Tahiti Protestants take France to court, Radio New Zealand, 9 August 2016 French Polynesia’s Protestant church has decided to take France to the International Criminal Court over the legacy of the French nuclear weapons tests. The decision was announced at the conclusion of the Maohi Protestant Church Synod in Tahiti.
Its secretary general Celine Hoiore said the case will be filed in The Hague for alleged crimes against humanity as a result of 193 nuclear weapons tests in the South Pacific.
The action is being taken for all the consequences of the tests, including contempt for the illnesses Polynesians suffer from as a result of the tests she said.
Oscar Temaru, a pro-independence opposition politician, has welcomed the church decision as historic.
The church will also raise its concern with the United Nations (UN) where Mr Temaru has already been campaigning on the matter as part of his decolonisation effort.
In October, the French Polynesian president Edouard Fritch is due to go to the UN as his government is against decolonisation.
He is yet to react to the church decision.
In 2010, France passed a law to compensate victims but the law’s scope has been too narrow to allow more than just a handful of people to get recognition and there have been calls to review the law…….http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/310514/tahiti-protestants-take-france-to-court
New Zealand set to mark anti-nuclear victory over the United States, ABC News 14 Aug 16 By Veronika Meduna in Wellington New Zealand’s anti-nuclear campaigners are claiming victory against a Goliath.
- The NZ public overwhelmingly supports its anti-nuclear stance
- The US suspended its ANZUS obligations to NZ after its destroyer was denied access in 1985
- Peace protests expected when non-nuclear ships visit NZ in November
When the NZ Navy celebrates its 75th birthday in November, US warships will be there. It will be the first time any American military ship has entered a New Zealand port since the country’s controversial anti-nuclear legislation was passed in 1987.
“What this means is that any ship that comes here will be coming on New Zealand’s terms,” says investigative journalist Nicky Hager, a key figure in the anti-nuclear movement at the time.
“Our terms were set 30 years ago with the nuclear-free policy.”
Peace campaigner and former Green MP, Keith Locke, agrees. “It is recognition that most of the New Zealand public does not want nuclear ships and the US cannot get around that,” he says.
Anti-nuclear stance strains relationship with US
The stand taken by the comparatively tiny nation caused a rift between the allies which has lasted three decades, and has been likened to a mouse that roared.
New Zealand’s anti-nuclear movement was spurred to action when France tested nuclear weapons at Mururoa Atoll in French Polynesia in the 1960s. More than 80,000 New Zealanders signed a petition calling for a nuclear-free Southern Hemisphere.
“It was the biggest petition anywhere since the Suffragettes’ campaign of the 1890s,” Mr Locke says.
The anti-nuclear mood gripped the nation. Visiting US warships powered by small nuclear reactors sparked massive protests in the 1970s and 1980s, drawing thousands onto the streets…….
The nuclear ship ban has been a central pillar of New Zealand’s foreign policy ever since.
Warships from other nuclear-weapons states, such as the UK and China, have docked in New Zealand ports because they were prepared to declare their vessels “nuclear-free”.
However, the US stuck rigidly to its policy of “neither confirming nor denying” if a ship was nuclear-armed or powered. And that has kept American naval vessels out…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-13/new-zealand-celebrates-anti-nuclear-victory-over-united-states/7731644
Carteret climate refugees seek home A grassroots group in Bougainville is scrambling to relocate the Carteret Islanders before rising sea levels swallow their land forever. ABC News 7 Aug 16 By Lauren Beldi for Pacific Beat At only 1.5 metres above sea level at their highest point, the Carteret Islands are some of the first to succumb to the rising ocean tides.
The grassroots Tulele Peisa group, which means “sailing the waves on our own” in the local Halia language, is hoping to relocate more than half of the population by 2020. They have secured land for new homes on the main island of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, to the east of mainland Papua New Guinea.Tulele Peisa formed in late 2006 after the Council of Elders on the islands decided to establish their own relocation program. The group’s chief executive, Ursula Rakova, says the encroaching tides on the islands have a major impact on people’s health. “We’re beginning to get more requests for people wanting to move because of the situation and the dire need for food,” she says.
