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With belligerent John Bolton as National Security, Trump could take USA to the brink of war with Iran

With Bolton whispering in Trump’s ear, war with Iran is no longer unthinkable, Guardian, Owen Jones 16 May 19, Antiwar activists must do everything they can to prevent it, and that includes pressuring US allies

It was a deception that would lead to millions of civilian deaths, and the deaths of nearly 60,000 US soldiers. In August 1964 President Lyndon B Johnson solemnly declared that, after two apparent North Vietnamese attacks on US navy destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin, military action would take place.

Four years later, Senator Albert Gore – father of Bill Clinton’s future vice-president – warned in a closed Foreign Relations Committee session that, “If this country has been misled … the consequences are very great.” His suspicions were correct. The second Gulf of Tonkin attack might never have happened – and perhaps neither did. Communications to make it look like the attack occurred had been falsified. But US policy was already set on a dramatic escalation of the Vietnam war: and here was the perfect pretext.

This week it emerged that the US government is discussing sending up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East for possible military action against Iran. “We’ll see what happens with Iran,” declared President Trump. “If they do anything, it will be a bad mistake.” The principal driving force behind this is Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, a man who thinks there is no problem to which the answer isn’t war: in the Bush era, his militarism was too much for the commander-in-chief who laid waste to Iraq. You can see them scrabbling for excuses already: the Trump administration says Iran-backed proxy groups are preparing attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria, a claim forcefully denied this week by British major-general Christopher Ghika, the deputy commander of counter-terror operations in both countries. The US has blamed Iran, without evidence, for damage to Saudi oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Could an Iranian Gulf of Tonkin be looming?

It is easy to dismiss these fears as alarmist. Is Trump not the man who confounded his critics by seeking peace on the Korean peninsula? Trump boasts that he “actually tempers” Bolton; Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, states: “There won’t be any war.” As Sanam Vakil, a research fellow at Chatham House, tells me: “Both sides are posturing, sending [threats] back and forth, and I don’t think heading for any direct military interventions.” Bolton, she reassures me, is just one of many voices in the room, and US secretary of state Mike Pompeo himself says that the US is not seeking war……..

A senior Senate aide tells me that the triumph of Bolton’s plans is all too conceivable: Bolton could exploit Trump’s ignorance of policy, an area in which he excels. While any war would not be popular with Trump’s base he could be convinced by Bolton that it is possible to escalate up to a point, then pull back at the brink: but by then it may be impossible to do so. Rightwing thinktanks and broadcasters are already hyping up links between Iran and al-Qaida.

The consequences of an Iranian conflagration should horrify us. Dan Plesch – a specialist at Soas University of London’s Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy – details the US air and naval power potentially ranged against Iran: it’s what one of his colleagues describes as “a tsunami of precision-guided molten metal”. The “lethality of US force”, says Plesch, “to very rapidly destroy military, civil, political and economic infrastructure is hugely underestimated” – and is far greater than in 2003. The US would seek to impose a government-in-exile with no roots in the country; a bloody balkanisation could follow. Iran would mobilise its regional influence – dramatically increased by the Iraq catastrophe – raising the prospect of wider regional conflict.

The risk is already too real for us to wait and see before acting. Pressure must be exerted by the public on US allies to declare their total opposition to any war with Iran, including not permitting their military bases to be used. The mass protests that will greet Trump’s visit in three weeks’ time must include demands that no British support for such a bloody adventure be offered. Feeling blasé about the danger? Well, consider this: all that stands between Bolton’s violent fantasy being executed is Donald Trump himself.  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/15/war-with-iran-john-bolton-donald-trump-usa?CMP=share_btn_tw

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May 18, 2019 Posted by | politics, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Chelsea Manning will not testify against Julian Assange, so it’s back to jail for her

May 18, 2019 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

USA government gives Piketon community no chance to resist hosting a radioactive waste dump

