those who have a stronger tradition of respecting human rights,” he added, “should be the first to perform generous actions of pacification”.

Speaking of the Vatican’s concern for conflicts across Africa and the Middle East, as well as the violence in Venezuela, the foreign minister said civilians must be protected during warfare and the rights of migrants and refugees fleeing conflict must be respected…….

 Archbishop Gallagher condemned the proliferation of weapons, calling for much stricter arms control and reiterating in particular Pope Francis’ urgent appeal for “the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons.”’

The full speech by Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States, to the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly follows:

‘Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life on a Sustainable Planet’….. http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/33481

September 29, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

UK’s religious leaders unite, to urge Theresa May to sign the UN nuclear weapons ban treaty

Sign up to the UN ban on nuclear weapons https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/19/sign-up-to-the-un-ban-on-nuclear-weapons  The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament calls on the British government to support a historic treaty Around the world there are growing fears about the prospect of a nuclear war. The US-North Korea nuclear crisis is a terrifying reminder of the dangers of nuclear weapons and a powerful, yet unwelcome, riposte to the nuclear states who have long argued that these weapons of mass destruction deter war. But there is an alternative. The overwhelming majority of states want abolition of all nuclear weapons and have taken matters into their own hands. A legally binding nuclear weapons ban treaty has been agreed by 122 states at the UN, the culmination of decades of global civil society campaigning.

That treaty opens for signature today, and more than 100 states are set to sign this ground-breaking document. This is an open invitation from the majority of the world’s states to all countries to sign up and work to make the abolition of nuclear weapons a reality. Our government says it is committed to the same aim, yet it boycotted the talks that produced the treaty and insists the UK will never sign. But the opportunity is there; the UK must seize it and work to make a success of it. The alternative is spiralling nuclear proliferation, massively increased danger and inevitable annihilation. For all our futures, we urge Theresa May to sign the treaty.
Caroline Lucas MP Chair Parliamentary CND, Malcolm McMahon Archbishop of Liverpool, Kelvin Hopkins MPMark Serwotka PCS union, Stephen Cottrell Bishop of Chelmsford, Mohammed Kozbar Muslim Association of Britain, Tommy Sheppard MPHywel Williams MPKate Hudson CND general secretary, Jill BakerMethodist Church in Britain, Juliet Prager Quakers in Britain, Ronnie Cowan MP

September 22, 2017 Posted by | Religion and ethics, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Vatican ratifies treaty on the prohibition of nuclear arms

Holy See ratifies treaty on the prohibition of nuclear arms, (Vatican Radio) 21 Sept 17,  The Holy See on Thursday became one of the first entities to sign and ratify a new treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. The treaty was signed by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States, for the Holy See, and in the name of and on behalf of Vatican City State.

More than 40 countries signed the treaty during a high level signing ceremony at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Along with the Holy See, Thailand also ratified the treaty. More nations are expected to sign in coming days, with the treaty set to go into effect 90 days after it has been ratified by at least 50 nations…….http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2017/09/21/holy_see_ratifies_treaty_on_the_prohibition_of_nuclear_arms/1338124

September 22, 2017 Posted by | EUROPE, Religion and ethics, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Now the world must again view nuclear war as absolutely taboo

In the shadow of Fat Man and Little Boy: how the stigma of nuclear war was unravelled, https://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2017/sep/15/in-the-shadow-of-fat-man-and-little-boy-how-the-stigma-of-nuclear-war-was-unravelled

Dr Becky Alexis-Martin is a senior Research Fellow in Nuclear Geography, University of Southampton, UK.

Dr Stephanie Malin is an assistant Professor of Environmental Sociology, Colorado State University, USA.

Dr Kristen Iversen is a professor of English, University of Cincinnati, USA.

Dr Kathleen Sullivan is Director of Hibakusha Stories, New York, USA.

Dr Mwenza Blell is a lecturer in Sociology, University of Cambridge, UK. 15 Sept 17 

Atomic bombs ‘Fat Man’ and ‘Little Boy’ exploded over Nagasaki and Hiroshima 72 years ago creating a lasting nuclear taboo – until now. What has changed?”……..Thanks to President Donald Trump and Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un, our generation’s own volatile Fat Man and Little Boy, the sensible norms of restraint and careful diplomacy that have previously surrounded nuclear deterrence proliferation and use are now under stress. President Donald Trump seems indifferent to social norms, and behaves without rationality. He made several public statements, via Twitter and traditional media, that glamorise the use and increased production of nuclear weapons. All while his administration slashes budgets and slashes programs designed to protect communities from the well-documented risks that come from producing nuclear weapons. Trump has ostracized himself from international leadership nearly every turn, including NATO and G-20 summits, isolating himself from democratic world leaders, and aligning himself more with leaders of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. He has divided America, twisting the knife into historical wounds of racism and civil rights abuses, as well as upending environmental protection, denying climate change and proposing a tax regime that will create persistent poverty – to name a few examples.

