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From space, the human impact on the Amazon is clearly visible

From space, you can clearly see the human impact on the Amazon, ABC News, 19 Sep 19, [excellent pictures] , By Michael Slezak and Mark Doman  As thick plumes of smoke blanketed Brazil’s most populous city Sao Paulo, global attention turned to the cause.

The Amazon, the world’s most biodiverse rainforest, was burning at a rate not seen in almost a decade.

It was decried as a global tragedy. Lit by farmers, the fires raged through villages, destroyed ecosystems and pumped climate-warming pollution into the atmosphere.

The Brazilian government, which has been criticised for winding back protections of the Amazon, sent in the army and slapped a temporary ban on fires used to clear land.

But one month on, the fires are still burning.

It’s a vicious circle as fire after fire, as well as other farming activities, damage surrounding forests making them more prone to future fires.

The cycle has alarmed some scientists who fear the rainforest is being pushed closer toward a tipping point they call the “dieback scenario”, where the forests enter an irreversible cycle of collapse.

“This year it is a correct statement that most of the fires are on previously cleared lands or are deforesting lands immediately adjacent to them,” said Professor Mark Cochrane, an expert in Amazon deforestation from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

That’s the case most years, since fires are lit by farmers and usually can only spread through disturbed forest. An exception is during severe droughts, when fires can spread through less disturbed forest, Professor Cochrane said.

But he said this year was “exceptional in recent memory” because of the proportion of the ongoing fires were being used for deforestation, rather than merely for the maintenance of previously deforested areas.

The latest data shows a dramatic uptick in land clearing in July and August, just as the fires took hold. …….. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-19/satellite-images-of-amazon-reveals-human-impact-of-fires/11478580

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September 19, 2019 Posted by | climate change, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Emigration from Central America is driven by climate change

How climate change is driving emigration from Central America, The Conversation, Miranda Cady Hallett
Associate Professor of Anthropology and Human Rights Center Research Fellow, University of Dayton September 6, 2019
“………. Rising global temperatures, the spread of crop disease and extreme weather events have made coffee harvests unreliable in places like El Salvador. On top of that, market prices are unpredictable.
In the back of the pickup truck that day, we talked about gangs too. There was increasing criminal activity in the town nearby, and some young people in the town were being harassed and recruited. But this was a relatively new issue for the community, layered on top of the persistent problem of the ecological crisis.  …….      situation is reflective of a much broader global phenomenon of people leaving their homes, directly or indirectly due to climate change and the degradation of their local ecosystem. ….

Land and livelihood

Migration from Central America has gotten a lot of attention these days, including the famous migrant caravans. But much of it focuses on the way migrants from this region – especially El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras – are driven out by gang violencecorruption and political upheaval.

These factors are important and require a response from the international community. But displacement driven by climate change is significant too…….

Studies show that displacement often happens indirectly through the impact of climate change on agricultural livelihoods, with some areas pressured more than others. But some are more dramatic: Both Honduras and Nicaragua are among the top 10 countries most impacted by extreme weather events between 1998 and 2017.

Since 2014, a serious drought has decimated crops in Central America’s so-called dry corridor along the Pacific Coast. By impacting smallholder farmers in El SalvadorGuatemala and Honduras, this drought helps to drive higher levels of migration from the region.

Coffee production, a critical support for these countries’ economies, is especially vulnerable and sensitive to weather variations. A recent outbreak of coffee leaf rust in the region was likely exacerbated by climate change.

The fallout from that plague combines with the recent collapse in global coffee prices to spur desperate farmers to give up.

Compounding factor

These trends have led experts at the World Bank to claim that around 2 million people are likely to be displaced from Central America by the year 2050 due to factors related to climate change. Of course, it’s hard to tease out the “push factor” of climate change from all of the other reasons that people need to leave. And unfortunately, these phenomena interact and tend to exacerbate each other……..

For several years now, scholars and legal advocates have been asking how to respond to people displaced by environmental conditions. Do existing models of humanitarian response and resettlement work for this new population? Could such persons be recognized as in need of protection under international law, similar to political refugees?

