Archive for June, 2015

Most mothers I’ve met from Tokyo and Fukushima are suffering thyroid problems, eye problems, nose bleeds…

June 29, 2015

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Nonprofit Group: “Every single person” we hosted from Japan has had health problems… Blood stains found in almost all of their beds — Japanese Mom: Most mothers I’ve met from Tokyo and Fukushima are suffering thyroid problems, eye problems, nose bleeds… It’s been very surprising (VIDEO)

Posted: 28 Jun 2015 07:52 PM PDT

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Abe’s ratings slip amid doubts over his security policy

June 29, 2015

Abe's ratings slip amid doubts over his security policyPrime Minister Shinzo AbeAP photo

TOKYO —

Support for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is slipping in the face of doubts about his security policy, a newspaper survey released on Monday showed, amid concerns Abe’s ruling party wants to muzzle its media critics.

Abe has promised key ally Washington that he would enact bills to implement a historic defence policy shift this summer. But in a sign that goal looked tough, his ruling bloc last week extended the current session of parliament to Sept 27.

The percentage of voters opposing Abe’s cabinet rose to 40%, the highest since he took office in December 2012 promising to reboot the economy and bolster Japan’s defense, according to a survey by Nikkei business daily and broadcaster TV Tokyo. Support slipped three points to 47%.

A majority – 56% – opposed Abe’s plan to end a self-imposed ban on exercising the right of collective self-defense, or militarily aiding a friendly country under attack, a move that could allow Japanese troops to fight abroad for the first time since Tokyo’s defeat in World War Two 70 years ago.

Echoing other surveys, the poll showed 81% feel the government’s explanation for the change has been insufficient.

Abe’s push to enact the bills in parliament, where his ruling bloc has a comfortable majority, has run into glitches.

On Saturday, his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) sought to limit fallout from remarks by lawmakers backing Abe that critics said threatened press freedom.

One lawmaker was stripped of his post as head of the LDP’s youth division and three others reprimanded. Abe had declined to apologise for the lawmakers’ remarks at a study group, including a suggestion that corporate sponsors should be pressured to withdraw advertising from media critical of the government.

That flap followed another blow earlier this month when a respected constitutional scholar speaking at a parliamentary panel shocked his LDP hosts by saying the security legislation would violate Japan’s pacifist constitution, a view shared by the majority of academics.

Abe’s ruling coalition can push the bills through parliament given its majority, but any perception it had done so without enough debate could further dent his support rates even as he eyes re-election as LDP president in a party poll in September.

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2015.

Constitutional scholars demand retraction of security bills – Update on “Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: Save Japan’s Peace Constitution”

June 28, 2015

Global Article 9 Campaign just posted an update on the petition you signed, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: Save Japan’s Peace Constitution.

Constitutional scholars demand retraction of security bills

Jun 27, 2015 — As the ruling coalition has extended the current Diet session by a postwar record 95 days in hopes of passing the highly contentious legislation, a group of constitutional experts… Read more
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The 99% of the constitutional scholars claim the bills violate the Peace Constitution. Abe’s supporters and friends proposed to punish the journalism against Abe and destroy two Okinawa papers at the gathering at the Liberal Democratic Party building.  The Abe cabinet and the LDP ignore the academism and journalism, saying that they decide the policy against majority of scholars, journalists, and general public as polls show.

State Capitalism on Behalf of Militarism

June 28, 2015

General News 6/26/2015 at 11:48:22

By Natylie Baldwin (about the author) Permalink (Page 1 of 3 pages)
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From flickr.com/photos/79854445@N06/13892793691/: Boeing Wake of Destruction
Boeing Wake of Destruction
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There is much debate on what the nature of the Soviet Union’s economy actually was. It is agreed by many that it wasn’t in reality a true socialist or even a communist system. Some, like Seymour Melman and Jack Matlock, argue that it was something closer to a state-run capitalist system with a vanguard political party controlling it.

What is hard to argue with is the fact that what constituted a huge part of the Soviet economy in terms of input of resources — and, ironically, what it has had in common with the U.S. economy — was a sprawling and wasteful military-industrial complex guaranteed by the state to enable an arms race.

The Military-Industrial Complex in the United States

In 1864, President Lincoln expressed profound concern over the rise of corporations resulting from the Civil War and what it portended for the political and economic future of the country.

Advancement in industrialization led to more mechanized and phenomenally more destructive warfare in the 20th century, with the outcomes increasingly dependent upon material production and technology.