The storm surges not only wash away houses, but also vegetable gardens, which are critical for the islanders’ survival.
With no cash economy on the Carterets, the only source of food is what people are able to grow for themselves……
Tulele Peisa has also provided thousands of mangrove seedlings to prevent the erosion of the coastline, and helped to build raised garden beds. But this will only stave off the inevitable for so long.
“Those are adaptation strategies, they aren’t really long-term solutions to containing the islands, because we know the islands are going, but we are looking at supporting our families,” Ms Rakova says.
She says the islanders want to maintain their independent way of living but that the international community should provide more support.
“The islanders on the Carterets are victims of what other people have caused and the international community needs to aid and support the work that we are doing,” she says.
“We have found our way forward [and] we would like to share the way forward with other people, but we need this process to be funded financially so that we can continue to sustain ourselves.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-07/carteret-climate-refugees-new-home/7693950?section=environment
NZ’s nuclear resolve, Otago Daily Times, 25 Jul 2016 “……In 1987, Labour passed the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament and Arms Control Act, meeting an election promise.
In a largely symbolic response, the US Congress retaliated with the Broomfield Act, downgrading New Zealand’s status from ally to friend.
Former prime minister David Lange said if the security alliance was the price New Zealand must pay to remain nuclear-free, it was the price the country was prepared to pay.
In 1989, 52% of New Zealanders indicated they would rather break defence ties than admit nuclear-armed ships. By 1990, National had signed up to the anti-nuclear stance.
There the situation has remained until Mr Biden accepted an invitation for the US to send a ship to the Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th birthday in November……..
New Zealand is consistently said to have made a difference in peace-keeping activities around the world, being an independent thinker when it comes to solving complex security issues.
New Zealand is part of the Five Eyes intelligence sharing network.
Although New Zealand is not seen as reliable as Australia as an ally, it does have qualities which it can bring to any situation.
So despite the urging of Mr Key, the return to New Zealand waters by a US ship in November cannot be taken lightly. It is a win for the resolve of Kiwis to keep this country nuclear free.
It is not known if the US ship will be a warship or something tamer.
Under New Zealand’s law, Mr Key has to sign a declaration he is satisfied the ship complies with New Zealand law, something he says he has done about 40 times since he became prime minister.
Publicly available information will make it possible for watchers of maritime issues to identify if the ship is nuclear-armed or nuclear-powered……..http://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/editorial/391403/nz-s-nuclear-resolve
Nuclear-free has ‘served us well’ – Geoffrey Palmer, Radio New Zealand, 22 July 16 An architect of New Zealand’s once contentious anti-nuclear law says it remains the right approach for the country.
The law is in the spotlight as preparations begin for the first visit by an American warship since the landmark legislation was passed in 1987.
Under the law, the Prime Minister must make an assessment of whether the ship will breach New Zealand’s ban on nuclear weapons and nuclear power.
The US has not sent a naval ship since 1983, as it refuses to say whether its ships are nuclear-armed, as required by New Zealand’s nuclear-free law.
The deputy prime minister at the time the nuclear-free law was passed, Sir Geoffrey Palmer, told Morning Report the policy, and the law behind it, was sound…….http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/309192/nuclear-free-has-‘served-us-well’-geoffrey-palmer
Pacific atolls ‘could be underwater by 2050 Radio New Zealand Chris Bramwell, Deputy Political Editor – @chrisbramwell, 15 July 16 The government is being warned to prepare for an impending stream of refugees from the Pacific as low-lying atolls are swamped by sea-level rise over the coming decades.
Labour is also calling for the government to take a humanitarian approach to people from the region
who are overstayers in New Zealand.
United Nations warns if sea level rise continues at the current rate, the Pacific atolls of Kiribati and Tuvalu could be completely submerged within decades……
Labour’s Su’a William Sio said the people of the Pacific were fighting a losing battle. The government could take a more sympathetic approach to overstayers from Kiribati and Tuvalu and not send them back to islands already under pressure, he said.
“The main islands they’ve got issues not just with climate change, but with population growth and waste on both Tuvalu and Kiribati, so I think we’ve got to seriously look at what we do with that, and my view is that we need to adopt a humanitarian stance with the overstayers that are here.”
