Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Warning - Use of Fossil Fuels Must Rapidly Decline - Very Soon

From YouTube - Thom Hartmann & Dr Michael Mann (August 30th 2016)

Geologists search for Anthropocene 'golden spike'

From the BBC - the notion that we have entered a new geological age is real and should be formally recognised, according to an international report.

"The verdict comes from a panel set up to judge the merits of adding an Anthropocene ("Age of Humans") time segment to the history of the Earth.

The group delivered its preliminary evidence and recommendations on Monday.

It now needs to identify a suitable marker in the environment that epitomises the start of the new phase.

Colin Waters from the British Geological Survey is secretary to the Anthropocene Work Group (AWG). He presented the progress report to the 35th International Geological Congress in South Africa.

"This is an update on where we are in our discussions," he told BBC News.

"We've got to a point where we've listed what we think the Anthropocene means to us as a working group.

"The majority of us think it is real; that there is clearly something happening; that there are clearly signals in the environment that are recognisable and make the Anthropocene a distinct unit; and the majority of us think it would be justified to formally recognise it."

The full article can be read here.

North Dakota oil pipeline protesters stand their ground: 'This is sacred land'

From the Guardian - pipeline’s planned route takes it close to Standing Rock Sioux reservation and Cannon Ball, which could endanger drinking water and threaten sacred sites.

"The Cannonball river flows into the mighty Missouri about 50 miles due south of Bismarck, North Dakota.

At its confluence, a protest encampment – really a series of camps, on both sides of the Cannonball, strewn with kitchens and canteens, portable toilets, stabling for horses, sweat lodges and tall teepees, and stands selling indigenous art – has sprung up.

The inhabitants are there to block the planned $3.7bn Dakota Access Pipeline, which would transport fracked crude from the Bakken oil field in North Dakota to a refinery near Chicago.

Many at the encampment speak of two prophecies, dating back to the 1890s. A leader called Black Elk foretold that in seven generations, the Native American nations will unite to save the Earth; another legend predicted that a zuzeca snake – a black snake – would threaten the world. For many of the protesters here, the pipeline is that black snake. They are the seventh generation: their moment of destiny has come."

The full article can be read here.

Climate change predicted to halve coffee-growing area that supports 120m people

From the Guardian - more than 120 million of the world’s poorest depend on the coffee economy, a report says, and their livelihoods are already suffering from temperature rises.

"Climate change is going to halve the area suitable for coffee production and impact the livelihoods of more than 120 million of the world’s poorest people who rely on the coffee economy, according to a new report by the Climate Institute, commissioned by Fairtrade Australia & New Zealand.

The report findings follow stark warnings by some of the world’s biggest coffee producers, including Starbucks and Lavazza, who have said climate change is posing a severe risk to the industry.

Climate change is already impacting coffee crops around the world, according to the report. In Tanzania, where 2.4 million people’s livelihoods rely on coffee, production has fallen by about 137kg per hectare for every 1C rise in the minimum temperature on farms. Overall there has been a 50% decline there since the 1960s."

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

World first for Shetlands in tidal power breakthrough

From the Guardian - Nova Innovation deploys first fully operational array of tidal power turbines in the Bluebell Sound.

"A power company in Shetland has claimed a breakthrough in the race to develop viable offshore tidal stations after successfully feeding electricity to local homes.

Nova Innovation said it had deployed the world’s first fully operational array of tidal power turbines in the Bluemull Sound between the islands of Unst and Yell in the north of Shetland, where the North Sea meets the Atlantic.

It switched on the second of five 100kW turbines due to be installed in the sound this month, sending electricity on a commercial basis into Shetland’s local grid.

Existing tidal schemes use single power plants or installations rather than a chain of separate turbines. A French company, OpenHydro, says it too is very close to linking two tidal machines, off Brittany, to build a more powerful 1MW array."

Monday, 29 August 2016

Norway lightning strike kills 323 reindeer

From the Independent - thousands of reindeer migrate across the barren Hardanangervidda plateau as the seasons change.

"More than 300 wild reindeer have been killed by lighting in central Norway in what wildlife officials are calling an unusually large natural disaster.

The Norwegian Environment Agency has released eerie images showing a jumble of reindeer carcasses scattered across a small area on the Hardangervidda mountain plateau. The agency says 323 animals were killed, including 70 calves, in the lightning storm Friday.

Agency spokesman Kjartan Knutsen told the AP it's not uncommon for reindeer or other wildlife to be killed by lightning strikes, "but we have not heard about such numbers before."

The full article can be read here.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Families flee homes as flash floods, lightning and GOLF BALL size hailstones hit UK

From the Express - extreme weather wreaked havoc across parts of the UK yesterday as golf ball sized hail stones rained down and the country was hit by a massive lightning storm.

"Emergency crews have spent the day pumping out water from homes after a number of incidents were caused by a massive storm which rolled through the middle of England even taking down a supermarket roof.

Flash floods bringing rainfall of up to 50mm hit parts of the country as a ferocious lightning storm crossed the mid section and headed eastwards in the late afternoon.

The village of Kirkton was deluged in water as golf ball sized hail stones slammed down in the streets of Deeping in Lincolnshire.

They also pelted the ground from morning till afternoon in Oxford."

The full article can be read here.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Nuclear security: Government pouring millions into steeling power plants from potential terror attacks

From the Independent - while forces around the country have seen their budgets slashed under the Tories, funding for the nuclear authority has risen by 55 per cent since 2010.

"Millions of pounds in extra funding is being pumped into the armed police force tasked to protect Britain’s nuclear power stations from terror strikes, The Independent can now reveal.

The drive to steel Britain’s nuclear facilities against future attack has seen spending soar to the point that it has almost tripled since the 7/7 bombings, over a period when other forces faced deep cuts.

The specialist service, which also guards the transport of nuclear matter that could potentially be weaponised, had its spending power boosted six per cent in the last year alone, with the lion’s share going towards staffing."

Friday, 26 August 2016

American pika vanishing from western US as 'habitat lost to climate change'

From the Guardian - the small mammal – ‘one of the cutest animals in America’ – is struggling to survive as summers get hotter and drier.

"Populations of a rabbit-like animal known as the American pika are vanishing in many mountainous areas of the west as climate change alters its habitat, according to findings released by the US Geological Survey.

