A Moral Atmosphere

THE LIST OF REASONS for not acting on climate change is long and ever-shifting. First it was “there’s no problem”; then it was “the problem’s so large there’s no hope.” There’s “China burns stuff too,” and “it would hurt the economy,” and, of course, “it would hurt the economy.” The excuses are getting tired, though. Post Sandy (which hurt the economy to the tune of $100 billion) and the drought ($150 billion), 74 percent of Americans have decided they’re very concerned about climate change and want something to happen.

But still, there’s one reason that never goes away, one evergreen excuse not to act: “you’re a hypocrite.” I’ve heard it ten thousand times myself — how can you complain about climate change and drive a car/have a house/turn on a light/raise a child? This past fall, as I headed across the country on a bus tour to push for divestment from fossil fuels, local newspapers covered each stop. I could predict, with great confidence, what the first online comment from a reader following each account would be: “Do these morons not know that their bus takes gasoline?” In fact, our bus took biodiesel — as we headed down the East Coast, one job was watching the web app that showed the nearest station pumping the good stuff. But it didn’t matter, because the next comment would be: “Don’t these morons know that the plastic fittings on their bus, and the tires, and the seats are all made from fossil fuels?”

Actually, I do know — even a moron like me. I’m fully aware that we’re embedded in the world that fossil fuel has made, that from the moment I wake up, almost every action I take somehow burns coal and gas and oil. I’ve done my best, at my house, to curtail it: we’ve got solar electricity, and solar hot water, and my new car runs on electricity — I can plug it into the roof and thus into the sun. But I try not to confuse myself into thinking that’s helping all that much: it took energy to make the car, and to make everything else that streams into my life. I’m still using far more than any responsible share of the world’s vital stuff.

And, in a sense, that’s the point. If those of us who are trying really hard are still fully enmeshed in the fossil fuel system, it makes it even clearer that what needs to change are not individuals but precisely that system. We simply can’t move fast enough, one by one, to make any real difference in how the atmosphere comes out. Here’s the math, obviously imprecise: maybe 10 percent of the population cares enough to make strenuous efforts to change — maybe 15 percent. If they all do all they can, in their homes and offices and so forth, then, well . . . nothing much shifts. The trajectory of our climate horror stays about the same.

But if 10 percent of people, once they’ve changed the light bulbs, work all-out to change the system? That’s enough. That’s more than enough. It would be enough to match the power of the fossil fuel industry, enough to convince our legislators to put a price on carbon. At which point none of us would be required to be saints. We could all be morons, as long as we paid attention to, say, the price of gas and the balance in our checking accounts. Which even dummies like me can manage.

I think more and more people are coming to realize this essential truth. Ten years ago, half the people calling out hypocrites like me were doing it from the left, demanding that we do better. I hear much less of that now, mostly, I think, because everyone who’s pursued those changes in good faith has come to realize both their importance and their limitations. Now I hear it mostly from people who have no intention of changing but are starting to feel some psychic tension. They feel a little guilty, and so they dump their guilt on Al Gore because he has two houses. Or they find even lamer targets.

For instance, as college presidents begin to feel the heat about divestment, I’ve heard from several who say, privately, “I’d be more inclined to listen to kids if they didn’t show up at college with cars.” Which in one sense is fair enough. But in another sense it’s avoidance at its most extreme. Young people are asking college presidents to stand up to oil companies. (And the ones doing the loudest asking are often the most painfully idealistic, not to mention the hardest on themselves.) If as a college president you do stand up to oil companies, then you stand some chance of changing the outcome of the debate, of weakening the industry that has poured billions into climate denial and lobbying against science. The action you’re demanding of your students — less driving — can’t rationally be expected to change the outcome. The action they’re demanding of you has at least some chance. That makes you immoral, not them.

Yes, they should definitely take the train to school instead of drive. But unless you’re the president of Hogwarts, there’s a pretty good chance there’s no train that goes there. Your students, in other words, by advocating divestment, have gotten way closer to the heart of the problem than you have. They’ve taken the lessons they’ve learned in physics class and political science and sociology and economics and put them to good use. And you — because it would be uncomfortable to act, because you don’t want to get crosswise with the board of trustees — have summoned a basically bogus response. If you’re a college president making the argument that you won’t act until your students stop driving cars, then clearly you’ve failed morally, but you’ve also failed intellectually. Even if you just built an energy-efficient fine arts center, and installed a bike path, and dedicated an acre of land to a college garden, you’ve failed. Even if you drive a Prius, you’ve failed.

Maybe especially if you drive a Prius. Because there’s a certain sense in which Prius-driving can become an out, an excuse for inaction, the twenty-first-century equivalent of “I have a lot of black friends.” It’s nice to walk/drive the talk; it’s much smarter than driving a semi-military vehicle to get your groceries. But it’s become utterly clear that doing the right thing in your personal life, or even on your campus, isn’t going to get the job done in time; and it may be providing you with sufficient psychic comfort that you don’t feel the need to do the hard things it will take to get the job done. It’s in our role as citizens — of campuses, of nations, of the planet — that we’re going to have to solve this problem. We each have our jobs, and none of them is easy.

Bill McKibben is an author and environmentalist who in 2014 was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the ‘alternative Nobel.’ His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has appeared in 24 languages; he’s gone on to write a dozen more books. He is a founder of 350.org, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement, which has organized twenty  thousand rallies around the world in every country save North Korea, spearheaded the resistance to the Keystone Pipeline, and launched the fast-growing fossil fuel divestment movement.


  1. Again, Pastor McKibben comes forth with his benediction to the carbon-spweing world – well, if 10% of the country somehow becomes ambassadorial monks, all the sewage and the drilling rigs and the molybdenum and the floating plastic islands and the extinct species and the arctic methane bogs and the Thirld World devastation will be canceled, allowing the campuses of the American northest to continue to sell pie-in-the-sky, vacuous carbon visions of happy virtue.
    Preposterous – continued pabulum for the easily comforted.
    Hey, I understand that this is a just an anticipatroy blast of rational nihilism before the Orion spiritualists take over, but, damn, come on, where’s the realism in following Pastor Bill?

  2. Martin — I have a tip for you. If you want to please the corporate interests you shill for, try spell checking your posts; they make you sound illiterate as well as ill informed.

  3. Thanks, Mike K. – you are right, I should use a spell-check. It’s nice to see someone cares, and I would not want to give you one reason, even if minute, to evade the critique.
    As for the rest, you sound desperate – maybe the truths you struggle against are getting too intrusive in your mind.
    Spiritualism plays right into the corporate mentality – the opiate not only of the masses, but of the corporate masters.
    C02 levels are about to go over 400 – but put your mind on some cleansing green fantasy, and it does not have to be confronted. Retreat to some absurd hermeticism, and the acidification of the world’s oceans ceases to be a problem. Talk about the green economy and scything, and the corporations that so clearly run the world, including the shoes, food, politics, media, and everything else of Mike K, Bill McKibben, and the greenwashing movement, and the rational expectation of ecological collapse become ignorable as the work of trolls and “shills.”
    I am happy to endeavoring to help you see the irrationalisms behind the greenwashing “movement” – they truly are a tragedy.

  4. In light of the overwhelming bad news on Global Warming and the fact that we are all stuck in a system bent on profits at the expense of the planet, what to do? Mike – what is a realistic course of action. In that this is clearly a moral and ethical dilemma, it certainly has to be a spiritual one as well.
    Both sides have their beliefs rational and otherwise. What is a rational course of action? Attempt to change your own behaviors and use your voice to influence others to do the same? Rant in online comment sections about side issues? Follow Mckibben’s advice and try to push the fossil fuel industry to behave responsibly? Self emulate? What to do? So that one is doing meaningful work for the benefit of the planet and not just “trolling.”

  5. Folks who step outside the box of known things have always been considered a bit odd if not crazy. The early shamans who would go off by themselves and invite visions and experiences beyond the ordinary were often felt to be a little scary and dangerous even. What they brought back to the tribe was puzzling and often threatening to established understandings.

    One of the mottos I early chose for myself was an old French one: passez outre (go beyond). I felt instinctively that the established knowledge was too limited and inadequate to the problems mankind was facing. Something beyond our present understandings will be needed if our supposedly rational ideas do not destroy us before we can find it. Does the cultural understanding at present make sense at all? Will it still make sense if we destroy ourselves to the last human? What a price to pay for being safe and sane and right! Is there any guarantee that journeying far into the unknown will save us? No, but another saying has been a mainstay for me: To venture is to risk defeat; but not to venture is to lose one’s soul. (Kierkegaard)

    Desperate times require extraordinary measures. Let us explore every possibility. Let a thousand flowers bloom… Science is not the enemy nor spirituality, ignorance and refusal to venture is the enemy.

  6. Martin’s initial comment post appears to me to be incoherent. Is the point of it meant to be that Mr. McKibben’s strategy is insufficient to the cause? I dunno.

    I subscribe to an All-Of-The-Above approach to strategy. I’m all for McKibben’s potpourri of rallies and marches, divestitures and civil disobdience actions directed mainly at political change along with the movemement building which might serve that aim. But all of this has its “non-linear” effects, which feed and serve other approaches as well — not all of which are “political” in the usual sense.

    My study of the climate emergency (I don’t call it a crisis anymore) has me convinced that industrial civilization–as we know it–cannot be sustained if we wish to sustain a decent biosphere. One of our great tasks must be to show that a very low carbon (and energy) economy is possible, desirable, and conducive to happiness and well-being. That’s essentially an educational project, and this strategic component needs to be folded into the potpourri. We need to really understand that a swift transition to a very low carbon economy would not necessarily lead to poverty and horrors. It is not all “sacrifice” and hairshirts. A very low carbon culture/economy might have as many or more joys as a very high carbon culture/economy.

    And the effects of such an educational agenda will also fold its non-linear effects into, and serve, McKibben’s strategy. But this educational component is crucial to any success, I think. People need a happy vision of a low-carbon culture — and it can’t be just images of wind turbines and solar panels–because the energy replacement can only go so far, at least in the near term. And everything depends on the near term.

    Final word: We need to address our miserably failed and broken media!

  7. Scott — Ralph Nader wrote a book Only the Super Rich Can Save Us. It was a little tongue in cheek, but it also revealed a blueprint of what could happen if a handful of very wealthy persons would take part in it. My thought now is Only a New Spiritual Movement Can Save Us. I am too lazy to write the book, but I have some of the basic ideas in my head. If there was a groundswell of interest, I guess I could summon the energy to write it, but the poor response to Ralph’s book is a bit discouraging. Hence I stopped holding my breath a ways back.

  8. Scott — Ralph Nader wrote a book Only the Super Rich Can Save Us. It was a little tongue in cheek, but it also revealed a blueprint of what could happen if a handful of very wealthy persons would take part in it. My thought now is Only a New Spiritual Movement Can Save Us. I am too lazy to write the book, but I have some of the basic ideas in my head. If there was a groundswell of interest, I guess I could summon the energy to write it, but the poor response to Ralph’s book is a bit discouraging. Hence I stopped holding my breath a ways back.
    Beginning with comment #251 on the Dark Ecology thread I started to sketch some of the characteristics of a real spiritual path. Gary G. also contributed some good stuff on that thread. Check it out.

  9. James, you are not really trying that hard. McKibben and the baby greens are guilty of the crime of whitewashing the socio-political truth, or “greenwashing,” and no amount of half-breast-beating by Mckibben about his own hypocrisies and stunning failures will atone for the encouragement of pro-corporate, pro-Democrat, foolish self-regard of this crowd, which Orion and grist.org subscribe to.
    There was nothing “incoherent” about my post – there is a need to stop the nonsense about “low” this or “sustainable” that while the facts and the numbers mount in the opposite direction.
    James R. Martin’s low-intensity “education” program is as laughable as Mike K.’s “spiritualism” – there is no more room on the planet for toleration of reality-avoidance. Yet, there it is, at Orion, at grist.org, on the campuses, in Wired magazine, a privileged monologue about making one’s own nest appear pure, while ignoring all the accumulating carbon and methane and rare earth metals that are being mined underneath our feet, away from our eyes.
    Whatever we can “do” about it, we haven’t done, and if you could point me to a nubmer that says it is being done, then we could all be doing that. However, CO2, the acidification of the oceans, the sixth great extinction, the student debt, the corporate financial crimes, the Israeli settlements, the incarceration rates, all manner of social realities all testify to an enormous horror that can not, and should not, be greenwashed.
    Where are your consciences?

  10. Martin,

    Your posts continue to be incoherent, in the sense that they don’t hold together enough for anybody to understand with any clarity what you’re getting at. Your criticism is not honed or clarified, but scattered and exploding. These posts exhibit the worst of what folks mean when they call something a “rant”. They do not cohere into an argument–or points in a conversation–, they merely spit bile.

    I recommend toning down the anger with a few breaths. Then see if you can say something other people can understand.

  11. I’d like to follow up on my earlier, too brief comment about the role of the media in our climate emergency woes.

    I’m speaking most especially to the media in the USA, which is where I live. Something is very, very terribly wrong with it. Abysmally wrong. Whether it be print periodical, tv, radio … it is generally guilty of daily portraying a world which no longer exists, a world which is not deep into a life-or-death climate emergency. The same thing can be said of politics and politicians in the USA as well, but let me focus on the media here for strategic reasons. For targeting reasons.

    That’s right, I think the climate emergency response movement/s need to target the media in the same way the president was targeted (by a non-violent political demonstration) on President’s Day.

    Let’s not get all worked up by the word “target” though. By that word I mean only that we’re directing energy at something — utterly non-violently — like “target audience” or such like.

    We need a major national (or international) day of action which puts “The Media” on notice, which hits the streets in numbers and rallies at the door steps of Failure — the Corporate Media headquarters themselves. They do not merely under-report. That’s being too kind and too soft. They deliberately cultivate a weird sense of the world in which Business As Usual seems to make sense. They propagandize for BAU. They mislead and mis-educate. And they don’t even do journalism. What they spew into the world every day is a mirrage, an illusion, a fraud. And we need to call them on it. Publically, en masse.

    If only to wake the people up.

  12. Thanks for the note. I too believe that the societies we inhabit will have to massively transform (read implode) before really change will happen. I have not read that Nader book, but will definitely check it out.

