Monday, 20 October 2014

Fukushima update - 10/19/2014

Strontium-90 detected outside of Fukushima port / Highest reading in front of Reactor 4 too

Strontium-90 detected outside of Fukushima port / Highest reading in front of Reactor 4 too
19 October, 2014

Significant level of Strontium-90 has been detected outside of Fukushima plant port, according to Tepco.

Tepco released the Sr-90 analysis report on 10/1/2014 though the samples were taken this July and August.
From the report, 67 ~ 230 Bq/m3 of Sr-90 was detected from the seawater near the water outlet of Reactor 5 & 6.
Reactor 5&6 pump up 6,000 tones of seawater per hour from Fukushima port to discharge to outside of the port [URL], it would not be logical if Sr-90 is not detected from there.

Also, 470,000 Bq/m3 of Sr-90 was detected in front of Reactor 4, which is the highest reading at this location.
Tepco states contaminated groundwater is not leaking to the sea, however Sr-90 was detected from all of the 9 ~ 10 boring holes tested in the seaside of Reactor 2 to prove Tepco and Japanese government are not controlling contaminated water flowing to the sea.
The highest reading was 1,100,000,000 Bq/m3 from the boring hole called No. 1-6. Sr-90 density increased at 6 of 9 boring holes from this July to August, which suggests underground contamination is spreading for some reason.

Japan's timid coverage of Fukushima led this news anchor to revolt — and he's not alone
No one is telling Shiga Kamematsu the truth


Former NHK anchor Jun Hori speaks at a TEDx event in Kyoto, Japan, about opening Japanese journalism to non-traditional sources. Credit: 
TEDxKyoto/Flickr Creative Commons

PRI,
17 October, 2014

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It's been three-and-a-half years since 83-year-old Kamematsu left his home, with its rice patties, vegetable fields and 10 cows, fleeing the disaster at the nearby Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor. He still can't go back.

When will it be ready for people again? No one seems to know — or be interested in telling him. “I can’t take my land with me,” he says, “so I don't know what to do. I can't see ahead.” 

Kamematsu is one of about 80,000 people in Japan still officially displaced by the nuclear crisis. Questions remain about radiation levels, the clean-up process and when residents can return home. Yasuhiko Tajima, a professor of media studies at Tokyo's Sophia University, says many Japanese are frustrated by what they see as a lack of information.

Japanese journalists did what Tajima calls "announcement journalism" in reporting on the crisis. He says they were reporting the press releases of big companies and the people in power. And he's not the only one who thinks so.
I am a newscaster, but I couldn't tell the true story on my news program," says Jun Hori, a former anchor for NHK, the Japanese state broadcaster.

Hori says the network restricted what he and other journalists could say about Fukushima and moved more slowly than foreign media to report on the disaster and how far radiation was spreading. The attitude in the newsroom was not to question official information

I was on the ground in Fukushima, and a lot of people kept asking me, why didn't you tell us earlier about what is happening?” Hori says.

Out of frustration, Hori started tweeting uncensored coverage. “I got a huge response,” he says, “but then my superiors said the NHK was getting complaints from politicians about what I was saying. They told me I had to top.”

Hori eventually quit the NHK and started his own website for citizen journalism — 8-Bit news. He says Fukushima showed people in Japan that they had to be proactive about getting information. Anyone can submit videos and news content to his site. 

Until now, the Japanese thought someone was doing it: companies, the government, someone," Hori says. "But once you peeled back the cover, you saw that nobody was doing it.”

That's backed up by outside observers as well: Japan has dropped 31 places since 2011 in a World Press Freedom ranking compiled by the group Reporters Without Borders. The group cites “a lack of transparency and almost zero respect for access to information on subjects directly or indirectly related to Fukushima.”
In a statement, NHK said it covered the event accurately and promptly reported a meltdown. It did not address claims that it faced outside pressure from politicians to restrict Hori's Twitter account.

Hori's 8-Bit is part of wave of new media launched since Fukushima, spanning everything from blogs and social media to documentaries. Yasumi Iwakami started one of the first efforts. He took live streaming video of press conferences and other coverage and loaded them up to a site called the Independent Web Journal.

We just kept the cameras running all the time,” Iwakami says. “Even during the breaks at press conferences. We interviewed everyone we could.” 

If you want to say something clearly and directly in Japan, Iwakami says, it takes a lot of effort. You have to do something drastic — like start a streaming news site run on donations. “That's very crazy!” he says.

It is a big change from Japan’s traditional media, says Benjamin Ismail, head of the Asia-Pacific desk for Reporters Without Borders. He says that in covering Fukushima, self-censorship was a big issue.