This Town Didn’t Want to Be a Radioactive Waste Dump. The Government Is Giving Them No Choice. Earther,  Yessenia Funes , 17 May 19,PIKETON, OHIO—David and Pam Mills have grown tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and okra on their secluded Appalachian property for about 18 years now. This will be the first year the retired couple doesn’t. They just can’t trust their soil anymore. Not with what’s being built barely a five-minute walk away.
Past the shed and through the gray, bare trees that grow in the backyard, bulldozers and dump trucks are busy scooping tan-colored dirt atop an overlooking hill on a brisk January afternoon. They’re constructing a 100-acre landfill for radioactive waste. …..On a short metal fence marking where the Mills property ends, a sign reads, “U.S. PROPERTY, NO TRESPASSING,” in big, bold letters with red, white, and blue borders.

The Department of Energy (DOE) owns what sits on the other side: the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant. The DOE built the 1,200-acre facility, located just outside town of Piketon about an hour’s drive south of Columbus in southcentral Ohio, in 1954, as one of three plants it was using to enrich uranium and develop the country’s nuclear weapons arsenal. Now, the agency is trying to clean it up.

The landfill—or “on-site waste disposal cell,” as the department calls it—would extend about 60-feet down and house 2 million tons of low-level radioactive waste comprised of soil, asbestos, concrete, and debris. It’ll be outfitted with a clay liner, a plastic cover layer, and a treatment system for any water that leaches through it. When finished, it will be one of the largest nuclear waste dumps east of the Mississippi.

Waste could begin entering it as soon as this fall…….

“It’s gonna contaminate everything,” David says, after he shows me how close the landfill sits to his property. “It’s just a matter of time.”

The couple is far from alone in their fears. The 2,000-strong Village of Piketon passed a resolution in August 2017 opposing the landfill. So did the local school district and the Pike County General Health District, where Piketon resides. The rural, low income, and largely white county is home to more than 28,000 people across a number of small towns and cities, some of which have passed their own resolutions against this project. Driving through neighborhoods behind Piketon’s main highway, lawn signs covered in red stating “NO RADIOACTIVE WASTE DUMP in Pike County” can be seen everywhere……
The Zahn’s Corner Middle School, which sits barely a 10-minute drive away from the plant, closed on May 13 after university researchers detected enriched uranium inside the building, and traces of neptunium appeared in readings from an air quality monitor right outside the school. While the DOE believes everything’s fine, the Pike County General Health District has been calling for the department to halt work while it investigates the matter. Townspeople worry this contamination is a direct result of recent activity at the plant.
All of this highlights deep public distrust over the nuclear facility’s cleanup plan. And after reviewing thousands of pages of documents—including independent studies, the project’s record of decision, and the remedial investigation and feasibility studies that went into writing it—to understand the risks, it’s clear the public isn’t worried for nothing.
Here’s the thing: Nothing is technically illegal about the landfill. The DOE, though the polluter, is taking the lead on cleaning up the facility, and the Ohio EPA supports its plan. Whether their decision is morally right given local opposition is another matter. But this is what often happens when a corporation or governmental entity needs to dispose of toxic waste: It gets left in an overlooked town no one’s heard of……..
What they, and everyone really, didn’t understand at the outset of the Cold War was the lasting impacts uranium enrichment could have. Sure, scientists understood radioactive material could cause cancer, but they thought that it’d take a lot of radiation, explained Edwin Lyman, a senior scientist and acting director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Nuclear Safety Project. Now, we know any exposure poses a risk……
Now,  the DOE is left with the task of cleaning up the more than 2 million tons of low-level radioactive waste and thousands more tons of hazardous waste the plant’s operations left behind. Completing the landfill is estimated to take another 10 to 12 years, with the entire clean-up projected to go on until 2035. ……
Money aside, shipping radioactive waste off-site has other benefits. Some 24 wetlands and 38 streams sit near the landfill. To bury the waste on-site, the DOE must waive a requirement that prevents it from constructing the landfill within 200 feet of these kinds of water bodies. The department can do so because even though it’s not technically a Superfund, it’s being regulated as one, a common practice for such DOE facilities. ……
the local hydrology is a key point of concern among community members. The region has a rainy climate, and it’s been seeing above-average levels of precipitation in recent years. More than anything, it’s the idea of rainfall causing the landfill’s contents to leak into the groundwater that makes people so nervous…….
Despite the fancy cut-outs put together by DOE contractor Fluor-BWXT, Chillicothe city council members passed a resolution that day against the waste cell. And it wouldn’t be the last: at least 11 counties, townships, city councils, and school boards in southcentral Ohio have come out against the project. Unfortunately, the plan was set by the time these resolutions passed.
Here’s the thing: Many residents didn’t even know about the landfill until after the DOE had already decided on it. The public had between November 2014 and March 2015 to comment on the project. The department published its record of decision in favor of the landfill on June 30, 2015. Then, the backlash hit……..

