The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry


VATICAN CITY (AP), 20 June 17 — German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Pope Francis encouraged her to work to preserve the Paris climate accord despite the U.S. withdrawal and shared her aim to “bring down walls,” and not build them.

Merkel and Francis met for about 40 minutes Saturday in the Apostolic Palace, focusing on the Group of 20 summit that Germany is hosting in Hamburg on July 7-8……

June 21, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Nuclear power in South Korea is forcefully opposed by Catholics

South Korean Catholics rally against use of nuclear power, .- South Korean Catholics are opposing both the country’s reliance on nuclear power and the U.S. missile defense system recently established to pressure the North out of future weapon tests.

A major leader of the anti-nuclear movement, Father Moon Paul Kyu-Hyn, said “getting rid of nuclear power is the only way to survive, to save ourselves, and save the world,” according to Public Radio International.

A missile defense system has caused tensions between the U.S. and China as well as between China and South Korea. The country’s new president, Moon Jae-in, has emphasized his goal to solve the issues in the Korean Peninsula.

Father Moon expressed his disappointed in the new Terminal High Altitude Area Defense or THAAD, which became operational on May 2 in the Korean Peninsula. An agreement to install the system was established between the United States and South Korea’s former president, recently incarcerated for political corruption.

“THAAD is a weapon of war. You can’t be for peace if you’re preparing for war,” said Father Moon, an activist who spent three years in jail for illegally crossing over into North Korea in 1989.

He is now leading the charge on the anti-nuclear demonstrations participated by the clergy and lay people, who are opposed the expansion of nuclear power in all of Korea and the rest of the world. The group recently gathered in downtown Seoul to collect a million signatures for support against nuclear energy.

Nearly a third of the country’s electrical consumption relies on nuclear power from over 20 nuclear reactors. Moon Jae-in, who was confirmed president this week, promised to halt expansion of nuclear power and focus on clean energy during a campaign speech in April.

The push to remove nuclear power has increased in South Korea since three plants in Fukushima had a meltdown in 2011 caused by a Tsunami along the shores of Japan. The meltdown forced over 100,000 people to be evacuated from their homes, and the government is still cautious to allow everyone to return due to fears of radiation poison.

In an interview with Public Radio International, Father Cho Hyun-chul, a theology professor at Sogang University in Seoul, said if there is a similar accident revolving South Korea’s power plants then there would be “no room for us to live here. There is no more safe land.”

He continued to say that the destruction nuclear power can cause is “directly against God’s intention,” and the movement is stressing the need to care for the environment – a need heavily emphasized by Pope Francis especially in his encyclical Laudato Si.

The Pope recognized the “tremendous power” nuclear energy has gifted to humanity, but he also spoke against its dangers to the environment and the risk of being used improperly. He said a global consensus to focus on clean and renewable energy is essential for sustaining the earth.

“Such a consensus could lead, for example, to planning a sustainable and diversified agriculture, developing renewable and less polluting forms of energy,” Pope Francis wrote in Laudato Si.

According to Reuters, President Moon promised to ease away from nuclear energy in a campaign speech in April. The head for the president’s team on energy policy said South Korea “should move away from coal and nuclear power, and shift to clean or renewable energy-based platforms,” and that he would stop the plans to construct two new reactors in the south of the country.

May 17, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Religion and ethics, South Korea | 1 Comment

Catholics lead in South Korean movement against nuclear power

South Korean Catholics take the lead in protesting against nuclear power, PRI, May 11, 2017, By Matthew Bell Standing up to his own government is nothing new for Moon Kyu-hyun. The 70-year-old Jesuit priest from South Korea made international news back in 1989, when he crossed the border into North Korea illegally.

The Catholic priest’s unsanctioned trip was a political act of defiance against South Korea’s strict National Security Law, which prohibited people in the South from almost any contact with North Korea.

The Rev. Moon was promptly arrested when he returned to the South. And he ended up spending three and a half years in prison.

“Peace and hope is what life is all about,” Moon says, reflecting on lessons learned during his time in jail.

In that same spirit, Moon — whose Christian name is Paul — is part of a group of Catholic clergy taking the lead in a growing anti-nuclear movement in South Korea.  Moon says he is opposed to nuclear weapons, including the North Korean nuclear program that’s been a big part of rising tensions in northeast Asia. But he’s also against recent US actions on the Korean peninsula.

“THAAD is a weapon of war. You can’t be for peace if you’re preparing for war,” Moon says, referring to the anti-missile system recently deployed by the US military in South Korea.

Beyond the nuclear security issue though, Moon and other Catholic leaders are pressuring the South Korean government to rethink the country’s dependence on nuclear power. That is no small order, as this is a country that relies on more than two dozen nuclear power plants for about a third of its electricity.