Some of the journalists really believed they had a duty not to create a global panic,” Ismail says, “and therefore they had to withhold some of the information they obtained.”

Ismail hopes Japan's alternative media can gain steam, especially because there's not much time to act. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is moving ahead on restarting the nuclear industry, and the first reactors are projected to be back online by next year.




04:02 PM EST on October 17th, 2014 | 356 comments

Fukushima nuclear waste detected off U.S. West Coast, from California to Canada — “There is definitely offshore Fukushima cesium now” — Test results will not be revealed to public for several weeks (VIDEO)


09:52 AM EST on October 17th, 2014 | 993 comments


Gov’t: US, Canada hit with “high concentrations” of Fukushima nuclear material; Tremendous impact all over world, enormous public health consequences — West Coast plume was 500% of level requiring NRC be notified — UC Berkeley Prof.: “We did indeed see high… fairly… I mean… some… level of radiation” (AUDIO)


The Pentagon's climate wars

Climate wars are already being fought, but under a different name

Pentagon: We Could Soon Be Fighting Climate Wars

13 October, 2014


In one of its strongest statements yet on the need to prepare for climate change, the Defense Department today released a report that says global warming "poses immediate risks to US national security" and will exacerbate national security-related threats ranging "from infectious disease to terrorism."

The report, embedded below, builds on climate readiness planning at the Pentagon that stretches back to the George W. Bush administration. But today's report is the first to frame climate change as a serious near-term challenge for strategic military operations; previous reports have tended to focus on long-term threats to bases and other infrastructure.

The report "is quite an evolution of the DoD's thinking on understanding and addressing climate threats," said Francesco Femia, co-director of the Center for Climate and Security. "The Department is not looking out into the future, it's looking at what's happening now."

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The report identifies anticipated climate impacts to basic military operations, training and testing procedures, infrastructure, and supply chains. It doesn't recommend specific policy changes or detail costs. Rather, it issues a general call for DoD agencies to build climate change into their procedures and to ensure climate change is accounted for in any collaborations with foreign governments and private contractors.

The threat posed by climate change to military bases has long been acknowledged by the Pentagon; a survey of the climate vulnerability of more than 7,000 military facilities worldwide is due to be completed soon. In May, for example, a report prepared by 11 retired military commanders found that the cluster of 29 installations near Virginia's Chesapeake Bay that together house more than 20 percent of the Navy's fleet could experience up to seven feet of sea level rise by 2100.

Today's report also placed special focus on impacts that are likely to sweep US troops into action in the short term, a sign that top brass are increasingly concerned about "the probability that climate change will increase the likelihood of conflict in strategically significant parts of the world," Femia said. Water shortages in the Middle East could benefit terrorist organizations, who can exploit hunger and unrest to tighten their grip on locals. Increased shipping traffic in the melting Arctic could spark political tension between polar nations. Increasing prevalence and severity of natural disasters worldwide will become a more significant burden for military-led relief efforts.

Although the report is a product of a 2009 order by President Obama for all federal agencies to evaluate climate risks to their operations, Femia said the strong language is more the result of bottom-up agitation from troop commanders who are witnessing climate change first-hand. Last year, for example, Navy Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, the top US military commander in the Pacific, singled out climate change as a principal concern for his operations.



Metal health


The Dark Mountain Project


I withdraw': A talk with 

climate defeatist Paul 

Kingsnorth

Not everyone is quite ready to hear, or accept, what Paul Kingsnorth has to say.


Paul Kingsnorth.

12 April, 2012


An English writer and erstwhile green activist, he spent two decades (he’ll turn 40 this year) in the environmental movement, and he’s done with all that. And not only environmentalism — he’s done with “hope.” He’s moved beyond it. He’s not out to “save the planet.” He’s had it with the dream of “sustainability.” He’s looked into the abyss of planetary collapse, and he’s more or less fine with it: Collapse? Sure. Bring it on.
In 2009, he founded, together with collaborator Dougald Hine, something called the Dark Mountain Project. A kind of loose literary collective — with a website, annual Dark Mountain anthology, an arts festival and other gatherings — it’s a cultural response to our global environmental, economic, and political crises. “Uncivilisation: The Dark Mountain Manifesto” appeared that summer and got some attention, mostly in the U.K. Kingsnorth and Hine have summed up their message this way:
These are precarious and unprecedented times … Little that we have taken for granted is likely to come through this century intact.
We don’t believe that anyone — not politicians, not economists, not environmentalists, not writers — is really facing up to the scale of this … Somehow, technology or political agreements or ethical shopping or mass protest are meant to save our civilization from self-destruction.
Well, we don’t buy it. This project starts with our sense that civilization as we have known it is coming to an end; brought down by a rapidly changing climate, a cancerous economic system and the ongoing mass destruction of the non-human world. But it is driven by our belief that this age of collapse — which is already beginning — could also offer a new start, if we are careful in our choices.
The end of the world as we know it is not the end of the world full stop.
Some have called Kingsnorth a catastrophist, or fatalist, with something like a death wish for civilization (see John Gray in The New Statesman and George Monbiot inThe Guardian). Others might call him a realist, a truthteller. If nothing else, I’d call him a pretty good provocateur.
Kingsnorth tossed a grenade in the January/February issue of Orion Magazine with his controversial essay “Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist.” There, Kingsnorth gets to the heart of his case. “We are environmentalists now,” he writes, “in order to promote something called ‘sustainability.’ What does this curious, plastic word mean? … It means sustaining human civilization at the comfort level that the world’s rich people — us — feel is their right, without destroying the ‘natural capital’ or the ‘resource base’ that is needed to do so.”
Ouch. But he isn’t finished.
If “sustainability” is about anything, it is about carbon. Carbon and climate change. To listen to most environmentalists today, you would think that these were the only things in the world worth talking about. … Carbon emissions threaten a potentially massive downgrading of our prospects for material advancement as a species. … If we cannot sort this out quickly, we are going to end up darning our socks again and growing our own carrots and other such unthinkable things.
Well, then. I see. Let it burn.
Of course, the obvious answer to this (as most Grist readers would probably agree) is that if we don’t keep talking about carbon and climate, and start acting in a serious way to address them, the consequences will be a whole lot more “unthinkable” than darning socks and growing carrots, and for a whole lot more people (especially those non-rich, non-Western folks Kingsnorth cares about) than he’s acknowledging here.
Nevermind. Kingsnorth’s answer to the whole situation comes down to one word: withdrawal. “It’s all fine,” he writes at the end the essay. “I withdraw, you see. I withdraw from the campaigning and the marching … I am leaving. I am going to go out walking.”
Look, I’m all for walking. And there are things about that essay I genuinely admire — especially the way it nails the state of anxiety in which environmentalism seems to find itself today. But withdraw? Really? The fact that the essay appeared in the same issue as Terry Tempest Williams’ long, morally bracing interview with Tim DeChristopher, “What Love Looks Like,” only made it harder to take. This, I felt, is what giving up looks like.
Kingsnorth and I recently engaged in a long and spirited email exchange on the blog I edit at Thoreau Farm in Concord, Mass. Surprisingly enough, however, it didn’t end in bitterness and gnashing of teeth. We somehow stepped down off our “platforms,” and found a way, not to agree, but at least to peacefully coexist. We’re both, I think, just trying to define — like many, many others — what hope looks like, even now.
Here are excerpts from the exchange. I’ve tried to do justice to Kingsnorth’s responses, but they can be read in full here and here.
Stephenson:
[You write] “We are entering an age of massive disruption, and our task is to live through it as best we can.” Indeed. But you seem to reject the possibility that any combination of mass political engagement and human technological (and yes, industrial-economic) ingenuity might help us do just that: live through it as best we can. For a literary project, that seems like an odd failure of imagination.
To dismiss the search for “solutions” — which I assume must include efforts to stabilize the climate in the coming century — seems a bit too cynical, or fatalistic. As if to say that nothing can be done. At the very least, we can still work urgently to minimize the human (and non-human) suffering that is coming.
Unless we find ways to stop pumping carbon into the atmosphere, it will be the end of the world (or of humanity), full stop.
Kingsnorth:
Unless we find ways to stop pumping carbon into the atmosphere, it will be the end of the world (or of humanity), full stop.”
This is an interesting statement for this reason: that it elides modern human civilisation and the living planet. They are not the same thing. They are very far from being the same thing; in fact, one of them is allergic to the other. If we don’t start to realise this — really get it, at a deep level — there will be no change worth having for anyone.
I have spent 20 years and more as an environmental campaigner. My worldview has always been, for want of a less clunky word, ecocentric. What I care passionately about is nature in the round: all living things, life as a phenomenon. That’s not an anti-human position — it would be impossible for it to be so, because humans are as natural as anything else. But my view is that humans are no more or less important than anything else that lives. Whether or not our current (temporary and hugely destructive) way of life is ‘sustainable’ is not of great concern to me, except insofar as it impacts on life as a whole.
I do think that climate change campaigners like yourself should be more upfront about what you’re trying to ‘save.’ It’s not the world. It’s not humanity either, which I’d bet will survive whatever comes in some form or another, though perhaps with drastically reduced numbers and no broadband connection. No, what you’re trying to save, it seems to me, is the world you have grown used to.
Sustainability” is, as far as I can see, a project designed to keep this culture — this lifestyle — afloat. The modern human economy is an engine of mass destruction. Of course, I am conflicted about this. I live at the heart of this machine; like you, I am a beneficiary of it. If it falls apart, I will probably suffer, and I don’t want to.
