17. All states shall shift rapidly to effective generation of electricity by using renewable energy.

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Rapporteur: Metta Spencer

Project Save the World aims to prevent six global threats, only two of which are distinctly existential risks to humankind: global warming, and war and weapons (i.e. militarism, especially nuclear).

Considered as separate problems, our four other global threats (famine, pandemics, radiation exposure, and cyberattacks) appear manageable, for none of them seems likely to kill a billion people in a short interval. But what if they occur, not separately, but in combinations? In such a case, each one of them can multiply the effect of others. And, because all six risks are causally connected as a single system, such connections must be expected. This article will explore the causal links among three dangers: radiation exposure from nuclear power plants, nuclear weapons, and global warming.

Worldwide, probably thousands of deaths each year result from radiation exposure: working in uranium mines, for example, or living with radon in a basement, or eating fish from a lake that contains tritium, or undergoing an X-ray exam. Even these low levels of exposure can be lethal, but some incidents are far worse—especially those involving nuclear reactors. The most catastrophic nuclear power accident was the explosion in Chernobyl, Ukraine. The true death count will never be known, and authoritative estimates vary wildly—from 4,000 up to 200,000.(1)

But compare those numbers to the predictable death rates from a nuclear war. Exploding a small fraction of the world’s current nuclear weapons could bring civilization to an end. And the dangers of global warming are even worse – potentially on the scale of the previous five “extinction events,” including the worst one 270,000 million years ago when about 90 percent of all species on the planet — animals, trees, marine life, everything — were killed.(2)

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Here is George Monbiot’s scathing review of Michael Moore’s film, Planet of the Humans

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How did Michael Moore become a hero to climate deniers and the far right?
The filmmaker’s latest venture is an excruciating mishmash of environment falsehoods and plays into the hands of those he once opposed

Published in The Guardian, Thu 7 May 2020 11.28 BST

Denial never dies; it just goes quiet and waits. Today, after years of irrelevance, the climate science deniers are triumphant. Long after their last, desperate claims had collapsed, when they had traction only on “alt-right” conspiracy sites, a hero of the left turns up and gives them more than they could have dreamed of.

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George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist.

Regarding the renewal of BWXT’s operating license.

BWXT operates two uranium processing plants which are up for licensing review – one in Peterborough ON and one in Toronto ON. Both of these are in increasingly dense residential neighbourhoods. The uranium processing plant in Peterborough ON is across the street from the Prince of Wales Public (Elementary) School and has requested to double the size of the plant via a licensing provision that would allow the Toronto operations to move to Peterborough if the Toronto plant closes down.

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Is there an opportunity for expansion of geothermal systems?

“How A Climate Change Nonprofit Got Eversource Thinking About A Geothermal Future”
by Bruce Gellerman

Article Excerpt:

Natural gas utilities in Massachusetts are facing an existential crisis: they could be out of business by mid-century. That’s because the state’s 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act requires emissions from burning fossil fuels — like natural gas — be cut by 80% economy-wide by 2050.

But now a solution that could help save the companies — and the climate — is at hand. Or, more accurately, underfoot. It’s geothermal energy, which takes advantage of the biggest energy storage system on earth: the earth itself.

Our planet absorbs the sun’s solar energy and stores it underground as thermal energy that can be used to heat and cool homes and businesses. Just a few yards down, the earth’s temperature is a constant 50 to 60 degrees; warmer than the air above during winter, cooler in the summer. You can take advantage of the temperature difference using what is called a geothermal or ground source heat pump: plastic pipes filled with water and antifreeze pick up the heat from the ground, and the pump circulates it through a building.

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In possible climate breakthrough, Israel scientists engineer bacteria to eat CO₂

Decade-long research at Weizmann Institute could pave way for low-emissions production of carbon for use in biofuels, food, and help remove excess global warming CO₂ from air

By Sue Surkes, The Times of Israel, 28 November 2019

In a remarkable breakthrough that could pave the way toward carbon-neutral fuels, researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have produced a genetically engineered bacteria that can live on carbon dioxide rather than sugar.