“Getting rid of nuclear power is the only way to survive, to save ourselves, and save the world,” Moon says during a recent anti-nuclear demonstration in downtown Seoul, where Catholic priests and nuns announced an effort to collect a million signatures in support of their campaign…….

“It’s directly against God’s intention,” Cho says. All Christians, he adds, “believe that God created the universe, and there is the divine order.” Cho says the threat posed by nuclear energy goes against that divine order……..

Catholics here have also forged a somewhat surprising alliance. Japan and Korea have a long and troubled history, to put it mildly. But every year since 2012, Kim Hyun-joo has been part of a group of Korean Catholics who meet up with Japanese Catholics to work together on anti-nuclear protest activities. Kim is an anti-nuclear activist with the Society of Jesus in Seoul……..

Catholic leaders in Korea are following the example of Pope Francis. They say the environment is now a top priority, although they acknowledge the campaign against nuclear power is a going to be a long, uphill struggle……..

the best news for Catholic anti-nuclear activists came when Moon, during the campaign, pledged to cut back drastically on the government’s plans to expand the nuclear power industry.

May 12, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Religion and ethics, South Korea | Leave a comment

Pope Francis – shocked at use of the word “mother” to label US’ biggest non-nuclear bomb

Pope Francis slams use of ‘mother’ to label US’ biggest non-nuclear explosive, Milan: Pope Francis has criticised naming the US military’s biggest non-nuclear explosive the “mother of all bombs”, saying the word “mother” should not be used in reference to a deadly weapon.

The US Air Force dropped such a bomb, officially designated the GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) on suspected Islamic State fighters in eastern Afghanistan last month.

The nickname was widely used in briefings and reporting on the attack.

“I was ashamed when I heard the name,” Pope Francis told an audience of students on Saturday. “A mother gives life and this one gives death, and we call this device a mother. What is happening?”

Pope Francis is set to meet US President Donald Trump on May 24 in a potentially awkward encounter, given their opposing positions on immigration, refugees and climate change.

May 8, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Vatican says nuclear weapons “provide a false sense of security”

Vatican: Nuclear weapons give “false sense of security”, Crux, Charles Collins, May 3, 2017  Monsignor Janusz Stanisław Urbańczyk, says the efforts of the international community to utilize the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons to make the world safer “have not been sufficient.” The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is preparing for the review conference on the treaty, which happens every five years.

The Vatican representative to the world’s nuclear body on Tuesday said nuclear weapons “provide a false sense of security” and added he is “concerned” about the situation on the Korean peninsula.

Monsignor Janusz S. Urbańczyk, the Vatican representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), was speaking at the first meeting preparing for the 2020 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) taking place in Vienna.

The treaty, considered the main international nonproliferation tool, went into effect in 1970, and a review process is conducted every 5 years.

Urbańczyk said the Vatican, which signed the NPT in 1971, was taking part in the preparatory meeting “to lend its moral authority” to the process.

“The Holy See cannot but lament the fact that the potential devastation caused by the use of nuclear weapons so clearly identified over 40 years ago has not been relegated to history,” the diplomat said. “In other words, the efforts of the international community to utilize the NPT to make the world safer have not been sufficient.”

He said the preparatory meetings and the 2020 review conference itself should “make concrete and consensus-based progress” to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, and work towards “the ultimate goal of abolishing all nuclear weapons……

  • In March, the United Nations General Assembly hosted a conference in New York to work towards a treaty banning nuclear weapons, which was boycotted by all the nuclear powers.Francis wrote a personal letter to that conference, offering his support, and calling for a “collective and concerted multilateral effort to eliminate nuclear weapons,” adding that international peace and stability “cannot be based on a false sense of security, on the threat of mutual destruction or total annihilation, or on simply maintaining a balance of power.”

    Urbańczyk on Tuesday acknowledged nations have “a right and an obligation” to protect their own security, but said this is “strongly linked” to the promotion of collective security, the common good, and peace…….

May 5, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pope Francis suggests Norway as mediator, urges a diplomatic solution to North korean nuclear crisis

North Korea: Pope Francis pushes for diplomatic solution to US dispute with reclusive regime Pope Francis says a third country, such as Norway, should try to mediate the dispute between North Korea and Washington to cool a situation that has become “too hot” and poses the risk of nuclear devastation.

Pope Francis said he believed “a good part of humanity” would be destroyed in any widespread war.

Speaking to reporters aboard the plane taking him back from Cairo, Pope Francis also said he was ready to meet US President Donald Trump when he is in Europe next month but that he was not aware that Washington had made a request for a meeting.