The range for the mountain-dwelling herbivore is shrinking in southern Utah, north-eastern California and in the Great Basin that covers most of Nevada and parts of Utah, Oregon, Idaho and California, the federal agency concluded after studying the mammal from 2012-2015.

This study’s conclusion marks a more authoritative statement about the role of global warming on the animal compared to research released in 2003 that found climate change was at least partly contributing to the animal’s decline."

A related article from the Independent - watch President Obama visit Yosemite National Park in virtual reality.

“We know that protecting and preserving places like Yosemite, and all of our National Parks, is more important today than ever,” he says in the film. “As we look ahead, in the coming years and decades, the changing and rising temperatures mean that birds and mammals who made their home at Yosemite for thousands of years are moving to escape the heat,” he says in the film. "

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Bill Nye the 'Science Guy' calls out 'climate change denier' on CNN in wake of Louisiana flooding

From the Independent:

"Bill Nye the "Science Guy" has warned that the floods in Louisiana “will get worse” as the oceans rise and temperatures warm, and he condemned the network for denying climate change.

“Here at CNN you seem to have a climate change meteorologist,” he said.

“You can knock yourselves out, but this is a big problem. It’s not going to go away.”

Mr Nye, chief executive of the Planetary Society, did not mention any names but was likely referring to Chad Myers, who said in 2008 that it would be “arrogant” to think that humans could affect weather.

Mr Myers responded in an article that he fully accepted climate change in 2013.

In an interview with Chris Cuomo, Mr Nye said the flooding would “certainly” happen again and become larger in scale, even if individual floods were hard to predict.

The full article can be read here.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Blue lakes are appearing in Antarctica – and that’s a bad thing

From the Independent - changes could be weakening the ice shelf, scientists fear.

"In a new study, scientists who study the largest ice mass on Earth – East Antarctica – have found that it is showing a surprising feature reminiscent of the fastest melting one: Greenland.

More specifically, the satellite-based study found that atop the coastal Langhovde Glacier in East Antarctica’s Dronning Maud Land, large numbers of “supraglacial” or meltwater lakes have been forming – nearly 8,000 of them during summer months between the year 2000 and 2013. Moreover, in some cases, just as in Greenland, these lakes appear to have then been draining down into the floating parts of the glacier, potentially weakening it and making it more likely to fracture and break apart.

This is the first time that such a drainage phenomenon has been observed in East Antarctica, the researchers say – though it was previously spotted on the warmer Antarctic Peninsula and was likely part of what drove spectacular events there like the shattering of the Larsen B ice shelf in 2002.

When it comes to East Antarctica, however, “that’s the part of the continent where people have for quite a long time assumed that it’s relatively stable, there’s not a huge amount of change, it’s very, very cold, and so, it’s only very recently that the first supraglacial lakes, on top of the ice, were identified,” said Stewart Jamieson, a glaciologist at Durham University in the UK and one of the study’s authors."

The full article can be read here.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Climate change will mean the end of national parks as we know them

From the US edition of the Guardian - as the National Parks Service turns 100 this week, we look at how receding ice, extreme heat and acidifying oceans are transforming America’s landscapes, and guardians of national parks face the herculean task of stopping it.

"After a century of shooing away hunters, tending to trails and helping visitors enjoy the wonder of the natural world, the guardians of America’s most treasured places have been handed an almost unimaginable new job – slowing the all-out assault climate change is waging against national parks across the nation.

As the National Parks Service (NPS) has charted the loss of glaciers, sea level rise and increase in wildfires spurred by rising temperatures in recent years, the scale of the threat to US heritage across the 412 national parks and monuments has become starkly apparent.

As the National Parks Service turns 100 this week, their efforts to chart and stem the threat to the country’s history faces a daunting task. America’s grand symbols and painstakingly preserved archaeological sites are at risk of being winnowed away by the crashing waves, wildfires and erosion triggered by warming temperatures.

The Statue of Liberty is at “high exposure” risk from increasingly punishing storms. A national monument dedicated to abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who will be enshrined on a new $20 note, could be eaten away by rising tides in Maryland. The land once walked by Pocahontas and Captain John Smith in Jamestown, the first English settlement in the US, is surrounded by waters rising at twice the global average and may be beyond rescue.These threats are the latest in a pile of identified calamities to befall national parks and monuments due to climate change. Receding ice, extreme heat and acidifying oceans are morphing America’s landscapes and coasts at a faster pace than at any time in human history."

Monday, 22 August 2016

Inuit fear they will be overwhelmed as ‘extinction tourism’ descends on Arctic

From the Guardian - visit of giant cruise ship will bring money and tourists to the Northwest Passage, but fears grow for the area’s people and its ecosystem.

"In a few days, one of the world’s largest cruise ships, the Crystal Serenity, will visit the tiny Inuit village of Ulukhaktok in northern Canada. Hundreds of passengers will be ferried to the little community, more than doubling its population of around 400. The Serenity will then raise anchor and head through the Northwest Passage to visit several more Inuit settlements before sailing to Greenland and finally New York.

It will be a massive undertaking, representing an almost tenfold increase in passenger numbers taken through the Arctic on a single vessel – and it has triggered considerable controversy among Arctic experts. Inuit leaders fear that visits by giant cruise ships could overwhelm fragile communities, while others warn that the Arctic ecosystem, already suffering the effects of global warming, could be seriously damaged.

“This is extinction tourism,” said international law expert Professor Michael Byers, of the University of British Columbia. “Making this trip has only become possible because carbon emissions have so warmed the atmosphere that Arctic sea ice in summer is disappearing. The terrible irony is that this ship – which even has a helicopter for sightseeing and a huge staff-to-passenger ratio – has an enormous carbon footprint that is only going to make things even worse in the Arctic.”

The full article can be read here.

Canada’s 'dirty oil' climate change dilemma

From the BBC:

"A debate is raging in Alberta over plans to get more "dirty oil" out of the ground, which some say is in conflict with Canada's environmental commitments. BBC HARDtalk went to investigate.

When Hanna Fridhed welcomed us into her home in Fort McMurray last month, there was no door to walk through and no windows to look out of, just the charred remains of a house obliterated by fire.

The culprit? The Beast - the name given to the massive wildfire that swept through northern Alberta in Canada in May, destroying parts of Fort McMurray and forcing the evacuation of its roughly 90,000 residents.