In World War I, military officers still played a critical role in the decisions to wage war which were based on previous strategies that were soon rendered outmoded due to a lack of technological expertise and inability to manage the more complicated industrial economics crucial to sustaining modern warfare. Thus, for expediency, government allowed responsibility for the war economy to be transferred from the Army to private industrialists who controlled the terms of war organization and procurement through the War Industries Board (WIB), a body comprised primarily of corporate executives and bankers.

Once this arrangement was established it was difficult to put the proverbial genie back in the bottle. Many of the major anti-competitive trusts running the war economy through the WIB had long desired a relationship with the state that would facilitate public subsidy of their interests. The war effort had proven a convenient means to this end.

 

Between 1918 and 1941, formal patronage was fostered between the War Department and Big Business for the first time outside the context of an actual war. Drawing on the WIB model, the War Production Board instituted favorable tax and profit standards for major industrialists who again dictated policies within their own economic sectors during World War II, usurping substantial decision-making from state actors.

Since 1945, the power, reach and ambition of multinational corporations have expanded, including encroachment into areas traditionally considered part of the public interest and outside of its domain.

More sophisticated, diversified and structured than historical mercenaries, Private Military Firms (PMF’s) have proliferated since the collapse of the Cold War. These companies have participated in conflicts from the civil war in Sierra Leone to the Balkans conflict. They played an increasing role in the Iraq war, with Blackwater (now Academi) being the most controversial with the September 2007 killing of 17 civilians and the wounding of 20 more in Nisour Square in Baghdad. Just prior to those killings, a high level manager of the company reportedly issued a death threat to a State Department official who was in Iraq investigating the company’s practices.

A 2014 report issued by Remote Control Project in Britain found that the US Special Operations Command is outsourcing sensitive activities like flying drones, target acquisition oversight, communications, prisoner interrogations, translation of captured material and information management. The report raises concerns due to the challenges that remote warfare has in terms of accountability and oversight. The concern is compounded by the fact that the Obama administration has not decreased war and militarism but has increasingly reorganized it to be under the auspices of covert and special operations with a presence in nearly 70 percent of the world’s nations at 134, up from around 60 nations at the end of the Bush II era. Funding for the Special Operations Command has risen from $2.3 billion in 2001 to a total of $10.4 billion in 2013.

In an investigative report on Obama’s covert-special ops policy, Nick Turse detailed the administration’s militaristic foreign policy:

 

Although elected in 2008 by many who saw him as an antiwar candidate, President Obama has proved to be a decidedly hawkish commander-in-chief. While the Obama administration oversaw a US withdrawal from Iraq (negotiated by his predecessor), as well as a drawdown of US forces in Afghanistan (after a major military surge in that country), the president has presided over a ramping up of the US military presence in Africa, a reinvigoration of efforts in Latin America, and tough talk about a rebalancing or “pivot to Asia”. The White House has also overseen an exponential expansion of America’s drone war. While President Bush launched 51 such strikes, President Obama has presided over 330. Last year, alone, the US also engaged in combat operations in Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. Recent revelations from National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden have [also] demonstrated the tremendous breadth and global reach of US electronic surveillance during the Obama years.
An article in The Daily Beast revealed that many employees of these contractors expect new opportunities with Obama’s long-term plan to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria without “boots on the ground” by following his established pattern of using covert players to obscure the extent of U.S. involvement: “One U.S. military contractor working in Iraq who asked not to be named said, ‘I can tell you the contractor-expat community is abuzz thinking this will lead to more work. We expect a much larger footprint than he is showing right now.'”
Then there are the more mundane support services for both overt and covert military operations provided by firms like KBR which provide ice delivery, trash disposal and portable toilet maintenance, among other services. These contractors and their sub-contractors, like Najilaa Catering Services International, have often performed poorly or committed outright fraud. But that usually doesn’t stop them from continuing to procure contracts with the US government.

Najilaa, for instance, had been under fire for non-payment of bills and fraud in both Iraq and Kuwait prior to being signed on to provide food preparation services to USAID in Iraq in February of 2010. KBR has been plagued with continuing allegations of overcharging and poor service for more than 10 years. In 2011, KBR was hit with an $85 million verdict for exposing members of the Oregon Army National Guard to toxic chemicals while serving in Iraq.

This kind of fraud and waste, however, is not unique to these relatively small players. It is indeed rampant among the top 5 defense contractors: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrup Grumann, General Dynamics, and Raytheon, with 3 of these 5 also occupying the top slots in federal contractor misconduct.

