AMERICAJR NETWORK :: COACH'S CORNER PRO SHOP :: SAND CREEK RECORDS :: LIFE MADE EASY

:: DETROIT, MICHIGAN USA << >> LIVE STOCK TICKER :: MESSAGE BOARDS ::
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

COPYRIGHT

© 2009 AmericaJR.com.
All Rights Reserved.

Unauthorized duplication or use of Text, Photos, Videos, Site Template, Graphics and or Site Design is Prohibited by Federal and International laws. See our Notice/Disclaimer and Privacy Policy.
 

AMERICAJR EMAIL

Email Login
Password
New users
sign up!

Detroit's Only FREE E-mail Provider

 
Find a Job
Keywords:
Location:
Job category:
 

SPONSOR

Banner
 

SPONSOR

Get your NHL hockey tickets such as Detroit Red Wings Tickets, Detroit Pistons tickets if you like NBA, as well as Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, and Orange Bowl Tickets for exciting college football. 
 

SPONSOR

<< News >>

Environmental News

"EARTH TALK"

From the Editors of E / The Environmental Magazine

THIS WEEK'S COLUMN

Dear EarthTalk: Radioactive rain recently fell in Massachusetts, likely due to Japan’s nuclear mess. Given the threats of radiation, wouldn’t it be madness now to continue with nuclear power? How can President Obama include nukes as part of a “clean energy” agenda?
—Bill Mason, Hartford, CT

The non-profit organization, Beyond Nuclear, calls nuclear power "counterproductive to efforts to address climate change effectively and in time" and says that funding diverted to nuclear deprives real climate change solutions, like solar, wind and geothermal energy, of essential resources. Pictured: The Three Mile Island nuclear generating station, circa 1979 near the time it suffered a partial meltdown.

Photo © U.S. Department of Energy photo emi

In the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, countries around the world that were growing more bullish on nuclear power are now reconsidering their future energy investments. Germany has shut down seven of its oldest nuclear reactors and is conducting safety studies on the remaining facilities; those that don’t make the grade could be closed permanently. Meanwhile, in earthquake-prone Chile some 2,000 demonstrators marched through the capital to protest their government’s enthusiasm for nuclear power. And China, the world’s fastest growing nuclear energy developer, has suspended the approval process on 50 nuclear power plants already on the drawing board, and begun inspections on 13 existing plants.

But despite calls to shutter the U.S. nuclear program, President Obama remains committed to the industry despite his stated opposition to it pre-election. In December 2007, Obama told reporters at a campaign stop in Iowa: “Until we can make certain that nuclear power plants are safe…I don’t think that’s the best option,” adding that he was much more keen on solar, wind, biodiesel and other alternative fuels.

According to investigative journalist Karl Grossman, Obama changed his tune on nuclear as soon as he took office, “talking about ‘safe, clean nuclear power’ and push[ing] for multi-billion dollar taxpayer subsidies for the construction of new nuclear plants.” Right away, Grossman says, Obama brought in nuclear advocate Steven Chu as energy secretary, and two White House aides that had been “deeply involved with…the utility operating more nuclear power plants than any other in the U.S., Exelon.”

Undeterred by the Japanese nuclear disaster, Obama pledged just two weeks following the initial explosions at the Fukushima Dai-ichi facility that nuclear power should be revived in the U.S., as it provides “electricity without adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.” He added that he requested a comprehensive safety review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to ensure the safety of existing facilities. “We’ll incorporate those conclusions and lessons from Japan in designing and building the next generation of [nuclear] plants,” Obama added.

But just because nuclear energy isn’t a fossil fuel doesn’t make it green, given the ongoing risk of radioactivity. Also, reports the non-profit Beyond Nuclear, “Nuclear power is counterproductive to efforts to address climate change effectively and in time…funding diverted to new nuclear power plants deprives real climate change solutions, like solar, wind and geothermal energy, of essential resources.”

Indeed, if policymakers were able to divert the hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies to the U.S. nuclear industry every year to solar, wind and geothermal developers, there is no telling how quickly we could innovate our way to sustainable non-polluting energy independence and put the specter of nuclear power that much further in our rearview mirror. But it looks like as long as Obama remains in office, nuclear will remain a big part of our near term energy future, damn the torpedoes.