Climate change refugees might not be a serious issue now, but they would become one, he said.
“The overwhelming scientific evidence is telling us these islands will be underwater by 2050 or 2070, so we actually do need to have a strategic long term plan in preparation to help these islanders because we can’t just sit around once those islands are underwater.”…..http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/308703/pacific-atolls-could-be-underwater-by-2050
Work stoppage continues at Hanford Nuclear Reservation http://q13fox.com/2016/07/12/work-stoppage-continues-at-hanford-nuclear-reservation/ JULY 12, 2016, BY ASSOCIATED PRESS SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A rare work stoppage continues by some Hanford Nuclear Reservation workers who contend that radioactive wastes left from the production of nuclear weapons are making them sick.
Union president Dave Molnaa, who ordered the work stoppage, said it will continue until all employees are provided with bottled air when working around all of the underground nuclear waste storage tanks on the Hanford site.
Workers have contended for years that chemical vapors escaping from the tanks are making them sick.
The steel tanks, some dating back to World War II, contain wastes created by the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons.
The Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council, a coalition of 15 unions that represent workers on the site near Richland, issued the “stop work” order on Monday morning.
NZers celebrate anti-nuclear weapon win, News Hub NZ, 9 Jul 2016 People in Christchurch have reflected on how “a little peace group” in their city defied the world’s most powerful nations to win a court case that triggered cuts in the world’s nuclear arsenal.
Events were held in Christchurch on Friday to mark 20 years since a historic judgment by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), ruling that the threat, let alone the use, of nuclear weapons was generally illegal.
Its decision was sparked by the World Court Project, an international campaign pioneered by New Zealanders.
Professor Paul Millar sums it up as an “important piece of history no one knows about”. Since then the number of nuclear weapons globally has fallen to 15,000 from 70,000.
It’s a story of how “citizen pressure” can change what politicians do, Dr Millar says.
Dr Kate Dewes was a housewife, a mother and a music teacher who went to a talk about peace and decided to do something.
“Kate and others were excited by the possibility and began the World Court Project and it led ultimately to this decision,” Prof Millar says…….http://www.newshub.co.nz/nznews/nzers-celebrate-anti-nuclear-weapon-win-2016070905#axzz4DrMcQTSf
70th Anniversary of Operation Crossroads Atomic Tests in Bikini Atoll, July 1946
EXCELLENT VIDEOS and PHOTOS, National Security Archive Government Films and Photographs Depict Test “Able” on 1 July 1946
Removal of 167 Bikinians from the Atoll Preceded the Atomic Tests
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 553 July 1, 2016 Edited by William Burr with Stav Geffner For more iThe Atomic Tests at Bikini Atoll, July 1946nformation contact: William Burr at 202/994-7000 or email@example.com.
The Atomic Tests at Bikini Atoll, July 1946 Washington, D.C., July 1, 2016 – Seventy years ago this month a joint U.S Army-Navy task force staged two atomic weapons tests at Bikini atoll in the Marshall Islands, the first atomic explosions since the bombings of Japan in August 1945. Worried about its survival in an atomic war, the Navy sought the tests in order to measure the effects of atomic explosions on warships and other military targets. The test series was named Operation Crossroads by the task force’s director, Rear Admiral William Blandy. The first test, Able, took place on 1 July 1946. Of the two tests, the second, Baker, on 25 July 1946, was the most dangerous and spectacular, producing iconic images of nuclear explosions. A third test was scheduled, but canceled. Photographs and videos posted today by the National Security Archive document Crossroads, focusing on the Able test.
Also documented is the U.S. Navy’s removal, in early March 1946, of 167 Pacific islanders from Bikini, their ancestral home, so that the Navy and the Army could prepare for the tests. The Bikinians had the impression that the relocation would be temporary but the islands remain uninhabitable due to subsequent nuclear testing in the atoll……….
U.N. Decolonization Committee adopts French Polynesia Resolution, Overseas Territories Review , 3 July 16
Highlights of the U.N. Resolution: Reaffirmed the inalienable rights of the people of French Polynesia to the ownership, control and disposal of their natural resources, including marine resources and undersea minerals, and the permanent sovereignty of the people to those resources.