For many environmentalists, the wildfire was not simply a natural disaster but partly the result of man-made climate change, a point brought uncomfortably close to home by Fort McMurray's proximity to Alberta's vast oil sands deposits.

The oil sands, sometimes referred to as "dirty oil", have long been a target of climate change campaigners who insist that the energy-intensive extraction of oil sands and the greenhouse gas emissions it generates, mean most of the remaining deposits must stay in the ground."

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Time to listen to the ice scientists about the Arctic death spiral

From the Guardian - the Arctic ice is disappearing. We must reduce emissions, fast, or the human catastrophe predicted by ocean scientist Peter Wadhams will become a reality.

"...Peter Wadhams. The former director of the Scott Polar Research Institute and professor of ocean physics at Cambridge has spent his scientific life researching the ice world, or the cryosphere, and in just 30 years has seen unimaginable change.

When in 1970 he joined the first of what would be more than 50 polar expeditions, the Arctic sea ice covered around 8m sq km at its September minimum. Today, it hovers at around 3.4m, and is declining by 13% a decade. In 30 years Wadhams has seen the Arctic ice thin by 40%, the world change colour at its top and bottom and the ice disappear in front of his eyes.

In a new book, published just as July 2016 is confirmed by Nasa as the hottest month ever recorded, this most experienced and rational scientist states what so many other researchers privately fear but cannot publicly say – that the Arctic is approaching a death spiral which may see the entire remaining summer ice cover collapse in the near future."

The full article can be read here.

Scientists to launch global hunt for ‘line in the rock’ marking the ‘scary’ new man-made epoch

From the Independent - declaring we now live in the ‘Anthropocene’ would reflect the impact of artificial changes to the Earth's climate, chemistry, lifeforms and even the rocks of the future.

"A worldwide hunt for a “line in the rock” that shows the beginning of a new geological epoch defined by humanity’s extraordinary impact on planet Earth is expected to get underway in the next few weeks.

The idea that we are now living in the Anthropocene epoch has been gaining ground in recent years.

The surge in global temperatures by an average of one degree Celsius in little over a century, the burning of vast amounts of fossil fuels, the extinction of many animal species, the widespread use of nitrogen fertilisers, the deluge of plastic rubbish and a number of other factors have all caused changes that will remain visible in rocks for millions of years."

The full article can be read here.

Friday, 19 August 2016

GLOBAL FAMINE FEARS: Worry over world food shortages as Indian farmland turns to DUST

From the Express - fears are growing that the world could be heading towards global famine after scientists revealed that farmland in one of the planet's top agricultural producers is turning to DUST.

"Ecologists have raised serious concerns about the state of India, where more than a quarter of the land which was once fertile fields is now lying dry and barren.

The vast Asian country is one of the world's biggest food producers and provides the global supply chain with huge amounts of cereals, fruit and vegetables.

But, with both India and the world's population growing at alarming rates, farmland across the once fertile country is now being dangerously overused according to experts.

Satellite images from the Indian Space Research Organisation have laid bare the shocking rate of land degeneration, which leads to desertification and a loss of productivity."

The full article can be read here.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Alaskan village votes on whether to relocate because of climate change

From the Guardian - coastal village of Shishmaref, which is losing ground to rising sea levels, could become the first in the US to move over the threat of climate change.

"The residents of an Alaskan coastal village have begun voting on whether to relocate because of rising sea levels.

If they vote to move, the village of Shishmaref, just north of the Bering Strait, and its population of 650 people, could be the first in the US to do so because of climate change.

The village would be relocated at an estimated cost of $180m to a new location less threatened by rising waters and melting sea ice. Where it would move would be decided later in a town meeting, according to the city clerk’s office."

The Guardian view on the heatwave: still hope on climate change

From the Guardian:

"He might have added that the news about climate change is rarely good, either. As most of the UK enjoys a brief August heatwave, Nasa has confirmed that July was the hottest month the world has experienced since records began. Even in Britain, where most of the month was wet and cool and felt not very summery at all, it was by a narrow margin the warmest month in the past 130 years of record-keeping – and it was the 10th month in a row that a new high was set. Siberian permafrost is melting, releasing lethal anthrax bacteria from thawing reindeer carcasses into the environment. There are floods in southern Louisiana which have killed 11 people and in California thousands are fleeing from forest fires. The link between short-term weather events and long-term changes in the climate may be tenuous, but it’s just what the scientists warned about."

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Smallpox could return as Siberia's melting permafrost exposes ancient graves

From the Independent -

last known case of the deadly disease was in Somalia in 1977, but Russian scientists investigating an anthrax outbreak have found the virus's DNA in corpses once entombed in the frozen ground.

Smallpox – a deadly disease eradicated from the world in 1977 – could return as the frozen tundra of Siberia melts and releases the virus from the corpses of people who died in a major epidemic about 120 years ago, experts have warned.

The disease was once one of the most feared in the world. Up to 30 per cent of people who caught it would die, according to the World Health Organisation, after experiencing symptoms including a high fever and the characteristic pus-filled spots.

Spores of potentially fatal anthrax from dead people and reindeer that had been entombed in the permafrost are already thought to have infected 24 patients currently in hospital in Salekhard near Russia’s north coast.

But health experts told the Siberian Times this was a warning sign that there could be worse to come.

The full article can be read here.

Blue Cut fire scorches 9,000 acres and forces evacuation of 80,000 in California

From the Guardian - fanned by strong winds and high temperatures, the wildfire outside Los Angeles has prompted chaotic scenes as families scramble to flee.

"A wildfire fanned by strong winds and 100F (37C) temperatures has ripped through rural communities outside Los Angeles, unleashing fire tornados and triggering evacuation orders for more than 80,000 people.

The so-called Blue Cut fire flared 60 miles east of Los Angeles on Tuesday and swiftly scorched 9,000 acres, sending walls of flame down the Cajon Pass and surrounding areas and prompting chaotic scenes as families scrambled to flee.

Television footage captured a fire tornado, more accurately known as a fire whirl, a phenomenon in which flames and gusts combine to form whirling eddies."

The full article can be read here.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Q&A smackdown: Brian Cox brings graphs to grapple with Malcolm Roberts

From the Guardian - One Nation senator-elect asks repeatedly for ‘empirical data’ – and the celebrity physicist has plenty at hand.