  13. Lenny Bruce used to have this routine where he would recreate a dramatic scene from a 30s gangster style movie. At one point a compulsive killer with a conscience would emerge and cry out “STOP ME BEFORE I KILL AGAIN!”. It sort of reminds me of this article. We’re all in the climate killer role whether we like it or not. So I guess we all need a big fat fossil fuel tax to restrain us from our climate killer ways. Then we need to police it.

    I get a little uneasy when overpopulation is not headlined in any general solution to our problems. When you are in survival mode 350 ppm CO2 goals seem peripheral to your moment to moment drive to survive. So I like simple solutions that you can stick on a bumper sticker, like:


    You may not agree with it but you can’t miss the clear direction provided.

  14. As long as the government does nothing to reign in its use of fuels and all the rest, how can we as individuals ever hope to compete with that level of exhausting pollution. Ever hear of the military trying to become carbon conscious? Not likely.

  15. The US government represents corporate interests without a shred of conscience. The individuals who own and profit from all this are sociopaths who are not concerned at all with the suffering they create.

  16. McKibben’s “solutions” cannot work even if they were implemented. For a carbon tax to work it would have to kill the economy. There is no such thing as a “green” industrial economy. He pretty much admits that when he discusses the embodied energy of his car and bus regardless of their fuel source. And no matter how much he tries to ignore it, if only the USA had a carbon tax, the rest of the world would be very happy to burn every last gallon of gas and lump of coal instead. This is just more feel good posturing with no hope of solving the real problem.

  17. Thor — Then what solution do you reccomend?

  18. Hi Mike K, I’m interested when you talk about writing this book. Do you have an outline, do you know pretty much what you’d want to say?

  19. Thank you Bill, for your incredible inspirational persistence in the face of deafening silence and disheartening inaction, despite overwhelming scientific evidence that our climate is in deep trouble. I don’t know how you maintain your optimism in the face of unending comments like the one on this page, but I commend and respect you for it.

  20. “You’re a hypocrite” is not a reason for anything, or even an excuse. It is an attempted distraction, it is name-calling, like tofu-eating tree-hugger, freedom-stomping socialist, or sanctimonious eco-nut,designed to make the class laugh and the teacher delay the lesson. Teachers know not to let a joker engage them in a discussion on their sincerity, but instead find a way to compliment the heckler.
    Example: ‘Thanks for pointing out how hard it is to avoid using fossil fuel. You obviously understand that 95% of our transportation is dependent on oil. So it is a monopoly, and it has a stranglehold on our economy. We have to get government to help rein in that corporate power and give small clean energy businesses freedom to compete fairly.
    Americans are inventive, hard working and great business strategists. We have already developed solar and wind technology that makes electricity at no higher cost than traditional power from coal, and our designs for vehicle batteries are getting better and cheaper by the month. Hopefully in the next decade the question will not be how much fuel we are burning but what make of electric car we are using, or what brand of algae fuel is powering the airplane.
    To create a new clean energy economy, we need to work together to make the price of fossil fuels include their full costs to society. Citizens Climate Lobby, one of the organizations calling for a carbon tax, recommends the revenue collected be refunded to the public. Then green energy market could expand, out-compete fossil fuels, help our balance of trade, and strengthen our leadership in the world.
    More efficient use of energy can reduce our power needs dramatically. Conservation measures in agriculture and forestry can help increase carbon storage.
    Joining organizations working for these changes can counter the lobbying done by the fossil fuel industry, and increases the likelihood that our government will make decisions that help us all in the long term.
    Check out Citizens Climate Lobby,350.org, and NRDC

  21. David M — You are quite correctly aware that population reduction is the key to all our problems. If we do not solve this one, all other issues are moot. With billions of people demanding more, more, more of everything there are no viable solutions to any of our critical problems. Less people will lead to less pollution, lower global temperatures, less resource depletion, more trees, etc.

  22. You are of course right Mike. I don’t include the need for lowered population in every post simply because it would be irritatingly redundant and in this case wanted to put some focus on CCS as an added feature of pushing back against AGW. But to be clear:



  23. It’s good to see that we’re all trying to make our points with (blessed) economy of words, but as can be seen thus far, that can have a huge down side, especially for ignorant, ideological ranters and trolls.

    This discussion may benefit by considering a few basic factors:
    1. “Humanity” is on a timeline extending from our very first socializing around gathered fruits or freshly killed game, all the way to this very moment. Further, history teaches us to keep that time line in mind because poorly considered acts can wreck our future on the time line;
    2. History also teaches that Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is an important tool for discovering and prioritizing problems requiring action. Accident investigation, insurance companies, medicine and many others fields use it to our great benefit. RCA can benefit this discussion too, if we exercise due care and caution.

    Long story short, my analysis says that corporate money is corrupting our entire system of governance and negatively affecting every emanation from it, including the sources of information citizens require in order to make “informed decisions”. That being the case, as responsible, engaged citizens we must organize to rid our system of corrupting corporate money in order to retake the helm of our ship of state and re-set our course to a healthy, prosperous future. Several organizations (Common Cause, CAF, PFAW, Occupy, etc. are now working on that and we should be working with them.

    In the mean time, there are other urgent issues, (*symptoms* of the ROOT CAUSE) that must be taken on concurrently and Climate Change is one of them. McKibben and 350.org are examples of citizen action at it’s best and despite ridicule and cynicism by ideologues, stand a very good chance of raising public awareness to the point of real change in policy at all levels. I strongly recommend doubters to attend a rally and to read the science a bit more before inflicting more hurt on participants -and our collective future.

  24. The same defensiveness crops up on the pro-McKibben comments here, but there is a need to point out that there are folks who tired of the same old hope-and-smoke routines from the establishment greens.
    This is not a problem of not thinking hard enough or not listening at the feet of would-be analysis gurus. Whatever was said by the establishment greens here was said back in the 70s, and yet there were a few critics, like Langdon Winner, who warned, within the movement, against delivering the Pie-in-the-sky rhetoric that gets trampled under by social reality, of corporations, business, mining, drilling, money.

    Back in the 70s, the Pie-in-the-Skiers thought that “appropriate technology” was going to have us all decentralized, living in pure solar bliss. Then comes the “computer” revolution. Do you sense the theme here? Dangle some new techology or ideology in front of easily-led citizens, and the powers-that-be roll right through, stronger and more punitive.
    We are being played for suckers by establishment, corporate friendly greens, who disregard all available evidence to hand the world more folkish rapture. Meanwhile, the planet burns.
    The “troll” idiocy is symptomatic – any critic of an established mythology gets deried as a “troll,” allowing the fantasists and the lecturers, the pastors and the easily led to refuse to engage with any criticism.
    I have never used the cliche “troll” towards any critic, on-line or in public. Why have comments sections if different sides cannot argue?

  25. Martin — I am curious to know what you would do instead of the green do gooders you deride?

  26. Sure, Mike K – I’ll give your invitation a whirl.
    All greens, from the establishment corporate ones like MCKibben, to the anti-civ ascetics, should acquire humility and awe in the face of our insoluable collective predicament, and get off the soapbox and discard the vestments.
    Social reality, the basis of which is our inherited supersystem, will shift and aggregate, and it will dictate what we “do,” so we should enjoy the gifts of our precious, magnificent, but awfully troubled lives.
    We can recycle, get solar power, drive a high MPG car, eat organic, but only a privileged slice of humnaity is going to be able to afford such a positive, protected life, and all around will be corporate domination, drilling and mining, horrific economic inequality and species extinction.
    Smoke ’em if you got ’em,I guess, I would say, in conclusion, but I’ve seen too much psychic disintegration from the drogas, so I’ll suggest you do whatever the hell gets you through our descent into accelerating catastrophe – but never, ever add to the mountain of specious claptrap about how we are going to “change” through our fully corrupt institutional systems.
    Ain’t happening, bro – let it go.

  27. Martin — So your formula boils down to: eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die?

  28. Eat within limits, drink in moderation, be merry if you can ignore the pain and the nonsense, for we are on a long, differentiated, but uncomfortable descent.
    Not as pithy, I grant you.
    Or you could be like McKibben, who ends his latest sermon: “John Kerry is a good man, who could become a great man.”

  29. Martin

    “We are being played for suckers by establishment, corporate friendly greens”

    Since we all jump to the tune of the government-industrial complex 24/7 whether you drive a car or ride a bicycle with roads and all etc. etc. the opportunity to wallow in cynicism is total.

    Even if I find a cave in some out of the way niche in a National Park and go into forage mode I still need the government to keep my little wilderness survivalist cul-de-sac intact.

    Even in the open seas which I have some experience with you defer to the big boats and massive tuna fishing interests and even those outlaw entrepreneurs, better known as pirates. There is also the experience of being surrounded by industrial pollution.

    So I have no choice but to treat any collection of people under any label, whether it be corporate or otherwise, as finally simply people who presumably want a future for their children. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.

    If finally the leaders of Exxon realize they are cutting their own throats and they have to start thinking outside the box, then who knows. It’s a long shot but so be it. If a critical mass of folks from the top to bottom of our economic and political ladder are determined to drive us off the cliff then it’s game over.

    All I can do is offer some common sense thoughts on what it will take to provide a survival alternative and hope others do to until some inspired synergy actively catches on and maybe then things turn around. It’s better than nothing.

  30. “Troll” is valid shorthand for rude, crude and defeatist diatribe -which I won’t waste more time on.

    o pick up where I left off, having invested much time in my advanced age to research the topic, I am convinced we do have a chance to salvage our future *IF” we can galvanize our citizens to act in their best interests. That, in turn depends on communicating the best truth we can muster in such a way that 1. the defeatists and propagandized among us can drop the disinformation; and 2. we all can pick up on the truth and apply it through concerted, energetic action. That’s what the Mckibbins’s of the world are doing right now.

    Applying the truth can be really exciting -and dangerous too, as civil rights activists through the ages have found. But hey! -what memories would you rather carry to your dotage… having fought in another tragic war for the corporatists? or fought for something that truly changes the world for something much better?

  31. i like the article, but i wish you wouldn’t say “lame” in a pejorative way. it’s like saying that something is so bad, it’s like that boy over there with polio.

  32. Thanks all….This is my Dr Bronner’s label take: ALL of the above RIGHT NOW : Change paradigm or its goals (Meadows), low carb for me AND everyone, sequestration, spiritual path (with ITS non linear effects too), Tim Jackson (“Prosperity without Growth”), crowd funding solar AND efficiency, Stewart Brand even (GMO, a few nukes but what’s wrong with RMI Reinventing Fire instead?)..whatever we must do to move past the emergency and live within ecological limits. We CAN manage a rapid “elegant contraction”. That’s the new “Progress” As Henry Ford (wow) said “Whether you think you can or can’t you are right”. “LOVE is all there is…” That’s REVOLUTION! And Kropotkin:’It is hope, not despair, which makes successful revolutions.’

  33. So many funny people write articles and comment here.
    Scared children imagining planetary crisis under their bed.
    Sooper smart ones that calculated how many humans should live on this planet. Playing gods in a virtual sandbox…
    Loads of long word intellectual masturbation.
    And comissar McKibben in leather jacket, with muzzle of his Mauser pushing those unwilling to fight to the frontline.
    RRRRRevolution or death!!!!!
    Thanks for the LOL y’all.

  34. I know, I know, we can’t criticize 350.org or Bill McKibben, but in reality, we need other voices out there, and much of Bill’s line ties into supporting the Democratic Party, Obama, et al. This so-called

    “Environmental” Movement is funded and now controlled by the fossil fuel industry though the Pew Charitable Trusts (Sun Oil Co) and the Rockefeller Fund and of course by others outside of Big Energy who are all about Big Bucks, Consumerism, and capitalism unfettered.

    Upton Sinclair — “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

    Read on, read on — I have way too much work to do to answer to the Orion guild of writers.


    Michael Donnelly’s piece, “As the Planet Burns: Hot Air, Photo Ops and Bill McKibben’s “Greenest” City” is referenced.

  35. Yes Commissar Bill is really a greenwashing sell out. It’s funny when you get into serious subjects, sure enough the super purists show up whose sole purpose seems to be to show that they are purer than everyone else or the writer at hand is some sort of establishment trick baby. It’s so much more fun and safe than going after the actual polluters.

  36. David M — The funny thing was that I had a radio show in Spokane, and Bill came on. He called me “man, you are really dark . . . really.” He was b.s.-ing about Obama and si se puede. We have no real strong out there voice for critical thinking. The same with Van Jones — can’t muster an attack on the attacker, Obama.

    You know, I was real dark having on folk like Tim Flannery, David Suzuki, Jeremy Scahill, Richard Heinberg, others from Post-Carbon Institute. Dark because I was looking at the green washing and eco-pornography with a clear eye.

    I am not trying to attack Bill as a human, but he is not my spokesperson, and he is not much in terms of the narrative. There are rights of nature, basic rights of the world outside the man-centric Consumopithecus.

    In the end, it was more interesting to have on Winona LaDuke and Philip Mote . . . guys like Catching Fire’s Richard Wrangham. There is just more authentic voice coming from them.

    Check this out —


  37. Let’s see, either you must play attack dog to Obama or be some sort of authentic poet of the environment to be legitimate.

    I’ll go with guy who is mobilizing the folks, who founded 350.org, who is leading the fight against the tar sands pipeline no matter how prosaic and prone to stay on the good side of Obama he may be. Since Obama is inevitably a political animal, whatever his real concerns, I get his limitations and the pointlessness of making him the principal target of one’s spear point.

    For some reason this reminds me of the comment of Lincoln’s campaign manager when asked about whether Lincoln’s homeliness would be a problem in his getting elected president. His reply was if Lincoln got all the homely vote he would win in a landslide.

  38. What a choice, man — attack dog or poet! And then intoning Lincoln. We are cooked with this sort of critique!

    …excerpt from an 1858 speech he gave in Charleston, South Carolina:

    “I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

  39. Enough of Bill McKibben. Move him over and get real.

    Walden, Vermont

    In his 2008 book Deep Economy, Bill McKibben concludes that economic growth is the source of the ecological crises we face today. He explains that when the economy grows larger than necessary to meet our basic needs – when it grows for the sake of growth, automatically striving for “more” – its social and environmental costs greatly outweigh any benefits it may provide.
    Unfortunately, McKibben seems to have forgotten what he so passionately argued just five years ago. Today he is an advocate of industrial wind turbines on our ridgelines: he wants to industrialize our last wild spaces to feed the very economy he fingered as the source of our environmental problems.

    or . . .


    By Cory Morningstar

    Or . . . .