Recognized the significant health and environmental impacts of nuclear testing conducted by the administering Power in the Territory over a 30-year period.
Directed the U.N. Secretary-General to provide continuous updates to his report on the environmental, ecological, health and other impacts of the 30-year period of nuclear testing in French Polynesia, with further details on the impacts of nuclear testing in the Territory, particularly on the consequences of exposure to atomic radiation……….http://overseasreview.blogspot.com.au/2016/07/un-decolonization-committee-adopts.html
Small Island States adopt new climate change strategy http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/307877/small-island-states-adopt-new-climate-change-strategy The Forum Secretariat’s Alfred Schuster, 4 July 16 The Small Island States of the Pacific Islands Forum have adopted a new climate change strategy to ensure their vulnerabilities are addressed as part of the regional policy agenda.
The strategy was agreed to by leaders from the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau and Tuvalu at a meeting last week in Palau.
The Forum Secretariat’s Development Co-operation Advisor, Alfred Schuster, says addressing climate change is one of the top priorities of the strategy.
He says the Small Island States want to band together when applying for climate change mitigation funding from the United Nations.
“It’ll be a new approach, from what we understand a joint proposal of countries and governments hasn’t yet been brought to the attention of the Green Climate Fund. But we’d like to think it’s a much more strategic way in light of the administrative burden and administrative requirements of the Green Climate Fund to generate the sort of revenue that’s required by the SIS.”
A Remote Pacific Nation,Threatened by Rising Seas
Climate change is threatening the livelihoods of the people of tiny Kiribati, and even the island nation’s existence. The government is making plans for the island’s demise.
Text by MIKE IVES Photographs and video by JOSH HANERJULY 2, 2016
“…..For years, scientists have been predicting that much of Kiribati may become uninhabitable within decades because of an onslaught of environmental problems linked to climate change
. And for just as long, many here have paid little heed. But while scientists are reluctant to attribute any specific weather or tidal event to rising sea levels, the tidal surge last winter, known as a king tide, was a chilling wake-up call.
Pacific island nations are among the world’s most physically and economically vulnerable to climate change and extreme weather events like floods, earthquakes and tropical cyclones, the World Bank said in a 2013 report. While world powers have summit meetings to negotiate treaties on how to reduce and mitigate carbon emissions, residents of tiny Kiribati, a former British colony with 110,000 people, are debating how to respond before it is too late.
Much of Kiribati, a collection of 33 coral atolls and reef islands scattered across a swath of the Pacific Ocean about twice the size of Alaska, lies no higher than six feet above sea level. The latest climate models predict that the world’s oceans could rise five to six feet by 2100. The prospects of rising seas and intensifying storms “threaten the very existence and livelihoods of large segments of the population,” the government told the United Nations in a report last year. Half of the 6,500-person village of Bikenibeu, for instance, could be inundated by 2050 by sea-level rises and storm surges,according to a World Bank study.
The study lays out Kiribati’s future in apocalyptic detail. ……
a 2011 government-commissioned report cast doubt on whether the World Bank project helped Kiribati prepare for climate change. And while the mangroves and water management plans have helped, a 2014 study said the first round of sea walls, made of sandbags, had proved counterproductive and caused more erosion.
“Adaptation is just this long, ugly, hard slog,” said the study’s lead author, Simon Donner, a professor of geography at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. “The idea that an outside organization can just come in with money, expertise and ideas and implement something easily is naïve. What you need is consistent, long-term funding — the type of stuff that’s hard to pull off with development aid.”….
migration may become increasingly important. Mr. Tong said he hoped to prepare his people to move with job-training programs that would meet standards recognized in Australia and New Zealand. “The science of climate change is not 100 percent precise,” he said in the interview. “But we know without any argument that, in time, our people will have to relocate unless there are very, very significant resources committed to maintain the integrity of the land…..”http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/03/world/asia/climate-NYT, change-kiribati.html?