North Korea is currently basking in its own nuclear disruption, finally gaining the place that it feels it deserves in the geopolitical arena – for all the wrong reasons. Like a child who learns to gain attention for bad behaviour, Kim relishes this moment. However, there is a tragic legacy behind his trumped-up attempts at power. Poverty and human rights violations are experienced by many North Koreans, and there is a dark legacy of Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace programme that originally took nuclear technology to South East Asia in the hopeful 1960s. We mustn’t forget the human beings who live in North Korea, and the way that UN sanctions are already affecting their lives.

The bickering across Twitter has escalated, and the sheer ubiquity of Trump and Kim’s threats have to some extent re-legitimised the use of nuclear weapons to ‘solve’ conflict rather than deter such “fire and fury” that might bring to an end life as we know it. Indeed, recent research suggests that a limited use of nuclear weapons could disrupt the climate in such a way that would radically alter food production, and in turn lead to global famine.

Trump needs to cut the sass, to scale back his inflammatory and impulsive rants, and to start engaging in the nuclear debate with much greater sensitivity. We want the most peaceful resolution that is now possible, to prevent further escalation of conflict. We do not want stumble into nuclear war, a risk that exists beyond bellicose displays of power. The current hot-threat engagement is not just a security issue, but a massive humanitarian one too. Kim starves his own people in the pursuit of nuclear defence technology. Trump and Kim’s verbally violent exchange is as serious as North Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons. It could have devastating future implications if the stigma of nuclear weapons is not restored. The people of the supposed democracy of the USA and the totalitarian state of North Korea both seem powerless to change the behaviour of their leaders.

However, international attitudes are more progressive. The stigma of nuclear deterrence has not been lost on the majority of nations, 122 of whom endorsed a nuclear weapon ban treaty that seeks to prohibit the development, production, possession, testing, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons. The BAN treaty is likely to enter into force on 20 September 2017, when it opens for signatures at the United Nations in New York. Although no nuclear possessor nation supports this treaty, they understand that the BAN will re-stigmatize nuclear weapons and re-invigorate public debate and action for nuclear abolition.

Our taboos are a greater reflection of our global society and ethics.. What does it say about us at this point in history, if we let the taboo of the unspeakable horror of nuclear warfare disappear? We cannot uninvent the bomb, so we need to rethink and redesign the rules of de-escalation and disarmament, if we are to avoid the fallout of nuclear conflict.

September 16, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Pope Francis urges climate change sceptics to consult with a scientist.

Pope Francis On Climate Change Denial: ‘Man Is Stupid’ Huff Post, WASHINGTON, 14 Sept 17 — Climate change denials amid catastrophic hurricanes are a reminder that humans are not a particularly smart species, Pope Francis said Sunday while flying over areas in the Caribbean decimated by Hurricane Irma.

 “Man is stupid,” he said, referencing a passage in the Old Testament, according to the The New York Times and The Associated Press. “When you don’t want to see, you don’t see.”

A correspondent for Crux Now had a slightly different translation of the pontiff’s comments: “Man is a stupid and hard-headed being who doesn’t see.”

The pope — who has sparred with President Donald Trump on several issues, including climate change — also urged the climate skeptics of the world to consult with a scientist.

 “Those who deny climate change need to go to scientists and ask them,” Francis said, according to Crux. He said the scientific community has been “clear and precise” in linking human activities to the ongoing crisis and that “each [person] has a moral responsibility, bigger or smaller.” Climate change is a “serious matter over which we cannot make jokes,” he said.
Pope Francis’ comments came during a flight from Colombia to Rome, which passed over areas of the Caribbean left devastated by Hurricane Irma. According to Crux, journalists asked the pope about the moral responsibility world political leaders have to fight against climate change.

Francis warned that “history will judge those decisions,” and that if humans fail to curb climate change we “will go down,” according to reports.