A lot of community members worry that the town will continue to be impoverished and devoid of business opportunities so long as it’s home to the landfill. Who’s going to want to invest in a place that’s a nuclear dumpsite?

And Piketon officials don’t trust the DOE at all. Neither does the plant’s former chief scientist, David Manuta, who worked there for nearly 11 years and has seen firsthand the operations that went on.

“DOE has a history in this community of not listening,” Manuta told Earther. “DOE is not a popular government agency in this community.”……

As the Ferguson Group points out in its analysis, fractures deeper than 20 feet exist throughout the entirety of where the landfill will be built, with some reaching as deep as 70 feet.

“This is the craziness of it all. They go out there and investigate this what we call ‘ideal site,’ right?” Karl Kalbacher, the Ferguson Group consultant Piketon hired for this analysis, told me. “There’s groundwater just oozing out of the ground, which tells you there’s a very shallow water table. They document that there are streams that are flowing through the proposed site area.”……..
To opponents of the landfill, all these fractures and discrepancies raise concerns about the DOE’s commitment to keeping the region contaminant-free. So does the recent independent analysis from Northern Arizona University that prompted the closure of Piketon’s Zahn’s Corner Middle School this week. That analysis found that the Scioto River and village creeks, as well as dust and soils from the school and private homes, are currently contaminated with enriched uranium, neptunium, and plutonium—all radioactive carcinogens. While the analysis did not measure concentrations, it found that much of this contamination could, indeed, be traced back to the plant……..

Regardless of whether the DOE is concerned, the evidence suggests demolition of the plant and construction of the landfill may already be spreading some contaminants via the air. Add in the threat of the landfill impacting groundwater, and opponents see several additional health risks in a regional already overburdened by cancer.

Pike County’s cancer rate of 487.9 per 100,000 incidences is higher than the state average of 459.8 per 100,000 incidences. In fact, all the counties surrounding Portsmouth—Vinton, Ross, Highland, Adams, Scioto—have some of the highest rates in the state.

Jeanie Williams, a 63-year-old who’s lived in a spacious trailer home since 1972 right alongside the plant—not far from where the Mills live—knows that statistic all too personally. Cancer took Williams’ brother in 1999. Her dad worked at the plant and died of lung disease about 10 years ago. Her stepfather worked there and died last year from cancer. Her daughter is battling colon cancer.  https://earther.gizmodo.com/this-town-didnt-want-to-be-a-radioactive-waste-dump-th-1834789264?IR=T

May 18, 2019 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

UK covering up the records on nuclear bomb testing in Australia and the Pacific. Why?