According to the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), Lockheed Martin has more contracts with the federal government than any other company. It also has the most misconduct violations, ranging from age discrimination to contract fraud and unfair business practices, totaling over $600 million in fines, penalties and settlements.

A June 2011 POGO press release states that Boeing overcharged the Army millions in spare helicopter parts, such as $1,678.61 “for a plastic roller assembly that could have been purchased for $7.71 internally from the Department of Defense’s own supplies.” Boeing is ranked second in instances of contractor misconduct.

These kinds of antics have no effect on these companies’ status as government contractors. The fact that the top 5 defense contractors named above were among the top 6 defense industry contributors to federal political candidates and parties in the 2014 election cycle undoubtedly plays a major role.

Furthermore, this kind of waste has been largely built into the system of Pentagon contracting over the years in the form of cost-plus practices in the negotiation process. As the late Seymour Melman, an analyst who specialized in the workings of the military-industrial complex, detailed in his writings, the practice of cost-plus or cost-maximizing defense contracts, in which an agreed upon profit margin was simply added on to the previous cost of producing the product or service, had cropped up during WWII and was institutionalized during Robert McNamara’s tenure as Defense Secretary during the Vietnam War. Not only did this practice result in increasingly inflated price tags for the tax payer, it also discouraged quality control and increases in productivity, and encouraged labor unions in the affected industries to partner with management to the detriment of their own interests. Moreover, the practice bled over into other sectors of the government, such as health care contracts, and even into the private sector.

This cost-maximization, combined with the frequency of no bidding and the companies’ generous campaign contributions, makes these kinds of problems all too pervasive and easy to predict.

When more and more private corporations have entered the market with a profit motive in favor of military conflict, incentives to overcharge taxpayers built into the system, and legalized bribery that passes for campaign financing, what are the chances for a conversion from a war economy to a peaceful, civilian economy as the end of the Cold War provided an opportunity for?

A Formula for Economic Conversion

“Whatever else you can do with a tank, you can’t eat it, wear it, live in it or travel in it. And whatever else you can do with a nuclear-powered submarine or with a military helicopter, you can’t produce anything with it.” — Seymour Melman

Melman’s proposals for economic conversion were predicated upon a partnership between management and labor. For practical reasons, the workers needed to be part of the planning due to their intimate knowledge of the parts, tools and machinery involved in current production and its potential utility in manufacturing civilian goods and determining which ones would have the most successful possible outcome for conversion. Members of corporate management, who were typically far removed from the daily workings on the floor, would often make conversion plans on paper — if left to their own devices — that were unworkable when put into practice. Initial attempts at conversion in the Soviet Union failed due to this very problem.

 

The most comprehensive legislative bill proposed in 1988 to implement such a plan was one sponsored by Ted Weiss and called for the establishment of Alternative Use Committees, comprised of an equal number of representatives from management and labor. The committees would have been tasked with preparing “a complete technical economic plan for the use of the people and facilities following termination of work for the Pentagon.”

The legislation would have also mandated occupational retraining for engineers and managers who were veterans of Pentagon work for 10 years or longer. This was to ensure proper training for cost-minimizing instead of the entrenched practice of cost-maximizing fostered in the defense industry. The conversion program would have been overseen by the Commerce Department to encourage all levels of government to prepare their budgets accordingly in support of conversion.

This bill (HR 103) was the culmination of meetings that then-House Speaker Jim Wright had convened of congress members committed to the conversion opportunities that the end of the Cold War provided.

In the weeks following the bill’s historic introduction, however, a smear campaign against Speaker Wright was initiated — led by Newt Gingrich, who’s district just happened to be home to the headquarters of Lockheed Martin — based on trumped up charges of financial misconduct, forcing Wright’s resignation.

With the bill’s most powerful shepherd effectively eliminated, the legislation died quietly.

 

What Failure of the Peace Dividend Meant for the US

As the end of the Cold War beckoned in the late 1980s and, along with it, the potential for redirection of resources to improve the living standards of communities across America, Melman noted that 50 percent of the discretionary federal budget at that time went to the Pentagon. The percentage projected for the 2015 budget was 54 percent. Meanwhile, 3 percent is allotted to “international affairs” — meaning that some portion of that 3 percent goes to diplomacy, which speaks volumes about our leaders’ priorities and approach to international relations

What all that investment into militarism ultimately translates into is investment not made into the infrastructure for American citizens and their day-to-day needs. To illustrate this point, Melman also discussed the state of American domestic infrastructure by 1990 and how it had suffered from the diversion of resources into the MIC:

Instead of seizing the opportunity provided by the end of the Cold War and investing in the improvement of Americans’ lives, we have continued to feed the same amounts or more into the voracious military economy with our domestic infrastructure in worse shape than ever. The American Society of Civil Engineers Infrastructure Report Card for the US in 2013 was a D+; meanwhile, the New York Times just reported that the federal government will be investing as much as $1 trillion in modernizing our nuclear weapons arsenal over the next 30 years, using the confrontation with Russia over Ukraine as partial justification.