When Trump met with Francis in May, the pope gave the president a copy of his 2015 encyclical on climate change and the environment, “Laudato Si.” In the 184-page document, Francis argues that climate change is inherently a moral and spiritual issue and criticizes local and national governments that refuse to address it. ……http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/09/11/pope-francis-on-climate-change-denial-man-is-stupid_a_23205254/

September 15, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Climate change appeal to world leaders – by Pope and Orthodox leader

Pope, Orthodox leader make climate change appeal to ‘heal wounded creation’, Reuters Staff VATICAN CITY (Reuters) 1 Sept 17 – Pope Francis and Orthodox Christian leader Patriarch Bartholomew called on Friday for a collective response from world leaders to climate change, saying the planet was deteriorating and vulnerable people were the first to be affected.

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

Katharine Hayhoe: I was an Exxon-funded climate scientist

I was an Exxon-funded climate scientist, The Conversation, Katharine Hayhoe, Professor and Director, Climate Science Center, Texas Tech University, August 25, 2017 ExxonMobil’s deliberate attempts to sow doubt on the reality and urgency of climate change and their donations to front groups to disseminate false information about climate change have been public knowledge for a long time, now.

Investigative reports in 2015 revealed that Exxon had its own scientists doing its own climate modeling as far back as the 1970s: science and modeling that was not only accurate, but that was being used to plan for the company’s future.

Now, a peer-reviewed study published August 23 has confirmed that what Exxon was saying internally about climate change was quantitatively very different from their public statements. Specifically, researchers Geoffrey Supran and Naomi Oreskes found that at least 80 percent of the internal documents and peer-reviewed publications they studied from between 1977 and 2014 were consistent with the state of the science – acknowledging that climate change is real and caused by humans, and identifying “reasonable uncertainties” that any climate scientist would agree with at the time. Yet over 80 percent of Exxon’s editorial-style paid advertisements over the same period specifically focused on uncertainty and doubt, the study found.

The stark contrast between internally discussing cutting-edge climate research while externally conducting a climate disinformation campaign is enough to blow many minds. What was going on at Exxon?

I have a unique perspective – because I was there.

From 1995 to 1997, Exxon provided partial financial support for my master’s thesis, which focused on methane chemistry and emissions. I spent several weeks in 1996 as an intern at their Annandale research lab in New Jersey and years working on the collaborative research that resulted in three of the published studies referenced in Supran and Oreskes’ new analysis.

Climate research at Exxon

A scientist is a scientist no matter where we work, and my Exxon colleagues were no exception. Thoughtful, cautious and in full agreement with the scientific consensus on climate – these are characteristics any scientist would be proud to own.

Did Exxon have an agenda for our research? Of course – it’s not a charity. Their research and development was targeted, and in my case, it was targeted at something that would raise no red flags in climate policy circles: quantifying the benefits of methane reduction…….

Did I know what else they were up to at the time? I couldn’t even imagine it.

Fresh out of Canada, I was unaware that there were people who didn’t accept climate science – so unaware, in fact, that it was nearly half a year before I realized I’d married one – let alone that Exxon was funding a disinformation campaign at the very same time it was supporting my research on the most expedient ways to reduce the impact of humans on climate.

Yet Exxon’s choices have contributed directly to the situation we are in today, a situation that in many ways seems unreal: one where many elected representatives oppose climate action, while China leads the U.S. in wind energysolar powereconomic investment in clean energy and even the existence of a national cap and trade policy similar to the ill-fated Waxman-Markey bill of 2009.

Personal decisions

This latest study underscores why many are calling on Exxon to be held responsible for knowingly misleading the public on such a critical issue. For scientists and academics, though, it may fuel another, different, yet similarly moral debate.

Are we willing to accept financial support that is offered as a sop to the public conscience?

The concept of tendering literal payment for sin is nothing new. From the indulgences of the Middle Ages to the criticisms some have leveled at carbon offsets today, we humans have always sought to stave off the consequences of our actions and ease our conscience with good deeds, particularly of the financial kind. Today, many industry groups follow this familiar path: supporting science denial with the left hand, while giving to cutting-edge research and science with the right.

The Global Climate and Energy Project at Stanford University conducts fundamental research on efficient and clean energy technologies – with Exxon as a founding sponsor. Philanthropist and political donor David Koch gave an unprecedented US$35 million to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in 2015, after which three dozen scientists called on the museum to cut ties with him for funding lobbying groups that “misrepresent” climate science. Shell underwrote the London Science Museum’s “Atmosphere” program and then used its leverage to muddy the waters on what scientists know about climate…….