May 18, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, history, OCEANIA, politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

How the USA military co-opts nature conservation, and promotes the extinction of species

“Get Your Endangered Species Off My Bombing Range!” Counter Punch    “The Department of Defense’s ability to conduct realistic live-fire training, weapons system testing, and essential operations is vital to preparing a more lethal and resilient force for combat. . . . Starting in the late 1990s, the Department became increasingly concerned about “encroachment” pressures adversely affecting the military’s use of training and testing lands. Specifically, military installations saw two main threats to their ability to test, train, and operate: nearby incompatible land uses and environmental restrictions to protect imperiled species and their habitats.”
Such problems are to be resolved by the DoD Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program.
The program employs “buffer partnerships” that include the DoD, private conservation groups, universities, and state and local governments. Also involved, often as additional funders, are other federal departments: Homeland Security, Energy, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce; and agencies, for example, the Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). REPI regards these as “win-win partnerships,” as they share the cost of land or acquire easements to preserve compatible uses and natural habitats, without interfering with bombing or other essential training exercises. In addition to the helpful funding, the military can muster impressive influence over local development authorities, town councils, and adjacent landowners…….
At Fort Benning, Georgia, home of the “Maneuver School of Excellence,” (as well as the notorious School of the Americas, now renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation), live-fire and other training was threatened by threatened species and their habitats.   Now the base and its partners are restoring habitat and offering contiguous land for buyers who would use the land for recreation. Among the partners are the Georgia Land Trust, The Conservation Fund, the Alabama Land Trust, and the Nature Conservancy (TNC).

Nationwide, TNC is likely the conservation organization with the greatest amount of funding from the DoD. The TNC grants for Fort Benning alone included (but were not limited to) one for  $11,115,000, and another for $55,517,470. Both were described as: “Assist State and local governments to mitigate or prevent incompatible civilian land use/activity that is likely to impair the continued operational utility of a Department of Defense (DoD) military installation.”

Washington State, very receptive to military activities, despite the Hanford nuclear disaster area, has several REPI projects. One of them, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, on Puget Sound, is to eliminate the “threat” to live-fire exercises and other missions coming from imperiled species and incompatible development. The extensive area beyond its 91,000 acres became a designated “Sentinel Landscape,” a partnership headed by Departments of Agriculture, Defense, and Interior to “align resources” to protect military testing “while benefiting ALL partners and landowners.”  ……

The Defense Department has several other programs designed to prevent interference with live ammunition, bombing ranges, and other military activities. One is the Legacy Resource Management Program, which seeks civilian partners to help protect endangered species and “to promote stewardship of our nation’s. . . cultural heritage.” Already “The Department of Defense manages thousands of National Register of Historic Places-listed properties. . .” Also working with REPI is the DoD’s Office of Economic Adjustment; its Joint Land Use Studies Program helps local communities to avoid interfering with military operations by their civilian activities.

The military has a poor reputation as regards the environment—we think about the Marshall Islands, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, poisoned aquifers, toxic waste burns, underwater sonar, and much more. It has paid attention to the criticisms. It still engages in its former ways, including the world record of oil consumption and extensive toxic emissions, but now there is a soft cop.

The DoD now emphasizes its need for natural landscapes for realistic training, its wish to avoid displacing or accidently bombing locals, and its help in protecting endangered species. However it does not want any environmental restrictions to poke into its activities. The military wants more land, airspace, and ocean clearance, and will make concessions. It uses the carrot, and the commanding influence of military power. The REPI Program supplies funds and also leverages contributions from state and local governments and conservation organizations, which are henceforth partners…..
 there are serious concerns about the REPI project, and similar ones that partner with civilian governments and nongovernmental environmental organizations. First of all, by publicizing its protection of red-cockaded woodpeckers, gopher tortoises and others, their habitats, working farmlands, forests, and wetlands, the DoD emits a dust cloud over the intense environmental destruction of land, sea, and air resulting from military operations and their preparations. Militarization is worldwide and beyond, into space. In addition to the contribution of the US, other nations’ militaries are increasing in size, activities, and lethality. Many have been armed by us, or against the threat of us; some in response to other perceived threats. ……

Toxic wastes are produced (and not sequestered) at many US domestic bases; our military has granted us the bulk of superfund sites. As Joshua Frankhas stated:

US military sites, which total more than 50 million acres, are among the most insidious and dangerous Pentagon legacies. They are strewn with toxic bomb fragments, unexploded munitions, buried hazardous waste, fuel dumps, open pits filled with debris, burn piles and yes, rocket fuel…….
Another major concern about REPI and other military “partnerships” with civilian institutions and terrain is that it erodes the boundaries, however weak these days, between civil and military.  Might the US be turning into a banana republic or a military dictatorship? Penetration is not new; the US Army Corps of Engineers have been developing and maintaining recreational lakes and flood control projects for a long time. However, the military is slowly expanding into every nook and cranny of civilian life. …..  https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/05/17/get-your-endangered-species-off-my-bombing-range/

May 18, 2019 Posted by | environment, Reference, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Opposition to nuclear waste in Nevada, but some impoverished communities see $$

May 18, 2019 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA | Leave a comment

UK Labour Party’s plan for a Green Industrial Revolution

Solar Power Portal 16th May 2019 The Labour Party has announced plans to install solar one 1.75 million homes as part of a huge energy sector shake-up. The plans would see solar
installed on 1 million social homes in a bid to tackle fuel poverty, while
a series of interest free loans, grants and regulatory changes will help
enable an additional 750,000 domestic installs. Full details of the plans
are to be announced by Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn later today. The
party said the policies stood to create nearly 17,000 jobs, while raising
as much as £66 million for local authorities through the export of surplus
generation. Corbyn said that the party’s self-styled Green Industrial
Revolution would benefit homeowners and revive parts of the country through
the creation of new industries.

https://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/news/labour_party_unveils_new_solar_commitment_in_push_to_install_pv_on_1.75_mil

May 18, 2019 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Legal challenge to stop New Jersey bailout for nuclear power

New Jersey’s $300 Million Nuclear Power Bailout Is Facing a Court Challenge. Does It Have a Chance? The state’s utility advocate said regulators should not have approved the subsidies for the energy company PSEG.by Talia Buford , May 16,

But some of the board members who voted for subsidies had openly questioned the need for them, echoing concerns expressed by the board’s staff and objections raised by utility watchdogs.

Now, the unusual circumstances around the vote are the basis of a legal challenge by the state-appointed utility advocate, who says the subsidies — and the surcharge financing them — should be cut off.

In an appeal filed on Wednesday in state court, Stefanie Brand, the state’s rate counsel, said that by ignoring its own staff experts and providing little basis for the amount of the surcharge, the board had violated the law.

“It’s very unusual and inconsistent with the statute,” Brand said.

But will that argument persuade a court?

“It’s hard, in general, to beat regulators at their own game,” said Ari Peskoe, a lawyer and director of the Electricity Law Initiative at the Harvard Law School. ……..

“The significant thing about this filing is the rate counsel was given this on a silver platter on why these subsidies are unwarranted,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. “It’s not a surprise that she’d be filing an appeal. I think the surprise is the ratepayer has such a strong case.”

The appeal focuses on four issues: the staff findings that PSEG didn’t meet the criteria for the subsidy; the board’s dismissal of those findings; the lack of reasoning for setting the subsidy rate at $0.004 per kilowatt hour, which was calculated to provide a total subsidy of $300 milion; and whether the amount of the subsidy represented clean-energy benefits as legislators claimed.

PSEG’s Hope Creek and Salem plants in Salem County make up the second-largest nuclear facility in the United States, and they serve as an economic anchor for the area, which is represented by New Jersey’s most powerful legislator, Senate President Stephen Sweeney. New Jersey passed its nuclear subsidy last year after intense lobbying by PSEG, which spent nearly $4 million in 2017 and 2018 on the effort.

Similar measures that offer incentives for nuclear plants to stay open after the companies have threatened to close them survived challenges in federal court. This month, Pennsylvania legislators said they didn’t have the support to bring the proposed subsidy bill to a vote, prompting Exelon to announce plans to close Three Mile Island nuclear plant in September.

Since the debate over the New Jersey measure began in 2017, Brand has questioned how legislators came up with the amount of the subsidy…….