In answer to a question about the tensions between the US and North Korea, Pope Francis said the United Nations should re-assert its leadership in world diplomacy because it had become “too watered down”.

“I call on, and will call on, all leaders, as I have called on leaders of various places, to work to seek a solution to problems through the path of diplomacy,” he said about the North Korea crisis.

He spoke after North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile shortly after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that failure to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes could lead to “catastrophic consequences”.

“There are so many facilitators in the world, there are mediators who offer themselves, such as Norway for example,” Pope Francis said.

“It [Norway] is always ready to help. That is just one but there are many. But the path is the path of negotiations, of a diplomatic solution.” Norway secretly negotiated an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians known as the Oslo Accords in the early 1990s.

Pope Francis expressed his deep concern over the crisis, saying: “This question of missiles in [North] Korea has been brewing for more than a year but now it seems the situation has become has become too hot.

“We are talking about the future of humanity. Today, a widespread war would destroy — I would not say half of humanity — but a good part of humanity, and of culture, everything, everything.

“It would be terrible. I don’t think that humanity today would be able to withstand it.”

Mr Trump is due in Sicily late May for a meeting of the heads of the world’s richest nations.

The White House has not yet said if he would be stopping in Rome to meet the pope, which would be an unusual omission for a visiting head of state. Asked if he would be meeting Mr Trump, the pope said he had not yet been informed if a request had been made, but added: “I receive every head of state who asks for an audience.”

May 1, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Anglican Archbishop warns South Africans about the pro nuclear determination of the Zuma government

Ndungane warns that the government will not give up after nuclear deal ruling, Business Day, 28 APRIL 2017 Anglican archbishop emeritus Njongonkulu Ndungane expressed his “profound relief” at Wednesday’s High Court ruling on the nuclear deal, but warned that he expected Eskom and the government to “fight tooth and nail” to have it overturned.

Ndungane commended Earthlife Africa, the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (Safcei), and other civil society organisations that have been in the forefront of opposing the deal for several years.

“This is a salutary lesson. Civil society in SA has doggedly persevered in doing what it believes is right in respect of the nuclear deal.

“That they have been vindicated by the high court is a triumph of David against mighty Goliath. Government and Eskom should know that we do not intend to be brow beaten into submission,” the archbishop said.

However, he said he fully expected the government and Eskom to appeal against the ruling, since the small cabal of people led by the President in whose interests the nuclear deal appeared to have been negotiated, were unlikely to simply give up.

In addition, the various departments and state-owned enterprises involved would not want to see their expenditure to date being written off as “fruitless and wasteful expenditure”.

Ndungane expressed his deep concern that the South African government, which had been elected by the people to act for the people, was failing in its duty to protect the interests of the poorest people…….

He asked South Africans, when next they are called to exercise their ballot, to vote for a government that will act in the full interests of all the people of the land, and not just a select few.

“I have said previously that this nuclear deal will cripple the country’s economy. Our current debt stands at R1.89-trillion. When we borrow money to pay for the nuclear deal, our country will owe R3-trillion. Anyone with the most basic ability to balance a budget can see that increasing one’s debt by more than half is financial suicide,” the archbishop said. He asked South Africans, when next they are called to exercise their ballot, to vote for a government that will act in the full interests of all the people of the land, and not just a select few.

“I have said previously that this nuclear deal will cripple the country’s economy. Our current debt stands at R1.89-trillion. When we borrow money to pay for the nuclear deal, our country will owe R3-trillion. Anyone with the most basic ability to balance a budget can see that increasing one’s debt by more than half is financial suicide,” the archbishop said.

April 29, 2017 Posted by | Religion and ethics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Pope Francis backs nuclear weapons ban treaty

Pope backs nuclear weapons ban treaty,, Mar 29, 2017 By Josephine McKenna Religion News Service VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis says nuclear weapons offer a “false sense of security” and are an ineffective deterrent to 21st-century threats like terrorism, conflict and cybersecurity.

The pontiff spoke as talks on a proposed global nuclear arms ban at the United Nations seem doomed to fail with the U.S., France, Britain and South Korea among nearly 40 countries boycotting the talks.

In a message addressed to the conference in New York, the pope called for “total elimination” of nuclear weapons. He said there were many doubts about the effectiveness of deterrence and warned of “catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences” if nuclear weapons were ever used again.

“How sustainable is a stability based on fear, when it actually increases fear and undermines relationships of trust?” Francis asked. “International peace and stability cannot be based on a false sense of security, on the threat of mutual destruction or total annihilation, or on simply maintaining a balance of power.”

The pope said the elimination of nuclear weapons was a “moral and humanitarian imperative” and stressed it was possible to achieve.

“Although this is a significantly complex and long-term goal, it is not beyond our reach,” he said.