After two decades in the trenches of climate science, I’m no longer the ingenue I was. I’m all too aware, now, of those who dismiss climate science as a “liberal hoax.” Every day, they attack me on Facebook, vilify me on Twitter and even send the occasional hand-typed letter – which begs appreciation of the artistry, if not the contents. So now, if Exxon came calling, what would I do?……

Despite the fact that there’s no easy answer, it’s a question that’s being posed to more and more of us every day, and we cannot straddle the fence any longer. As academics and scientists, we have some tough choices to make; and only by recognizing the broader implications of these choices are we able to make these decisions with our eyes wide open, rather than half shut. https://theconversation.com/i-was-an-exxon-funded-climate-scientist-49855

August 26, 2017 Posted by | climate change, Religion and ethics, USA | Leave a comment

America’s lack of morality – expressed in Donald Trump’s nuclear threats

Trump’s apocalyptic threats demand a moral case for disarmament,Guardian, Daniel José Camacho, 14 Aug 16,    It’s easy to understand why Trump is potentially one of the worst people to be in charge of our nation’s nuclear codes. Yet, the problem runs much deeper. 

Martin Luther King Jr once said: “When scientific power outruns moral power, we end up with guided missiles and misguided men.” Now, it appears Donald Trump might be the man who makes us pay for our country’s moral gap.

Trump has rekindled fears of war and nuclear strikes by threatening North Korea, saying: “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” True to form, Trump’s words flew out of his mouth without much thought or preparation. In turn, the North Korean government has threatened to fire missiles near the US territory of Guam.

It’s easy to understand why Trump is potentially one of the worst people to be in charge of our nation’s nuclear codes. Yet the problem runs much deeper. Trump’s apocalyptic threat is a reminder that we need to revive the moral argument for disarmament and against militarism.

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, then the road to this moment has been paved with the consensus of the foreign policy establishment. Both neocons and hawkish Democrats have pushed for an aggressive posture that has US special operations forces operating in 137 countries. US defense spending consistentlydwarfs the rest of the world.

King also said: “A nation that continues year after year to spend more on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” Based on our record, it looks like this nation has been beyond spiritually dead for some time.

 Before Trump, the Obama administration brokered more weapons sales than any other administration since the second world war. Although Hillary Clinton campaigned on strong gun control, the state department under her leadership exhibited little restraint when it came to selling arms……

King was someone who acutely understood the danger of American militarism and nuclear weapons. In his 1967 Christmas Sermon on Peace, he said: “If somebody doesn’t bring an end to this suicidal thrust that we see in the world today, none of us are going to be around, because somebody’s going to make the mistake through our senseless blundering of dropping a nuclear bomb somewhere.”

Recovering King’s political vision can help us today…….

As long as war remains a business profiting a few, peace will remain a low priority. The problem is not simply Trump or the preceding presidential administrations, but an entire system that profits from violent conflicts and war.

The former president Dwight D Eisenhower understood this when he described the grave implications of the “military-industrial complex” in his 1961 farewell address. According to him: “The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – [of an immense military establishment and arms industry] is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the federal government.”…..

 

Far from being idealistic, it is King’s framework which has regained relevance in the Trump era. As he wrote towards the very end of his life: “We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. This may well be mankind’s last chance to choose between chaos and community.” https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/11/trump-apocalyptic-threats-moral-case-disarmament

August 16, 2017 Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA | Leave a comment

Argentinia’s Catholic Bishops announce opposition to construction of nuclear power station

Catholic Culture 11th Aug 2017, The bishops of Patagonia, the southernmost region of Argentina, have
announced their opposition to the construction of a Beijing-financed
nuclear power plant at an unannounced location in Rio Negro Province. A
nuclear power plant “produces dangerous refuse which remains radioactive
for a long period of time and implicates a very high cost,” the bishops
stated.   http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=32338

August 14, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Religion and ethics, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Dispelling the myths about U.S. President Harry Truman’s decision to nuclear bomb Japanese cities

The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a war crime worse than any that Japanese generals were executed for in Tokyo and Manila. If Harry Truman was not a war criminal, then no one ever was. 

Mises Institute 10 Aug 17  [Excerpted from “Harry S. Truman: Advancing the Revolution,” in Reassessing the Presidency: The Rise of the Executive State and the Decline of Freedom, John Denson, ed.]

