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Archive | Environment

Climate Disruption Depression and 2013 Emissions Set New Records

Published on Truthout, 17 November 2014.

This month’s dispatch surveys global calls for massive carbon dioxide cuts from the European Union (EU) and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that are still not enough to truly mitigate the impacts of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) or stem the massive wildlife disruptions that are now occurring globally, and highlights other glaring signs of an increasingly unstable climate across the globe.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has concluded that, “Coal will nearly overtake oil as the dominant energy source by 2017 . . . without a major shift away from coal, average global temperatures could rise by 6 degrees Celsius by 2050, leading to devastating climate change.”

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Navy Plans Electromagnetic War Games Over National Park and Forest in Washington State

Published on Truthout, 10 November 2014.

Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest in Washington State are two of the most beautiful wilderness areas in the United States. Majestic glacier-clad peaks rise above temperate rainforest-covered hills. Gorgeous rivers tumble down from the heights and the areas are home to several types of plants and animal species that exist nowhere else on earth.

These protected national commons are also the areas in and near where the US Navy aims to conduct its Northwest Electromagnetic Radiation Warfare training program, wherein it will fly 36 of its EA-18G “Growler” supersonic jet warplanes down to 1,200 feet above the ground in some areas in order to conduct war games with 14 mobile towers. Enough electromagnetic radiation will be emitted so as to be capable of melting human eye tissue, and causing breast cancer, childhood leukemia and damage to human fetuses, let alone impacting wildlife in the area.

If it gets its way, this means the Navy would be flying Growler jets, which are electronic attack aircraft that specialize in radar jamming, in 2,900 training exercises over wilderness, communities and cities across the Olympic Peninsula for 260 days per year, with exercises lasting up to 16 hours per day.

What is at stake is not just whether the military is allowed to use protected public lands in the Pacific Northwest for its war games, but a precedent being set for them to do so across the entire country.

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Iraqi Doctors Call Depleted Uranium Use “Genocide”

Published on Truthout, 14 October 2014.

Contamination from depleted uranium (DU) munitions is causing sharp rises in congenital birth defects, cancer cases and other illnesses throughout much of Iraq, according to numerous Iraqi doctors.

Iraqi doctors and prominent scientists believe that DU contamination is also connected to the emergence of diseases that were not previously seen in Iraq, such as new illnesses in the kidney, lungs and liver, as well as total immune system collapse. DU contamination may also be connected to the steep rise in leukaemia, renal and anaemia cases, especially among children, being reported throughout many Iraqi governorates.

There has also been a dramatic jump in miscarriages and premature births among Iraqi women, particularly in areas where heavy US military operations occurred, such as Fallujah during 2004, and Basra during the 1991 US war on Iraq.

It is estimated that the United States used 350 tons of DU munitions in Iraq during the 1991 war, and 1,200 tons during its 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation.

Official Iraqi government statistics show that, prior to the outbreak of the first Gulf War in 1991, the country’s rate of cancer cases was 40 out of 100,000 people. By 1995, it had increased to 800 out of 100,000 people, and, by 2005, it had doubled to at least 1,600 out of 100,000 people. Current estimates show the trend continuing.

The actual rate of cancer and other diseases is likely to be much higher than even these figures suggest, due to a lack of adequate documentation, research and reporting of cases.

“Cancer statistics are hard to come by, since only 50 percent of the health care in Iraq is public,” Dr. Salah Haddad of the Iraqi Society for Health Administration and Promotion told Truthout. “The other half of our health care is provided by the private sector, and that sector is deficient in their reporting of statistics. Hence, all of our statistics in Iraq must be multiplied by two. Any official numbers are likely only half of the real number.”

“Genocide”

“The world should know that Iraqi people were the victims of the aggression inflicted by the use of DU munitions by the American and British troops during these wars, and this is genocide,” Dr. Jawad al-Ali, a consultant physician and oncologist, told Truthout.

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Climate Disruption’s “Confederacy of Dunces”

Published on Truthout, 1 October 2014.

Given that over 97 percent of climate scientists agree on the matter, the fact that anyone is questioning the reality of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) remains an amazing phenomenon.

If your child were sick, and 97 percent of doctors recommended one treatment for them, which treatment would you use?

Yet this kind of reasoning need not apply, apparently, to vast sectors of the media, political apparatus and general public in the United States. Instead of an informed public and rational elected leaders, we are left with what author John Kennedy Toole so perfectly described in the title of his most famous work, A Confederacy of Dunces.

Some very special ACD denial quotes from the confederacy:

“Every cow in the world, you know, when they do what they do, you’ve got more carbon dioxide.” John Boehner, Speaker of the House (R-Ohio).

“It could just be a shift on the axis.” Bill Cassidy, Congressman (R-Louisiana).

“The new fad thing that’s going through America and around the world. It’s called global warming.” Steve Stockman, Congressman (R-Texas).

“All voodoo, nonsense . . . a hoax.” Michele Bachmann, Congresswoman (R-Minnesota).

” . . . The idea that manmade gases, CO2, are causing catastrophic global warming is the greatest hoax every perpetrated on the American people.” James Inhofe, Senator (R-Oklahoma), former chair of the US Senate Committee on the Environment and Public.

“[ACD] led to the Vikings dominating Europe for several hundred years.” Morgan Griffith, Congressman (R-Virginia).

“It is not proven, it’s not science. It’s more of a religion than a science.” Steve King, Congressman (R-Iowa).

And one of my current favorites:

“The ice caps are melting, which we see over and over again. Yeah, they’re melting on Mars, too!” Dana Rohrabacher, Congressman (R-California).

The reason for this lunacy is simple, and the evidence lies not far below the surface.

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