The early stages of another negative trend was observed by Melman with respect to the deindustrialization of the American economy whereby the nation gradually loses the ability to produce essential goods and to repair the basic infrastructure needed to create and repair those essential goods. For example, he described how the US was becoming dependent upon foreign production of basic machinery and tools that were no longer made in the US. This deindustrialization leads to loss of living wage jobs and loss of national independence and self-sufficiency in important areas of the economy. That trend has accelerated in the twenty-four years since and all of the social consequences one would likely expect are visible all around Americans, with the exception of the most wealthy and insulated.

One of the more pernicious consequences of this deindustrialization is that the lack of living wage jobs that used to be available to those with little or no post-secondary education drives more youth into the professional military as they seek a stable income and educational opportunities, reinforcing the militarist feedback loop.

One of the strangest blind spots that the American oligarchy seems to have is what their own system has in common with some of the failed aspects of the Soviet Union and that they somehow think they will avoid the same fate.

Note: This article is an expansion on issues relating to the military-industrial-complex that were discussed in Chapter 1 of Ukraine: Zbig’s Grand Chessboard & How the West Was Checkmated.

 

http://natyliesbaldwin.com/

Natylie Baldwin is co-author of Ukraine: Zbig’s Grand Chessboard & How the West Was Checkmated, available from Tayen Lane Publishing. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in various publications including Sun Monthly, Dissident Voice, (more…)

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One of the Most Dangerous Yet Least Talked About Provisions in TPP

June 28, 2015

OpEdNews Op Eds 6/26/2015 at 16:18:24

By Paola Casale (about the author) Permalink (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): Agreement; Citizens; Corporations; Corporations; Government; Judges; Laws; Lawsuits; Money; Money; (more…) Add to My Group(s)
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Investor State Dispute Settlements (ISDS) are one of the most dangerous yet least talked about parts in recent trade agreements. It essentially trumps any federal, state, and local U.S. regulation that is deemed a “trade barrier” and strips us from the right to handle our own affairs. ISDS enables foreign corporations to sue a host country for laws, policies, even court decisions that they find inconvenient and trade impeding. Any corporation could sue governments at any level including the local government level for loss of its future profits.

ISDS was included in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that was signed in 1993 and implemented in 1994 through the Clinton administration. Chapter 11 in NAFTA is clear when defining ISDS. The U.S. Department of State writes, “Chapter Eleven permits an investor of one NAFTA Party to seek money damages for measures of one of the other NAFTA Parties that allegedly violate those and other provisions of Chapter Eleven.” In other words, if the bottom line of a company outside of the U.S. is hurt by any regulations, they can sue our government, our towns and our cities. Under NAFTA, we have been sued 18 times with damages between $90 million and $650 million.

Regardless of the outcomes of the 18 lawsuits, there is no need to waste time and money on such things and should not be included on any trade agreements. We were sued by Canada for $235 million in 2003 for temporarily blocking Canadian beef due to the discovery of mad cow disease in their cattle. We were simply protecting our citizens yet couldn’t do so successfully because Canada deemed it “trade impeding.”

We were sued in 2012 by Canadian pharmaceutical companies for $520 million because the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. were issuing import alerts to consumers regarding certain imported drugs. The government has had to shell out millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded attorney fees and arbitration costs to defend these claims.

As we speak, there are five NAFTA foreign investor claims against our government working their way through the arbitration process. CAFTA and KORUS include the same provisions and have given us the same headaches.

NAFTA only deals with two other countries and the lawsuits have been, thus far, somewhat manageable. However if Fast Track is passed and the President pushes through the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), we essentially have the whole world to deal with. The TPP alone encompass 40 percent of world GDP and 25 percent of world trade.

 

We have witnessed disasters occurring all across the world due to ISDS. Phillip Morris Intentional and British American, two multinational tobacco companies, sued Australia in its highest court to stop their anti-tobacco campaign and laws, deeming them “trade impeding.” The judges called that case “delusive, unreal, and synthetic”. That conclusion is fatal to the case.