Solar energy: Innovative start-up puts Fiji ahead on renewable energy, ABC News, 1 July 16 By Pacific economic and business reporter Jemima Garrett Fiji is making its mark as a leader in renewable energy thanks to an innovative start-up company focusing on supplying energy to the corporate sector.
Sunergise is the brain-child of entrepreneurs from Africa and the Pacific and has attracted investment interest from the World Bank as well as from Australia, New Zealand, North America and China……..
The installation of the first 700 photovoltaic cells at the marina was completed in 2012, just two days before Cyclone Evan hit, with winds gusting up to 270 kph.
Only one panel was damaged.
Sunergise has since completed two more installations at the Port of Denarau, creating the biggest marina-based solar plant in the world.
Australia ‘well behind’
In Australia, corporate solar is lagging behind residential investment and Sunergise is something advocacy group Solar Citizens would like to see more of.
“Australia leads the world in terms of residential roof-top solar,” Solar Citizen consumer campaigner Reece Turner said.
“Mums and dads have invested $8 billion of their own money in solar panels in just the last six or seven years. But we are well behind in the commercial space; comparatively we are probably 20th or 30th in the world in terms of commercial solar.
“That is where we are seeing some of the growth now but we really need to incentivise that uptake of commercial solar.”
We sell energy’
Sunergise’s business model is to focus on blue chip corporate clients and to own and operate the infrastructure they put on their roof.
“We don’t sell solar panels, we sell energy,” Sunergise chairman Bob Lyon said.
“We install the panels, the clients get an instant discount on their power, they don’t pay anything [for the infrastructure].”
Sunergise sells contracts that run for 10 or more years, with the client enjoying an initial saving of about 10 per cent and certainty on their power costs for the full term of the contract.
One of Fiji’s top hotels, the Tokoriki Island resort, uses Sunergise’s solar power technology and has cut its power bill by 50 per cent and silenced its expensive diesel generators.
The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, its private sector arm, made its decision to take a 20 per cent stake in Sunergise based on the skills of its people………http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-30/innovative-start-up-puts-fiji-ahead-on-renewable-energy/7557594
French Polynesia goes to UN over nuclear compensation http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/307569/french-polynesia-goes-to-un-over-nuclear-compensation, 29 June 16, A legislator from French Polynesia has appeared at the United Nations pressing the territory’s case for compensation over nuclear testing.
Richard Tuheiava appeared before the UN Committee on Decolonisation, in an effort to bring the issue to international attention.
The French Government has compensated just a handful of French Polynesians who suffered from exposure to radiation after thirty years of tests in the territory’s vicinity.
Mr Tuheiava said France should compensate the territory as well as individuals.
“The fact is since the nuclear testing most of the diseases were cancer, leukaemia. Most of the diseases were as a result of the nuclear testing, so we collectively also put a request for the state of France, the colonial power to not only compensate directly the veterans, but also compensate this fund, this public health care fund.”
Richard Tuheiava said he has serious doubts about whether anything will come from the negotiations, but at least the truth is being exposed on a global stage.
Earlier this year during a visit to the territory, the French president Francois Hollande acknowledged that the weapons tests had an environmental impact with consequences for people’s health.
He promised to revisit the way compensation claims are being treated.
Maldives urges rich countries to rapidly ratify Paris climate agreement
Environment and energy minister of small island state, one of the countries most at risk of global warming impacts, says ‘no time to waste’ on Paris deal, Guardian, Fiona Harvey, 21 June 16 Rich countries must ratify the climate change agreement reached in Paris last December, one of the world’s most at-risk nations has warned.
Thoriq Ibrahim, environment and energy minister of the Maldives, told the Guardian that there was “no time to waste”, in ratifying the agreement that was reached more than six months ago, and that it should be a matter of urgency for industrialised countries.
So far, almost the only countries to have passed the accord into law are the small islands most at risk from rising sea levels, and other smaller developing nations.
France became the first large industrialised nation to ratify the Paris agreementonly earlier this month, although a ceremony was held in New York in April at which countries were supposed to affirm their commitment to the international agreement…….https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/21/maldives-urges-rich-countries-to-rapidly-ratify-paris-climate-agreement