CONTACTS: Karl Grossman; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Beyond Nuclear.

 
 

 

Dear EarthTalk: Coastal areas here in the U.S. have taken a real beating in recent years due to natural disasters that many would argue are due to changing climate. What’s being done to safeguard these communities for when, say, the next Katrina hits?
—Helen Kelman, Troy, NY

Even before the effects of global warming started to kick in, the vast majority of America’s coastlines were reeling from threats including habitat destruction, sewage outflows and industrial pollution. Pictured: Flooded area of northwest New Orleans and Metairie, Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Photo © AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, Petty Officer 2nd Class Kyle Niemi

Coastal regions in the U.S. are more popular—and more heavily populated—than ever. But even before the effects of global warming started to kick in, reports the non-profit World Resources Institute, more than half of the coastal ecosystems of the world—including the vast majority of America’s coastlines—were reeling from threats including habitat destruction, sewage outflows, industrial pollution and the impacts of non-native species introductions.

Recently, though, a string of unprecedented natural disasters, including hurricanes like Katrina and tsunamis like that which devastated Japan, has made many people re-think the wisdom of moving to the coast. And the federal government has begun to advocate that coastal communities adopt tougher building codes and zoning ordinances, but there is little public officials can do to deter people from being drawn in by the lure of the coast—even as ice caps melt, sea levels rise and storms brew fiercer and fiercer.

Critics say the federal government should be doing more to protect coastal areas which, besides being attractive to home buyers, are among the richest storehouses of biodiversity we have. But traditionally, such responsibilities have fallen to local and regional officials. In the case of New Orleans following 2005’s disastrous hurricane season, the Louisiana state legislature formed the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) to protect, conserve, restore and enhance coastal wetlands, barrier shorelines and reefs so as to protect the city from the impacts of future hurricanes. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is now working with Louisiana authorities to implement CPRA’s master plan. Of course, restoring wetlands and other natural buffers that have been decimated by a half century of development and overpopulation is no small task. It’s unfortunate that such plans only come to pass after a disaster of huge magnitude takes place, instead of beforehand.

In response to such concerns, green groups, consumer advocates, taxpayer associations, insurance companies and other organizations have come together as Americans for Smart Natural Catastrophe Policy (also known as SmarterSafer.org). Coalition members, which include the Sierra Club, Liberty Mutual Group, Americans for Tax Reform, the United Services Automobile Association and others, have aligned behind shared goals of restoring coastal wetlands and increasing protection for barrier islands while influencing local officials to make smarter decisions about where to allow development in light of the expected effects of climate change and other problems.

The coalition applauds the vision and work of CPRA in Louisiana, and would like to see such planning take place in other U.S. coastal regions as well. Furthermore, it is critical of the federal government for pumping funds into the National Flood Insurance Program, which it says only spreads the costs of natural disasters around instead of taking measures that would prevent damage in the first place. Such approaches, the coalition argues, “provide a perverse incentive to encourage development in risky coastal areas” and “expose taxpayers, including those who do not live in at-risk coastal areas, to significant financial costs.”

CONTACTS: CPRA; Smartersafer.org.

A SYNDICATED COLUMN ONLY ON AMERICAJR.COM

 

 

SEND IN YOUR QUESTIONS...

GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/thisweek/, or e-mail: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Read past columns at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/archives.php.

 

Find a Job
Keywords:
Location:
Job category:
 

>> Bookmark This Site Now! <<

doteasy.com - free web hosting. Free hosting with no banners.
 

Google
 
Web AmericaJR.com

 

BACK TO THE AMERICAJR ONLINE HOMEPAGE

Copyright © 2010 AmericaJR.com. All Rights Reserved.
Unauthorized duplication or use of Text, Photos, Videos, Site Template, Graphics and or Site Design is Prohibited by Federal and International laws. See our Notice/Disclaimer and Privacy Policy.

AMERICAJR NETWORK :: COACH'S CORNER PRO SHOP :: SAND CREEK RECORDS :: LIFE MADE EASY