Eco-links (week of 6/10/2012)

by james on June 9, 2012

in Eco-links

NFS vs Tombstone – Who will win, the National Forest Service, or the city of Tombstone, AZ? Spotted owls have been, well, spotted in the area through which the city unavoidably funnels its water. The logical conclusion to which the NFS bureaucrats and environmentalists lean is that the people must go."The unforeseen consequences of federal laws and regulations threaten to do something outlaws, economic busts and the Arizona desert couldn’t: Kill the town too tough to die."

Wind down wind subsidies – Despite tens of billions in subsidies, wind turbines still generate less than 3 percent of U.S. electricity. Thankfully, conventional sources keep our country running – and America still has centuries of hydrocarbon resources, if only our government would make them available.

Fukushima redux – As the US population ages, and desperately seeks the Fountain of Youth, there is an increasing market of the credulous to be exploited by health and health food quacks. Oh, the money I could make selling geiger counters, and organic food supplements! But I won’t do that, for it is dishonest and takes captive silly people. Consider this site, which has hyperventilated ad nauseam, and ignores facts in favor of stroking irrational prejudices.

Thankfully not everyone is equally credulous and the article from Conca puts things in perspective. From James Conca: 

“Every time I eat a bag of potato chips I think of Fukushima. This 12-ounce bag of chips has 3500 picoCuries of gamma radiation in it, and the number of bags I eat a year gives me a dose as high as what I would receive living in much of the evacuated zones around Fukushima. But unlike the Fukushima refugees, I get to stay in my home.”

Shocking UN reports – Get the facts about Fukushima (and Chernobyl) in this video. Want to bypass the popular press myths and gain a true understanding of the radiation releases at Fukushima? Want to cut through the fabrications of environmentalist groups? In “Fukushima and Chernobyl: Myth versus Reality”, leading experts from several international organizations, including the United Nations, discuss the facts.

Irrational hysteria in summary – We are all environmentalists now.

The Tohoku 9.0 earthquake, fifth largest ever recorded, created a tsunami with large waves up to 40 meters, with walls of water swallowing coastal towns, has been one of the worst natural disasters in recent history with the death toll reaching ultimately some 30,000 people, estimated damage $310 billion. The scale of the calamity is truly epic. Hence, the Fukushima nuclear accident should have been only a side show.

Not so, it immediately became the principal show. Coverage in the U.S. media replicated hysteria, sensationalism, scaremongering and disinformation that characterized coverage of the Three Mile Island (TMI) accident in 1979. It appears that coverage in Europe wasn’t much better. Initially the mainstream media paraded a stream of anti-nuclear activists who excelled in predicting an equivalent of Armageddon with cataclysmic consequences. China syndrome movie fantasies were used as an indicator what would happen if a core meltdown were to occur. It was pointed out that we were approximately the same distance from Fukushima as from Chernobyl and therefore in danger. 350,000 residents were evacuated from Chernobyl, 10 times more potentially at Fukushima.

The Nuclear Disaster that Never Was – The following reminds me of the quip by the king of techno-thrillers, Michael Crichton,

And in the course of my preparation for this book, I rather casually reviewed what had happened at Chernobyl, because I regard Chernobyl as the largest manmade disaster that I knew about. What I discovered stunned me. Chernobyl was a tragic event, but nothing remotely close to the global catastrophe that I was imagining. About 50 people had died in Chernobyl, roughly the number of Americans that die every day in traffic accidents. I don’t mean to be gruesome, but it was a setback for me. You can’t write a novel about a global disaster in which only 50 people die.

The Telegraph has printed an excellent article by Michael Hanlon, who looks back on the international media’s coverage of the 3/11 earthquake/tsunami/meltdown and how, once again, a “natural disaster that cost the lives of thousands of people was ignored in favour of a nuclear ‘disaster’ that never was”:

I realised that something had gone seriously wrong with the reporting of the biggest natural disaster to hit a major industrialised nation for a century. We had forgotten the real victims, the 20,000-and-counting Japanese people killed, in favour of a nuclear scare story.

All this happened amid mounting hysteria – and an information void. It wasn’t until several weeks later that the first considered scientific reports emerged from Japan, notably the report by Britain’s nuclear regulator, Mike Weightman, which made it clear that although outdated, riddled with design flaws and struck by geological forces that went way beyond the design brief, the Fukushima plant had survived remarkably intact.

There are bitter ironies in all of this. The panic caused a minor evacuation of Tokyo, which almost certainly resulted in more road deaths than will ever be attributable to radiation leaks. At one point, governments in Europe, including ours, were offering to fly expats home from places where the radiation levels were lower than the natural background count in Aberdeen or Cornwall.

As Wade Allison, emeritus professor of physics at Oxford University, says: “The reporting of Fukushima was guided by the Cold War reflex that matched radiation with fear and mortal danger. Reactors have been destroyed, but the radiation at Fukushima has caused no loss of life and is unlikely to do so, even in the next 50 years. The voices of science and common sense on which the future of mankind depends were drowned out and remain to be heard, even today. The result has been unnecessary suffering and great socio-economic damage.”


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