Among the most complicated political questions is who should step up to deal with the harms of climate change, considering that wealthier countries pollute more but are often shielded from the worst effects. How can responsibility be assigned, and more importantly, what is to be done?
In the absence of coordinated action on the part of the global community to mitigate ecological instability and recognize the plight of displaced people, there’s a risk of what some have called “climate apartheid.” In this scenario – climate change combined with closed borders and few migration pathways – millions of people would be forced to choose between increasingly insecure livelihoods and the perils of unauthorized migration.  https://theconversation.com/how-climate-change-is-driving-emigration-from-central-america-121525?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20September%206%202019%20-%201403413223&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20September%206%202019%20-%201403413223+CID_a3ca619b732b0adcb04969116dc

September 7, 2019 Posted by | climate change, SOUTH AMERICA | 1 Comment

International calls for urgent action on climate, as new fires rage in Amazon forests

August 27, 2019 Posted by | Brazil, climate change | Leave a comment

New fires – hundreds – in Amazon rainforests

Amazon rainforest burning at record rate

Hundreds of new fires rage in the Amazon as G7 leaders offer assistance, SBS 26 Aug 19  Hundreds of new fires are raging in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, official data showed, as world leaders at the G7 Summit agree to pitch in and help fight the worst blazes in years following a global outcry.

Leaders of the world’s major industrialised nations are close to an agreement on how to help fight the Amazon forest fires and try to repair the devastation.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the G7 countries comprising the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Britain and Canada, were finalising a possible deal on “technical and financial help”.

“There’s a real convergence to say: ‘let’s all agree to help those countries hit by these fires’,” he told reporters in Biarritz on Sunday.

Macron shunted the Amazon fires to the top of the summit agenda after declaring them a global emergency, and kicked off discussions about the disaster at a welcome dinner for fellow leaders on Saturday.

An EU official, who declined to be named, said the G7 leaders had agreed to do everything they could to help tackle the fires, giving Macron a mandate to contact all the countries in the Amazon region to see what was needed.

“It was the easiest part of the talks,” the official said.

A record number of fires are ravaging the rainforest, many of them in Brazil, drawing international concern because of the Amazon’s importance to the global environment……. https://www.sbs.com.au/news/hundreds-of-new-fires-rage-in-the-amazon-as-g7-leaders-offer-assistance

August 26, 2019 Posted by | Brazil, climate change | 2 Comments

Life on Earth threatened by climate change – loss of Amazon Forests

ONE OF the easiest ways to combat climate change is to stop tearing down old trees. This is why it is everyone’s problem that new Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro seems determined to chop away at the Amazon rainforest, the world’s greatest reserve of old-growth forest.

According to a recent analysis in the New York Times, “enforcement actions by Brazil’s main environmental agency fell by 20 percent during the first six months of the year, compared with the same period in 2018.” Fines, warnings and the elimination of illegal equipment from preservation zones are among the measures Brazil’s authorities are doing less often. “The drop means that vast stretches of the rain forest can be torn down with less resistance from the nation’s authorities.” The result has been a loss of 1,330 square miles of rainforest since January, a loss rate that is some 40 percent higher than a year previous, according to Brazilian government records.

Mr. Bolsonaro has called his own government’s information “lies,” stripped the environment ministry of authorities and slashed the environmental budget. When eight former environment ministers protested in May, current environment minister Ricardo Salles allegedthat there is a “permanent and well-orchestrated defamation campaign by [nongovernmental organizations] and supposed experts, within and outside of Brazil.”

In its reality denial, Mr. Bolsonaro’s brand of right-wing populism closely resembles that of President Trump. Both leaders stoke unfounded suspicions that environmental concerns represent foreign plots to undermine the domestic economy. Both are committed to breakneck resource extraction while dismissing expert warnings. And both lead nations with special responsibilities in the global fight against climate change. Global warming cannot be successfully addressed without the engagement of the United States, the world’s largest historical emitter of greenhouse gases and erstwhile leader. The Brazilian Amazon, meanwhile, is a unique natural treasure, its abundance of plant life inhaling and storing loads of planet-warming carbon dioxide day and night. Without “the world’s lungs,” life on the planet is doomed.

Earlier this month, the journal Science published a paper finding that, if world leaders made reforestation a priority, the planet’s ecosystems could accommodate massive numbers of new trees — perhaps hundreds of billions more. True, reforestation advocates would no doubt have to compete with those who would use land for other purposes, particularly as the world population increases. Even so, the paper’s authors note, their work “highlights global tree restoration as our most effective climate change solution to date.”

This is not to say that the fight against global warming is as easy as planting a few, or even billions, of trees, if such a thing were politically or logistically feasible. As long as humans depend on carbon-emitting sources of fuel for energy, the atmosphere’s chemistry will continue to change and the climate will be in peril. But it does suggest that leaders such as Mr. Bolsonaro, who are leading in the opposite direction, can do particularly extreme damage to the effort to restrain climate change.