The most spectacular episode of Harry Truman’s presidency will never be forgotten but will be forever linked to his name: the atomic bombings of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and of Nagasaki three days later. Probably around two hundred thousand persons were killed in the attacks and through radiation poisoning; the vast majority were civilians, including several thousand Korean workers. Twelve US Navy fliers incarcerated in a Hiroshima jail were also among the dead.1

Great controversy has always surrounded the bombings. …….

the rationale for the atomic bombings has come to rest on a single colossal fabrication, which has gained surprising currency — that they were necessary in order to save a half-million or more American lives. These, supposedly, are the lives that would have been lost in the planned invasion of Kyushu in December, then in the all-out invasion of Honshu the next year, if that had been needed. But the worst-case scenario for a full-scale invasion of the Japanese home islands was forty-six thousand American lives lost.7 The ridiculously inflated figure of a half-million for the potential death toll — nearly twice the total of US dead in all theaters in the Second World War — is now routinely repeated in high-school and college textbooks and bandied about by ignorant commentators. Unsurprisingly the prize for sheer fatuousness on this score goes to President George H.W. Bush, who claimed in 1991 that dropping the bomb “spared millions of American lives.”8

“The rationale for the atomic bombings has come to rest on a single colossal fabrication — that they were necessary in order to save a half-million or more American lives.”

Still, Truman’s multiple deceptions and self-deceptions are understandable, considering the horror he unleashed. It is equally understandable that the US occupation authorities censored reports from the shattered cities and did not permit films and photographs of the thousands of corpses and the frightfully mutilated survivors to reach the public.9 Otherwise, Americans — and the rest of the world — might have drawn disturbing comparisons to scenes then coming to light from the Nazi concentration camps.

The bombings were condemned as barbaric and unnecessary by high American military officers, including Eisenhower and MacArthur.10 The view of Admiral William D. Leahy, Truman’s own chief of staff, was typical:

the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. … My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make wars in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.11

The political elite implicated in the atomic bombings feared a backlash that would aid and abet the rebirth of horrid prewar “isolationism.” Apologias were rushed into print, lest public disgust at the sickening war crime result in erosion of enthusiasm for the globalist project.12 No need to worry. A sea change had taken place in the attitudes of the American people. Then and ever after, all surveys have shown that the great majority supported Truman, believing that the bombs were required to end the war and save hundreds of thousands of American lives, or, more likely, not really caring one way or the other.

Those who may still be troubled by such a grisly exercise in cost-benefit analysis — innocent Japanese lives balanced against the lives of Allied servicemen — might reflect on the judgment of the Catholic philosopher G.E.M. Anscombe, who insisted on the supremacy of moral rules.13 When, in June 1956, Truman was awarded an honorary degree by her university, Oxford, Anscombe protested.14 Truman was a war criminal, she contended, for what is the difference between the US government massacring civilians from the air, as at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Nazis wiping out the inhabitants of some Czech or Polish village?……

While the mass media parroted the government line in praising the atomic incinerations, prominent conservatives denounced them as unspeakable war crimes. Felix Morley, constitutional scholar and one of the founders of Human Events, drew attention to the horror of Hiroshima, including the “thousands of children trapped in the thirty-three schools that were destroyed.” He called on his compatriots to atone for what had been done in their name, and proposed that groups of Americans be sent to Hiroshima, as Germans were sent to witness what had been done in the Nazi camps.

The Paulist priest, Father James Gillis, editor of The Catholic World and another stalwart of the Old Right, castigated the bombings as “the most powerful blow ever delivered against Christian civilization and the moral law.” David Lawrence, conservative owner of US News and World Report, continued to denounce them for years.21 The distinguished conservative philosopher Richard Weaver was revolted by

the spectacle of young boys fresh out of Kansas and Texas turning nonmilitary Dresden into a holocaust … pulverizing ancient shrines like Monte Cassino and Nuremberg, and bringing atomic annihilation to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Weaver considered such atrocities as deeply “inimical to the foundations on which civilization is built.”22

Today, self-styled conservatives slander as “anti-American” anyone who is in the least troubled by Truman’s massacre of so many tens of thousands of Japanese innocents from the air. This shows as well as anything the difference between today’s “conservatives” and those who once deserved the name.

Leo Szilard was the world-renowned physicist who drafted the original letter to Roosevelt that Einstein signed, instigating the Manhattan Project. In 1960, shortly before his death, Szilard stated another obvious truth:

If the Germans had dropped atomic bombs on cities instead of us, we would have defined the dropping of atomic bombs on cities as a war crime, and we would have sentenced the Germans who were guilty of this crime to death at Nuremberg and hanged them.23

The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a war crime worse than any that Japanese generals were executed for in Tokyo and Manila. If Harry Truman was not a war criminal, then no one ever was. https://mises.org/blog/harry-truman-and-atomic-bomb

August 11, 2017 Posted by | history, Reference, Religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment