Japanese bishops want nuclear power abolished worldwide http://www.ucanews.com/news/japanese-bishops-want-nuclear-power-abolished-worldwide/77758 They released a statement urging people to learn from the experience of the Fukushima disaster ucanews.com reporter, Tokyo Japan December 1, 2016
The bishops’ conference of Japan has issued a statement calling for the worldwide abolition of nuclear power, five and a half years after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan (CBCJ) issued their statement, On the Abolition of Nuclear Power Generation: A Call by the Catholic Church in Japan, on Nov. 11.
That same day, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and signed an agreement that would allow Japan to export nuclear power technology to India.
“We, the CBCJ, appeal to all people who share a common home called Earth that we join hands, rise together and act in solidarity to end nuclear power generation,” the statement said.
“For that purpose, we turn first to the Catholic Church throughout the world, seeking cooperation and solidarity. While it may be unusual for the bishops’ conference of a single country to direct a statement to the entire world, what Japan has experienced in the five and a half years since the Fukushima disaster convinces us that we must inform the world of the hazards of nuclear power generation and appeal for its abolition.”
The CBCJ published English, German and Korean translations of the message on its website. They also condemned the Japanese government’s pro-nuclear stance.
The bishops also published a 290-page book in October that demonstrates the philosophical basis of their opposition.
Their outreach comes soon after a 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit the same area as the 2011 meltdown on Nov. 22. It caused a tsunami as high as two meters. A cooling system in a nuclear power plant in Fukushima was knocked out of service for over an hour.
The 2011 Fukushima disaster was the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. A huge tsunami hit the facility causing three reactors to melt down and release nuclear material. Up to 640 people could die from radiation-related cancer, according to one study.
Catholics plan for a future free from nuclear threats http://www.ucanews.com/news/catholics-plan-for-a-future-free-from-nuclear-threats/78620 Civil society groups have delivered a non-nuclear road map to Korea’s presidential candidates March 13, 2017
Anti-nuclear groups in Korea will send their draft for a non-nuclear road map to all major presidential candidates ahead of upcoming elections following news of President Park Geun-hye’s ouster.
The Catholic Solidarity Against Nuclear Energy together with Energy Justice Action, a civic environment group, announced a plan for a “nuclear energy-free Korea.”
They proposed 10 short-term tasks to the next government, including the establishment of a National Energy Commission, no new nuclear power plants, suspension of aged nuclear reactors and reshuffling the power grid in favor of reusable energy.
They also picked five mid and long-term tasks including new management guidelines for nuclear waste, stopping the export of nuclear power and reaffirming principles against nuclear weapons.
The two groups will finalize a road map based on the draft after an activist and public survey, explanation sessions and meeting with experts.
A top government ethics watchdog on Thursday pushed back against White House claims that its employees are not subject to ethics rules that bind every other federal government official.
Walter Shaub, the director of the Office of Government Ethics, told Stefan Passatino, President Donald Trump’s deputy counsel, that the claim has no basis in law or precedent.
Passatino’s “extraordinary assertion that ‘many’ of OGE’ s regulations are inapplicable to employees of the Executive Office of the President…is incorrect, and the letter cites no legal basis for it,” Shaub wrote in a Thursday letter.
The missive, the latest salvo between OGE and the White House, was in response to a Feb. 13 letter in which Passatino told Shaub that the White House was complying with some OGE rules even though it was not legally bound to do so.
“Many regulations promulgated by [OGE] do not apply to employees of the Executive Office of the President,” Passatino wrote.
OGE has been in frequent contact with Trump’s team since the election and over the first month his presidency to try to hammer out legal and administrative issues created by the president’s sizable wealth and accompanying conflicts of interest.
Despite that contact, Shaub’s Thursday letter shows that major points of contention remain regarding federal ethics rules. Trump has insisted
that conflict-of-interest rules do not apply to the president.
But Passatino’s statement went even further, and Shaub was adamant that it was legally unfounded and contradicted the practices of past White Houses.
“Presidential administrations have not considered it appropriate to challenge the applicability of ethics rules to the entire executive branch,” Shaub wrote. “It is critical to the public’s faith in the integrity of government that White House employees be held to the same standard of ethical accountability as other executive branch employees.”
Shaub also took aim at the White House’s apparent refusal to discipline a senior staffer for using her position to enrich a member of Trump’s family, even as it seemed to admit wrongdoing……http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/03/09/ethics-watchdog-to-white-house-you-re-not-above-the-law.html
Vatican Visit, MAHB, Ehrlich, Paul R. | March 7, 2017 I was somewhat apprehensive about taking my invited place at the workshop on biological extinction of the Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Sciences at the end of February. Right wing Catholic websites were loaded with outrage and lies about my invitation, and that of John Bongaarts from the Population Council, and more than 10,000 people had signed petitions to get me (or us) excluded.
My apprehension was unnecessary. The view of the Academies, backed by the Vatican, was that “all voices should be heard.” The workshop, arranged by my old friends and colleagues Peter Raven and Partha Dasgupta, was one of the most productive and informative I have ever attended. It was an assembly of stars, and everyone was treated with dignity, respect, and fine hospitality. The presidents of the two Academies, Werner Arber and Margaret Archer, and their Chancellor Msgr. Marcelo Sánchez Sarondo were open and friendly. The papers (which will be published commercially), were (with a single exception) excellent, as was most of the discussion. Everyone emphasized the grave danger extinctions pose both to human life-support systems and the ethical duties of humanity to preserve “the creation” –the only life-forms we know of in the universe. There was essentially complete agreement that the drivers of the now-underway sixth mass extinction were human overpopulation, overconsumption by the rich, and inequity (poverty)…….
The Catholic Church is the only one with scholarly academies charged with providing unbiased information. As a result, for example, it has led the way in the battle against climate denial and long ago accepted the overwhelming evidence for evolution. In a civilization facing existential risks, it should be praised and supported for this attitude toward science.http://mahb.stanford.edu/blog/vatican-visit/
At the Vatican, a call to avoid ‘biological extinction’ ‘http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2016/feb/biological-extinction-ehrlich-dasgupta Nothing less than a reordering of our priorities based on a moral revolution can succeed.’
Download Partha Dasgupta’s and Paul Ehrlich’s working paper on the sixth great extinction here.Feb. 27, 2017 By Environmental Health News Staff
Experts in biodiversity and extinction are gathering at the Vatican this week to discuss biological extinction—and how to save the natural world on which we all depend.
The conference focuses on the alarming signs, from various branches of science, that we are outstripping out planet’s ability to sustain us. It follows on Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si, calling for better care and concern for “our Common Home,” as well as an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report suggesting we are on a course to destroy up to 40 percent of biodiversity on Earth by century’s end.
The conference is co-sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Science and the Pontifical Academy of Social Science.
“Our desire for enhanced consumption grows more rapidly than our population, and Earth cannot sustain it,” the sponsors say. “Nothing less than a reordering of our priorities based on a moral revolution can succeed in maintaining the world in such a way as to resemble the conditions we have enjoyed here.”
Among those presenting during the three day conference are Partha Dasgupta of Cambridge University and Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University, who make the case that we are experiencing the sixth mass extinction of plant and animal life the globe has seen—with considerable consequences for humanity.
The authors have given Environmental Health News permission to post a draft of their paper online. It’s a working paper for the Pontifical Academy workshop and will be revised before eventual publication. You can download it here.
“In sum, the driving force of extinction, the ultimate cause of the current sixth mass extinction crisis is much too high a level of aggregate consumption – produced by human numbers multiplied by too high a level of consumption among the rich,” they write. “But demand cannot exceed supply indefinitely.”
“Translated into the language of equity, humanity’s enormous success in recent decades is very likely to have been a down payment for future failure.”
Stop Cuomo’s costly nuclear plant bailout http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/stop-cuomo-costly-nuclear-plant-bailout-article-1.2980738 BY FR. BILL BRISOTTI NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Friday, February 24, 2017, New Yorkers shouldn’t have to pay for energy they will never use. Which is why Gov. Cuomo should be consistent and close, along with Indian Point, three other outdated nuclear power plants near Rochester and Oswego.
Instead, he is taking $7.6 billion from New York ratepayers and giving it to a hugely profitable, Illinois-based energy company to keep the three plants open.
The governor says he needs the plants operational in order to meet his renewable energy goals, but that’s false. New York can meet its goals on time with wind, solar and hydroelectric power, a Stanford University study recently found. Cuomo should get on the same page as California and get serious about replacing nuclear power with safe, affordable and clean energy. It can be done.
A bailout of upstate nuclear power plants is going to be the largest transfer of wealth from government to a single corporation in New York’s history, and it runs counter to what energy experts are telling us about job growth potential from real renewables.
Most importantly, it flies in the face of pure common sense.
Exelon is the lucky recipient of our money. A Fortune 100 company with annual revenues over $34 billion, it spent $430,000 on lobbying in New York in the past two years, including to obtain subsidies for its plants under the governor’s Clean Energy Standard, which requires half of the state’s eletricity to be produced by renewable sources by 2030.
Yet to prop up the plants, Cuomo has essentially levied a new tax that increases everyone’s utility bills, including local governments. For example, the City of New York will pay $208 million more over 12 years. The cities of Buffalo and Yonkers will pay over $3 million each.
Anyone who pays for electricity will be on the hook: residents, businesses, municipalities, hospitals, schools. Con Ed residential customers will see their bills go up by $700 million, Long Island by $500 million and Niagara Mohawk consumers by $465 million.
It all goes to Exelon.
It’s odd that Cuomo would plow money into these aging upstate plants at the very same time he’s moving to shutter the Indian Point plant near New York City out of concern for safety. Surely the governor is not saying the dangers posed to people and property upstate are less real than those downstate.
Here are five other reasons why the governor has this wrong.
One, nearly 800,000 New Yorkers are behind on their electric bills already. That number will surely increase when Exelon gets more of on our hard-earned money.
Two, it’s geographically skewed. The formula would force New York City, Long Island and some Westchester County customers to pay 60% of costs while using very little of the power generated upstate.
Three, only the governor, Public Service Commission and Exelon have seen this bailout “contract” with Exelon. Yet the decision is proceeding despite pleas from New Yorkers for public hearings and numerous attempts to obtain the document through the Freedom of Information Law.
Four, in New York, clean energy already provides more jobs than the nuclear industry by orders of magnitude — with the potential for astromical future growth. Statewide, estimates range from 85,000 to 180,000 jobs in clean energy, such as solar, wind, energy retrofits, heat pumps and other efficiencies, compared to 3,250 jobs at Indian Point and the other three nuclear plants combined.
Last — hardest to quantify but most important, at least to me — is the matter of moral leadership. Pope Francis has written on the state’s responsibility to promote the common good through dialogue and consensus-building. During his address to the U.S. Congress last year, he quoted from his encyclical “Laudato Si,” about care for the Earth, our common home: “ ‘We have the freedom needed to limit and direct technology’; ‘to devise intelligent ways of . . . developing and limiting our power’; and to put technology ‘at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral.’ ”
Supporting aging nuclear plants won’t get us to the future he envisions. Only wholeheartedly embracing energy efficiency and renewable energy will.
Brisotti is pastor of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal parish in Wyandanch, L.I.
S. African bishop says government should scrap nuclear power; expand renewable energy sources, Ecumenical News, 23 Feb 17
The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town
, Thabo Makgoba, has appealed to the South African government to scrap plans for developing nuclear energy and instead spend the money on education, training and other development initiatives.
The archbishop said in a statement issued from the church’s Synod of Bishops Feb. 22 coming at a time that faith and environmental groups are issuing a court challenge to a secret nuclear deal the government has struck up with Russia.
“The Synod of Bishops has revisited the resolution adopted by the church’s Provincial Synod last September, in which the church expressed its opposition to the expansion of nuclear energy and urged the government to pursue the path of renewable energy initiatives……
“We are deeply concerned that an expanded nuclear energy program will become an albatross around the necks of our children. And we cannot leave to the generations to come the task of disposing of our nuclear waste.”
Makgoba said the bishops believe South Africa has the potential of becoming a renewable energy hub for Africa, with huge potential for investment in manufacturing and associated employment.
“We note that overseas investors are queuing up to invest in our renewable energy program and since the design of the program is such that they provide the finance, this does not burden our people.”
ENVIRONMENT JUSTICE GROUPS
Environmental justice groups have renewed a challenge to the government’s planned expansion of nuclear energy in a court hearing in currently Cape Town.
In November the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute said a closed meeting on a nuclear build plan reinforces the perception that government has something to hide……http://www.ecumenicalnews.com/article/s-african-archbishop-says-government-should-scrap-nuclear-power-expand-renewable-energy-sources/59172.htm
Pope says indigenous people must have final say about their land Francis echoes growing body of international law and standards on the right to ‘prior and informed consent’, Guardian, David Hill, 21 Feb 17, In the 15th century papal bulls promoted and provided legal justification for the conquest and theft of indigenous peoples’ lands and resources worldwide – the consequences of which are still being felt today. The right to conquest in one such bull, the Romanus Pontifex, issued in the 1450s when Nicholas V was the Pope, was granted in perpetuity.
How times have changed. Last week, over 560 years later, Francis, the first Pope from Latin America, struck a rather different note – for indigenous peoples around the world, for land rights, for better environmental stewardship. He said publicly that indigenous peoples have the right to “prior and informed consent.” In other words, nothing should happen on – or impact – their land, territories and resources unless they agree to it.
“I believe that the central issue is how to reconcile the right to development, both social and cultural, with the protection of the particular characteristics of indigenous peoples and their territories,” said Francis, according to an English version of his speech released by the Vatican’s press office.
“This is especially clear when planning economic activities which may interfere with indigenous cultures and their ancestral relationship to the earth,” Francis went on. “In this regard, the right to prior and informed consent should always prevail, as foreseen in Article 32 of the [UN] Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Only then is it possible to guarantee peaceful cooperation between governing authorities and indigenous peoples, overcoming confrontation and conflict.”
Francis was speaking to numerous indigenous representatives in Rome at the conclusion of the third Indigenous Peoples’ Forum held by the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development…….. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/andes-to-the-amazon/2017/feb/20/pope-indigenous-people-final-say-land
House GOP Quietly Shields Lawmakers Records from Ethics Probes, Fiscal Times, January 9, 2017 The new rule states that records created, generated or received by the congressional office of a House member “are exclusively the personal property of the individual member” and that the member “has control over such records,” according to a report by OpenSecrets.org.
Five anti-Trident protesters found guilty after blockading nuclear bomb factory The group argued they were putting their religious beliefs into action BY blockading the AWE Burghfield The Independent Jon Stone Political Correspondent @joncstone 27 Jan 17, Five anti-Trident protesters have been found guilty of blockading a nuclear weapons manufacturing facility – days after new concerns were raised about the safety of Britain’s Trident nuclear missiles.
The protesters, who barred the entrance to Burghfield Atomic Weapons Establishment in Berkshire in June of last year, were from the Christian group Put Down the Sword / Trident Ploughshares.
Trident mounted nuclear warheads are assembled at Burghfield, which has been the site of repeated demonstrations for a number of years. The MoD said work on the missile system was disrupted by the protests……
The activists’ defence team argued that they were acting in accordance with their religious beliefs, which they said were protected by the Human Rights Act.However district judge Khan said that he did not agree that “that the actions of the defendants were a manifestation of a religious belief” and in any case that “these rights have to yield to the primary right of passing and re-passing the highway” outside the base…….
A joint statement from the defendants said: “We stand by what we said in court: Trident is an illegal and immoral waste of money, a crime against humanity and God.
“The prosecution said we could just have joined in a prayer vigil to the side of the road, instead of lying in it; we said our consciences wouldn’t allow that. We believe prayer is important but sometimes our faith compels us to put our whole bodies in the way of injustice and violence.“The Bible says religious acts are meaningless unless we also stand up for the poor and needy; we are called to bring a just peace with hope for all. We will continue to seek peace, and to take the consequences of doing so. It’s a small price to pay for the chance to challenge an evil like nuclear weapons.”http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/trident-burghfield-reading-nuclear-missiles-bomb-factory-base-protests-guilty-a7549261.html
US Humanitarian Aid Goes to North Korea Despite Nuclear Tensions, VOA, January 25, 2017 Baik Sung-won WASHINGTON — The United States has provided $1 million in humanitarian aid to impoverished North Korea, the U.S. State Department said Wednesday.
Despite growing tensions between North Korea and Washington, the U.S. sent the assistance last week on the day before President Donald Trump was sworn in and took over the U.S. government.
It marks the first time that the U.S. provided humanitarian assistance to the North since 2011, when it provided relief items including medical supplies to North Korean flood victims. That aid, worth $900,000, was made through Samaritan’s Purse, a U.S.-based humanitarian aid organization.
Aid to help typhoon damageThe current assistance comes in the aftermath of Typhoon Lionrock, which hit North Korea in August with heavy rain that resulted in flooding. At the time, the government reported hundreds were dead and missing, and said thousands had lost their homes. International aid organizations responded immediately.
Outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry awarded $1 million for North Korea to UNICEF, a U.N. agency, the day before President Donald Trump took office last week………http://www.voanews.com/a/united-states-humanitarian-aid-goes-to-north-korea/3692811.html
Pope spurs Republicans to shift climate views, EurekAlert, 24 Jan 17 CORNELL UNIVERSITY After Pope Francis framed climate change as a moral issue in his second encyclical, conservative Republicans shifted and began to see environmental dilemmas in the same way, according to a new study led by Cornell University communication researchers.
“When Pope Francis issued his encyclical paper in June 2015, he emerged as a strong advocate for climate action,” said Jonathon P. Schuldt, assistant professor of communication. “He is in many ways uniquely positioned as a global moral authority – a religious authority – and his position is very visible.”
Schuldt, along with Adam R. Pearson of Pomona College and Rainer Romero-Canyas and Dylan Larson-Konar, both of the Environmental Defense Fund, sought to understand a mechanism for changing public opinion about climate change. Their research, “Brief Exposure to Pope Francis Heightens Moral Beliefs About Climate Change,” was published online in the journal Climatic Change, Dec. 30.
The pontiff addressed waste, culture and modern day ills in the encyclical. Climate change is a global problem with grave environmental, social, economic and political implications, the pope wrote. Many of the world’s poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to global warming, and their subsistence depends on keeping Earth healthy. They have few resources to help them adapt to climate change, the pope said.
For this research, more than 1,200 U.S. adults were asked for their moral beliefs about climate change. …….https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-01/cu-psr012417.php
Faith leaders reframe climate change as moral issue
Priests, pastors and ministers nationwide are spreading the gospel of climate change — as are imams and rabbis.
In recent years, faith-based advocacy has emerged as a powerful tool in the environmental movement. By reframing climate change and sustainability as moral issues, religious leaders hope to advance environmentalism by elevating it above the political fray.
“I believe that all religions, all faiths share a common goodness,” said Zerqa Abid, founder of My Project USA, a Muslim youth organization in Columbus. “All of us have to look within our houses, within our cities, in our everyday lives.
“We take care of the Earth, or we destroy it.”
Americans report fairly high levels of spirituality, but most do not view climate change as a moral issue, according to a 2015 survey by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Presenting climate change as a spiritual issue could be a successful strategy for attracting religious folks to environmental causes, the report suggests.
In Ohio, three-fourths of voters identify as religious, but little more than half say environmental laws are worth the cost, according to 2016 Pew Research Center surveys.
“Hitting people in the head with science doesn’t get them in the heart,” said Deborah Steele, fiscal officer for Clinton Township who previously worked for three years as an Ohio Interfaith Power and Light coordinator. “What gets people is a matter of conscience and not the logic of science.”
As leaders of intimate community spaces, religious officials are beginning to address the human-rights implications of climate change.
For example, exploitation of natural resources severely affects the world’s poorest populations and violates divine dictates on how people should treat the planet, said Rabbi Alex Braver of Tifereth Israel.
“The big-picture view, that’s what religion can offer,” Braver said. “I think (environmentalism) has very deep roots in ancient text and tradition, but it’s been lifted up in a different way now that we’re seeing the immense power we can have over the environment.”……….
At a rally on Monday, people from across several faiths and campaigns called on U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, to reject nominees for President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet who deny climate change or come from the fossil-fuel industry.
Among the people who attended was Aline Yamada and her two children. Yamada, a Buddhist from Clintonville, said she feels a parallel between her beliefs and the protest’s message.
“We are all connected,” she said. “I think this is the biggest moral challenge of our time.” email@example.com
The pope’s remarks came during a gathering of scientists at the Vatican, at which he said there has “never been such a clear need for science” to guide human actions to safeguard the future of the planet.
“It is worth noting that international politics has reacted weakly — albeit with some praiseworthy exceptions — regarding the concrete will to seek the common good and universal goods, and the ease with which well-founded scientific opinion about the state of our planet is disregarded,” the pontiff said, according to a translation provided by the Vatican. He added that the “‘distraction’ or delay” in implementing global agreements on the environment demonstrates how politics have become submissive “to a technology and an economy which seek profit above all else.”
[Trump victory reverses U.S. energy and environmental priorities]
Trump, who is set to become one of the only world leaders to question the notion of global warming, has vowed to “cancel” U.S. participation in the international climate accord signed last year in Paris, in which countries pledged to cut carbon dioxide emissions sharply in coming years. In addition, Trump has called for rolling back pollution regulations on the oil, gas and coal industries and shrinking the role of the Environmental Protection Agency.
This week’s comments echoed an encyclical regarding the environment issued by Francis last year in which he wrote about the “urgent challenge to protect our common home” and argued that “the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor.”
At the Vatican, Francis praised the work of scientists, who he said must remain independent and emerge as leaders in fighting for climate action.
“I would say that it falls to scientists, who work free of political, economic or ideological interests, to develop a cultural model which can face the crisis of climatic change and its social consequences,” he said, “so that the vast potential of productivity will not be reserved for only a few.”