"The celebrity physicist Brian Cox came prepared to the ABC’s Q&A on Monday night with graphs, ready to counter claims by his co-panellist, the climate denier and Australian senator-elect Malcolm Roberts.

Roberts, one of four senators elected from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party, took the first opportunity to espouse long-refuted climate-denialist claims, including that warming stopped more than 20 years ago, starting the so-called “hiatus” or “pause”.

But Cox produced a graph of global surface temperatures of the past century and immediately debunked the myth, pointing out it is a misunderstanding caused by looking at a small sample, starting from an unusually warm year two decades ago."

The full article can be read here.

Veganism is not the key to sustainable development – natural resources are vital

From the Guardian - lives and livelihoods the world over hinge on livestock, which is just one reason why efforts to reduce our dietary impact on the world are laudable but misguided.

"Veganism is not the simple solution to sustainability that George Monbiot recently argued. I wish it were that easy. While I commend those taking steps to change their diets to reduce their environmental footprints, a vegan world – where no one consumes animal-derived meat, milk and eggs – is not how we will achieve sustainable global development

Some argue that, because of its low environmental footprint, veganism is the best dietary choice to feed the world’s growing population. Research suggests otherwise. An investigation published in the US last month compared 10 different eating patterns and concluded that diets incorporating some animal-source foods (especially milk and eggs) use less land than their vegan alternative.

This is because more inclusive diets make optimal use of all existing land to feed people. That includes croplands and rangelands where grain and hay can be grown to feed livestock. A lot of meat and milk that would remain unproductive in a vegan context is produced on these marginal rangelands. For example, 60% of sub-Saharan Africa is covered by drylands where raising livestock is the main, and often the only, land use option available."

Climate Change...The Madhouse Effect

From YouTube:

"Dr. Michael Mann, Earth System Science Center-Penn State University/The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy, joins Thom. UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon is urging countries to ratify the Paris Climate Agreement during the UN General Assembly in September. But considering the fact that we're seeing more and more climate signals every day - why is the international effort to combat climate change moving so slowly."

Monday, 15 August 2016

'The blob': how marine heatwaves are causing unprecedented climate chaos

From the Guardian - wide spread disruption from warming oceans is increasing, but they could change our understanding of the climate.

"First seabirds started falling out of the sky, washing up on beaches from California to Canada.

Then emaciated and dehydrated sea lion pups began showing up, stranded and on the brink of death.

A surge in dead whales was reported in the same region, and that was followed by the largest toxic algal bloom in history seen along the Californian coast. Mixed among all that there were population booms of several marine species that normally aren’t seen surging in the same year.

Plague, famine, pestilence and death was sweeping the northern Pacific Ocean between 2014 and 2015.

This chaos was caused by a single massive heatwave, unlike anything ever seen before. But it was not the sort of heatwave we are used to thinking about, where the air gets thick with warmth. This occurred in the ocean, where the effects are normally hidden from view.

Nicknamed “the blob”, it was arguably the biggest marine heatwave ever seen. It may have been the worst but wide-scale disruption from marine heatwaves is increasingly being seen all around the globe, with regions such as Australia seemingly being hit with more than their fair share.

It might seem strange given their huge impact but the concept of a marine heatwave is new to science. The term was only coined in 2011. Since then a growing body of work documenting their cause and impact has developed."

The full article can be read here.

California wildfire forces 1,000 evacuations and destroys homes

From the Guardian - firefighters struggle to gain control of blaze as region’s heatwave and dry conditions make it hard to contain.

"Flames racing through dry brush destroyed four homes and forced more than 1,000 people to flee a northern California lake community that was evacuated in a devastating wildfire last year.

Authorities ordered about 1,200 residents to leave 500 homes as the blaze surged south of the town of Lower Lake. The wildfire spread to more than two square miles by early Sunday, and crews faced hot weather and little cloud cover as they tried to get a handle on the flames burning largely out of control.

The fire was throwing embers and spreading rapidly because of parched conditions brought on by the state’s historic drought, officials said. Large, explosive fires have torn through dried-out or hard-to-reach areas across California this summer, including a stubborn blaze near the picturesque Big Sur coastline that has burned 113 square miles since late July and destroyed nearly 60 homes.

Californians braced for more heat on Sunday, with high temperatures expected to soar 10 degrees above normal in the southern part of the state. Some counties in far northern California also were warned of gusty winds and increased fire danger, officials said. "

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Deadly flooding in Louisiana and Mississippi force 1,000 evacuations

From the Guardian - at least two deaths reported as states brace for more heavy downpour - roads closed, officials impose a curfew and advise residents to boil water.

"National guard soldiers and rescue crews in boats and helicopters plucked more than 1,000 people from their homes and cars as “unprecedented, historic” flooding swamped Louisiana, the governor said Saturday, warning that the slow-moving storm would dump even more rain and cause further problems.

At least two people were killed when swift-moving water quickly inundated roads.

“This is an ongoing event. We’re still in response mode,” Governor John Bel Edwards said, urging residents to heed warnings to evacuate and not rely on their past experiences because the state has never seen flooding like this before."

The full article can be read here.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Scotland's wind turbines cover all its electricity needs for a day

From the Guardian - high winds on Sunday boosted renewable energy output to provide 106% of Scotland’s electricity needs for a day:

"High winds on Sunday were strong enough to power the equivalent of all of Scotland’s electricity needs for the day, according to environmentalists.

The Met Office issued a yellow “be aware” weather warning covering much of the country as wind speeds reached 115mph on the top of the Cairngorms and gusts of more than 60mph hit towns in the north.

The weather brought travel disruption, with some bridges closed, ferries cancelled and trains affected but helped boost the country’s renewable energy production.

Environmental group WWF Scotland said an analysis of data by WeatherEnergy shows wind turbines in Scotland generated power equivalent to more than cover the entire country’s electricity needs."