    Global Justice Ecology Project

    Or . . .

    Karyn Strickler is a political scientist, grassroots organizer and writer. Karyn hosts and produces, Climate Challenge, the first and only TV show in the nation to focus exclusively on the issue of climate change.

    When 350.org, whom founder Bill McKibben describes as a ‘scruffy little outfit’, was requested to disclose their financial statements and provide complete list of funders in 2010, they responded via email that they would discuss this via a phone communication. The email communication can be read here. To date, they have not responded further. Karyn Strickler of Climate Challenge Media asked McKibben, in a 2010 interview, similar questions regarding the funding. You can listen to his response in the Strickler interview here:

  40. This “discussion” is degraded by ignorant distortions of fact and willful propagandizing. To pull it back to basics:
    * Lincoln is justly regarded as a hero today because of the net effects of his actions.
    * McKibben and others of his ilk are regarded as a heros today because of the net effect of his/their actions to educate and mobilize sufficient numbers of us citizens so that we can save ourselves, from ourselves.
    * Attempting to negate folks who bring real and enduring benefit to humanity is just plain stupid, regardless of perceived infractions they may (or not) have committed in the past.
    * It is truly urgent that we drop the b.s., get smart on the Root Cause issues -and act smart to resolve them before this generation totally shits the bed for future generations.

    (apologies for using a rank -but apt, phrase)

  41. The people who back 350.org have chosen it to represent their climate concerns. Let them be, they have made that choice and are not likely to change it. Put your energy into your own solutions if you have any, and quit sniping at other activists. Get off the “we have the only true church” rant, and let others proceed with their own methods.

  42. I’ll stick with my teaching writing and general work with indigenous people’s —

    “We suffer the severe effects of climate change, of the energy, food and financial crises. This is not the product of human beings in general, but of the existing inhuman capitalist system, with its unlimited industrial development. It is brought about by minority groups who control world power, concentrating wealth and power on themselves alone. Concentrating capital in only a few hands is no solution for humanity, neither for life itself, because as a consequence many lives are lost in floods, by intervention or by wars, so many lives through hunger, poverty and usually curable diseases. It brings selfishness, individualism, even regionalism, thirst for profit, the search for pleasure and luxury thinking only about profiting, never having regard to brotherhood among the human beings who live on planet Earth. This not only affects people, but also nature and the planet. And when the peoples organize themselves, or rise against oppression, those minority groups call for violence, weapons, and even military intervention from other countries.”

    McKibben, 350.org/1Sky and most all other “big greenies” have rejected the People’s Agreement of Cochabamba rather than unite behind it, in favor of the false illusion of “green” capitalism.

  43. From what I can see McKibben’s basic message is that when it comes to our environmental challenges getting serious requires collective action. He doesn’t require that you follow him particularly, just that you carry the matter beyond the personal.

    Paul seems to have more of a follow me approach which looks pretty much like a standard issue class struggle dialectic. He kind of reminds me of Trotskyites I bump into from time to time on various forums. Nothing wrong with that if it offers a useful perspective among many. But like the Trotskyites I have encountered, it seems to exhibit an “only true church” attitude that Mike mentions.

    To the extent that I have been exposed to Native American philosophy it seems to be more about a sense of one’s living space, one’s community and the relationship to a spiritual narrative.

  44. Thanks for the personal, historical, existential, spiritual, political reading on me, David M. What a load of babble.

    “Standard issue class struggle dialectic.” Whew, you people still parade out those tired, old, irrelevant affronts with tongue in cheek, I hope?

    David Swanson, Z-Net —

    Monday, February 18, 2013

    “Pseudo-Protests and Serious Climate Crisis”

    Good reads, even better critique of Van Jones and Bill McKibben:

    Sunday’s rally, MC’d by former anti-Republican-war activist Lennox Yearwood, looked like an Obama rally. The posters and banners displayed a modified Obama campaign logo, modified to read “Forward on Climate.” One of the speakers on the stage, Van Jones, declared, “I had the honor of working for this president.” He addressed his remarks to the president and appealed to his morality and supposed good works: “President Obama, all the good that you have done . . . will be wiped out” if you allow the tar sands pipeline.

    The pretense in these speeches, including one by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, was consistently that Obama has not already approved part of the pipeline, that he is guilty of inaction, that the government is failing to act, that what’s needed is action — as if our government were not actively promoting the use of, and using vast quantities of fossil fuels, not to mention fighting wars to control the stuff.

    Van Jones ended his remarks by addressing himself to “the next generation.” And this is what he had to say: “Stop being chumps! You elected this president. You reelected this president. You gave him the chance to make history. He needs to give you the chance to have a future. Stop being chumps! Stop being chumps and fight for your future, thank you very much.”

    Reading these words, one would imagine that the obvious meaning they carry is “Stop electing people like this who work for parties like this and serve financial interests like these.” What could be a more obvious interpretation? You elected this guy twice. He’s a lame duck now. You’ve lost your leverage. Stop being such chumps!

    Nothing could be further, I think, from what Van Jones meant or what that crowd on Sunday believed he meant. This was a speaker who had, just moments before, expressed his pride in having worked in Obama’s White House. The fact that this crowd of Obama-branded “activists” had elected him twice was not mentioned in relation to their chumpiness but as grounds for establishing their right to insist that he not destroy the planet’s atmosphere. They would be chumps if they didn’t hold more rallies like this one.

    Wait, you might ask, doesn’t everyone have the right to insist that powerful governments not destroy the earth’s atmosphere?

    Well, maybe, but in Van Jones’ thinking, those who committed to voting for Obama twice, no matter what he did, and who have committed to voting for another Democrat no matter what he or she will do, deserve particular attention when they make demands. Paradoxically, those who can be counted on regardless, who demand nothing and therefore offer nothing, should be the ones who especially get to make demands and have them heard and honored.

    Needless to say, it doesn’t actually work that way.

    Our celebrity emperors attract a great deal of personal affection or hatred, so when I suggest an alternative to packaging a rally for the climate as a belated campaign event, it may be heard as a suggestion to burn Obama in effigy. What if there were a third option, namely that of simply demanding the protection of our climate

  45. I think we require folks working in many and various strategic approaches.

    Working within the “politics as usual” approach (a.k.a., “the system”) appeals to some. Others find that approach a pointless wasate of time, thinking that “the system” is fraudulent and utterly broken.

    Still others see “the system” as fraudulent and utterly broken, but salvagable and workable — if only enough movement is gotten moving within the movement.

    Some take a more-or-less anarchistic, direct action approach, wherein the main effort is not to change government policy but immediate, local conditions. These might create ecovillages or other types of low-carbon economic / social relations independent of government policy considerations.

    There are many, many theories of soical change afoot, and this is good. And there’s no reason a person could’t give some of their energy and time to several of the many approaches. I, myself, give my time and energy toward a policy change agenda AND a direct action / anarchic approach. But the main thing we need, I think, is an increase of public awareness about this crisis/emergency along with the various ways people are choosing to respond to it.

  46. Too many people burn too many years of stored energy in one year. Reduce population: Rethink one person, one vote. Vasectomies and female sterilization are easy operations, the pill works, too. Years ago, a character in Thomas Love Peacock said, “‘Can’t’ is civil for ‘won’t.’ That’s all.” Find cleaner representives, Al Gore is today fatter than Rush Limbaugh at his fattest.

  47. There’s much to agree with here regarding personal choices. The missing element is the choices Corporate America limits us to obtain. Before you go beating yourself up (or beating others up) over what you or anyone is doing to confront the Climate crisis, be aware that what is being offered in the marketplace is, for the most part, decided in the boardroom.

    The greatest culprit, the worst climate criminals are not Joe Sixpack and his beater Ford. It’s the forces who maintain the status quo, the people who labor under the illusion that the bottom line is in the ledger rather than in and around the planet.

  48. I first learned about global warming in college in the 1970’s. I’ve been doing a biking, no jets, recycling, low on the food chain lifestyle since then. A lot has happened, especially cynicism. Its long been understood that the wealthy and their yuppie wanna-be’s would rather off 80% of the planet as their solution to the problem.

    The kind of inner revolution necessary to reverse this currently isn’t there simply because most of us lack the knowledge on how to really change other people’s opinions effectively.

    Its not about a spiritual change but more about our own psychology – learning how Freudian methodologies have trapped the modern human being into highly confined – nuclear family relationships based on guilt, shame and mirroring. Most of us have wonderful technical skillsets except when it comes to emotional education, which is so in the dark ages, that most of us don’t see the damages we do when communicating to others on things we want or things that we don’t want. What most of us end up getting is exactly what we don’t want because of our lack of interactive skills, especially with those who have no interest in being something else on the gravy train to hell.

  49. We’ve allowed the One Percent to prevail, but not all people’s have, and they are fighting all sorts of schemes coming down the corporate pipeline, including rotten environmental schemes like REDD.

    There is a great bunch of folk like Lyle K. Grant working on arts education and sustainability. You know, education to make us better consumers — of art, lit., ideas. We spend so much time working for what? So much time consuming for what?

    The state of education in the USA is in deep trouble, and, alas, that would be the last great safety net for humankind to be shredded. We saw the judicial branch get bought and sold. The legislative branch are prostitutes. The executive branch? Come on, shysters and criminals. The Fourth Estate? Missing in action but actually the mistruth factory for the One Percent and Project of Empire. So, education is the last to be ripped up and crushed by the wrecking crew.

    You bet we are trapped by the engines of those Lords of War, Prison to Pipeline Privatizers, both the right and the left of the political faux line.

    So, the alternative is fight. Make sure that every waking hour is not on the ledger book. Make sure that every nanosecond of our lives is not in Google, tracked by Bezos and plotted by Microsoft. Make sure to not pay thoxe taxes, uh?

    Choices — do we play the regulatory game, always fighting the corporation with how much we will allow them to pollute, rip up, plow over, suck away? Cuz that’s our system — being beat by playing the regulatory game stacked in favor of corporations, the CHamber of Commerce, and big business.

  50. James R Martin suggested an education element added to the potpourri, a theme that Roger echoes regarding learning how we are trapped in contexts and frames of reference.

    I found myself immobilized by the scale of the problem and decided that I could move myself, and perhaps others by example, through the self-education of figuring out a plan to reduce my carbon emissions. The first piece of that plan is my direct carbon uses. Its not all that I need to change, but I can see its feasible and not intimidating. My thoughts are posted here https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xPl-f1M352h2CcZR1QghimKHdPb5Gj-BRA_-BvH07GE/edit

  51. The proactive actions listed so far are admirable, but they are addressing mere “symptoms” of the fundamental pathology and ignoring the ROOT CAUSE ISSUE. Basic Root Cause Analysis techniques, used by insurance companies, fire and crime investigation, etc., reveals the Root Cause Issue in this arena is Corporate Money corrupting our election and legislative processes.
    In fact, it’s corrupting our entire system of governance and every emanation from it, including the sources of information citizens require in order to make “informed decisions”. That being the case, as responsible, engaged citizens we must organize to rid our system of corrupting corporate money in order to retake the helm of our ship of state and re-set our course to a healthy, prosperous future. Several organizations (Common Cause, CAF, PFAW, Occupy, etc. are now working on that and we should be working with them.

    In the mean time, other urgent issues, (*symptoms* of the ROOT CAUSE) must be taken on concurrently and Climate Change is one of them. McKibben and 350.org are examples of citizen action at it’s best and despite ridicule and cynicism by ideologues, they stand a very good chance of raising public awareness to the point of real policy change. I strongly recommend doubters to attend a rally and to read the science a bit more before inflicting more hurt on activists -and our collective future.

  52. Burning bio-diesel doesn’t cause global warming?

  53. I wonder what would happen if all of us who believe that we must work on climate mitigation (i.e., lessening greenhouse gases) as a society (rather than through individual virtue) were to campaign for a carbon tax on fossil fuels. When are we going to bite the bullet and pay for damaging the climate? It wouldn’t have to be a heavy tax at first – but could make some money to invest in non-fossil development. Would it cause a shift away from oil and coal and gas, eventually? (How many of us would have to volunteer to pay more for using fossil fuels – demand new policy grom governments – before we could overcome resistance from fossil fuel industries?) Would we trust governments to direct such a tax to green investment and transition to new energy systems? I wonder how Orion readers feels about this idea. And thank Bill McKibben for his tireless campaigning to inspire people – and particularly young people – to practical actions for a more sustainable future.

  54. Always missing in the sustainability triple bottom line — equity. Do some of you have any idea about the precarious nature of work, therefore survival in Planet Capital?

    You ever check the U6 BLS long-term unemployment stats, or even better, more aggressive stats on technical unemployment?

    Do you ever realize that carbon and fossil fuels are the name of the game, and those greenie weenies who want more taxes on fuel, more taxes on water delivery, sewage treatment, planes, trains and automobiles, that they have failed as humans when we look at the rest of the world — 70 percent?

    Neobliberalism and the long-ago death of the liberal class has produced magical thinkers, and that’s fine for a Gabriel Garcia book, but we continue to benefit from a world of fossil fuel when it comes to the One Percent and the 29 percent pulling up the One Percent’s rear-end.

    We have no health care for all; we have demos and repubes talking about extending work until 80 or 85. We have magical thinkers looking toward nanoparticles as the next big thing. We have all these great thinkers forgetting to work on public transportation BIG TIME, and overturning that personhood status for corporations.

    Until we take back and move toward enlightenment, no amount of climate change mitigation or rallies will help the 70 percent of us in already precarious work conditions and with little life lines from the elite and the ameliorating few who believe their rhetoric.

    We have a world of soy, corn, GEs and countries like Russia loving the Arctic melt in order to capitalize on open seaways and resource plundering.

    Hyrdocarbons. Minerals.

    Read Orion when Jensen pens Beyond Hope, or when the community bill of rights are mentioned by Tom Linzey. This rah-rah rallies at the capitol just aren’t doing it.

    Believe you, I have been arrested for protesting Bank of America, for Amazon, for all sorts of wars in Central America, and other fine political action. Where does that get us? Fingerprinted and pushed even further to the edge of the world of work, some anchor in community.

    Climate crisis? We have a humanity crisis, a media crisis, a crisis of the few who have and the most who have not. We don’t even talk about those tribes and campesinos and peasants, now do we, when yammering about 350 ppm. It’s a world without ice, and Bill knows that, and we have to advance quickly to stop governments and corporations. It’s a huge project, but not one grounded in greenie weenie lingo.