At the board meeting last month, BPU staff and an independent consultant reported that PSEG was including some ineligible costs and inflating others in an attempt to satisfy the statute’s requirements, but they said that the facilities were not actually in danger of closing. …….

While the run-up to the BPU vote was marked by full-page newspaper ads and stories in local media, the only indication that customers were subsidizing PSEG’s nuclear plants was, for some, a note on the top corner of their latest bills. https://www.propublica.org/article/new-jerseys-300-million-nuclear-power-bailout-is-facing-a-court-challenge-does-it-have-a-chance#

May 18, 2019 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear Power Is Not Safe

May 16, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety | Leave a comment

Women poorly represented in, and disparaged by, the nuclear security “priesthood”

The Nuclear Weapons Sisterhood,  It’s hard for women to be hired, promoted or taken seriously in the national security establishment. NYT, By Carol Giacomo, Ms. Giacomo is a member of the editorial board, May 15, 2019 In the mid-1990s, Laura Holgate, then a senior Defense Department official, was in Moscow leading a delegation to discuss ways the United States could help the Russians secure plutonium from dismantled nuclear weapons.

image – New York Times

After a male Russian official gave a confusing explanation about the Kremlin’s storage plans, she sought clarification. The Russian, his voice dripping with sarcasm, offered to “put this in terms a woman would understand” and then described loading plutonium into a “cooking pot and putting a lid on it.”

……. For women, people of color and transgender people, sexism, discrimination and harassment are often barriers to being hired, promoted or taken seriously in the national security bureaucracy — overseas and at home.

…….Women are particularly underrepresented in senior positions dealing with nuclear issues, according to a study by New America, part of a growing effort involving various groups and individuals to make the fields more welcoming to women.

Part of the problem is the discipline itself, the study found. Policies involving the building, deployment, targeting and use of nuclear weapons have long been the province of an insular, innovation-averse group of men. Discussions by this “priesthood” conflate national security and manliness with sexualized jargon about vertical erector launchers and thrust-to-weight ratios. The demand for nuclear orthodoxy has excluded outsiders, particularly women, placing them in a “consensual straitjacket” of conformity in a male-dominated world.

Just consider Donald Regan, the former White House chief of staff, who before President Ronald Reagan’s summit with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 said women were “not going to understand throw-weights” or other national security issues raised at the meeting.

The numbers show how this order became so entrenched. From the 1970s to 2019, the study found, women held 11 of 68 of senior positions dealing with nuclear weapons, arms control and nonproliferation at the State Department, 13 of 109 of these jobs at the now-defunct Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, five of 63 at the Defense Department, five of 36 at the Energy Department and two of 21 national security adviser positions. ……

o be successful in these posts so critical to national security, women pay a “gender tax,” performing “the constant mental and emotional calculus that comes with implicit sexism; explicit sexism and discrimination; gender and sexual harassment; and gendered expectations,” according to the New America study, based on interviews with 23 women who held senior government positions.

Nearly all of the 23 said they were harassed or saw others harassed, and when a foreign official was involved, the stress was magnified because it could cause an international incident.

During a round-table discussion with Global Politico in 2017, Laura Rosenberger, who spent 11 years at the State Department and the National Security Council, talked about wearing more pantsuits and baggier tops as a defense mechanism “to make myself seem less attractive in the workplace.”


Mieke Eoyang,
 who served 12 years as a staff member on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Intelligence Committee, has described how she would walk into a meeting and be asked to get coffee or how a committee chairman cornered her at a reception to discuss his sexual prowess. ….