Friday, 12 August 2016

Global warming has brought a hellish heatwave to the Middle East – and it’s coming to the rest of the world

From the Independent:

"Record-shattering temperatures this summer have scorched countries from Morocco to Saudi Arabia and beyond, as climate experts warn that the severe weather could be a harbinger of worse to come. In coming decades, U.N. officials and climate scientists predict that the region’s mushrooming populations will face extreme water scarcity, temperatures almost too hot for human survival and other consequences of global warming." [More]

Thursday, 11 August 2016

BBC let Emma Thompson get away with 'inaccurate' climate change claims, watchdog finds

From an article in the Telegraph:

Although it is difficult to challenge the BBC Trust's desire to ensure that the statistics used by its guests do not quote inaccurate or misleading figures to support their case - it does not seem reasonable to expect the Corporation to have presenters who are sufficiently expert on a range of highly complex and important issues which could not be covered if this ruling is to be complied with. However, it is reasonable to have other guests appearing at the same time, who are recognised experts, to put forward an opposing case when an issue is contentious - so much easier now that video conferencing has become commonplace.

This is particularly true in the case of climate change - which must be the most important issue of our time - considering it has the power to make most of the planet inhabitable for mankind and many other species - within the lifetime of those alive today. Given this is the case - the expectation would be that, since the BBC has a 24/7 news channel plus others that cover news and factual programs - the Corporations coverage of the subject might be considered as extremely sparse. It is not difficult to suspect that this is the objective of those who are behind the original complaint.

The item highlighted in the Telegraph headline related to this statement by Emma Thompson in September 2015:

"In an interview with Emily Maitlis, she said: “If they [oil companies] take out of the earth all the oil they want to take out, you look at the science. Our temperature will rise four degrees Celsius by 2030, and that’s not sustainable.”

Although Cambridge professor Peter Wadhams has been warning of abrupt climate change for some years - it was only two months after Ms Thompson's appearance that this video was posted on YouTube - in which Wadhams does warn that the impact of climate change would be much sooner than the IPCC were predicting - based on the findings of the 'boots-on-the-ground' scientists working in the Arctic. Their research showed that when climate change had occurred in the past it happened over a few decades - not over many decades as the IPCC have been predicting. Based on Professor Wadhams research - what Emma Thompson said was certainly not untrue - since, based on this research, climate change has already begun.

Conformation of this seemed to come from the Independent just a few weeks ago:

"Climate scientists expected 'nothing like' this year's record-breaking global temperatures"

If this is an attempt to gag the BBC on such a vitally important issue - it is simply outrageous.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

U.N. chief urges large nations to ratify Paris climate accord

Reuters reports that the UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon is pressing nations to ratify the Paris climate accord.

Of the 195 nations that reached an agreement to cut global warming emissions - only 22 small and vulnerable nations have so far ratified the accord - but the pact will not come into force unless 55 nations and representing 55% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions also ratify.

China and the US together emit around 40% of these gases so unless these two nations do ratify - it is likely that the accord will not come into force.

Economic strength will clearly be reduced by these nations if they do commit to the reductions - so whilst they are in an obvious conflict for power globally - it is unlikely that one will not ratify without the other.

This is troubling because of the two US presidential candidates only Hillary Clinton has promised to push for greenhouse gas reductions - and not from any personal commitment - simply to keep the Bernie Sanders supporters onside. Once in office - it is likely that this commitment will rapidly fall in importance on her agenda. Trump has said that he would not ratify.

Given that it now appears almost certain that the planet is heating much faster than was predicted at the time of the accord - we must hope that Hillary is successful and public opinion, in the US, for the issue to be tackled rises in the face of very high temperatures and droughts that have been experienced in the Mid West - and this will push her to take the matter far more seriously.

There is little doubt that the US is the most influential nation on the planet - and without their commitment to the program - is unlikely to come into force.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Nobody can buy the silence of a climate spinning out of control

From the Guardian - attempts by ministers to bribe local people who oppose fracking is an insult to those who have fought hard to protect the environment.

"The government’s reckless pursuit of fracking has reached new lows with the announcement that ministers will attempt to buy off widespread community opposition to the controversial new fossil fuel source through the introduction of a £1bn Shale Wealth Fund. At a time when we need to be making the transition to a jobs-rich zero-carbon future, this would be a gross violation of the commitments made in Paris last year. Already 2016 is set to be the hottest year on record and without a global step-change we will blow the 1.5C goal within years. Nobody can buy the silence of a climate that is spinning into chaos and turmoil."

How to Confront Climate Change by Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky, the renowned intellectual, gives his thoughts on how climate change can be confronted - recalling how he and others used activism to protest against the US invasion of Vietnam - which he saw as American imperialism.

It does appear that most of those trying to force governments and the global elite [in the form of mainly US global corporations] to confront the heavy cost that climate change is and will do to the planet - are using activism as their main weapon.

Whether this can be successful against climate change denial - where confronting the issue goes to the very heart of what motivates these corporates [making large and relatively quick profits - with no concern for the long-term consequences] - is not so certain.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Mankind has eaten into its year’s supply of natural resources – in just seven months

From the Independent - Greenhouse gas emissions account for 60 per cent of humanity’s ecological footprint:

Humans have used up a full year’s worth of Earth’s ecological resources in just over seven months, its fastest rate ever, according to an annual environmental report.

“Earth overshoot day”, marks the date at which humanity’s demand on the planet exceeds that which it can regenerate in a year. This year it will fall on Monday 8 August, its earliest date yet.

Earth overshoot day is calculated by the international think tank Global Footprint Network, which measures the world’s demand for resources against ecosystems’ ability to supply them.

Anthrax outbreak in Siberia caused by melting of permafrost

YouTube video from Russia Today.

Over the past few weeks - 71 people have been hospitalized and one child has died following an outbreak of anthrax in Western Siberia above the arctic circle. Scientists now believe that outbreak began when a massive heat wave melted away at layers of permafrost and exposed the bodies of anthrax-infected reindeer who died 75 years ago.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Nuclear safety fears grow as France snubs UK watchdog

France’s slow response to ONR [the UK's Office for Nuclear Regulation] on suspect components raises question for regulator’s interaction with Chinese contractors.

report from the Guardian suggests that the ONR is unable to do its job properly because the French EDF Group is being less than honest in its responses concerning parts used in the construction of Sizewell B power station in Suffolk.

"Greenpeace France claimed that “the potential falsifications and anomalies” constituted “a major safety risk because the parts involved are large components which are essential to operating the reactors”.

This concern is then extended to the proposed building of Hinkley Point C by EDF and to the Bradwell reactor - which the Chinese hope to build on the Blackwater Estuary in Essex - if permission is granted. The Chinese nuclear industry is known to be particularly secretive.