  55. Bill, We are the choir. Time to focus on Big Oil. They need to be brought down.

  56. Condoms for Westerners!


    64 percent said that, with the human population expected to hit 10 billion by 2050, wildlife will be adversely affected.

    61 percent said they are already concerned about the rate that wildlife are disappearing.

    60 percent said they “strongly agreed” or “somewhat agreed” that human population growth is driving animal species to extinction.

    60 percent said our society has a “moral responsibility” to address wildlife extinctions in the face of a growing population.

    59 percent said they “strongly agreed” or “somewhat agreed” that addressing the effects of human population growth is “an important environmental issue.”

    57 percent believe human population growth is “significantly impacting the disappearance of wildlife.”

    57 percent said they “strongly agreed” or “somewhat agreed” that population growth is making climate change worse.

    54 percent said stabilizing population growth will help protect the environment.

    The Center for Biological Diversity launched its human population campaign in 2009 to highlight the connection between the world’s rapidly growing population and the effect it has on endangered species, wildlife habitat, the climate and overall environmental health. As part of the campaign, the Center has given away nearly 500,000 Endangered Species Condoms intended as a way to get people talking about this critical issue.

    The Center advocates for a number of ways to address population, including universal access and adequate funding for family planning services, empowerment of women, sustainable development, a reduction in the consumption of natural resources and personal decisions that lessen the impacts on wildlife and the environment.

    “If we’re going to address some of the biggest environmental problems we face, population has to be part of the conversation,” Karnas said. “These poll numbers show Americans are ready to start talking about population and dealing with impacts.”

    To download a copy of the poll go to http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/population_poll.

    Government scientists have highlighted population as key environmental issue in recent months.

    In a decision to protect 66 coral species under the Endangered Species Act, the National Marine Fisheries Service said population and consumption of natural sources was “the common root or driver” of ocean acidification and other threats corals face.

    The Department of the Interior recently released a report on the future of the Colorado River, concluding that, in 50 years, the river that supplies water to 40 million people may be unable to meet the demands of a burgeoning human population.

    The U.S. Forest Service issued a report with another grim prediction: that 36 million acres of the nation’s forests will be lost to houses, strip malls and roads by 2050. That’s an area 16 times larger than Yellowstone National Park.

  57. Just mosey over to the Center for Biological Diversity, and download the poll —

    64 percent said that, with the human population expected to hit 10 billion by 2050, wildlife will be adversely affected.

    61 percent said they are already concerned about the rate that wildlife are disappearing.

    60 percent said they “strongly agreed” or “somewhat agreed” that human population growth is driving animal species to extinction.

    60 percent said our society has a “moral responsibility” to address wildlife extinctions in the face of a growing population.

    59 percent said they “strongly agreed” or “somewhat agreed” that addressing the effects of human population growth is “an important environmental issue.”

    57 percent believe human population growth is “significantly impacting the disappearance of wildlife.”

    57 percent said they “strongly agreed” or “somewhat agreed” that population growth is making climate change worse.

    54 percent said stabilizing population growth will help protect the environment.

    The Center for Biological Diversity launched its human population campaign in 2009 to highlight the connection between the world’s rapidly growing population and the effect it has on endangered species, wildlife habitat, the climate and overall environmental health. As part of the campaign, the Center has given away nearly 500,000 Endangered Species Condoms intended as a way to get people talking about this critical issue.

    The Center advocates for a number of ways to address population, including universal access and adequate funding for family planning services, empowerment of women, sustainable development, a reduction in the consumption of natural resources and personal decisions that lessen the impacts on wildlife and the environment.

    “If we’re going to address some of the biggest environmental problems we face, population has to be part of the conversation,” Karnas said. “These poll numbers show Americans are ready to start talking about population and dealing with impacts.”

    Government scientists have highlighted population as key environmental issue in recent months.

    In a decision to protect 66 coral species under the Endangered Species Act, the National Marine Fisheries Service said population and consumption of natural sources was “the common root or driver” of ocean acidification and other threats corals face.

    The Department of the Interior recently released a report on the future of the Colorado River, concluding that, in 50 years, the river that supplies water to 40 million people may be unable to meet the demands of a burgeoning human population.

    The U.S. Forest Service issued a report with another grim prediction: that 36 million acres of the nation’s forests will be lost to houses, strip malls and roads by 2050. That’s an area 16 times larger than Yellowstone National Park.

  58. Dear Paul Haeder,

    Whew! How do you live with so much anger about so many things? You’re of course right about all of them, and I imagine that many or most of us here read the things you read, and are aware of and distressed about the things you are. “Always missing in the triple bottom line – equity.” Was that a reply to a carbon tax? (Not a good idea, I guess, IYHO.) So how do we do it? How much could be raised (for example) by a two cent carbon tax per gallon/litre? For starters. How could we equitably let everyone contribute gradually to raising some working planet capital to fix the problem we create every time we step on the gas or eat stuff from the other side of the world or heat a place with oil or use plastic? (How about a plastic tax so we’d use more glass and metal containers? How do we ecnomically favour “goods” and penalize “bads?”) I am not a greenie weenie (I don’t know if you’re talking to all the posters here), and I don’t think we should tax water (conservation’s a nice idea), and more trains and fewer planes would be good. I’m in an off grid house in Canada where we do have health care, but the conservative government is gradually gutting it. Canadians seem largely too polite to raise a big enough fuss about GMOs (a shame). That would be an important thing to work on together.

    How do you solve a humanity crisis? I like Transition towns, in spirit. They invite us to be human. In real places, face to face, talking about real ideas that can be done locally. Real change from the things we don’t like, can’t stand, feel helpless to combat when we’re so small. Only I know that small people who make noise – and have clear ideas – aren’t small. They are brave, and brave is big, and other people take courage from them. And ideas. Memes. Bill McKibben’s good at that. He gives people ideas. Because he’s brave and out there, he gets lots of digs here (I see), but he works on real solutions, and inspires ordinary people to call, together, for real, practical, specific change, something far too rare in this game. Students who call for divestment from fossil fuel stocks will see how campaigns work. That’s big. They will start to see how Capital Planet works, and how they can make some calls that affect it. That’s important when you’re young and didn’t help create Capital Planet – knowing how to undo it. Empowerment. (I just discovered last week that the word “capitalism” doesn’t occur in the Ontario curriculum anywhere in social studies – I thought that was interesting, as a deterrent to inviting students to even have a discussion about the benefits of capitalism in a democracy….let alone critique capitalism as it lets the market decide our future in ways we are unlikely to like.)

    Could you give some good examples of how to stop governments and corporations (not grounded in greenie weenie lingo)? That would be very helpful. Good ideas help people work together. If protesting doesn’t work, what do you think does? I think that “yammering” about 350ppm is probably a carefully calculated way to give people a numerical carbon reference point to rally around, and that all of us, tribes, campesinos, or regular North American people are stuck with the same now nearly 400 ppm of our carbon excesses because we still haven’t got it. (I DO wish Bill McKibben & followers would use words or slogans along with “350” for the not-yet-insiders, or it’s a bit like “The answer is 42.”)

    So we have to advance quickly? Which way would you like to lead us? Clarity is needed here if we’re going to try to work together. You’re very articulate, and clearly knowledgeable – What would you invite us to do together? (And please try not to call us names – it’s friendlier, and we’re all trying.)

  59. Hello again Paul,
    Biodiversity. Good. Thanks for the site and the poll. Fascinating to see the gaps among US groups in the poll on biodiversity, in how people think population, climate and biodiversity are (or aren’t) related. That’s because we choose not to educate ourselves (formally, publically) ecologically because it would conflict with economic growth. I include Canada in that because we largely have the same economy-trumps-all failing in education (with some small, cautious advances in “the advantages and disadvantages” of climate change, renewable energy, and conserving habitat and species).
    I had to see if you were serious about the endangered species condoms – and you were. Now there’s a mnemonic device!! What a way to make a very, very pointed ecological connection.

    I have another idea about people anywhere and biodiversity (which is also about climate change, as good plans should be encouraged to be). I recently spent a day scanning the official plans of the four municipalities that are in the region to the west of Toronto where I live. I do word searches in “official documents” for environmental/sustainability content (curriculum is another place to look, count, critique). There are four municipalities in my region. One near Lake Ontario, well educated, upper-middle/rich, prosperous. They have a great, comprehensive sustainability plan. And a team of six people at the town hall to both carry it out and inolve the citizens in greening their town. Towns two and three had lists of small sustainable acts that they “encouraged” local people to engage in, and one had a couple of LEED buildings and an Earth Day celebration. “My” town (I live on a farm, but it’s my municipality) is the fastest growing city in Canada, and had exactly one mention of biodiversity in its 445 page Official Plan – BUT it was actually one people could work on: it mentioned the importance of “biodiversity corridors.” Now, that is a sophisticated ecological idea, and one that people in schools, communities, companies, subdivisions – and of course planning departments could work on IF citizens clamoured for “BIODIVERSITY CORRIDORS” – everywhere. Legally require them in bare, hot, sunny new sub-divisions. Get schools to plant them along fences, companies to plant them along contintiguous property boundaries. Instead of just “treeplanting” – wouldn’t it be more educational to plant “biodiversity corridors.?” Specific, ecologically linking entities that allow wildlife shelter and safe movement? Biodiversity corridors (as wide as possible – nice for walking, cycling, scenery, shade, ever-hotter-summers) address both cliamte and biodiversity concerns.
    So, folks, how about taking a look at your town Official Plans (“OPs” they’re called policy-maker jargon) and seeing if there’s any mention of “biodiversity” or “corridors” anywhere. If there isnt’, get it in on the next re-write (every 5 years, typically). If there is, call on the city to start a campaign of acting on it, planting biodiversity corridors with participation from all sectors of the town.
    There. An idea for the day!
    And thanks, Paul, for the survey and the biodiversity theme.

  60. Your best bet would be to go to Dissident Voice dot org and contact me via the email, paul (at) dissidentvoice (dot) org.

    Of course, I have written for many magazines, but check out the Dissident Voice site —

    Birdbrain Scheme Is Now Big Idea of the Century?

    Part 1: Are “green” goals permanent or a passing fancy?

  61. I too have Canadian roots, and, unfortunately, Oh Canada, is Oh Harperistan!

    I was the only US participant in the UBS Summer Sustainability Leadership program in 2010. And I was needed — so many there knew nothing about the 5 e’s of sustainability, nor were they willing to disavow from that book by the Pulitzer Prize winning author on his book about how “Walmart the Greenest Corporation Ever.” Just a lot of eco-pornography.

    Green is not the New Black, but if you read Will Potter’s, Green is the New Red, you can see why some of us are absolutely completely reluctant to co-opt ourselves to any middleroad movement tied to Bib Business and Gigantic Fascist Corporation. This is the 10th anniversary of the illegal war in Iraq. And the anniversary of the murder of Rachel Corrie.

    So much work to do, indeed.


  62. Biodiesel fuels require extensive utilization of oil resources: transport to market: heavy irrigation and hence pumps to pump the water and such things as acquirers dry; lots of chemical fertilizers and pesticides to bring the crop to maturity and then more fossil fuels to harvest and process them. Plugging into electricity is fine , however one must ask how that electricity is produced.

    I recently read an interesting article on the utilization of true nano-technology as a potential viable solution to solar production:

  63. What I would really next benefit from: is to be walked through how to do this: get my gov’t to put a price on carbon.

  64. It seems that what is missing is widespread understanding of what the operations of civilization have irreversibly done to its life support system. Rapid climate change is only one of the irrevocable deleterious consequences. Running out of many natural resources, including oil, is another. With understanding of what has been done wrong, society is in batter position to address the challenge of powering down.

  65. After 35 years, you wouldn’t believe how many variations on this theme have come and gone. Hell, tens of thousands of activists actually thought there was some hope by creating a complex activist based “Green Party”, but it got coopted by Sierra Clubbers and to a certain extent the magical folk, with their 100th monkey ideas. But that was definitely not the core problem once upon a time. Getting people to work together failed due to Alpha-eco types that had no real clue what what had transpired in Germany and why it wasn’t just about getting Nader or somebody on the presidential ticket.

    The core problem was bringing dozens of different issues together under one roof, but as soon as things started to gel, the labels started to fly.. you name it, from red green, to full blown internal power struggles. The COC movement types were hunted down, isolated and left on the vine as the hipsters won the day. The day it was annointed as a party, was the day people who understood should have left or called for it to go back to just a movement organizing project. Not enough people knew the ins and outs of working with diverse viewpoints, let alone natural allies that would have taken far more time to come around to some kind of broader tent, similar to how the main parties function. There was no Internet in those days. You had to meet face to face, a highly elitest process that left those with the biggest travel budget playing too many cards, and not enough people to pull them back, as was the case in Germany. So it failed. Just as online organizing failed due to flaming issues not to mention trust.

    By the mid 80’s we knew there was heavy infiltration going on. It was a huge problem. People had to hold together and protect the insane cointel tactics. That stole are cultural keys, and worse made sure nobody had a clue what the buzz was. Its gone now.

    The core issue in Germany was anti-nuke direct action, that then broadened out across a large spectrum of other issues. The left clearly wanted it dead, as did the membership based eco groups. They won simply because building communities where real people have other people’s backs rather than young hipsters looking for chicks or nests before daddy’s purse strings run out.

    Many of us were moving completely away from every aspect of the system, but got dragged back into it whether we liked it or not. This wasn’t about fearless leader etc. Attempts to educate people then about the historic past, going all the way back to the 1870’s and the workingman’s party rolled off hipsters heads as if the concept was in a foreign language. They were on a divine mission, and of course they won control. If you don’t learn from history, you’re bound to repeat it, etc.

    Hell, I watched the first generation by 1985, with scientists concerned resource depletion issues, that were anchored in population issues and corporate agriculture siren going off. The 2nd wave hit with Katrina. It was all supposed to end in cataclysm and worse. Meanwhile NASA insiders had already mapped out where the global energy wars would be taking us by the 2020’s.