August 26, 2019 Posted by | Brazil, climate change, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Massive wildfires are burning across the world- July was hottest month ever

August 24, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, Brazil, climate change | 1 Comment

The nuclear accidents we don’t hear about – The Goiânia Accident

August 3, 2019 Posted by | Brazil, incidents, Reference | Leave a comment

China wants to sell nuclear technology to Argentina – but big problems plague the industry

 Once again, the media here mindlessly regurgitates nuclear lobby propaganda that nuclear power is “zero carbon”.   It’s not. Even the reactor’s operation emits a timy amount of carbon 14. But, more importantly, the entire fuel chain, and all its transport, from uranium mining through to the disposal of wastes and of the dead reactor –  is highly carbon emitting.

Even if nuclear power were low carbon (which it’s not), it would require thousands of reactors to be built very very quickly, in order to have any effect on global warming.
Meanwhile, funds, and energy are being diverted from genuinely useful measures, in renewable energy, and above all, in energy conservation.

                                  *************************************************************************

China eyes Argentina in global nuclear roll out, China Dialogue, Lili Pike, Fermín Koop, 04.06.2019  “……. Costs, emissions and safety at stake as Argentina and China look set to seal a nuclear power ……… With China looking to increase its nuclear power exports and countries seeking low-carbon electricity, the project in Argentina could be the beginning of a China-led renaissance. However, concerns over the cost and safety of nuclear power continue to plague the technology…….

https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/11293-China-eyes-Argentina-in-global-nuclear-roll-out

June 10, 2019 Posted by | China, marketing, SOUTH AMERICA | 1 Comment

Ecuador will hand over Julian Assange’s entire legal defense to the United States

  1. Ecuador to hand over Assange’s entire legal defense to the United States  20 May 2019  https://wikileaks.org/Ecuador-to-hand-over.html

Three weeks before the U.S. deadline to file its final extradition request for Assange, Ecuadorian officials are travelling to London to allow U.S. prosecutors to help themselves to Assange’s belongings.

Neither Julian Assange nor U.N. officials have been permitted to be present when Ecuadorian officials arrive to Ecuador’s embassy in London on Monday morning.

The chain of custody has already been broken. Assange’s lawyers will not be present at the illegal seizure of his property, which has been “requested by the authorities of the United States of America”.

The material includes two of his manuscripts, as well as his legal papers, medical records and electronic equipment. The seizure of his belongings violates laws that protect medical and legal confidentiality and press protections.

The seizure is formally listed as “International Assistance in Criminal matters 376-2018-WTT requested by the authorities of the United States of America”. The reference number of the legal papers indicates that Ecuador’s formal cooperation with the United States was initiated in 2018.

Since the day of his arrest on 11 April 2019, Mr. Assange’s lawyers and the Australian consul have made dozens of documented demands to the embassy of Ecuador for the release and return of his belongings, without response. Continue reading

May 23, 2019 Posted by | civil liberties, SOUTH AMERICA, USA | Leave a comment

Former Brazilian President Michel Temer indicted on corruption charges Involving nuclear plant bribes

Former Brazilian President Michel Temer was indicted on Tuesday on corruption charges brought by prosecutors who said he took part in a bribery scheme related to the Angra 3 nuclear power plant complex on the coast near Rio de Janeiro.

The case is part of Operation Car Wash, Brazil’s largest corruption investigation, which has put dozens of businessmen and politicians in jail since 2014.

Federal Judge Marcelo Bretas accepted charges of corruption and money laundering against Temer, his former energy minister, Wellington Moreira Franco, and six other close aides.

Temer, who left the presidency just three months ago, was arrested with the others on March 21 and released four days later. They all deny any wrongdoing.

Prosecutors said the graft at Angra was one action of a “criminal organization” that Temer had run during his four decades in public life, which they alleged received or arranged upward of 1.8 billion reais ($462.5 million) in bribes.

The investigation into kickbacks on the nuclear plant’s construction contract involves the Brazilian subsidiary of Swedish consulting firm AF Poyry, along with Brazilian engineering firms Engevix and Argeplan.

The Swedish company declined to comment on an ongoing investigation. Engevix and Argeplan did not reply to requests for comment……. https://www.voanews.com/a/brazil-ex-president-temer-indicted-on-charges-involving-nuclear-plant-bribes/4859686.html

April 4, 2019 Posted by | Brazil, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Brazil’s former president Michel Temer arrested on charges of corruption relating to Angra 3 nuclear plant.

Guardian 21st March 2019 Brazil’s former president Michel Temer – who played a key role in the 2016 impeachment of his rival Dilma Rousseff – has been arrested by federal police while driving in São Paulo.

Judge Marcelo Breitas issued arrest warrants on Thursday for Temer and nine others in “Operation Radioactivity” – part of Operation Car Wash, the country’s largest ever corruption investigation, which has led to the convictions of numerous
members of Brazil’s political elite.