We can only hope that this is a prelude to the cancellation of Hinkley C and the withdrawal of interest in the Chinese project along with the halting of further construction of any more nuclear power stations in the UK.

With some luck - if Theresa May has decided that this project is too costly and the risky venture it appears at first sight - provided there is sufficient substance to these accusations against EDF - these might provide a route to canceling Hinkley C without suffering substantial cancelation costs.

It is important that these funds are invested in renewable energy systems that can be bought online much quicker along with not compromising safety. Renewable energy projects also provide a substantial number of jobs.

Climate Change Deniers - Fossil fuel moguls are backing Trump with words, but not with donations

From the Guardian - the Trump campaign has seen dismal fundraising yields in the energy sector, seemingly due to nervousness about his policy and his volatile temperament.

"Shale oil billionaire Harold Hamm publicly lavished praise on Donald Trumpduring the Republican convention last month. Natural gas mogul T Boone Pickens is talking with pro Trump Super Pacs about providing help, including possibly writing a big check and hosting a fundraiser. And coal chieftain Robert Murray spearheaded a big fundraiser for Trump in late June in West Virginia.

But while Trump has garnered the endorsements of several leading fossil fuel chieftains and has often espoused pro-oil and coal rhetoric, his campaign and allied Super Pacs have seen dismal fundraising yields in the energy sector, seemingly due to nervousness about Trump’s thin policy statements and volatile temperament, as well as difficult times many big companies are going through, say veteran GOP energy operatives and analysts."

"Hamm did, however, introduce Trump to an elite group of oil and gas executives by inviting him to an event in late May in North Dakota, where the Republican candidate’s message of less regulation, overturning the climate change accord championed by the Obama administration and support for the Keystone XL pipeline seemed to win him some early support."

The full article can be read here.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Is Renewable Energy being sacrificed in favour of Nuclear Power?

This is the body of an email that has been sent to Green Party members and subscribers by Molly Scott Cato - the Green MEP for the South West of England. If true, Theresa May is going to have to show that she can be as tough as she claims if this hugely important industry is to be pulled from the fire:

"Last week, the Prime Minister unexpectedly announced a last-minute review of plans for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

This delay is a huge opportunity to stop Hinkley for good - and make a giant leap towards a renewable energy system fit for the 21st century: clean, safe, and affordable.

Hinkley nuclear power station would be the most expensive object ever built. Rather than ploughing billions into this outdated scheme, the Government should be redoubling efforts to build up Britain’s decentralised, renewable infrastructure.

Renewable energy isn't just cleaner, safer, quicker to build, and more popular - it’s cheaper too. Research has shown that solar power would be a less costly way of generating the equivalent amount of power. Even offshore wind is now a better deal for billpayers than Hinkley. Tidal lagoons and geothermal power offer significant untapped potential too.

Any objective assessment of the facts will make clear the absurdity of building this colossal white elephant. But nuclear industry lobbyists have close ties with Government. To persuade the Prime Minister to reject Hinkley for good, we need people power - if you can help, by emailing your MP, that would make a real difference.

A final decision is expected in autumn, so we’ve not got much time. Please contact your MP, using, as soon as you can, to let them know your views.

The Prime Minister is going to take this decision, so please ask your MP to write to Theresa May directly, urging her to cancel Hinkley for good - and invest in clean, affordable, home-grown renewable energy generation instead.

As the Green MEP for the South West of England, Hinkley is in my constituency, and I have been calling for the abandonment of the Hinkley white elephant for several years. If you need more information, please visit my website. I’ve also produced a report, which shows how the South West can produce 100% of its energy needs from renewables - and have some left over to export.

Wherever you live, please ask your MP to take action on your behalf to stop the outdated and expensive Hinkely C nuclear power plant. | @MollyMEP"

These are very serious accusations - which are supported by this and developments elsewhere. Unfortunately, it does seem that the critically important program to make the UK reliant entirely on renewable energy is being dominated and undermined by commercial interests.

This program needs to be put into the hands of individuals whose primary concern is to reduce the impact of Abrupt Climate Change by bringing renewable energy projects online as quickly as possible - not by commercial considerations. 

This program is of the utmost importance. It seems that energy production might need to be renationalised and given wide sweeping powers to develop these industries with minimum compensation to those whose land is used for this purpose. Renationalisation  had previously been supported by more than two thirds in a survey carried out in 2013 - because of the mistrust of the big energy companies.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Climate Denier Conspirator Exposed In Unhinged Moment

From YouTube:

"Farron Cousins, Ring of Fire Radio/DeSmog Blog/Trial Lawyer Magazine joins Thom. Many progressives think that conservatives are unanimous in their denial of climate change. Well - they couldn't be more wrong."

The climate crisis is already here – but no one’s telling us

Although not using the term 'Abrupt Climate Change' - George Monbiot picks up the issue of 'failure to inform' on this crucial issue in an article in the Guardian. He summarizes most of the startling events that have occurred this year - but places the responsibility for this failure on those in his own profession - journalism.

This does seem a too harsh a judgement. Perhaps with one or two exceptions, editors will decide what is published in their paper - but will also be guided, greatly, by the wishes of each paper's owner. Since the ownership of the UK national press is in the hands of just a few - it is not so surprising that an issue, even as important as climate change, can be suppressed - if that is these owners wish. Just to reiterate what is highlighted in 'The MSM' above:

For anyone who does believe that the Mainstream Media is to be relied upon – and that seems to be the majority – here is a quote from 1860:

Asked to give a toast before the prestigious New York Press Club, John Swinton, the former Chief of Staff at the New York Times, made this candid confession [it's worth noting that Swinton was called "The Dean of His Profession" by other newsmen, who admired him greatly]:

” There is no such thing, at this date of the world’s history, as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print.

I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job.

If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone. The business of the journalist is to destroy the truth; to lie outright; to pervert; to vilify; to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell the country for his daily bread.

You know it and I know it and what folly is this toasting an independent press. We are the tools and vassals of the rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance.

Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.

Nevertheless, it is astonishing that an issue as critical as global warming - one that currently looks set to make the planet uninhabitable for we humans and many other species within a few decades - can be kept from the people's attention.

In a democracy - it must be our elected representatives who are to blame. One can only speculate on the web of corruption that must exist within our main political parties and 'The Establishment' to allow such a circumstance to exist.

