Environment

The Climate Crisis and the Ocean

December 14, 2018 by Source

By David Helvarg / Blue Frontier Campaign / December 10, 2018

Between the devastation of Mexico Beach, Florida and Paradise California plus the 4th National Climate Assessment Report, the year 2018 may become known as the point of no denial, an acknowledgement of what Governor Jerry Brown calls, “the new abnormal.” At this point climate deniers are being recognized as little more than the willing tools of the fossil fuel industry such as the coal lobbyist now running the EPA.

The best available science reflected in the federal report prepared by 13 government agencies including NASA, NOAA and the National Science Foundation, suggests the worst possible scenarios if we continue on our present course (which we appear to be with 16 of the 17 hottest years on record occurring since 2001).

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The Highway to Climate Hell vs the Green New Deal

December 7, 2018 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

The path away from planetary hell got a little steeper with release of a trio of scientific papers produced by 76 scientists from 57 research institutions in 15 countries associated with the Global Carbon Project on the eve of the opening of the 24th annual U.N. climate conference in Poland.

Emissions are heading in the opposite direction from the deep cuts urgently needed, say scientists, to fight climate change. After a few years of hopeful plateauing, CO2 emissions will rise by 2.7% in 2018.

Earlier this year, a different scientific panel said nations have barely a decade to take “unprecedented” actions and cut their emissions in half by 2030 to prevent the worst consequences of climate change.

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America Is an Oligarchy : Billionaires Are Undermining Our Democracy and Killing the Planet

November 26, 2018 by Jim Miller

We live under oligarchy. Yes, we have elections, but the interests of a tiny opulent minority are far better represented in our government than the concerns of the vast majority of Americans.

That conclusion was the central takeaway of a Benjamin Page and Martin Giles study published a few years ago that grimly observed, “economic elites and organized interest groups play a substantial part in affecting public policy, but the general public has little or no independent influence.”

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Was The Election Good for the Fish?

November 16, 2018 by Source

By David Helvarg /Blue Frontier Campaign/ Blue Notes

Was this election good for the fish?

Mostly the answer is yes, also for democracy and government checks and balances.

Still, it’s hard to argue that the ocean and climate played a significant role in most campaigns, even if these are issues of survival impacting our food security, jobs, health, where we live and the quality of our lives.

The policy and PAC group Ocean Champions claimed that early results showed 52 of 58 candidates they endorsed had won their House and Senate races,

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Nuclear Shutdown News October 2018: Millstone and Oyster Creek Nukes

November 13, 2018 by Michael Steinberg

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those who are working to create a nuclear free world. Here is our October 2018 report.

Twenty Years On

This month marks the 20th year since my book Millstone and Me: Sex, Lies and Radiation first appeared in the 10th month of 1998.

This work was inspired by Dr. Ernest Sternglass, whose groundbreaking early 1980s book Secret Fallout: From Hiroshima to Three Mile Island exposed the dangers of so-called “low level” radiation to human health.

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Was There a Near-Fukushima Event on the Atlantic During Hurricane Florence?

October 10, 2018 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News for September 2018

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those working for a nuclear free future. Here is our September 2018 report.

A Near-Fukushima on the Atlantic?

On September 17 the Raleigh News & Observer reported, “Floods limit access to Duke’s Brunswick nuclear plant: crews us partopotties, cots.”

Did the Atlantic coast have a near-Fukushima event when during September Hurricane Florence made landfall?

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UN Climate Report Warns of Grim Consequences, Shrinking Time Frame for Action

October 9, 2018 by Source

Global Warming

By Meteor Blades / Daily Kos

A decade, maybe a little more, is all the time we have left for acting to keep global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius over the pre-industrial era, U.N. scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change announced Monday. That’s 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. Since the dawn of the industrial age, global warming has boosted temperatures 1.0-1.2 degrees Celsius.

The good news from the scientists is that the 1.5-degree goal may still be attainable. That’s unlike what most scientists thought when the 2015 Paris climate agreement included 1.5 degrees as an “aspirational” goal.

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The San Francisco Climate Action Summit: Is It ‘Better Late than Never’?