But I do feel the need to be honest with myself, which is where the ‘walking away’comes in. I am trying to walk away from dishonesty, my own included. Much environmental campaigning, and thinking, is dishonest. It has to be, to keep going.
I don’t think any “climate movement” is going to reverse the tide of history, for one reason: We are all climate change. It is not the evil “1%” destroying the planet. We are all of us part of that destruction. This is the great, conflicted, complex situation we find ourselves in. I am climate change. You are climate change. Our culture is climate change. And climate change itself is just the tip of a much bigger iceberg, if you’ll pardon the terrible but appropriate pun. If we were to wake up tomorrow to the news that climate change were a hoax or a huge mistake, we would still be living in a world in which extinction rates were between 100 and 1000 times natural levels and in which we have managed to destroy 25 percent of the world’s wildlife in the last four decades alone.
How do we live with this reality? Politics is not going to do anything about it, Wen, because politics is the process of keeping this Machine moving. Living with this reality — living in it, facing it, being honest about it and not having to pretend we can ‘solve’ it as if it were a giant jigsaw puzzle — seems to me to be a necessary prerequisite for living through it. I realize that to some people it looks like giving up. But to me it looks like just getting started with a view of the world based on reality rather than wishful thinking.
I don’t want to sound like a nihilist. There are a lot of useful things that we can do at this stage in history. Protecting biodiversity seems the crucial one. Protecting non-human nature from more destruction by the Machine. I’m all for fighting winnable battles.
You asked me about hope for the future: The thought that the disaster we have created may help us see ourselves for what we are — animals — and not what we believe we are — gods — gives me a kind of hope.
Stephenson:
We agree that human beings are, as Thoreau once wrote, “part and parcel of Nature.” You (and others) call this perspective ecocentric, but I dislike that term — it’s weighted toward the “eco-,” as something distinct from the human, the “anthro-,” and so still clings to a dualistic man-vs.-nature mindset. Personally, I value the human every bit as much as the non-human.
Where I think we differ — and please correct me if I’m wrong — is that you are driven primarily by a desire to restore what you’d say is a proper relationship between humanity and non-human nature. And it’s as though you welcome an inevitable collapse insofar as it aids or hastens this correction.
While I believe correcting our relationship to the non-human is a noble ideal, I’m primarily driven — and I know plenty of others who are as well — by a desire to prevent as much suffering as possible in the decades to come. I guess I’m with Tim DeChristopher on this. As he tells Terry Tempest Williams, “I would never go to jail to protect animals or plants or wilderness. For me, it’s about the people.” It’s a humanitarian imperative. It transcends environmentalism and environmental politics.
So it’s simply wrong to suggest that someone like Tim DeChristopher went to prison to save our consumer civilization — to save shopping malls. He went to prison to save lives….
We’re not going to stop global warming at this point. But we may still be able to preserve a livable planet. There’s every reason to think that a last-ditch effort to cut carbon emissions — together with serious adaptation efforts at all levels, and local grassroots movements to create resilient local communities — will help prevent or alleviate the suffering of countless numbers of people in the latter half of this century. People who will have done nothing to cause the situation they inherit. It’s not about sustaining our current lifestyles, or getting ourselves off the hook. It’s about giving future generations a fighting chance. It’s about giving my own children — and everyone else’s — a fighting chance.
Kingsnorth:
I wonder what it is that makes me so “ecocentric,” and you such a humanist? I wonder what fuels my sense of resignation, and my occasional sneaking desire for it all to come crashing down, and what fuels your powerful need for this thing called hope. Whenever I hear the word “hope” these days, I reach for my whisky bottle. It seems to me to be such a futile thing. What does it mean? What are we hoping for? And why are we reduced to something so desperate? Surely we only hope when we are powerless?
This may sound a strange thing to say, but one of the great achievements for me of the Dark Mountain Project has been to give people permission to give up hope. What I mean by that is that we help people get beyond the desperate desire to do something as impossible as ‘save the Earth’, or themselves, and start talking about where we actually are, what is actually possible and where we are actually coming from.
I don’t think we need hope. I think we need imagination. We need to imagine a future which can’t be planned for and can’t be controlled. I find that people who talk about hope are often really talking about control. They hope desperately that they can keep control of the way things are panning out. Keep the lights on, keep the emails flowing, keep the nice bits of civilisation and lose the nasty ones; keep control of their narrative, the world they understand. Giving up hope, to me, means giving up the illusion of control and accepting that the future is going to be improvised, messy, difficult.
The Tim DeChristopher quote which you use approvingly is something which divides us. I admire anyone who can go to prison for their beliefs (well, not anyone, it rather depends what those beliefs are) but I’m of the opinion that the last thing the world needs right now is more “humanitarians.” What the world needs right now is human beings who are able to see outside the human bubble, and understand that all this talk about collapse, decline, and crisis is not just a human concern. When I look to the future, the thing that frightens me most is not climate change, or the possibility of the lights going out in the lit-up parts of the world, it’s that we may keep this ecocidal civilization going long enough to take everything down with it.
I feel I have to respond to all of this by giving up hope, so that I can instead find some measure of reality. So I’ve let hope fall away from me, and wishful thinking too, and I feel much lighter. I feel now as if I am able to look more honestly at the way the world is, and what I can do with what I have to give, in the time I have left. I don’t think you can plan for the future until you have really let go of the past.
Stephenson:
I can understand the need to let go of “hope,” conventionally defined. But I think what you’re doing here is redefining it — for yourself, at least, and maybe for others gathering with you for your dark mountain trek. If you want to jettison the word altogether, as a piece of that past we must let go of, very well. But you’ve clearly found something — or at least started the search for something! — which keeps you going. And who am I to take that away from you or anyone?