We have seen the same tobacco companies sue other smaller countries such as Uruguay. They actually needed donations in order to obtain the large amounts of money needed to fight these court cases. Even countries that are amongst the 10 poorest countries in the world couldn’t escape! The country of Togo in West Africa is currently receiving lawsuit threats from Phillip Morris International for their new warning labels on tobacco packets. Togo is a country whose entire GDP is $4.3 billion. Compare that to Phillip Morris International’s net revenue of $80 billion!

This could easily happen in the U.S. What if powerful multinational companies came to sue one of our states with a low GDP or even a poor, small city who can’t afford attorneys and legal fees?

TPP, TTIP, and TISA are putting our nation in grave danger. Within sections of the TPP are provisions for ISDS that would allow foreign companies to sue governments for harming their profits. Since Australia has felt the burn of ISDS with Phillip Morris International, they are very hesitant about this clause in the TPP and have asked if the U.S. could exempt Australia from the clause. Both TTIP and TISA have similar clauses. The dispute panel will only take account of “free trade” values, disregarding values of public health, human rights, environmental protection or other social rights. It all boils down to the bottom line of corporations.

By entering into an agreement that contains ISDS clauses, we are losing our voices, our safety, and America’s best interest.

 

Paola Casale is a graduate of Otterbein University. She works for Economy In Crisis as a journalist who loves to dig up the truth. Paola meets with members of Congress in D.C. to discuss international trade agreements and how to aim towards fair (more…)

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NASA Experts: Southeast US hit by “anomalously high” levels of polonium from Fukushima

June 28, 2015

ENENews


 — Never seen before, except during volcanic events — Fallout also detected in Mississippi river — Polonium releases kept secret in past nuclear disasters; Death estimates would skyrocket if included

Posted: 26 Jun 2015 11:21 AM PDT

Fukushima plume model shows 1 Million Bq/m2 over West Coast after reactor explosions

June 25, 2015

ENENews


 — TV: Private emails reveal highest levels of gov’t worried about health impact in US — Nuclear industry tried to bury truth, while UC Berkeley experts told public “there is no plume” (VIDEO)

Posted: 24 Jun 2015 05:17 PM PDT

Can A 4°C Earth Support 10 Billion People?

June 24, 2015
CLIMATE

POSTED ON JUNE 1, 2015 AT 8:00 AM

CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK

“Homo sapiens is poised to become the greatest catastrophic agent since a giant asteroid collided with the Earth 65,000,000 years ago, wiping out half the world’s species in a geological instant.” So wrote anthropologist Richard Leakey in his 1995 book, “The Sixth Extinction: Patterns of Life and the Future of Humankind.”

Because of the vital dependence we have on the “ecosystem services” provided by the rest of nature, Leakey warned, “unrestrained, Homo sapiens might not only be the agent of the sixth extinction, but also risks being one of its victims.”

Twenty years later, the great climate journalist Elizabeth Kolbert has won a very deserved Pulitzer prize for her nonfiction book “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History.”

In her book, Kolbert

quotes

Leakey and explains that there’s no way of knowing if humanity will be wiped out in this self-inflicted disaster. For her, “what’s most worth attending to” right now, is the fact that “we are deciding, without quite meaning to, which evolutionary pathway remain open and which will forever be closed.” As she notes, “no other creature has ever managed this.”

I personally doubt homo sapiens will go fully extinct. The more important question for me is whether the planet can support upwards of 10 billion people post-2050 given that we have already overshot the Earth’s biocapacity — and the overshoot gets worse every year.

footprint-biocapacity

Homo sapiens already use the equivalent of 1.5 Earths to support our consumption.

CREDIT: WORLD WILDLIFE FUND

Most significantly, we are in the process of destroying a livable climate upon which so many species, including our own, rely. We are currently on a trajectory to warm the planet 4°C (7°F) or more this century and then continue warming in the next. In 2011, the UK Royal Society devoted a special issue of one of its journals to “Four degrees and beyond: the potential for a global temperature increase of four degrees and its implications.” The concluding piece warned:

“In such a 4°C world, the limits for human adaptation are likely to be exceeded in many parts of the world, while the limits for adaptation for natural systems would largely be exceeded throughout the world.”

In particular, “drought and desertification would be widespread” and we’d see “large areas of cropland becoming unsuitable for cultivation, and declining agricultural yields.” At the same time, we’d “also rapidly be losing [the world’s] ecosystem services, owing to large losses in biodiversity, forests, coastal wetlands, mangroves and saltmarshes, and terrestrial carbon stores, supported by an acidified and potentially dysfunctional marine ecosystem.”