September 19, 2018 by Source

After the Climate Action Summit, Commitments Emerge Amidst Growing Disaster

Corporate execs, career politicians, and environmental activists converged on San Francisco for the Climate Action Summit.

by David Helvarg / The Progressive / September 17, 2018

The Global Climate Action Summit held in San Francisco September 12 through 14 felt both urgent (as Hurricane Florence began to soak the Carolinas and Typhoon Mangkhut battered the Philippines), and hopeful. More than 500 commitments were made to speed up the transition to carbon neutrality and to remediate the growing impacts of climate change.

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China Doesn’t Want Our Trash Anymore and Now We Have a California Recycling Crisis

September 14, 2018 by Frank Gormlie

It’s a sad fact of our Californian recycling world – China no longer wants our trash.

China used to be California’s — and the world’s — largest overseas market for recyclables, but in January, China began not accepting “contaminated” material it once brought to its shores. For China, now, if the recycled material is one-half of 1% contaminated, it’s too impure for recycling.

An official for Recology, a curbside hauler that does San Francisco Bay Area trash for recycling, stated:

“There’s no market for a lot of stuff in the blue bin. What we can’t recycle we take to a landfill.”

Back in 2017, Recology was getting $100 a ton for newsprint. Now they are averaging about $5 a ton.

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Will the Great Pacific Garbage Patch Meet Its Match? Floating Trash Collector Just Left San Francisco on a Mission

September 11, 2018 by Source

Will the Great Pacific Garbage Patch soon meet its match? We may soon know as a giant, floating trash-collector steamed out of San Francisco on a mission Saturday, September 8, to clean it up.

And some see the effort as a turning point in the campaign to rid the world’s oceans of plastic trash. Amid the accolades for the project – the creation of Boyan Slat, a 24-year-old Dutch college dropout who raised more than $30 million on a five-year quest to build an ocean-cleaning machine – are also some harsh criticisms. In the meantime the floating garbage collector with a nearly a 2,000-foot boom

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Rise for Climate March – San Diego: Sat. Sept. 8

September 6, 2018 by Source

By Jake Johnson / Common Dreams

Change only happens when people rise up to demand it. That is one of the principal

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August Has Been a Cruel Month for San Onofre Nuke Plant

August 28, 2018 by Michael Steinberg

By Michael Steinberg/ Blackrain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and abroad, and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free world. Here is our August 2018 report.

More Scandals Rock San Onofre

The eighth month of the year saw additional scandals erupt at Southern California’s San Onofre nuclear plant, which has been shut down since 2013.

Another potentially catastrophic accident occurred, a previously unknown whistleblower spoke out,

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‘Brown’s Last Chance’ Could Be Our Last Chance To Avert Climate Change Apocalypse

August 24, 2018 by Source

By Stephanie Corkran / SanDiego350

Brown’s Last Chance is a campaign demanding Governor Jerry Brown halt the development of unsustainable, polluting, fossil fuel infrastructure and begin an immediate phase-out of fossil fuels in California.

If he’s unwilling to do so, a multitude of organizations (environmental, health, justice, community, consumer) are prepared to protest the upcoming Global Climate Action Summit.

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‘We Can’t Talk Ocean Conservation Without Addressing Climate’

August 9, 2018 by Source

The Climate 1970-2100

By David Helvarg / Blue Notes / August 8, 2018

Wildfires are burning across California (and much of the world) this summer amidst record-breaking heat. Meanwhile I took a weekend off to go bodysurfing in Ocean Beach (where I used to live) and the water was surprisingly warm. Now Scripps Institution of Oceanography reports it’s actually the warmest ocean water recorded in 100 years of record keeping.

Given the threats posed by offshore drilling, coral bleaching, ocean acidification, plastic (petrochemical) pollution, rising seas and much more it seems pointless to discuss ocean conservation without addressing climate. The ocean is the driver of climate and weather but is also impacted by human caused climate change

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Should San Diego Ban Styrofoam?

July 27, 2018 by Frank Gormlie

Councilman Chris Ward appeared before the Ocean Beach Town Council last Wednesday night and urged OBceans to support his efforts to ban styrofoam.

He explained his proposal passed the Council’s Rules Committee unanimously on July 11 and is heading to the full Council sometime this fall.

And if San Diego does pass it, the city will become the 4th city in San Diego County to ban food and beverage containers made of styrofoam – also called polystyrene; others include Solana Beach, Encinitas and Imperial Beach.

Our city would become the largest city in California to enact the ban, joining a list of 116 other cities across the state, which include San Jose, San Francisco and Long Beach (while Los Angeles is discussing it).