Our best hope is that one of the existing political parties take up the issue, as was the case with Brexit [whatever your view of the result], and explain in full honesty what is going on. It seems certain that such a party would receive a great deal of support - particularly at a time when the existing parties are viewed with such mistrust - enough support , we must hope, to lead to the UK to playing its full role in tackling this huge threat.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Abrupt Climate Change is Here

This is an adaption of an article by Robert Hunziker "Abrupt Climate Change is Already Here?" and updated based on developments since it was written in February 2015.

There are some serious scientists who believe it is already here. If their analysis is correct, the world could turn uninhabitable within current lifetimes.

As a result of vested corporate interest which have striven to ensure that the importance of the issue is understated, the American and UK public is overly, dangerously casual about the prospects/risks of abrupt climate change. This is found in numerous studies and polls, e.g. according to a Pew Research Global Attitudes Project, in an international survey of 39 countries, Americans were among the least concerned about climate change threatening the country. Global warming also ranked near the bottom of American and British priorities.

As it goes, both the American and UK public may be caught off guard, unprepared, and ill equipped to press its political establishment for appropriate action because abrupt climate change, as the name suggests, has a history of happening very quickly - within decades, not over hundreds of years.

Assuming these scientists are correct - and based on recent events this does appear to be the case - by the time the U.S. Congress and the UK Government gets serious about climate change, they'll be wearing waders or struggling to remain focused because of the searing heat.

As for the risks associated with abrupt climate change, according to Paul Beckwith, Laboratory for Paleoclimatology and Climatology, University of Ottawa, in the past: “The temperature of the planet has increased by 5C or 6C within one decade or two decades… not within a hundred years [as is predicted by the IPCC model] but within one or two decades… during the ice age period between 70,000 and 40,000 years ago, the temperature rose over Greenland 5-6C in a decade or two… and 55 million years ago… the temperature rose globally by 5C in 13 years, as shown in sediment samples.” (Source: COP20: Global Arctic Methane Emergency).

Based upon historic records, once abrupt climate change commences, and when viewed on a geological-time basis, it has the potential to take off like a house on fire. According to Paul Beckwith, unfortunately: “We’re undergoing the early stages of abrupt climate change,” already, right now! As such, a rapid self-fulfilling temperature rise of 5C or 6C would be devastating for life, as we know it.

This risk of further rapid abrupt climate change, as for example, temperatures zooming upwards, depends upon the integrity of the ice of the Arctic, among other considerations. As emphasised by Beckwith, when analysing the climate system, it is important to understand that metrics can be misleading. For example, the consensus opinion talks about 2C as a cap for rising temperatures [and is the basis of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in November 2015]; however, in point of fact, “What is important is the temperature distribution on the planet on a latitudinal basis.”

Beckwith: “The Arctic is absorbing a lot more solar energy, and by itself at a much greater rate, than anywhere else on the planet. In fact, on average, in the last number of decades, the Arctic temperature has risen 1.0C per decade whereas the global average temperature rise has been about 0.15C per decade. So that ratio is 6 or 7 times more.”

Therefore, the most immediate risk of further abrupt climate change hinges on how well the Arctic withstands global warming. As the Arctic loses ice mass, it releases ever more, methane (CH4), which is much more powerful at entrapping heat than is carbon dioxide (CO2), and because massive quantities of CH4 are embedded within the ice, only a small fraction may cause the planet to heat up rapidly, going into deadly overdrive, resulting in numerous outgrowths negatively impacting life. As for example, rapid increase in sea levels, flooding coastal cities, embedded droughts, diminishing agricultural production, severe storm activity, and horrific heat throughout the mid latitudes, resulting in panic, illness, and sudden death. It is likely the world turns chaotic.

Scientists are radically divided on the issue of abrupt climate change and few predict an upsurge any time soon. Nevertheless, it’s the scientists who base their opinion on first hand knowledge, “boots on the ground,” who are screaming the loudest. They do not let the “ computer models” override what they personally experience. In contrast, they see and feel the reality “in the field.” They are like scientific pioneers in the field, in the marsh, below and above the ice, on expeditions into the wilderness where nobody cares to tread. It’s hard work.

Those scientific pioneers, like John Nissen, Chairman of the Arctic Methane Emergency Group (“AMEG”), are deeply concerned about the rate of melt of the Arctic, and the attendant enormous plumes of methane, already observed in the Arctic seas, especially in the East Siberian Ice Shelf where waters are shallow and easily warmed, threatening to release gigatons of methane. Expeditions above, below, and on the surface have convinced these scientists that we’ve got a huge problem coming up, maybe soon, maybe too soon.

According to John Nissen: “Sea ice could disappear at the end of summer as soon as next September. At that point, further warming of the Arctic, sea level rise, methane release, in that time bomb, and abrupt climate change, could become unstoppable. The fuse will have been lit and will be going off very quickly. We consider it an absolute scandal that IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] says nothing about the greatest threat to humanity since civilisation began.”

In turn, these pioneering scientists listen to other scientists who also favour “boots on the ground” analysis over scientific modelling, people like Dr. Natalia Shakhova, who leads the Russia-U.S. Methane Study at the International Arctic Research Centre, at the University Alaska Fairbanks and the Pacific Oceanological Institute, Far Eastern Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences. Dr. Shakhova’s expeditions to the Arctic convince her that only a tiny percentage of the vast amounts of methane buried in Arctic ice is necessary to double current atmospheric CH4. Worse yet, she suspects an outburst of 50 gigatons could happen at any time. In many respects, this would be a disaster beyond repair.

In an interview, Shakhova says, “We do not like what we see… absolutely do not like it.”

In the end, too much carbon dioxide emitted by burning too much gas, oil and coal, blankets the atmosphere enough to heat up the Arctic far above and way beyond past centuries, causing torrential weather patterns throughout the Northern Hemisphere, and shaking lose too much methane for human comfort.

Could civilisation withstand a 50-gigaton release? Professor Wadhams’ response is: “No, I don’t think it can.”

Is there a solution?

Yes, there may be solutions but according to these scientists, a sense of urgency matters more than anything at this late hour.

Paul Beckwith is one of the scientific pioneers, an advocate, a researcher, and member of AMEG, co-founded by Peter Wadhams, professor of Ocean Physics, University of Cambridge.

Beckwith: “We have to slash emissions there’s no question, slash the CO2 emissions and quickly, but that’s not sufficient. We also have to cool the Arctic, and we also have to try to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.”

