Planet Watch

Alex Cockburn denies climate change; George Monbiot drops gauntlet

George Monbiot writes on ZNet, May 12:

Request for Climate References

People who deny that manmade climate change is taking place have this in common: they do not answer their critics. They make what they say are definitive refutations of the science of climate change. When these refutations are shown to be nonsense, they do not seek to defend them. They simply repeat them as if nothing has changed, then move on to another line of attack.

New York's Indian Point nuke plant fined $130K

Federal regulators have fined the operators of New York's Indian Point nuclear power plant $130,000 for failure to meet an April 15 deadline to install a new emergency siren system for the 10-mile evacuation zone around the plant. Officials from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said that the failure to get the replacement sirens working properly, even with a 75-day extension, was a "significant regulatory concern." NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said that Entergy Nuclear Northeast has 30 days to deliver a plan to get the new system online, the same amount of time company officials have to contest the fine.

Supreme Court: global warming exists

The US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 April 2 that global warming is real, and that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts lost valuable shoreline because of its effects. Writing for the majority in Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, Justice John Paul Stevens found: "A well-documented rise in global temperatures has coincided with a significant increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere."

Fidel bashes bio-fuels

Cuban leader Fidel Castro, in his first editorial since largely disappearing from public view due to illness last year, charged US demand for biofuels directly hurts the world's poor. The article, appearing in the official Cuban newspaper Granma, was titled "Over three billion people in the world condemned to premature death due to starvation and thirst," charging that biofuel demand pushes farmers worldwide to plant fuel crops instead of food crops needed by the world's poor.

Report: ethnic minorities under threat in GWOT

The threat of terrorism has allowed governments around the world to crackdown on the rights of ethnnic minorities, according to the latest annual report by the London-based Minority Rights Group International. The report finds that key allies of the US in its "war on terrorism," including the governments of Pakistan, Turkey and Israel, intensified repression of particular ethnic communities in 2006. Afghanistan and Pakistan are in the top 20 list, and Turkey and Israel both show major rises in the rankings this year. Somalia, where a pro-West regime has just taken power, is listed as the world's most dangerous country for minority communities. Iraq is number two.

NYT op-ed: nuke the asteroids!

More sinister propaganda on the New York Times op-ed page March 16, this time from Russell L. Schweickart, a former Apollo astronaut and chairman of the B612 Foundation, "which promotes efforts to alter the orbits of asteroids." Entitled "The Sky is Falling. Really.," the piece warns that there is a one-in-45,000 chance (gasp!) that an 850-foot asteroid called Apophis could collide with the Earth "with catastrophic consequences" on April 13, 2036. As we have noted before, these supposed efforts to save the Earth from rogue asteroids are really a transparent ploy to find a new rationale for nuclear weapons in the post-Cold War era. It seems to us nuclear weapons have far greater potential to destroy the planet than a rogue asteroid. Talk about creating what you fear!

White House censors scientists —again

Hey, fuck the polar bears. If they don't have what it takes to survive in an unregulated free-market economy, why does the world owe them a living?* From the San Francisco Chronicle, March 9:

U.S. accused of silencing experts on polar bears, climate change
The federal agency responsible for protecting Arctic polar bears has barred two Alaska scientists from speaking about polar bears, climate change or sea ice at international meetings in the next few weeks, a move that environmentalists say is censorship.

New coalition bridges Iraq war, climate change

From No War, No Warming:

Fight Climate Change, Not Wars for Oil!
It’s time to bridge the divide between the peace movement and the climate action movement. For far too long, our groups have been working on one or the other of these issues, but now is the time to acknowledge the ways in which these issues are linked and the need for people throughout the world to take action to end both war and climate change!

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