So, just what is Councilman Ward’s proposal?

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The Taboo on Talking Climate Change

July 18, 2018 by Source

By Sarah “Steve” Mosko / Boogie Green

Man doing headstand on beach with head buried in the sand

How often do we talk about climate change to family, friends or coworkers? Probably next to never if we’re like most people.

Yale’s national polling reveals that the majority of Americans accept that global warming is happening (73 percent) and are worried about it (63 percent). Even more want carbon dioxide, or CO2, regulated as a pollutant (81 percent).

Given these stats and the warning of scientists that the time window to prevent the worst impacts of climate change is closing fast, what keeps us from openly discussing it?

The answer is complex.

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Activists Rally in Mission Trails Park to Oppose SDG&E Gas Pipeline

June 19, 2018 by Source

By Colleen Cochran

This past Father’s Day, many San Diegans celebrated their dads amidst the green, rolling hills of Mission Trails Regional Park. One group, holding colorful signs, gathered for more than celebration; they were there to protect this 7,000-acre wilderness area.

SDG&E and SoCalGas would like to install a new gas pipeline to run approximately 47 miles through San Diego County. These utility companies are considering several potential routes for this pipeline, one of which cuts through the park.

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Cape Cod: Colonial Folly To Nuclear Demise

June 4, 2018 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News May 2018

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free future. Here is our May 2018 report.

Cape Cod: Colonial Folly To Nuclear Demise

US history indoctrination begins early in our lives. Before formal education even begins we are taught to look forward to the Thanksgiving holiday, an annual celebration that upon sober reflection really celebrates gluttony, greed and genocide.

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Trump Wants to Expand Oil Drilling to 90 Percent of Our Seas. We’re Marching on June 9 to Stop Him.

May 25, 2018 by Source

The March for the Ocean is promoting a rapid transition from drilling and spilling to clean, job-generating renewable energy.

By David Helvarg and Bill McKibben / The Nation

Summer beckons—and with it, the season’s first trip to the beach, which remains the number-one outdoor recreational activity for Americans of all classes and ideologies. It may be one of the last truly nonpartisan activities we do together.

But thousands will come out of the water on June 9 for the first ever March for the Ocean—and that should be nonpartisan too.

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To Save Coral Reefs, Hawaii on Verge of Banning Sunscreen

May 9, 2018 by Frank Gormlie

In order to save the coral reefs and other marine life that surrounds Hawaii, state legislators there just passed a measure banning sunscreen. In particular they want to ban the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate by 2021. The governor has yet to sign the bill, making it law.

Scientists have determined oxybenzone and octinoxate can be toxic to coral – a vital part of the ocean ecosystem. Only with a medical prescription, would people be able to purchase sunscreen with the chemicals. Plus the measure itself doesn’t ban online purchases or does it ban tourists from bringing their own to Hawaii.

But sunscreen makers would be forced to change their formulas or be banned from selling the lotions in Hawaii.

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Earth’s Atmosphere Crosses Another Threshold

May 7, 2018 by Jim Miller

Last week after I sent off my column about why I wrote Last Days in Ocean Beach, a novel about living on the border between dread and wonder in the Anthropocene, the news cycle was full of coincidental but eerie echoes. A Los Angeles Times story observed of the recent floods in Kauai, “A Hawaiian island got about 50 inches of rain in 24 hours.

Scientists warn it’s a sign of the future,” while the Washington Post reported, “’Fallen off a cliff’: Scientists have never observed so little ice in the Bering Sea in spring.”

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Holtec Wants to Build High-Level Radwaste Dump in New Mexico

May 2, 2018 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News April 2018

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those who are working to create a nuclear free future. Here is our April 2018 report.

Holtec company wants to build “interim” nuclear dump for high level radwaste from shutdown US nuke plants in New Mexico

Last month’s report featured the shenanigans of the Holtec’s company’s mishandling of high level nuclear waste it is removing from the San Onofre nuclear plant

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Ocean Beach Climate Rally and March – Sat. April 28

April 25, 2018 by Frank Gormlie

Join your fellow OBceans and other San Diegans at Saturday’s Ocean Beach Climate Rally & March – April 28. Hosted by San Diego Climate Mobilization Coalition, the rally begins at 10:00 a.m at the at the foot of Newport Ave. in Ocean Beach on the grass.