    My German buddy was right then and still is. Americans are incapable of working things out, simply because there are more freudian agenda’s than there are states in the union, or more put, people hold polite grudges or worse, can’t deal with people that look or act differently than Euro-centric types can deal with in a way that doesn’t end up being just another form of elitist pulpit rattling for the kids that are coming up that are just figuring out they still might not know how to take their diapers off. The movement died when they ran out of fun parties to go to, and was filling up with too many damaged people. Eco-Frat parties were pretty exclusive and still are. Working people don’t have the time to read sermons by college punks. It was a tough battle and we lost, thanks Reagan and a lot of women’s internal nesting clocks taking priority, just as the cost of living made it nearly impossible to sustain a mass movement. We were all gonna stay on the street and do it. Its just that it wasn’t long before hip talking kids started wearing sun glasses, stopped going to meetings and dropped back into the American treadmill. You wanna start off where we failed? Kick the idiots out of the Green Party, Shut it down, and move back to an organizing phase with it. Some of us are too busy these days holding onto other realities, but it would be nice if people saw beyond their own 4 walls and figured out how to open the doors around themselves and realize just how many people don’t have the time, money or energy to play this online talk talk game anymore.

  66. A great report from the former front lines from Roger, who echoes much of what michael Donnelly ahs bravely and persuasively argued about the failed greenwashers in counterpunch.org.
    Yet germany is no paragon of greenness. Each coutnry is different, of coruse, and the US inheritance of frontier individuality and corporate rampage is particularly onerous, but Germans are the world’s leading exporters of toxic waste, have terrible unemployment, fractious nativism, corporate domination, and an energy supersytructure headed for the rocks – and still are miles ahead of where the US will ever be.

  67. Having re-read the correspondence triggered by the McKibben article it seems that the attitude spectrum runs from deepest cynicism and defeatism, through disingenuous habitual snipers, to those who genuinely try to understand the issue and act in informed and positive ways to address it.

    At risk to my welcome here, the point must be made that most of the opinions are dealing with the many “symptoms” of a core pathology rather than the core itself. That is why our problem seems so elusive and intractable. We tend to latch on to the symptoms because they’re easier to deal with -sort of like taking pain killers to deal with bad teeth rather than learning to prevent tooth decay.

    To push that analogy a bit further, we’re suffering the symptoms of “political carries” rather than the dental version, in the form of corporate money corrupting our electoral and legislative functions. The consequences of that are painfully evident in the seemingly irrational behavior of elected officials who act in ways that are at odds with the good of, and will of “We The People”. They are addicted to and dependent on corporate money for their “accustomed way of life” and go to great lengths to ensure a steady supply of it.

    To illustrate that point, try a little thought experiment by imagining that we could instantly change to very strictly enforced, publicly funded elections. With that vision clearly in mind, answer these questions:
    1. What kind of politicians would lose incentives to run for office?
    2. What kinds would gain incentive to run for office?
    3. Without the need to spend 60% of their time dialing for dollars, what would elected officials have more time to do?
    4. Whose interests would they be better able to serve?
    5. What kind of policy changes would become possible?
    6. What kind of news and information sources would become possible?
    7. (proceed by imagining the implications of your answers above )

    I hope this illustrates the difference between Symptoms and Root Causes, and why positive change in Climate Policy -or any other kind, is greatly impeded by the corruption of corporate money and influence. As mentioned last week, there are several organizations working effectively to clean up our elections and they, meaning WE, deserve our energetic participation.

  68. Seabury, there are no, none, zero (0) ” organizations working effectively to clean up our elections.” Effectively? Do you have the ability to turn on the news, looks at the headlines, read the rhetoric? Not a scrap of it presages “effective” politics.
    Can you tell me one (1) election that will be an “effective” (as opposed to minor) win for the forces opposed to the corporate order? Keep count now. Wea re not talking about greenwashing Democrats, or small-town green dogcatchers.
    “Thought experiments” is a gasbag term – these are just our thoughts, and we have gone over this turf so many, many times, as Roger eloquently testified to .

  69. Right — Lord Stern said he underestimated the climate change findings in his report. This is a political issue, and, alas, politics aren’t local anymore with transnational money ruling the roosts of us all.

    More nonsense —

    U.S. is cutting funding through National Science Foundation to political science research that does not tied directly into the United States’ economic needs and security needs.

    Climate change, a political problem, no?

    We are a warring nation with a warring security council and a warring G-8 and G-20. In this country, we have, what, 2,992 counties, and 30,000 incorporated municipalities, and each one is fighting, dog-eat-dog, for every crumb of the neoliberal economic pie.

    The green warriors are not, warriors, and far from green, in the truest sense.

    We have so many fires to put out, that, be real — the funding 350.org gets is suspect, and, well, the intent is fine. Fine, fine, fine. But to not tackle all the other issues within the framework of the so-called green movement, well, that’s it, now, isn’t it?

    We need environmental socialism. All coalescing, and those great pretenders pushed away.

    Pause the green crap, though — you know, some green blog hailing the US military’s lead-free bullets or bio-diesel bombers.

    It’s a mad-mad-mad world with that sort of thinking.

    Finally, those folk that see writing on this comment post as some holy grail of ideas, and all dissenters, or those wanting to poke fun at the faux seriousness of essayists, well, thanks for calling us, what, trolls, snipes, internet stalkers? Thanks for that — more examples to show my budding students in my college journalism and composition classes!

    REFLECTION — 10 years we broke international law. The US has no respect for international treaties, then. Here we are now.

    The number of displaced persons, both internal (within Iraq) and external (refugees, mainly in Jordan and Syria) ranged from estimates of 3.5 million to 5 million or more, which were directly attributable to the war. Virtually all first-hand accounts blamed violence as the cause of moving, or threats of ethnic or sectarian cleansing of neighborhoods.

    The second household survey, conducted by the Hopkins scientists again, was completed in June 2006 and published four months later in The Lancet. Its findings: 650,000 people (civilians and fighters) died as a result of the war in Iraq.

    Over 130,000 Iraq vets have been diagnosed with PTSD. Over 250,000 are suffering from traumatic brain injuries. The ongoing costs of caring for veterans is expected to bring the total cost of the Iraq invasion alone to $6 trillion. And vets fight homelessness, sometimes with the aid of Occupy activists who protest to save the homes of vets. Veterans are also experiencing unemployment and medical debt.

  70. David Goldstien is spot on in his sobering HufPo piece, which I recommend to the open minded reader. My own brush with the grim reaper certainly produced a similar shift in perspective.

  71. Denis Frith

    “Rapid climate change is only one of the irrevocable deleterious consequences. Running out of many natural resources, including oil, is another.”

    Denis I think you missed the point on fossil fuel. Rather than running out we have too much for our own good. Most of the so far unused ff needs to remain sequestered. If we continue our profligate use we are probably headed for climate challenges beyond what we can handle.

  72. Isn’t life about learning and moving forward with new knowledge that we gain each day? We can do so much more if we learn to eliminate waste whether it heat (most HVAC systems are not 100% efficient), or food (what does it take in resources to grow food and how much do we waste), or the fantastic waste of medical resources in our broken health care system. Let’s concentrate on eliminating waste of all resources – money, physical and mental resources so that we have the means to do what needs to be done and still be competitive in a competitive world.

  73. Eliminate waste, fine. But eventually population growth will eat up all that efficiency. Bottom line, if we don’t turn population and economic growth around and find a sustainable way of living we’re in the soup.



  74. I keep hearing the word “sustainability” which I like but I have not heard a definition. Can some one help?

  75. Definition of sustainability? How about living off the dividends of your capital base and leaving the base intact. Killing the goose that lays the golden eggs to get more golden eggs faster is the classic metaphor for non-sustainability.

    I realize the base can modify up to a limit but there are limits and locating them and staying within in them is a key to sustainability. Population growth is central to the question of sustainability as is climate change, ocean acidification, topsoil loss, various forms of pollution and peak all sorts of things we need.

  76. Get cleaner spokespeople. Goggle Michael Moore and Al Gore. They are fatter than Rush Limbaugh and Hermann Goring at their most swinish. Have the cleaner spokes people talk vasectomies and female steralization. Have spokespeople who in Morman-speak live as well as talk the word or as the old Romans said, Acta Non Verba. By the way, Mr. Limbaugh thought the world didn’t require his genetics. Does it need yours? End all deductions and tax credits based on procreation. “Childhood’s End.” “Anyone? Anyone?”


  77. What power (it appears to extend into the highest echelons of science, all the way to the American Academy of Science and The Royal Society) is so unique and seemingly omnipotent that we are stopped at every turn from discussing extant science regarding the human population? Is there not “cultural bias in science” that ultimately determines the boundaries of our thought, analysis and discourse when human beings are the subject of investigation? Perhaps St. Augustine was correct after all when noting, “Men go forth to wonder about the heights of mountains, the huge waves of the sea, the broad flow of the rivers, the vast compass of the oceans, the endless courses of the stars: and yet Men pass by themselves without wondering.”

  78. I like the Augustine quote Steve. Above the entrance to the Delphic Oracle was inscribed Know Thyself, and below that, Nothing Too Much. If only we had followed that wisdom…

  79. What kind of moral atmosphere is possible when people willfully choose to deny uncontested science regarding what could be real with regard to the human species? If people are presented with scientific evidence and say, “Well, I cannot refute what is before my eyes but still, I consciously and deliberately refuse to acknowlege it because it is unbelievable.” In such circumstances is it even possible to speak honestly or honorably of a moral atmosphere? Can there be morality in any meaningful sense without truth, that given to us according the lights and scientific knowledge we possess?

    The arc of moral order in the world must follow the ‘trajectory’ of what is true and real about ourselves and the planetary home we inhabit, I suppose.

  80. One way I have seen folks avoid the moral dilemma of too many people is by insisting that our destiny is to populate the universe – for real. So we can just keep pumping them out.

    I like that Augustine quote too, although maybe he was part of the problem. Man created in the image of God is arguably part of the reason homo sapiens get a pass.

  81. I think it is useful to employ a hypothetical demographic transition model to provide a basis for discussion. Here’s one from the UN.


    So, from looking at this the question might be if we reach population steady state of roughly 9 billion by 2050 can Mother Nature take the hit and provide us with a viable future?

  82. David — As far as how much time do we have left to fix our world before it is too late, there are various views. Such as this one: http://guymcpherson.com/2013/01/climate-change-summary-and-update/ It may be much later than we think. Some see McKibben as hopelessly over optimistic. Of course all predictions of our planetary future need to be imbibed with appropriate amounts of salt.

  83. Good link Mike. Yes McKibben may be optimistic but what choice does he have to avoid despair? This “Burning Ember” diagram update illustrates how climate science has continually underestimated the progress of climate change in its projections(Click on graph for enlarged clarity). http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16729-earth-may-be-entering-climate-change-danger-zone.html

    One angle I haven’t seen explored is what happens when enough people catch on. The stability of a society is based to a great degree on a collective agreement as to what the future holds. For instance a 25 year old pays into Social Security based on the notion that 40 years from now he will be receiving retirement checks. What if he wakes up to the fact that that expectation is not sustainable due to a nearer term environmental-societal breakdown? Carry that sense of lost optimism into a whole bunch of areas.

    How does that psychological turn of the screw change things, change society? Maybe a lot of AGW denialism is rooted in a fear of its radical implications.

  84. It’s not even warming. What’s McKibben’s beef?
    Did you know that the Rockefeller foundation funds 350.org?
    Yeah. The oil foundation, that’s right.
    Wonder why that would be.

  85. I may be a little bit late to the conversation, but I still wanted to throw my two cents in. So here’s my beef with fatalism: you can say you’re more rational than everyone else, that McKibben is a hopeless optimist, that it’s too late for us to make a difference, etc., but what does that accomplish? You’re actually using the same argument that climate deniers have used for decades: we’re too small to make a difference. But the same simple math that proves we caused global warming proves that we CAN do something about it. We know what CO2 does in the atmosphere, so we know what happens when we put less of it up there. Climate change will still probably be catastrophic, but it’ll be less catastrophic, which is still worth fighting for. And either way, I’ll feel a whole lot better knowing I tried.

  86. IT’s happening. IT is happening now here. I am scared of people who cannot see IT as well as frightened of people who do see why IT is occurring and yet consciously and deliberately refuse to speak out loudly and clearly truth to the powerful about why human population numbers are exploding on our watch. Truly, what is happening is tragic….. an abject moral and strategic failure of colossal proportions. ‘The brightest and best’, the electively mute ones, are failing all the rest, all that exists.


  87. Steven I have been thinking why so many people resist the criticallity of overpopulation in virtually all our problems. Their attitudes are not thought through but they are at least emotionally potent or superficially logical. Examples:

    1. Predictions made by so called population experts like Paul Ehrlich about dire consequences have not always turned out to be true.

    2. The world life expectancy has continued to increase.

    3. In the past population control has often been focused on the poor and unfavored races while the rich and generally white use most of the resources.

    4. Like with greater and greater food production on less and less land and medical and other breakthroughs there will always be a technical-scientific solution to whatever problem we come up against. And if things get too crowded down here we can always find numerous asteroids that we can make habitable.

    5. As people enjoy the fruits of civilization they are less inclined to have kids. Demographic trends will take care of the problem.

    And so on and so on. In the meantime 200,000 new people are added to the planet each day that need food, water, shelter, education, medical care and some level of stability in their lives so they can have a future.

    From a resource and environmental standpoint we have hit or are hitting peak everything and this kind of nonsense can’t go on. We have no answer so we use political rhetoric and statistical games-man-ship and diversions to deny the elephant in the room.

    No one is saying that dealing directly with overpopulation is the totality of the solution. Certainly solving political and social injustice problems is critical. But population overkill is a sine qua non that must be dealt with. If I don’t see a steadily lowering population happening as a critical metric then I know we are on a death march no matter what else we do.


  88. Dear David M,

    Thank you responding to my comments. I agree with what you report. Even so, we are still left with the responsibility to help one another see through the ‘web of economically expedient illusions, ideological idiocy, contrived logic and selfish thinking’ that is the very foundation of “the death march” of which you speak so eloquently. Your words remind of Rachel Carson, who was correct years ago, I suppose, when noting,
    “We stand now where two roads diverge…… The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. {This superhighway is the path along which the forced marchers go to confront death, i.e., the death of life as we know it.} The other fork of the road -the one “less traveled by”- offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.” I fear we will not choose to take ‘the other fork of the road’ in order to preserve life as we know it and Earth until it is too late to make a difference that makes a difference for the future. Human beings have unique capabilities that make it possible for us acknowledge, address and overcome the global threats which we have precipitated. Despite behaving like greedmongers, ostriches and lemmings, we can make necessary changes in our behavioral repertoire toward sustainable lifestyles and right-sized corporate enterprises.