Can such a world support 10 billion people?

As for biodiversity, a 2015 study in Science said we may lose one-sixth of all species to extinction if we warm 4°C. “Other experts said the real toll may turn out to be even worse,”reported the New York Times. The paper quoted evolutionary biologist John Wiens warning the number of extinctions “may well be two to three times higher.”

As I reported a few weeks ago, another 2015 study in Science concluded that the Permo-Triassic extinction 252 million years ago (“the greatest extinction of all time”) happened when massive amounts carbon dioxide were injected into the atmosphere, first slowly and then quickly (driven by volcanic eruptions). The researchers found “During the second extinction pulse, however, a rapid and large injection of carbon caused an abrupt acidification event that drove the preferential loss of heavily calcified marine biota.” This extinction killed over 90 percent of marine life and wiped out some 70 percent of land-based animal and plant life.

A 2014 review article in the journal Science led by Duke conservation ecologist Stuart Pimm, “The biodiversity of species and their rates of extinction, distribution, and protection,” concluded, “Current rates of extinction are about 1,000 times the background rate of extinction. These are higher than previously estimated and likely still underestimated.”

The current mass extinction is due to a combination of factors, many driven by humans, including habitat destruction and over-fishing and over-hunting. A number of aspects of climate change have begun contributing to species extinction, but what is of most concern to biologists today is that as the rate of global warming speeds up in the coming decades, the climate may well change too quickly for many if not most species to adapt.

Significantly, there is more to biodiversity than just the number of species, as shown in a2011 study , “Cryptic biodiversity loss linked to global climate change.” It was the first global study “to quantify the loss of biological diversity on the basis of genetic diversity.” Cryptic biodiversity “encompasses the diversity of genetic variations and deviations within described species.” It could only be studied in detail since molecular-genetic methods were developed.

Researchers noted that “If global warming continues as expected, it is estimated that almost a third of all flora and fauna species worldwide could become extinct.” But their research “discovered that the proportion of actual biodiversity loss should quite clearly be revised upwards: by 2080, more than 80% of genetic diversity within species may disappear in certain groups of organisms.” Species may survive, but ”the majority of the genetic variations, which in each case exist only in certain places, will not survive,” as study co-author Carsten Nowak explained. A species’ genetic variation increases its adaptability to a changing climate and changing habitats. Losing genetic diversity decreases the species’ long-term chances for survival.

A similar point was made in a January 2015 Science article, “Planetary boundaries,” by 18 international experts led by Will Steffen of the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

Here is the key chart of their findings (an update of their original 2009 findings).

planetary boundaries

Researchers find 4 of 9 planetary boundaries have been crossed: climate change, loss of biosphere integrity, land-system change, altered biogeochemical cycles (phosphorus and nitrogen).

CREDIT: STEFFEN ET AL, SCIENCE 2015. DESIGN: GLOBAÏA.

We are already well beyond the zone of uncertainty and into the high risk area for the “genetic diversity” component of biosphere integrity. Researchers label climate change and biosphere integrity as “core boundaries.” They could “drive the Earth System into a new state” if substantially changed. Steffen notes, “Transgressing a boundary increases the risk that human activities could inadvertently drive the Earth System into a much less hospitable state, damaging efforts to reduce poverty and leading to a deterioration of human wellbeing in many parts of the world, including wealthy countries.”

The bottom line, as the Science authors explain, is that “The relatively stable, 11,700-year-long Holocene epoch is the only state of the ES [Earth System] that we know for certain can support contemporary human societies.” As we move beyond that stable state, the risks for all species — including ours — grow and grow.

Major Newspapers: The big question is, where did Fukushima’s melted fuel go?

June 24, 2015

ENENews


… Just where is that fuel?… No one even knows where it is — Experts: The world’s never seen anything like this… We have 3 nuclear cores that hit groundwater (VIDEO)

Posted: 23 Jun 2015 12:08 PM PDT

Poll: Majority of Japanese public oppose Abe’s security legislation – Update on “Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: Save Japan’s Peace Constitution”

June 23, 2015

Petition update
Global Article 9 Campaign just posted an update on the petition you signed, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: Save Japan’s Peace Constitution.

Poll: Majority of Japanese public oppose Abe’s security legislation

Jun 22, 2015 — Japan’s Diet is currently deliberating over a set of security bills that would allow the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to use force to rescue Japanese nationals overseas, remove… Read more