To encourage progress, Pamela Hamamoto, who served as United States ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, began a program called Gender Champions to identify international leaders committed to advancing women, and Ms. Holgate, a former United States ambassador to the United Nations in Vienna, replicated it in the United States. …..https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/15/opinion/women-national-security.html

May 16, 2019 Posted by | USA, Women | Leave a comment

Iran officially ends some of its nuclear deal commitments, local media reports

CNBC, MAY 15 2019    Natasha Turak@NATASHATURAKA “program has been launched” to end some of Iran’s obligations to the 2015 nuclear deal on orders from the country’s Supreme National Security Council, the Iranian Students’ News Agency reported…… https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/15/iran-officially-ends-some-of-its-nuclear-deal-commitments-isna.html

May 16, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Distress in Pacific Island governments, over climate change, and Australia’s inaction on this

UN secretary-general meets Pacific leaders to discuss ‘global catastrophe’ of climate change ABC By foreign affairs reporter Stephen Dziedzic , 15 May 19

  • UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said the Pacific is on the “front line of climate change”
  • Pacific leaders have voiced frustration over Australia’s failure to curb its emissions
  • Australian politicians say rapidly cutting emissions would be “ruinous” for Australia

Regional heavyweights had gathered at an historic climate change summit convened with the UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres.

Mr Guterres is intent on building global momentum for sharper cuts to emissions, arguing that drastic action is necessary to stave off ecological disaster.

The Pacific is on the “front line of climate change”, Mr Guterres told the meeting.

“It has a unique moral authority to speak out. It’s time for the world to listen.”

Senior Australian officials at the meeting could do little else; sent in the place of Prime Minister Scott Morrison only days before the federal election, they were bound to observer status by the caretaker conventions.

As a result, Australia did not sign up to the final statement by Pacific leaders, which declared climate change a “global catastrophe” and called for “transformative action” to stop it……

while Pacific leaders have praised New Zealand’s announcement that it wants to go carbon neutral by 2050, many are frustrated that Australia has failed to curb its emissions.

One Pacific official told the ABC the meeting’s call for radical action on climate change “really was aimed at the whole globe” but “for those in the room [it] was a message for one country”.

“Of course no-one said Australia. No-one needed to say Australia,” the official said. “What other country in the room could we be referring to?”

The outspoken Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele, went much further, wading straight into Australia’s election campaign during the post-summit press conference…….

decision makers in Canberra also know that the Pacific is increasingly impatient about Australia’s long and painful debate on climate policy.

The argument will flare up again in only months when regional leaders gather for the Pacific Islands Forum on tiny Tuvalu, which has long been a vocal champion for drastic climate action.

And this time, Australia will not be sitting on the sidelines. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-16/guterres-antonio-un-pacific-meeting-climate-change/11115816

May 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, OCEANIA, politics international | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby pushing for tax-payer funds, pretending that nuclear power is “clean”

May 16, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | Leave a comment

Chinese public’s trust in government means that nuclear power better able to go ahead in China

May 16, 2019 Posted by | China, public opinion | 2 Comments

How to avoid nuclear confrontation between India and Pakistan

WILL INDIA AND PAKISTAN BE ABLE TO STEP BACK FROM NUCLEAR DANGER? Arms Control Wonk, by Michael Krepon | May 13, 2019    Dark clouds are gathering. The Trump administration seems headed toward pre-emptive strikes against Iran. This progression began when Donald Trump walked away from the deal struck by President Obama, the European Union, Russia and China freezing advances in Iran’s nuclear weapon-related activities. Next, not unexpectedly, was Tehran’s threat to get back in the business of serious uranium enrichment in response to the U.S. walk out and Europe’s likely inability to circumvent Washington’s secondary sanctions. If Tehran follows through or if there is another prompt, the following step in this progression would be to set back Iran’s nuclear program several years by bombing the hell out of it. Conciliators be damned: Cue to the mission accomplished banners and drop the confetti.

If India’s new government has the wisdom to try once more to move away from confrontation, there is no shortage of confidence-building and nuclear risk-reduction measures to pursue. Every Indian and Pakistani diplomat worth his or her salt can quickly identify a half-dozen worthwhile measures that would not diminish security while helping to place time and space before another clash. If enough time and space are added, there may not be another clash.

May 14, 2019 Posted by | India, Pakistan, politics international | Leave a comment