  89. Sorry I missed your comment on the previous thread addressed to me “Dear Mike k, I believe it is fear of disempowerment we are dealing with.”

    The fear you mention is the fear addicts feel when their source is threatened. The primary addiction in our culture is to power/safety/comfort/status. Because of the intense competition to gain these things, we never feel we have enough, and hence are in an unending and desperate search for MORE. The fundamental need we are trying to fulfill is to have ENOUGH so that we can relax and enjoy our lives, but the various addictive activities we are pursuing never yield us this satisfaction, but drive us to seek it by futilely increasing the amounts and varieties of things that do not fulfill our real needs, but only continually increase our sense of unfulfillment and dissatisfaction. Like drinking sea water these vain addictive activities only increase our thirst. Of course those who have positioned themselves to be the dealers and pushers of these bogus will-of -the-wisp answers to our cravings can profit greatly and lead us by the nose to work ourselves to exhaustion in hopes to finally grasp the elusive carrot dangled temptingly just out of reach. This game sometimes goes by the name of capitalism. Seeing one’s participation in this losing game and dropping out of it usually requires help from those who have awakened before, and are in a position to share the methods that enabled them to disengage from our addictive culture. The whole sorry deal depends on keeping its victims in unconscious delusion and expends great efforts to make escape from the system very difficult. Groups practicing methods to live beyond our failed culture often refer to their activities as spiritual paths, but the beliefs and life ways can be quite various and even include things not commonly associated with ‘spiritual’ such as atheism or secular ideologies. Without help from like minded folks it is very difficult to deprogram oneself successfully from the pervasive social paradigm.

    We are destroying our world and each other over addictions we refuse to acknowledge or treat. Oil, sex, TV’s, autos, houses, ostentatious displays — we are willing to rob and kill millions to feed our habits. And justify it all as our ‘way of life’. How disgusting…

  90. Even if human overpopulation is most colossal of the human-driven global challenge looming ominously before humankind, it is only one of a number of wicked problems we are called upon to acknowledge and address. The Fukushima nuclear reactors disaster is another. If Japan cannot handle it alone, then an international team needs to be assembled to confront this cataclysm. Ignoring a big problem like this nuclear wreckage only results in a bigger, ever more wicked problem to overcome. My generation is simply not stepping up to the challenges before us. The consequences of our failures appear incalculably harmful and profound with regard to prospects for a good enough future for children everywhere on Earth. The very last thing a responsible person is to do in such circumstances is consciously and deliberately choose to remain silent, I believe. Are we not participants in and witnesses to a colossal failure of nerve? When are the leaders and followers alike going to speak out in an intellectually honest way and act with a sense of moral courage? How terrible are global challenges posed by nuclear disasters, overpopulation, climate destabilization, pollution, biodiversity loss, among other threats to future human well being and environmental health going to have to become on Earth before TPTB begin to talk about and do the right things, according to the lights and best available knowledge all of them and each of us possess?

  91. Steve, I’m less inclined to put population growth and nuclear power plant disasters on the same level. The first involves progressive and inevitable destruction of the biosphere. The latter is more like a hiccup with oddly a positive side. Chernobyl which appears to be about as bad as it gets as far as nuclear reactor disasters caused relatively few deaths as I understand and in the perimeter around the plant which was evacuated has turned into wilderness wonderland, a glorious picture post card of what great things Mother Nature can do when you take humans out of the picture. It is literally an advertisement for less human population. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/radioactive-wolves/full-episode/7190/

  92. Will this drivel ever stop? Less inclined to put population growth and nuclear power plant disasters on the same level?

    Yep, Orion commentators really have large learning and ethical curves to overcome:

    How about a million from the Chernobyl disaster?


    Sure, Dr. Helen Caldicott (Co-Founder Of Physicians For Social Responsibility)is full of it, uh?

    Using PBS as a source? Whew, crazy dumb-downing America!

    Here, have fun learning:

    Few people know that the Pacific Northwest got whacked hard by fallout from the Fukushima disaster with radiation rates hundreds of thousands of times higher than normal background radiation.

    The damage from this is not something that the corporate media or the government is talking about. It mysteriously disappeared from the radar almost immediately.

    Dr. Caldicott referred to this as a process of “cover-up and psychic numbing.” Looks like it may be working.

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission just approved two new nuclear power plants this week (4/2/12) in South Carolina in addition to the two approved earlier this year in Georgia.

    Dr. Caldicott talks about the dangers and hidden costs of nuclear power then tells the awful truth in minute detail about the actual scale of the Fukushima disaster and compares it to the nuclear disasters of Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.

    Recent studies estimated that a million people have died so far from Chernobyl.

    Dr. Helen Caldicott is a physician, Nobel Peace Prize winner, noted author, anti-nuclear power advocate and has founded numerous national and international groups which oppose nuclear power & weapons, including Physicians for Social Responsibility.


  93. I don’t know anybody who has expertise on nuclear radiation who takes Caldicott seriously. I don’t doubt her good intentions but she doesn’t have the evidence to back up her more blatant assertions and she does appear to share your tendency toward howling about conspiracy coverups. I bet you believe 9/11 was an inside job, right?

    As for low level radiation the evidence seems to be moving in a less scary direction. There appear to be thresholds under which an increase in radiation generates no statistical negative effect. It makes sense as we have evolved in a world bathed in radiation. One would assume we have developed some adaptive defenses.

    As for the Chernobyl 1 million figure it has been rebutted time and time again by real experts. I think the upper figure of deaths is estimated to be nearer the figure of 4,000.

    And what exactly do you have against pbs Paul?

  94. Oh, the jury’s out and the verdict’s in? David M, thanks for putting me straight.

    Inside Job? Good documentary on the financial thugs.

    9/11 Conspiracy and Caldicott conflated in one fell swoop? Got it, David M. Question nukes, question your inclinations, and, darn, Loose Change and I go hand-in-hand.

    PBS? What’s wrong with it? Whew, we are coming at this from completely different world views, frames or whatever flagging analysis you want to use.

    “PBS not showing the documentary Citizen Koch” for some very dubious reasons? I can’t spend time pointing out all that is VERY wrong with Petroleum-Propaganda-Pesticide-Broadcasting System.

    Head on over to FAIR —


    How nuclear apologists do what? I think Caldicott has no worries with David M’s spin on things:


  95. Rather than take my or Paul’s word on Chernobyl death counts here is a very comprehensive discussion of the melt down and its aftermath offered by wikipedia. It offers a number of death estimates with most of the experts coming up with it appears around 4000. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster

  96. I notice in one of his links Paul brings up Monbiot as a nuclear supporter and critic of Caldicott. It might be interesting to take a look at a debate they engage in on Democracy Now. See what you think. He comes off to me as sober and careful in his analysis of the evidence. She comes off to me like a conspiracy nutcase. But that’s just me. Once again, see what you think. http://www.democracynow.org/2011/3/30/prescription_for_survival_a_debate_on

  97. It’s one thing to say there is a problem with the radiation leakage from Fukushima. It’s another to offer articles devoted to creating panic based on not one bit of testimony by any radiation expert and no sited professional study on the dangers to America because of the spill. No doubt one can’t because of the pervasive coverup or whatever the latest conspiracy is.

    I guessed Steve from your writing that you understood the centrality of the overpopulation problem. I thought you understood this was the one problem that unsolved destroyed the possibility of any other solution. Nuclear pollution is a temporary problem that is fixable. The past record of radiation escapage shows no evidence, that I know of, of major human death consequences. In addition, as my video showed, moving humans from the scene of the most dense of the radiation fallout has resulted in a robust come back of nature, wolves and all.

    I’m just saying lets get clear on where our serious long term problems are and not overly conflate them with temporary concerns that are fixable. From what I’ve read mercury released into the environment is probably at least 100 times more of a problem than human released radiation and to the extent human released nuclear radiation is a problem coal radiation pollution is a much worse source than nuclear power plants.

  98. Wow! “Nuclear pollution is a temporary problem that is fixable”!

    David M. As you speak a new sarcophogus is being errected over the top of the first one, and is not expected to do more than secure the site’s worst radiation for another 100 years.

    Timothy Mousseau has spent the last decade documenting the damages to wildlife around Chernobyl. Maybe you need to read somebody else other than industry propaganda machines, which your comment appears to be hardly more than.


    Let’s see, Sheep in Whales just got off a radiation registry after over 25 years while Reindeer in Norway are still having to be destroyed on a regular basis, not to mention Mushrooms also being off limits in Scandinavia.

    But, yeah, You’ve clearly found out how to hide the random per-mediated murder that man-made radiation radiation brings! Just make sure nobody knows the difference between natural occurring radiation and strontium, cesium, plutonium or hundreds of other isotopes that were all but gone until the atomic age!

    We can always count on industry flacks to use their wonderful tactics to compare one contaminant being worse than another!

    This sounds about as plausible as the cigarette industry claiming the Positive economic benefits of population reduction by reducing the public by smoking!

  99. Hi Roger, got any experts on radiation that project much more than 4000 deaths from Chernobyl radiation?

    Didn’t think so. And what exactly did your link show about there being a big problem with wildlife repopulating the evacuated Chernobyl area?

    Not much.

    But I like your outrage. Passion is at least a start.

    PS. You might want to check my pbs video link. You’ll see it’s hardly propaganda. Be brave, give it a try.



  100. There is this stink that occurs with these creeps on the internet, trolling. David M? Bull.

    Again, read real compelling stuff here, at one of many places I write for —


    And, Roger, good luck with this “David M” blasting Orion with his goofball stuff.

    Oh, 9/11 reference he made?

    Right! No covering up at all:


    A good read. Try it out.

    Oh, and the Caldicott v Monbiot “thing” on Democracy Now? Funny stuff how my communications students in college are not that split on who comes off as more believable, or empathetic, or credible. Monbiot has done some fair stuff in the past, but he’s a joke when it comes to nuke energy, and I’d take Caldicott any day in any position around policy or strategic planning or politics over Monbiot.

  101. Paul H.

    “There is this stink that occurs with these creeps on the internet, trolling. David M? Bull.”

    I’m sorry your arguments are so weak Paul. But I really don’t think it is necessary to take out your frustrations in such a personal ugly way.

    If I bother you that much it is better you ignore me. At the very least we should strive to be civil on Orion and maybe I need to try and be more careful in that department too.

  102. I probably shouldn’t say this Paul but I get a little twinge of satisfaction that I scored a bullseye on my 911 conspiracy intuition about you.

    Just to remind you, this thread is about global warming, not twin tower inside jobs.



  103. Wow! I’m shocked that Dave actually went with the 4k UNSCEAR number! Your pushing buddy, make sure nobody in your camp knows how much your selling out on the 56 deaths marching orders! Actually all the one liners shows hes really only got a couple of seconds to spare, and doesn’t want to do much more than troll around. Dang, even the Union of Concerned Scientist’s evaluation of UNSCEAR’s scam numbers pointed to figures closer to 60,000 deaths, While GP’s was over 100,000 as was IPPNW’s. Of course Gofman’s was a half million deaths but the really scary piece came from a 1995 AP story based on a study done in Byelorussia that over 125,000 people had died in that country alone. But then, just as we are watching what’s happened to the political winds in Japan where the DLP got power, the same thing happened soon after that report and the next thing you the Russian nuclear industry had control over them and Ukraine. But the real number game is a bit trickier. Even Scientific American was a bit surprised when UNSCEAR used Russias 50 million curies as the release amount. They’d even acknowledged numbers as high as 125 million curies. So just plug those lower numbers in and, of course follow Dave’s buddies and only include dose rates in the zone where they sprayed glue, and intentionally lost the health records of nearly 600,000 cleanup workers, and dang, I can’t imagine a better tactic than anti-nuclear phobia!

    But then he’s gotta bring up the Monbiot debate with Helen. This guys’ gone to school on this stuff, must have been taken a test to see if he’s sharp enough to pass the NEI’s PR trolling 101 class.

    Yeah, George really was ready to kick her with between the eyes with an audience that was clearly not prepped on the historic scandals regarding this. She did okay for being as old as she is. If she’d had a half hour to reply and knew what he was up to, she could would have done better, rather than only having a couple of minutes. But that’s what happens when you have people like this that are given the best Public Relation’s prepping money can buy. Something that Helen has never had.

    I could technical and suggest that if people thing Dave has even the slightest handle on this, then please, check out John Gofman’s book on low-level ionizing radiation and how the LSS database should have been tossed out decades ago. It was during the July 2012 Diet report in Japan that they disclosed the fact that the “Nuclear Village” had control over who goes to RERF, WHO or what reports get published. And of course only Japan and the US nuclear industry are allowed to place their people on the inside of the RERF. So, the bible of how doses are plugged into the industry’s computer models should have been tossed out long ago.

    But I digress. As could be seen by his quick responses to Tim’s decade old study, he clearly didn’t read it. It wasn’t finding any insects that weren’t showing severe genetic damages, and that was especially the case for Butterflies, up to genetic damages in all kinds of plants and birds. The study also included extensive images. But yeah, if the tree fell in the forest and you didn’t hear it…

    Hey I loved the public turnout for his favorite movie and buddies. Pandora’s Lost Paradise. We got numbers nationwide of just over 2,000 people for the entire week. In SoCal there were more protestors outside than people that went inside, while one old physicist in Berkeley showed up to the show! Most people just don’t give a shit about this issue one way or the other, but then when they eventually start hearing the economic numbers they usually shy away unless their are rank and file ideologues. Let’s see, the last I heard ANS acknowledged that Fukushima could hit $500 billion. Well, now, isn’t that more cash than it took to build all the nukes in Japan, let alone what most of the power produced was worth? I think it was that bastion of liberal journalism, the Wall Street Journal that said that the cost for Chernobyl would be more than all the nuclear electricity ever produced by the Soviet Union. But of course, they were just a bunch of techno-beginners and nothing like that could never happen with western designed nukes. ooops!

    I could make a few more comments, but can see, that we will be getting a bunch of one line quickies! Hey he even makes Ronnie Reagan look good! Ronnie used to like to promote nukes on hist radio show in the 1970’s, claiming that all the nuclear waste in the US could fit in his garage. With over 95% of all media coverage about spent fuel having taken place in Nevada, its now wonder that even republicans there are torn between the cash and political BS. All it took was the real estate industry downgrading everybody’s property values along the planned transportation routes near Vegas and the rest was history. The state was able to skin all of DOE’s claims alive, and never had the resources to counter the massive nationwide spin by NEI. Well, Nevada won, and will likely continue to do so even though South Carolina and Washington state are screaming to dump their HLW’s on Nevada especially now that SC’s own advisory committee has voted not to let the state be an intermediate site. And just as republicans in Utah eventually led the charge to kill the PFS facility there, its clear that you can’t do the two step HLW scam again without a whole lot of pressure being brought to bare. And by then we’re probably gonna be facing another major incident somewhere that should finally put these ever ready nuke bunnies to rest.