The extraordinary leap — reported Wednesday in Cell, and quickly picked up by prestigious publications such as Nature — could lead to the low-emissions production of carbon for use in biofuels or food that would also help to remove excess CO₂ from the atmosphere, where it is helping to drive global warming.

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E._coli_Bacteria_16598492368-e1574938568350-640x400.jpg

Premiers are going to build small modular reactors!

I am alarmed to hear that several Canadian province’s premiers have committed to develop and promote the installation of small modular reactors in their communities. These provinces include New Brunswick, Ontario, and Saskatchewan.

Many areas in Canada have concerning trends in the management and trends of radioactive waste products – such as radioactive materials being stored only a few hundred meters from the shores of various Great Lakes (Lake Huron, Lake Ontario.). Where will the eventual waste products (spent activation products) from these small modular reactors be stored for hundreds or thousands of years post-use?

Is it worth encouraging exploration and investment in other modes of energy production? Surely New Brunswick, Ontario, and Saskatchewan have potential for hydroelectric, solar, and wind to various extents.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/group-of-premiers-band-together-to-develop-nuclear-reactor-technology-1.5380316

Nuclear Power Plants Without Valid Licenses!

An alarming article from Sophia Ankel and Alexandra Hilpert at Business Insider (25 August 2019) on the state of environmental licenses and nuclear reactors in the European Union.

“There are 18 active nuclear power plants currently operating without a valid license in the European Union, according to a report seen by Business Insider.

Many of the power plants should have already been subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA),

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How is it possible for 18 nuclear power plants to be operating without a valid license? Good grief!

From my understanding, the article is referring to a specific class of license – issued around notions of environmental assessments/impacts for the reactor sites.

The license is called an EIA: “An EIA aims to identify the environmental consequences of major projects, such as the construction of an airport, and has proposed some lesser damaging alternatives.” [and] “The UN Committee responsible for these investigations is currently examining several nuclear reactors which are said to have been approved in Europe without an EIA.”

Ohio Governor Signs Coal and Nuclear Bailout at Expense of Renewable Energy
BY DAN GEARINO . JUL 26, 2019

Inside Climate News
Opponents fear the law will send the growing wind and solar industry to neighboring states while Ohio homeowners are stuck boosting old, uneconomical power plants.
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/23072019/ohio-coal-nuclear-bailout-law-signed-cuts-renewable-energy-efficiency-programs-governor-dewine

Interesting that he identifies two other southern “red” states that are more advanced than Ohio. I read in the NY Times that now the majority of Republicans acknowledge that climate change is real. If so, presumably the red states will start acting smarter. But how soon?

Well, yes, Lori, but not necessarily in a way preferred by most of the people who endorse the Platform for Survival. If they switch to worrying about climate change, they may favor a solution based on increasing the use of nuclear power, which a lot of us abhor. At least that is the case with John Barrosso, a Republican Congressman from Wyoming, who had fought against climate change action. Now he wants to promote nuclear power. Is that progress? (I’m not sure.)

From

Nuclear-Free Forum in Japan calls for worldwide end to nuclear power

Voices of Fukushima power plant explosion victims strengthen call to ban nuclear energy

By Rachel Farmer, Anglican Communion News
Posted on July 28, 2019 by beyondnuclearinternational

Japanese parish priests shared stories of suffering from victims of the Fukushima nuclear disaster at a May 2019 International Forum for a Nuclear-Free World held in Sendai, Japan. A joint statement from the forum, issued in July 2019, strengthens the call for a worldwide ban on nuclear energy and encourages churches to join in the campaign.

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How can anyone doubt it when they are DOING it?

There are lots of amazing new proposals for creating fuel out of thin air. Or air heavy with carbon dioxide. One of the most controversial proposals is by CarbonEngineering, a company in Squamish, British Columbia that is capturing carbon and making a fuel that can be used in cars. They say they can do it for $100 per ton. (Or is that “tonne”?). I’ve met engineers who doubt it.
https://carbonengineering.com/about-dac/