Confessionsof a Recovering Environmentalist



Warming in the Arctic


Ice loss sends Alaska 

temperatures soaring by 7C

Scientists analysing more than three decades of weather data for the northern Alaskan outpost of Barrow have linked 7C rise to the decline in Arctic sea ice, reports Climate News Network

Teams of scientists set up equipment on sea ice in the Chukchi Sea, Alaska. Sea ice loss in the area has been linked to the large increase in temperatures
Teams of scientists set up equipment on sea ice in the Chukchi Sea, Alaska. Sea ice loss in the area has been linked to the large increase in temperatures. Photograph: Kathryn Hansen/NASA

19 October, 2014

If you doubt that parts of the planet really are warming, talk to residents of Barrow, the Alaskan town that is the most northerly settlement in the US
.
In the last 34 years, the average October temperature in Barrow has risen by more than 7°C − an increase that, on its own, makes a mockery of international efforts to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2°C above their pre-industrial levels.

A study by scientists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks analysed several decades of weather information. These show that temperature trends are closely linked to sea ice concentrations, which have been recorded since 1979, when accurate satellite measurements began.

The study, published in the Open Atmospheric Science Journal, traces what has happened to average annual and monthly temperatures in Barrow from 1979 to 2012.

In that period, the average annual temperature rose by 2.7C. But the November increase was far higher − more than six degrees. And October was the most striking of all, with the month’s average temperature 7.2C higher in 2012 than in 1979.

Gerd Wendler, the lead author of the study and a professor emeritus at the university’s International Arctic Research Center, said he was “astonished”. He told the Alaska Dispatch News: “I think I have never, anywhere, seen such a large increase in temperature over such a short period.”

The study shows that October is the month when sea ice loss in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, which border northern Alaska, has been highest. The authors say these falling ice levels over the Arctic Ocean, after the maximum annual melt, are the reason for the temperature rise. “You cannot explain it by anything else,” Wendler said.

They have ruled out the effects of sunlight because, by October, the sun is low in the sky over Barrow and, by late November, does not appear above the horizon.
Instead, they say, the north wind picks up stored heat from water that is no longer ice-covered in late autumn and releases it into the atmosphere.

At first sight, the team’s findings are remarkable, as Barrow’s 7.2C rise in 34 years compares with a global average temperature increase over the past century of up to about 0.8°C. But what’s happening may be a little more complex.

The fact that temperatures in and around Barrow are rising fast is no surprise, as the Arctic itself is known to be warming faster than most of the rest of the world.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says observed warming in parts of northern Alaska was up to 3C from the early 1980s to the mid-2000s. It also concludes that about two-thirds of the last century’s global temperature increase has occurred since 1980.

But Barrow’s long-term temperature rise has not been uniform, the Fairbanks study says. Its analysis of weather records between 1921 and 2012 shows a much more modest average annual rise, of 1.51C. In 2014, the city experienced the coolest summer day recorded − 14.5C.

So one conclusion is to remember just how complex a system the climate is − and how even 34 years may be too short a time to allow for any certainty.