There’s a rally with music and speeches. and then march to the Ocean Beach Post Office to post on the door the demand

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San Onofre Surf Community Starts to Wake Up About Nuclear Waste on Their Beach

April 20, 2018 by Source

By Jake Howard / Dana Point Times

To be frank, the surf community’s response to the nuclear waste situation at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) has been apathetic at best. Somehow, the toll road dilemma generates more attention and more buzz than the fact that at this moment there are four questionable canisters of nuclear waste buried yards from the waterline at San O. Why aren’t there more “No Nukes” bumper stickers on cars around town?

The amount of nuclear waste stored at the SONGS site includes 51 old canisters and potentially 73 new ones, which can be hazardous to human health—there are even signs posted by the fences that ward off people from going near the facility.

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Landmark Lawsuit Against SANDAG Ends With a Victory for Clean Air

April 16, 2018 by Staff

The San Diego County Superior Court has formally ordered the San Diego Association of Governments to decertify its defective Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for 2011 the Regional Transportation Plan. SANDAG has also agreed to cover attorney’s fees in the amount of $1.7 million for the petitioners in this public interest case.

It has taken six long years to reach this point, with the lawsuit going to the California Supreme Court. The two precedent-setting court opinions arising from this case will guide SANDAG and other agencies in addressing greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, and public health impacts of regional transportation planning.

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Do Something for the Ocean or Watch It Die!

January 19, 2018 by Source

By David Helvarg / Blue Notes / January 16, 2018

Two new reports in Science magazine confirm what we’ve been seeing for years: climate change and nutrient pollution are contributing to dead zones in the world’s ocean – in part because a warmer, more acidic ocean holds less dissolved oxygen.

Another study of 100 reefs showed coral bleaching is occurring globally at least once every six years. The most recent wave reduced half of the corals in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (watch the Academy-Award nominated film ‘Chasing Coral’).

And of course, climate-induced extreme weather events like hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria contributed to making 2017 the costliest year for natural disasters in U.S. history.

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Burying 3.6 Million Pounds of Nuclear Waste at San Onofre State Beach Is a Terrible Idea

January 3, 2018 by Source

It’s heating up around the shuttered nuclear plant at San Onofre because locals are not happy with the plan to bury 3.6 million pounds of nuclear waste at San Onofre State Beach. There were protests recently in the nearest city, San Clemente, against this plan.

Meanwhile, a local group, Citizens Oversight, has submitted a formal petition to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission under NRC Regulations that govern how the nuclear industry handles spent nuclear fuel. They believe the containers of the toxic nuke spent fuel should be designed for 1,000 years rather than the current requirement of only 40 years.

Everybody is talking about San Onofre. In the current San Diego Reader, Don Bauder has a piece about how nuclear waste in the sand now will create a toxic ocean later. Sarah “Steve” Mosko, at Boogie Green writes there’s a ticking time bomb at San Onofre Nuclear Plant.

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Do Nukes Kill? – Nuclear Shutdown News – December 2017

January 2, 2018 by Michael Steinberg

By Michael Steinberg

Do Nukes Kill?

While the decline of the nuclear power industry has become undeniable, one of the more significant aspects of this story still receives scant attention. In order to function, nuclear reactors generate radioactive materials and must release them into the air and water of surrounding communities. This doesn’t just happen during serious accidents as at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima, but during day-to-day operations at nuke plants.

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Nuclear Shutdown News November 2017: Lawsuit vs. San Onofre Rad Waste and ‘Last Nuke’ in California

November 30, 2017 by Michael Steinberg

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those who are working for a nuclear free world. Here is our November 2017 report:

Lawsuit Challenges Storage of Radioactive Waste at San Onofre Nuke

Last Running California Nuke Plant Inches Towards Shutdown

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A Summary of Nuclear Waste Issue at San Onofre

October 23, 2017 by Source

By Gary Headrick

I was recently asked to clear up some confusion about our nuclear waste strategy in an email thread between some good friends. I thought it might be worth sharing a refined version of my reply with you.

Also if you have not signed and shared our Petition yet, please do.

Here is the basic objective:

Delay the date for silos on the beach to get loaded with extremely radioactive waste.

This allows time to consider better alternatives that make us safer while deadly waste remains here cooling off for perhaps decades before it can be moved. We must deal with the fact that they are using canisters that can’t be monitored to prevent leaks, can’t be repaired

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