UN Panel: Renewables, not nuclear, can solve Climate Crisis

index

The authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has left zero doubt that we humans are wrecking our climate.

It also effectively says the problem can be solved, and that renewable energy is the way to do it, and that nuclear power is not.

The United Nations’ IPCC is the world’s most respected authority on climate.

This IPCC report was four years in the making.  It embraces several hundred climate scientists and more than a thousand computerized scenarios of what might be happening to global weather patterns.

The panel’s work has definitively discredited the corporate contention that human-made carbon emissions are not affecting climate change.  To avoid total catastrophe, says the IPCC, we must reduce the industrial spew of global warming gasses by 40-70 percent of 2010 levels.

Though the warning is dire, the report offers three pieces of good news.

First, we have about 15 years to slash these emissions.

Second, renewable technologies are available to do the job.

And third, the cost is manageable.

Though 2030 might seem a tight deadline for a definitive transition to Solartopia, green power technologies have become far simpler and quicker to install than their competitors, especially atomic reactors. They are also far cheaper, and we have the capital to do it.

The fossil fuel industry has long scorned the idea that its emissions are disrupting our Earth’s weather.

The oil companies and atomic reactor backers have dismissed the ability of renewables to provide humankind’s energy needs.

But the IPCC confirms that green technologies, including efficiency and conservation, can in fact handle the job—at a manageable price.

“It doesn’t cost the world to save the planet,” says Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, an economist who led the IPCC team.

The IPCC report cites nuclear power as a possible means of lowering industrial carbon emissions. But it also underscores considerable barriers involving finance and public opposition.  Joined with widespread concerns about ecological impacts, length of implementation, production uncertainties and unsolved waste issues, the report’s positive emphasis on renewables virtually guarantees nuclear’s irrelevance.

Some climate scientists have recently advocated atomic energy as a solution to global warming.  But their most prominent spokesman, Dr. James Hansen, also expresses serious doubts about the current generation of reactors, including Fukushima, which he calls “that old technology.”

Instead Hansen advocates a new generation of reactors.

But the designs are untested, with implementation schedules stretching out for decades.  Financing is a major obstacle as is waste disposal and widespread public opposition, now certain to escalate with the IPCC’s confirmation that renewables can provide the power so much cheaper and faster.

With its 15-year deadline for massive carbon reductions the IPCC has effectively timed out any chance a new generation of reactors could help.

And with its clear endorsement of green power as a tangible, doable, affordable solution for the climate crisis, the pro-nuke case has clearly suffered a multiple meltdown.

With green power, says IPCC co-chair Jim Skea, a British professor, a renewable solution is at hand. “It’s actually affordable to do it and people are not going to have to sacrifice their aspirations about improved standards of living.”

~ Harvey Wasserman serves as Shadow Secretary of Energy on the Ecology Branch of the US Green Party, Green Shadow Cabinet.

This article was originally published in The Progressive Magazine – read here

Greens win vote for Edward Snowden to testify to EU Parliament

Edward Snowden
On Thursday January 9th members of the European Parliaments’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee ( LIBE) voted to request NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to provide them with testimony, the vote was overwhelming with Thirty-six MEPs voting in favour and two against with one abstention

British Conservative MEPs remain still opposed to the Parliament giving Edward Snowden any platform, claiming his leaks are unlawful and have endangered the lives of people fighting terrorism.

No date has yet been set but the session is expected to be held in the coming weeks, MEPs are in contact with Snowden’s lawyers to help set up the link but it is unclear whether the testimony will be delivered live or pre-recorded.

There is of course concern that a live link might expose Snowden’s location in Russia, Snowden would be talking to the Committee about his revelations which helped expose the mass surveillance programmes like Prism, operated by US’s NSA intelligence agency, and Tempora by the UK’s GCHQ.

The idea to have Snowden testify at the parliament came from the Greens in early December, who also want member states to grant Snowden witness protection.

“In inviting the central witness in the NSA scandal, the European Parliament is sending an important signal to the world,” said German Green MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht. Continue reading

EU GREENS WIN KEY VOTE ON DATA ‘SPYING’ AND CIVIL LIBERTIES

Green MP Jean Lambert has welcomed the backing of MEPs from across the political spectrum for greater protection for personal data in an important Committee vote in the European Parliament.

Members of the European Parliament’s Home Affairs and Justice Committee yesterday backed the Greens on several key issues for the future of our privacy online.

Ms Lambert said the next step was a period of dialogue with governments around the EU on how and when the new rules would be implemented.

We agreed that there should be no transfer of personal data to non-EU governments – like the US – without new legislation,” she said.

In addition to new rights to have data erased, and a requirement that personal information can only be collected with consent of the person concerned, this will really give back control of their privacy to millions of computer users around the EU.”

Members of the committee also backed Green calls for bigger fines for firms that break the rules and flout customers’ rights, as well as a reduction in red-tape facing small businesses, and new rights for transparency in the industry so everyone can see what data is being held about them – and what they are using it for.

Continue reading