  104. Roger I went to where the most concentrated group of experts were on the topic to come up with the 4000 approximation. Where should I go, to nonexperts? I tried that once with the Warren Commission Report which resulted in thousands of books “proving” it wrong, that in fact a big conspiracy was in place and shots came from at least two directions. I bought the conspiracy as did most folks apparently. Then I actually took a few hours to go simply over the facts. I realized the Warren Commission ie experts, got it right. It was Oswald from the 6th floor of the SBD with an Italian mail order rifle. No one else. Then there was 911 which the experts concluded was Al Qaeda not some insiders. Again the conclusions were clear and fact based and supported by the experts who studied the matter and then reported back in detailed studies. But that was not satisfying to millions who wanted their conspiracy. Fortunately I had already been inoculated to this syndrome. So when I see someone like Caldicott with far more celebrity than Monbiot doing her little duck and dodge in an area which she claimed expertise(Second in her graduating class she told us) it looks familiar. It was deja vu all over again.

    As for the cost of Chernobyl and Fukushima they are formidable and I think there is good reason to believe that Chernobyl for a variety of reasons contributed to the breakup of the Soviet Union. They make for a huge case against nuclear power, which despite what you may think I am no big fan of. By the way, I have taken more hits from pronuke folks than the antis.

    However I have over the years tried to learn something about the subject. And one thing that became clear to me, obviously not to you, is that low level radiation was over rated as a health problem. Another that also seemed clear to me was that nuclear with all its problems was better than fossil fuel. I also had to deal with the evidence that the ideal, widely distributed alternative energy like solar pvs and windmills, was not in a position to seriously displace fossil fuel before we hit critical climate tipping points. What does that leave? Nuclear with all its problems. Germany’s what I believe wrong headed decision to abandon nuclear is not being principally substituted for by solar but by what I understand is an initial 10 new coal plants. Not good.

    So that leaves us with two bad technological choices, I’m leaving out my favorite nontechnological one for now, a reduced population, fossil fuel or nuclear. Pick your poison. I choose nuclear accompanied by spent fuel burial sites like Yucca Mountain to avoid a lot of what happened at Fukushima. What about you?


  105. What could happen, David M,

    “There are numerous other reasons that this will be a dangerous undertaking.

    – The racks inside the pool that contain this fuel were damaged by the explosion in the early days of the accident. …

    – Zirconium cladding which encased the rods burned when water levels dropped, but to what extent the rods have been damaged is not known, and probably won’t be until removal is attempted.

    – Saltwater cooling has caused corrosion of the pool walls, and probably the fuel rods and racks.

    – The building is sinking.

    – The cranes that normally lift the fuel were destroyed.

    – Computer-guided removal will not be possible; everything will have to be done manually.

    – TEPCO cannot attempt this process without humans, which will manage this enormous task while being bombarded – with radiation during the extraction and casking.

    – The process of removing each rod will have to be repeated over 1,500 times without incident.

    – Moving damaged nuclear fuel under such complex conditions could result in a criticality if the rods come into close proximity to one another, which would then set off a chain reaction that cannot be stopped.

    What could potentially happen is the contents of the pool could burn and/or explode, and the entire structure sustain further damage or collapse. This chain reaction process could be self-sustaining and go on for a long time. This is the apocalyptic scenario in a nutshell.”

  106. It’s nice to see Christina Consolo aka RadChick and host of NukedRadio on the job. Who knows, she may be right and the Fukushima disaster could evolve to destroying the world. It would help to get some expert confirmation. If you find it please let us know.

    In the mean time there were strange booms going off in South Bend Indiana that might be related to Fukushima or something. Apparently mysterious helicopters were part of the picture. http://endthelie.com/tag/christina-consolo/#axzz2cLA8wtmP

    Below the video is a collection of articles by Christina which give us further opportunities to learn from her research.

  107. I’m definitely with Helen on the danger of nuclear war and the horrors of the arms trade and other related matters. I just happen to think her fears about low and moderate level radiation go far beyond the evidence. In that area she seems inclined to descend into the kind of conspiracy paranoia that is so prevalent in many challenging areas of the social condition and we have even seen exhibited in this collection of commentary.

  108. Steve, can I make a friendly suggestion. As you track down these nuclear waste stories, tritium in this instance, could you get some expert analysis of what the actual specific danger to human beings is involved. So far you have shown a somewhat problematic affinity for scare stories, from our friend RadChick for one, without detailing specific consequences supplied by experts.

  109. SE Salmony. How is that tutorial going with “David M”? ” . . . so far you have shown a somewhat problematic affinity for scare stories . . . .” Whew, self-important that he may think he is, “David M” is just egging you on, and I hope, SE Salmony, you are at least floating on a dinghy in the Sea of Cortez or off Belize, with at least a cold rum in your hands while engaging (sic) with Mister Know-Nothing-All.

    This is sort of getting, you know, problematic troll-wise!

  110. Yeah, lets turn this into a little mindless hate thread, and throw conspiracy paranoia all over the place, rather than address serious survival issues.

    Turning back to you Steve I think a lot of people want to know in accurate terms what the Fukushima disaster specifically means to them, in terms of threat. Maybe this does have serious international implications in terms of radiation sickness or maybe it is restricted to a local problem, and if so how much? Saying X amount of radioactive water leaked into the ocean doesn’t tell me what the real threat is to people personally. Where are the expert studies? We’ve already seen how heavily hyped the Chernobyl disaster was, ignoring what most of the experts said. This business has implications. Are we going to be firmly locked into going off the cliff with fossil fuel? If we are going to sort out our priorities we don’t need simply scare stories unaccompanied by relevant facts.

    In your link there is a sublink that I want to quote because I’ve noticed something that is part of a troubling trend going around. It is from the Union of Concerned Scientists who I certainly have respect for and they make a number of points of some merit. However I caught this.

    “A 2011 UCS analysis of new nuclear projects in Florida and Georgia shows that the power provided by the new plants would be more expensive per kilowatt than several alternatives, including energy efficiency measures, renewable energy sources such as biomass and wind, and new natural gas plants.”

    Now look at those alternatives and tell me what is going to be the biggie alternative, at least in the near term? Without batting an eye I’m saying natural gas. This is a curious trend I’ve noticed – including natural gas with alternatives. So what I’m seeing is between nuclear and natural gas the UCS folks are inclining toward natural gas, an AGW generator for sure. I think that is insane.

    In any case getting back to first principles nothing is going to work out if we don’t get the population explosion under control, which is why I put it on a different plane than Fukushima, which arguably is mainly local and probably, if Chernobyl is an example, not broadly lethal. I kind of thought you got the centrality of the population matter and even Paul, before he blew a gasket, seemed to have some intelligent comments on the matter.

    Population and fossil fuel appear to me end game challenges. Nuclear power is a challenge but not on that scale in my view. But of course maybe I’m wrong and will be looking to be proven so.

  111. Just your terminology speaks miles. “Blew a gasket!” Think “David M” about the intent of that tired old terminology, now co-opted by comment-page lovers like you to demean anyone with a bit of chutzpah challenging your methodology, pedagogy, retorts, rhetoric and tone. Your pro-nuclear energy, pro-Halliburton, pro-GE, pro-Energy thugs yammering is just that.

    Really. You play this “catch me if you can” game with absurdities around which facts about fallout and leakage and contamination best fits your pro-nuke narrative.

    It’s a dime a dozen thesis.

    The people suffering directly because of Fukushima, ahh, if only they had “David M” as their subject matter expert and PR spinner:

    On March 11, 2011, a massive earthquake triggered a devastating tsunami that struck Japan’s northeast coast, killing more than 20,000 and leaving at least 150,000 homeless. The twin disasters also triggered a meltdown at the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, stranding more than 315,000 evacuees. Japan responded by halting nearly all nuclear-related projects. But two of the Fukushima nuclear power complex’s existing reactors are now operational again, and construction has resumed at the Oma nuclear power plant. Over that weekend, thousands of Japanese marched in opposition to nuclear power. Including Aileen Mioko Smith, executive director of Green Action.

    Yep, they all are wrong, all misinformed, all misplacing their ire and activism. Go to “David M” ‘s throne to get clear headed and right on board the nuke train.

    Note — Democracy Now —

    AMY GOODMAN: We are going right now to Burlington, Vermont, to speak with Arnie Gundersen, former nuclear industry senior vice president who has coordinated projects at 70 nuclear power plants around the country. Arnie Gundersen provides independent testimony on nuclear and radiation issues to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and congressional and state legislatures, as well as government agencies and officials in the U.S. and abroad, now chief engineer at Fairewinds [Associates]. He co-wrote the new Greenpeace report, “Lessons from Fukushima.”


    What are these lessons, Arnie Gundersen?

    ARNIE GUNDERSEN: Well, I think the first—the first lesson is that this is a technology that can destroy a nation. I was reading Mikhail Gorbachev’s memoirs, and he claims that it was Chernobyl, not perestroika, that destroyed the Soviet Union. And as you look at the transcripts coming out of Japan, we see that the Fukushima accident was on the verge of causing the evacuation of Tokyo. And had the wind been blowing the other way, across the island instead of out to sea, Japan would have been cut in half and destroyed as a functional country. So, this is a technology where perhaps accidents don’t happen every day, but when they do, they can destroy a country.

    The other things are the cost is astronomical. To fix this is going to be something on the order of half-a-trillion dollars. All of the money that Japan saved on oil over the 40 years that they’ve had nuclear plants just got thrown away in the half-a-trillion-dollar recovery effort.

    And the other piece is the human issues. The health impacts to the Japanese will begin to be felt in several years and out to 30 or 40 years from cancers. And I believe we’re going to see as many as a million cancers over the next 30 years because of the Fukushima incident in Japan.

  112. Oh, the full report from Greenpeace:


    Lessons from Fukushima

    Publication – February 28, 2012

    It has been almost 12 months since the Fukushima nuclear disaster began. Although the Great East Japan earthquake and the following tsunami triggered it, the key causes of the nuclear accident lie in the institutional failures of political influence and industry-led regulation.

  113. Two points for people who may think Paul knows what I said – he doesn’t obviously. Maybe it’s that blown gasket. lol

    1. I think Fukushima was a disaster.

    2. I’m not pronuclear, I am anti-fossil fuel. If anybody can find a way in the short to medium term, before we hit some terminal tipping point, of getting us off fossil fuel without a significant contribution from nuclear power I’m on board.

    This is my position which I’ve already made clear and if they say other than that they are lying.

    And oh yes, first last and always reducing population is the sine qua non to a solution.



  114. This just out, six kids confirmed with thyroid Cancer near Fukushima. Damn, and thyroid cancer around Chernobyl was a matter of RadioPhobia!


    I did a longer rebuttal On Mr. DM, but the system ate it.

    Let’s just say that he’s either working for the man or has an ego that got lost on Mars. Especially if you look at the economics, and lies the industry tried to pass as “Too Cheap to matter” Part II. Hey Dave, Levy just canceled due to a $24 billion estimate!

    Anyone watchint the BS between 2005 and 2008 can tell you that you started out making claims you could build an installed KW at $1,200, That’s now over $5,000 and you haven’t even gotten half through constructing Vogtle, with already major increases.

    You went from 30 proposed new reactors to less than 5 in 5 years. You guys were gonna safe the world.
    Actually, we know what you were really up to… Just as renewables started to come of age, you just couldn’t let em replace you, so we’ve had to watch as the industry split the country’r resources using lies and BS…

    Let me know when there is ever a climate change debate between the oil, coal and Nuclear experts. Its funny that you guys never debate yourself about the issue, or we’d see what’s really going on just as what happened in the 60’s. There was no plan to replace coal with cleaner resources, just as there isn’t today. The only reason there’s only been one coal plant built in the last five years was because of public pressure.

    Just as all US appliance manufacturers build refrigerators with the motor on the bottom, the real goal here is to drive up consumption. Out in California we used to call the utlity Profit, Greed & Extortion for a reason. They wanted to build over 60 nukes here back in the 60’s but ran into the environmental movement here. How many they got now? Hey, the biggest state in the union has been able to keep its energy use nearly flat, simply because of education and a lot of organizing.

    And that’s with hardly any real requirements to cut energy use in a serious way.

    Imagine… Phillips announced that all fluorescent bulbs would be gone in 5-10 years to be replaced with far more efficient LED systems that reduce electric use equivalent to more than all the nukes in the country.

    Wake up. We have better things to do than fight. Why not wake up and realize that wind and solar are better than nukes when it comes to CO2 reduction, and of course the big gorilla in the room is getting people to wake up and demand far more efficient housing and car designs. With new Fuel cells coming out that for the short run dramatically reduce the major transmission losses across an aging grid, there are so many awesome alternatives to the old dinosaur system that if done, we could ignite another dot.com bubble, only people like me now know the last people in the world to let run up a bubble is the electric industry as they are all gunning for an AT&T of electric monopolies… Bring back PUHCA or better yet, community choice aggregation.

  115. Roger

    “Wake up. We have better things to do than fight”

    It seems to me you should address that to the fellow in the mirror. In the mean time if you want to address anything that I said that is SPECIFICALLY wrong and not some sort of fantasy creation then that would be all positive. I’m here to learn mainly.

    As for thyroid cancer my understanding is that is quite treatable if caught early.

    “wind and solar are better than nukes when it comes to CO2 reduction”

    Agreed, now will you give me the ramp up schedule that will tell me when they will replace fossil fuel?

    “there are so many awesome alternatives to the old dinosaur system”

    I agree and I’m for all of them. In the meantime…..

    Roger you folks are good in the vision department. Where you fall down is in running the numbers. Just how do we get solar and efficiency to replace fossil fuel in the time frame we have left? And one critical number you keep ignoring is population growth. That will chew up all your best mouse traps.


  116. Hey, Roger, have you gotten the David M picture yet? Oh, a little bit of thyroid cancer, well, that’s treatable. He’s a taker, not a leaver, and whatever yammering he thinks he is accomplishing here, well, that says it all.