Francis said money currently spent on nuclear weapons could be used for “the promotion of peace and integral human development, as well as the fight against poverty.”

“An ethics and a law based on the threat of mutual destruction — and possibly the destruction of all mankind — are contradictory to the very spirit of the United Nations,” he said.

“We must therefore commit ourselves to a world without nuclear weapons, by fully implementing the Non-Proliferation Treaty, both in letter and spirit.”……

March 31, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Buddhist Association joins Christian groups in support of historic UN nuclear weapons negotiations

SGI joins diverse faith groups in calling for action at historic UN nuclear weapons negotiations J oint statement stresses moral and ethical imperative for nuclear weapons abolition   March 29, 2017 NEW YORK — On March 28, religious groups urged governments to make decisive progress toward establishing a framework for complete elimination of nuclear weapons in a statement read on the second day of a historic UN conference to begin negotiations on a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.

Jasmin Nario-Galace of Pax Christi Pilipinas read the joint statement on behalf of Faith Communities Concerned about Nuclear Weapons before representatives of some 120 governments taking part in the negotiations at UN Headquarters that will continue until March 31. Afterwards, she stated, “As various faith communities working for a world without nuclear weapons, we aim to show that we share the same aspirations for peace and for a world where people live without fear.”

Signatories include more than twenty individuals representing diverse faith groups from Pax Christi and the World Council of Churches to Islamic organizations, the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) Buddhist association, the Quakers in Britain and Religions for Peace.

The groups stress that nuclear weapons manifest a total disregard for the shared ethical values of religious faiths. They condemn the theory of deterrence and the catastrophic humanitarian impact of any nuclear weapon use, stating: “We reject the immorality of holding whole populations hostage, threatened with a cruel and miserable death. We applaud the world’s political leaders that have demonstrated the courage to begin these negotiations.”

The statement also urges those states not participating in this round of the negotiations to reexamine their positions and commit to joining the June-July session in good faith. The statement and list of endorsers can be read here.

Kazuo Ishiwatari, SGI Executive Director of Peace and Global Issues, comments, “To be successful, a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons must heed, reflect and embody the voices of the entire human family… SGI will call for an even greater enlistment of the power of individual and collective conscience in order to support, strengthen and enrich the negotiation process.”

Signatory Mustafa Cerić, Grand Mufti Emeritus of Bosnia and President of the World Bosniak Congress, adds, “Man’s ability to trust in God is his ability to trust in Man. Hence, we don’t need Nuclear Weapons if we trust in God. Indeed, if we trust in Man.”

The interfaith statement builds on previous statements issued by some of the same individuals and groups on the occasion of key negotiations related to the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons held in Washington DC (April 2014), Vienna (December 2014), New York (May 2015) and Geneva (May 2016).

SGI also submitted its own working paper to the conference.

The working paper argues that the goal of achieving a world without nuclear weapons should be understood as integral to the larger effort to demilitarize international relations and develop nonviolent conceptions of the state. It quotes SGI President Daisaku Ikeda who stresses: “The inhumanity of nuclear weapons is found not only in their overwhelming destructive power. It lies in their potential to instantaneously obliterate and render meaningless the painstaking efforts of generations of human beings… They are a denial and rejection of our very humanity.”

The Soka Gakkai International (SGI) Buddhist association links over 12 million members around the world. It has been engaged in efforts to support the abolition of nuclear weapons for sixty years.

March 31, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Abolish nuclear power worldwide – call from Japan’s bishops

Japanese bishops want nuclear power abolished worldwide They released a statement urging people to learn from the experience of the Fukushima disaster 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 statementOn 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.

March 15, 2017 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Catholic Solidarity Against Nuclear joins civil society groups in a non-nuclear road map to Korea’s presidential candidates

Catholics plan for a future free from nuclear threats  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.

March 15, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Religion and ethics, South Korea | Leave a comment

‘You’re Not Above the Law’- Office of Government Ethics tells Trump White House

Ethics Watchdog to White House: You’re Not Above the Law, Daily Beast
The Office of Government Ethics is unhappy with the White House again, warning that no one, not even the Executive Branch, is completely exempt from its rules.

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……

March 13, 2017 Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA | Leave a comment

Paul Ehrlich impressed by the Vatican’s commitment to saving the global environment

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.

March 8, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, environment, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Experts gather at Vatican conference with call to avoid ‘biological extinction

church greenAt the Vatican, a call to avoid ‘biological extinction’ ‘    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.”

March 1, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Cuomo’s costly nuclear plant bailout – financially and ethically wrong

taxpayer-bailout-exelonStop Cuomo’s costly nuclear plant bailout BY  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.

February 25, 2017 Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA | Leave a comment