Federal prosecutors in Rio de Janeiro said Temer had led “a criminal organization”, which was involved in the construction of Brazil’s Angra 3 nuclear plant. According to prosecutors, Temer received a R$1m bribe in exchange for awarding three
companies a construction contract for the nuclear facility.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/21/brazils-former-president-michel-temer-arrested-in-corruption-investigation

March 25, 2019 Posted by | Brazil, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Nuclear convoy in Brazil attacked by armed men

A convoy carrying uranium to a Brazilian nuclear plant was attacked by armed men, Task and Purpose,   RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Armed men shot at members of a convoy transporting uranium to one of Brazil’s two working nuclear power plants on a coastal road in Rio de Janeiro state on Tuesday, police and the company managing the plant said.

They said the truck carrying the nuclear fuel and its police escort came under attack when it was passing by the town of Frade, about 30 km (19 miles) from Angra dos Reis, where the reactor is located.

Policemen guarding the convoy returned the attackers’ fire, police said. They said there were no injuries or arrests and the armed men fled……..

police escorting the truck fanned out alongside the road as a precautionary measure after hearing nearby gunshots. The armed men then started firing on some of the heavily armed “shock battalion” accompanying the shipment, Eletronuclear said.

The nuclear fuel used in the two reactors in Brazil, Angra 1 and Angra 2, is produced in a government installation in Resende, a city in the interior of Rio de Janeiro state located 130 km (80.78 miles) from Angra dos Reis……. https://taskandpurpose.com/a-convoy-carrying-uranium-to-a-brazilian-nuclear-plant-was-attacked-by-armed-men

March 25, 2019 Posted by | Brazil, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Nuclear transport trucks in the thick of gang gunfire in Brazil

Brazilian drug gang opens fire on convoy of trucks carrying nuclear fuel, Guardian Dom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro 20 Mar 2019 Latest incident raises concerns about Brazil’s nuclear security in a state struggling with violent crime A convoy of trucks carrying nuclear fuel came under armed attack on a highway in Rio de Janeiro state on Tuesday as it drove past a community controlled by a drug gang. Gang members armed with rifles opened fire on the convoy, Rio’s O Globo newspaper said.

Armed police escorting the convoy exchanged fire with armed gang members as the trucks carrying uranium continued to a nearby nuclear plant. The attack is the latest of several violent incidents in the area where Brazil has two nuclear reactors and has raised concerns about its nuclear security in a state struggling with high levels of violent crime.

The attack happened as the convoy passed the Frade community around noon near the tourist town of Angra dos Reis in the Green Coast (Costa Verde), around 200km from Rio de Janeiro. It reached the Angra 2 nuclear plant less than half an hour later, Brazil’s nuclear agency said……

Typically, such convoys have around five or six trucks and are escorted by regular police and motorbike outriders from Brazil’s Federal Highway police, the Eletronuclear spokesman Marco Antonio Alves told the Guardian. It was carrying uranium fuel to supply the Angra 2 nuclear power plant, which began operating in 2001. ……. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/20/brazilian-drug-gang-opens-fire-on-convoy-of-trucks-carrying-nuclear-fuel?CMP=share_btn_fb&fbclid=IwAR3RPlZ7l2eqbDbUKOavFnccBnocR5AjCpeedTMeCQT7686-HKxuii8rfwE

Comment by  Raymond John Cockram I‘m figuring the probability that it was refined into fuel rods is closer to the truth given it was on its way to the reactor site, what you need to remember is that the Brazilian President is a self confessed fascist so media manipulation MUST be expected.

March 21, 2019 Posted by | Brazil, incidents | Leave a comment

Brazil Seeks Nuclear Pact With U.S. During Bolsonaro’s Visit

Bloomberg, By  Sabrina Valle  March 15, 2019, 
  •  Minister says he wants Brazil open to uranium mining companies
  •  Government also supports construction of new nuclear plants

Brazil’s energy minister said the country plans to sign an accord next week with President Donald J. Trump that could pave the way for U.S. companies to explore the Latin American country for uranium and invest in new nuclear-power plants.

Bento Albuquerque, a former admiral who once ran the Brazilian Navy’s atomic program, met with U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry in Houston this week and discussed creating a bilateral forum on energy cooperation that would include nuclear projects. That’s expected to be part of a memorandum signed by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on his first trip to the White House next week, Albuquerque said Thursday in an interview.

The proposed collaboration is another element of the Bolsonaro administration’s push to align with Trump……https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-14/brazil-seeks-nuclear-pact-with-u-s-during-bolsonaro-s-visit

March 16, 2019 Posted by | Brazil, marketing, USA | Leave a comment

Brazil moving towards nuclear-powered submarine

February 9, 2019 Posted by | Brazil, weapons and war | 1 Comment