The technology is there, solar radiation management, reflecting incoming solar, and sea salt spraying, as well as employing concerted efforts to increase vegetation to absorb CO2, and carbon capture, and biochar.

However, there’s risk because nobody has proven these geoengineering techniques effective on a planetary scale. On that basis, they are experimental. There is no consensus in the world community to test geoengineering, which is very provocative subject matter amongst scientists, some favour, some oppose. And, those opposed adamantly oppose because of potential harmful feedback loops. It may be a risky venture.

But, what if these early-warning scientists are wrong? What if they are absolutely correct about the outcome of global warming/climate change but too optimistic about the timing? This, therefore, is all the more reason for governments to initiate conversions now from fossil fuels to renewables, hopefully rescuing future generations from the potential of a global warming nightmare.

If we lose the ice caps, civilisation starves, or is subjected to searing heat and the world’s coastal cities drown. It’s really as simple, and complex, as that. Already, CO2 levels are at an historic high.

Throughout geological history, “Every time we have hit high CO2, we’ve lost the ice caps,” Peter Ward, professor, Dept. of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington, Our Future in a World without Ice Caps, 2013 lecture series.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Hinkley Point C nuclear power station

It is of some relief that Theresa May has delayed finalising the contract to build Hinkley Point nuclear power station by EDF - let us hope that she has the courage to cancel the deal entirely - if this is possible.

Whenever this matter has been discussed in the media - it has seemed astonishing that the project had received any agreement whatsoever from those responsible for securing Britain's future energy needs - not least because the technology involved has still not proven to be viable. The two current projects underway in Finland and Flamanville in Northern France are still not in operation despite being years behind and having escalated in cost alarmingly.

It is true, by all accounts, that there is a sizeable gap in our future capacity to generate electricity and the means available to produce it. However the estimated cost of £18bn to build and the estimate that it will cost consumers of upwards of £30bn to run - should be enough to recognise that the Hinkley Point solution is simply far too speculative - if it is essential that this gap is filled.

Given that we are an island - it might be expected that succeeding governments would have insisted that significant funds were invested in wave and tidal power schemes as it has been known for decades that the burning of fossil fuel would cause global warming and nuclear energy production was dangerous and produced hazardous waste without satisfactory storage solutions.

The following account of the 'Salter's Duck' project, if true, gives significant insight into how apparently corrupt government procurement practices have become - and we can only speculate as to the extent of the damages the corporations involved will be awarded if the project is cancelled. It may now have reached the point where it is more expensive to cancel than it would be allow the contract to go ahead - even if it is assumed that it will never serve its claimed purpose.

The untimely death of Salter's Duck

"Traditional energy generators have generally not assisted the necessary moves towards renewable technology. While hydro and biomass are long-established, if under-used, parts of the power hierarchy, wind, solar and wave power must still battle to establish themselves. And they must do so against heavy odds, such as scant funding and even sabotage. The case of Salter's Duck is illuminating.

The Duck is a 300-tonne floating canister designed to drive a generator from the motion of bobbing up and down on waves like a duck. It was developed in the late '70s by a team headed by Professor Stephen Salter at Edinburgh University. This was one of several research groups set up after a 1976 judgment by the Department of Energy that wave power was the most promising renewable energy source.

By 1982, a consultant was able to report that the duck could be expected, with further development, to produce electricity at a cost of around 5.5 pence (about 12 cents) per kilowatt-hour, a price competitive with nuclear power (the most expensive commercial generation process in use in Britain). Clive Grove-Palmer, a respected department engineer seconded to work on the duck project, estimated that the cost could be got down around 3 pence per kilowatt-hour (about 7 cents).

Soon after this, the department's research and development advisory council (ACORD) met, excluding Grove-Palmer, and accepted a secret report, prepared by a unit based at British Atomic Energy Authority headquarters, claiming that wind power had more immediate commercial possibilities than wave power, and research funds should be shifted to it. The department, which was packed with nuclear supporters, had instructed ACORD to reduce its renewables research budget from £14 million £11 million. At the time, the department was spending around £200 million on nuclear research.

Grove-Palmer took early retirement as a result of the decision. “I resigned ... because they asked me to write the obituary of wave power. There was no way I could do that ... We were just ready to do the final year of development and then go to sea.”

It was eight months before wave power researchers were allowed to see the report on which ACORD based its decision to junk their work. Then, in January 1983, a research unit based at the Atomic Energy Authority came out with another report concealing the good figures for the Duck by averaging them in with figures for all wave power projects. This gave a non-commercial figure of 8-12 pence per kilowatt-hour.

Apparently still not satisfied that they had killed the Duck, opponents of the project then produced figures overestimating capital costs by a factor of 10, massively underestimating the reliability of undersea cables, and claiming that in mass production each Duck would cost about the same as one prototype.

After a long campaign to save the project, Professor Salter's team was forced to disperse in early 1987. “We must not waste another 15 years and dissipate the high motivation of another generation of young engineers”, wrote Salter in a memorandum to the House of Lords committee on renewable energy. “We must stop using grossly different assessment methods in a rat race between technologies at widely differing stages of their development. We must find a way of reporting accurate results to decision makers and have decision makers with enough technical knowledge to spot data massage if it occurs. I believe that this will be possible only if the control of renewable energy projects is completely removed from nuclear influences.”

I think we must assume that Grove-Palmer's recommendation was not heeded.

Coincidentally the term 'Duck Curve' has been used for what seems like spurious research in California to prove that renewable energy has had too much investment there - and presumably elsewhere!

One of the key concerns over TTIP [Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership] which the US government and the EU Commission had hoped would be ratified before Obama's term as president was over, but cannot now be achieved because of Brexit - is the plan to include penalty clauses into contracts between global corporations and EU nation states. These were so severe that the nation states would not be able to afford to change many of the plans that were in place when the deal was ratified. Earlier in the year when much of the draft TTIP agreement was leaked - these clauses were still present - although this had previously been denied.

Such clauses have been included in individual deals between global corporations and nation states before. Perhaps the most pertinent, at this point, followed Merkel's decision to abandon nuclear power in Germany in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster - this decision is likely to cost the German taxpayers $88bn - questions have been asked as to how this could have come about.

Is further investigation into the Panama Papers needed?