Climate Chatter — Fiddling with the Fiddler

March 29, 2011

Even as radioactivity from Japan’s shredded Fukushima nuclear plant has been detected all over the globe, from China to the eastern part of the US, one killjoy piped up: Lake Barrett, a nuclear engineer and former staffer for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said the risk of exposure from the Fukushima plant is very small, “much less than that we encounter in everyday life.”
Infamous last words, most likely.

And who knows the impact this has on ever-accelerating climate change — can’t be good.

(Illustration found here via Google Images).

A brittle example of bad news washed clean by bullshit is the ongoing lawsuit in Ecuador between Ecuadorean indigeneous people and oil giant Chevron, which entered a new phase Monday when a new three-judge panel was installed to analyze the entire case, all 215,000 pages.
Last month, an Ecuadorean court ordered Chevron to pay $9.46 billion in damages, including $860 million for the Amazon Defense Front, a coalition formed by the plaintiffs, but both Chevron and the Ecuadorian plaintiffs appealed the ruling.
From the Wall Street Journal this bit: While plaintiffs appealed the ruling asking for the awarded amount to be increased, Chevron has said that its appeal is tied to the evidence, saying that the plaintiffs’ lawyers falsified data and pressured scientific experts to find contamination where none existed.
Some more of that famous bullshit last words.
Read a background of the Ecuador/Chevron legal mess here.

In the US House this Thursday is a full Science Committee meeting, titled Climate Change: Examining the Processes Used to Create Science and Policy, but most of those scheduled to blubber their thoughts on the matter are climate-change-denying assholes.
And as DeSmogBlog put it, the whole shebang is another display of agnotology, which is the study of culturally-induced ignorance or doubt, particularly the publication of inaccurate or misleading scientific data.
Just as Rome the US burns.

And all this as another UN climate report indicates that earth’s cities will be the front line on the horrors of climate change and its horrendous side effects.
From the BBC:

The assessment by UN-Habitat said that the world’s cities were responsible for about 70% of emissions, yet only occupied 2% of the planet’s land cover.
While cities were energy intensive, the study also said that effective urban planning could deliver huge savings.
The authors warned of a “deadly collision between climate change and urbanisation” if no action was taken.

Joan Clos, executive director of UN-Habitat, said the global urbanisation trend was worrying as far as looking to curb emissions were concerned.
“We are seeing how urbanisation is growing – we have passed the threshold of 50% (of the world’s population living in urban areas),” he told BBC News.
“There are no signs that we are going to diminish this path of growth, and we know that with urbanisation, energy consumption is higher.
According to UN data, an estimated 59% of the world’s population will be living in urban areas by 2030.
Every year, the number of people who live in cities and town grows by 67 million each year – 91% of this figure is being added to urban populations in developing countries.
The main reasons why urban areas were energy intensive, the UN report observed, was a result of increased transport use, heating and cooling homes and offices, as well as economic activity to generate income.

And if one wanted to see what happens to big cities in trouble with its environment, just look at Japan’s current situation.
Via The Seattle Times:

Tokyo’s iconic electronic billboards have been switched off.
Trash is piling up in many northern cities because garbage trucks don’t have gasoline.
Public buildings go unheated.
Factories are closed, in large part because of rolling blackouts and because employees can’t drive to work with empty tanks.
This is what happens when a 21st-century, technologically sophisticated country runs critically low on energy.
The March 11 earthquake and tsunami have thrust much of Japan into an unaccustomed dark age that could drag on for up to a year.
“It is dark enough to be a little scary. … To my generation, it is unthinkable to have a shortage of electricity,” said Naoki Takano, 25, a pony-tailed salesman at Tower Records in Tokyo’s Shibuya district, normally infused by neon lights.

Grease up the strings there, Nero.

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