    Quite treatable, indeed. He has zero idea of what poverty is, how the One Percent with 40 percent of monetary wealth are propped up by the 19 percent with 53 percent of wealth, and, of course, power.

    Sure, if you are Bechtel or BP or GE executive, hmm, maybe treatable.

    The point is, this fellow thinks his nuke plan just happens in a lovely world of ethical companies doing the ethical and scientific and cultural expedient thing.

    Here’s a nice piece out —

    “Has Our Species Become Insane?”
    by Jim McCluskey
    August 22nd, 2013

    Helen Caldecott is the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and a world renowned campaigner against nuclear weapons. She says that our species is “mentally sick… The whole society is sick”. We are in the grip of a death wish. She points out that 1 in 25 people are sociopaths with “no moral conscience” and these are the people who rise to the top; who are in charge. Is she right? Have we really become insane? There is good reason to believe so. By insane behaviour I am referring to avoidable behaviour which will result in our own destruction and would be seen as such if we were “in our right minds”.

    There are many reasons for the belief that much of our behaviour has become insane. Here are some of them.

    Continue here —


  117. I finally found some serious analysis on the health damages occurring and projected from Fukushima. It’s going to make some folks sad and frustrated I’m afraid. By the way, this is the kind of thing I was looking for Steve.


    “As of early 2013, no physical health effects due to radiation had been observed among the public or Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant workers.[7][8]

    In early 2013, The World Health Organization (WHO) released a comprehensive health risk assessment report which concluded that, for the general population inside and outside of Japan, the predicted health risks are small and that no observable increases in cancer rates above background rates are expected.[9] The report estimates an increase in risk for specific cancers for certain subsets of the population inside the Fukushima Prefecture. For the people in the most contaminated locations within the prefecture, this includes a 4% increase for solid cancers in females exposed as infants, a 6% increase in breast cancer in females exposed as infants, and a 7% increase in leukaemia for males exposed as infants. The risk of thyroid cancer in females exposed as infants has risen from a lifetime risk of 0.75% to 1.25%.

    Preliminary dose-estimation reports by WHO and the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) indicate that future health effects due to the accident may not be statistically detectable. However, 167 plant workers received radiation doses that slightly elevate their risk of developing cancer.[10][11][12] Estimated effective doses from the accident outside of Japan are considered to be below (or far below) the dose levels regarded as very small by the international radiological protection community.[11] The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation is expected to release a final report on the effects of radiation exposure from the accident by the end of 2013.[12]”

    No doubt Helen Caldicott will soon be insisting this is all a conspiracy coverup and no doubt she will be getting some loud amens from certain folks on this commentary thread. 911? – Cheney for sure. lol


  118. Paul, you really ought to try following the discussion. Steve already posted the Caldicott piece on #118. I responded on the subsequent post.

    Another thought you’re not very good at snide and maybe you ought to try standing ON your own feet for a change instead of trying to get all huggy with Steve and Roger.

    Otherwise I hope things are well with you.



  119. Oh, no, a Wikipedia source. Whew, even my first year writing students in my community college get it that Wikipedia ain’t your papa’s source to go for. Keep yammering on, “David M.”

    For folks looking for real science, here:

    Birds Near Fukushima Hit Harder Than at Chernobyl


    Sure, why not, Mother Jones, a lot more reliable than Wikipedia and “David M.”


    The TEPCO Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident was the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and TEPCO, and the lack of governance by said parties. They effectively betrayed the nation’s right to be safe from nuclear accidents. Therefore, we conclude that the accident was clearly “manmade.” We believe that the root causes were the organizational and regulatory systems that supported faulty rationales for decisions and actions, rather than issues relating to the competency of any specific individual.

    The causes of the accident were all foreseeable prior to 11 March 2011, the report concludes. Yet Fukushima was unprepared and therefore incapable of withstanding the earthquake and tsunami. The people and organizations in control failed to develop the most basic safety requirements, including:

    “If Japan had implemented measures in the B.5.b subsection of the US security order that followed the 9/11 terrorist attack, the Fukushima accident may have been preventable.”

    Assessing the probability of damage Preparing for containing collateral damage from such a disaster

    Developing evacuation plans for the public in the case of a serious radiation release.

    The government, regulators, and TEPCO also failed to:

    Implement structural reinforcements needed to conform to new guidelines

    Create regulations to minimize the known risk of core damage from large tsunami waves

    Take any measures to address a known risk of a total electricity outage from large tsunami waves

    Act in any way on the known risk of a loss of seawater pumps from large tsunami waves, therefore setting the stage for reactor core damage

  120. But here in the United States, there’s no sign of any impending nuclear phaseout, despite the steady parade of meltdown scares reported in a new study by the Union of Concerned Scientists. UCS dug into public data from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the nuclear industry’s top federal regulator, and found that, in 2012, 12 different nuclear power plants experienced “near miss” events, defined as an incident that multiplies the likelihood of a core meltdown by at least a factor of 10. The reasons range from broken coolant pumps to fires to “failures to prevent unauthorized individuals from entering secure areas”; in some cases aging equipment was at fault, and two plants were repeat offenders. One California plant already ranks high in vulnerability to earthquakes. In most cases, the study charges, weak oversight from the NRC was to blame.


  121. Physicians for Social Responsibility notes:

    According to the National Academy of Sciences, there are no safe doses of radiation. Decades of research show clearly that any dose of radiation increases an individual’s risk for the development of cancer.

    “There is no safe level of radionuclide exposure, whether from food, water or other sources. Period,” said Jeff Patterson, DO, immediate past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility. “Exposure to radionuclides, such as iodine-131 and cesium-137, increases the incidence of cancer. For this reason, every effort must be taken to minimize the radionuclide content in food and water.”

    “Consuming food containing radionuclides is particularly dangerous. If an individual ingests or inhales a radioactive particle, it continues to irradiate the body as long as it remains radioactive and stays in the body,”said Alan H. Lockwood, MD, a member of the Board of Physicians for Social Responsibility.


    Radiation can be concentrated many times in the food chain and any consumption adds to the cumulative risk of cancer and other diseases

  122. Steve, perhaps you are not familiar with the threshold concept of radiation where some experts insist based on their studies that there is no added risk from radiation as long as the variation occurs below a certain threshold. It kind of makes sense biologically as our bodies are bathed in low level radiation from conception.

    In any case hammering on some theoretical statistical increase in radiation harm from some increase in radiation gets a little silly after a while. Presumably that should make us all want to live at sea level and cease eating bananas because they are more radioactive than say apples.

    As far as dealing with highly radioactive particles the Fukushima estimates that I just posted show that once folks are outside the small area of high radiation concentration the drop off in risk appears to approach near normal background.

    This does not mean Fukushima doesn’t represent a serious challenge to the future of nuclear power. The cost, lack of resolution and emotional trauma it has generated attest to that. But the amount of radiation risk beyond a small perimeter appears to have been way over hyped as was the case with Chernobyl.



  123. There is no safe level of radiation exposure. One particle of radiation can trigger a dangerous mutation in any living organism.

  124. Fine Mike, so don’t stand on a stool. It will raise your risk.


  125. Steve Salmony on Aug 26, 2013
    mike k on Aug 27, 2013

    Sure, all those downwinders never got affected by Hanford?

    Keep your position and toss out the David M’s (lol — don’t stand on a stool . . . . it will raise you risk???)bombast.

    I am writing a piece on Hanford, the clean-up, and the film, Arid Lands, and leaks and native people’s cancers, and the tremendous costs emotionally, physically and financially that this Thug Industry has laid upon us.

    Nuclear anything is sick-sick-sick.


  126. Paul

    “Nuclear anything is sick-sick-sick.”

    Yeah we would have done much better if we had substituted coal plants.

    The dumbing down, never stops. That’s science turned into religion for you. And Paul, once you get to the Hanford tragedy, which most of us, I’m sure, generally know about(An appalling situation), make sure your sources are cleansed of any conspiracy associations. We all want the real deal.



  127. Wow, the voice of troll god speaks — to warn me off what? Orion readers are smarter than that, not gullible enough to listen to your banter.

    That’s $100 billion thus far for Hanford, for the typical work of government, the mine industry, the so-called saviors of humanity, scientists.

    Downwinders, contaminated fish, tribes people losing thyroids at age 25, even whales in the Pacific contaminated by the Hanford Reach mess.

    Yep, nukes do employ people by the loads for the constant mitigation.

    But, can’t wait for David M to appear on one of these boards, the Hanford Advisory Board. See you at the meeting next week in Tri-Cities. Give us your wisdom, “David M.”

    Steve and Mike — Part of the legacy of thugs. And, I am sure you too are railing against mountaintop removers, fracking freaks and the entire mess created by Big Energy, lovely slave traders, all of them.

    Note how many people, major corporations, are making blood money at the Hanford Site. The same suspects that end up in war-torn countries. Nothing like disaster capitalism at its very best.

    What conspiracy?

    Hmm. It’s about people’s life.


  128. Gosh Paul you are a dull stupid person. Yes uranium kills. Fossil fuels kills even more, much more. Until alternatives come online and anybody who knows anything knows they won’t be serious players for a good while we have to make some unhappy choices.

    So is it fossil fuel or nuclear? Let’s agree I’m a jerk and move on to what kind of choices to make in the future. What’s it going to be dude? Whatever we decide on Hanford or Fukushima or Chernobyl they are not wrecking the entire earth like fossil fuel and overpopulation.

    So lets quit the phony posturing, crocodile tears and conspiracy mongering and start examining where the most serious priorities lie. And lets stick with science and the hard evidence on how vast the radiation consequences are. Anecdotes are not a substitute for solid science.



  129. Whew, the voice of character assassination rises up on Orion. “Dull stupid person.” Now I finally get to move on with my life. I’m looking hurriedly at the DSM-V for that diagnosis. I’ll get back soon,



  130. Ahh, Rebecca does a good job of rounding up books here at Tom DIspatch —


    Weisman is a fun novelist.

    But, my born again recalcitrance is certainly centered on the epiphanies old David Pro-Nuclear M is having here at Orion, now giving me mp3 interviews posted on Orion?

    Try Solnit — Quote

    My friend Chip Ward (from nuclear-waste-threatened Utah) reports, “To make a difference in global climate change, we would have to immediately build as many nuclear power plants as we already have in the U.S. (about 100) and at least as many as 2,000 worldwide.” Chip goes on to say that “Wall Street won’t invest in nuclear power because it is too risky. … The partial meltdown at Three Mile Island taught investment bankers how a two-billion-dollar investment can turn into a billion-dollar clean-up in under two hours.” So we, the people, would have to foot the bill.

    Nuclear power proponents like to picture a bunch of clean plants humming away like beehives across the landscape. Yet when it comes to the mining of uranium, which mostly takes place on indigenous lands from northern Canada to central Australia, you need to picture fossil-fuel-intensive carbon-emitting vehicles, and lots of them — big disgusting diesel-belching ones.

    But that’s the least of it. The Navajo are fighting right now to prevent uranium mining from resuming on their land, which was severely contaminated by the postwar uranium boom of the 1940s and 1950s. The miners got lung cancer. The children in the area got birth defects and a 1,500 percent increase in ovarian and testicular cancer. And the slag heaps and contaminated pools that were left behind will be radioactive for millennia.

    As Chip points out, four dirty-coal-fired plants were operated in Kentucky just to operate two uranium enrichment plants. What’s left over is a huge quantity of U-238, known as depleted uranium, which the U.S. government classifies as low-level nuclear waste, except when it uses the stuff to make armoring and projectiles that are the source of so much contamination in Iraq from our first war there, and our second.

  131. ###

    Yep, Hanford Challenge is Challenging old Department of Ecology, for SURE!


    Hanford Challenge seeks to shape the future at Hanford so that the cleanup there is effective and protective of current and future generations and the environment. We have decided to do this through an intentional approach of inquiry: listening to workers, managers, officials, and other stakeholders, and helping to bring about conversations, as opposed to confrontations, where possible. It is true that we will occasionally engage in litigation when necessary, file reports, and seek Congressional oversight. However, we think that lasting changes come about because of intentional decisions on the part of the community to change. This includes at Hanford itself.

    Hanford Challenge has increased its role in the Hanford Concerns Council. This bold and collaborative body seeks to mediate employee concerns in a manner that protects employees and resolves their underlying issues. This approach avoids litigation and guards against reprisal, even as it shows the system a path towards resolution. Hanford Challenge has worked hard to expand its contractor membership to include most of the Site workers. Only Bechtel and Pacific Northwest Laboratories have so far declined to join the Council.

    Some of our accomplishments at Hanford are tangible. We have conducted environmental sampling and brought needed attention to some radioactive hotspots in publicly-accessible areas around Hanford. We have worked closely with numerous workers victimized by a system that denies compensation to those made ill by their work with some of the deadliest hazards on the planet. We have produced videos, appeared on radio shows, held and attended numerous public meetings, and met with state and federal agencies, contractor presidents, and workers with inside information about things going wrong.

    Many of our accomplishments happen behind the scenes and are long-term in nature. They result in quiet but effective reforms in broken systems, and in helping individuals get justice, health care, and compensation.

    Hanford Challenge takes a longer term view of the challenge of Hanford and works in the moment to bring about the changes that are needed. In the long run, we are convinced that a systemic approach is needed. The system — DOE’s structure, its origin as a secretive and unaccountable nuclear bomb-making agency, its vision of cleanup — is broken. An effective plan to clean up Hanford will require major reforms to this system.

    Hanford is a long-term problem and a threat to current and future generations. It is the most contaminated facility in the Western Hemisphere. It will require decades and over $100 billion to cleanup. Hanford Challenge is committed to a method and a process to addressing that breath-taking task.

  132. Again Hanford is a limited problem, a serious one but not a worldwide one. In addition its history appears to make it a special circumstance challenge. If a 100 billion(Maybe 1/30th the ultimate cost of our Iraq-Afghanistan adventure) is required to resolve the problem then that nails my point. It is limited.

    Once again saying I’m pronuclear is a misrepresentation, even dishonest. I’m simply once again saying nuclear is better than fossil fuel and in the short to medium term if we are to phase out fossil fuel nuclear will have to be part of the picture.

    If you disagree with me then I can say following your logic you are pro-fossil fuel. So are you pro-fossil fuel?



  133. However we choose to look at the human-induced aspects of the global predicament, there is one thing of which we can be certain: the risk-management failures occurring on our watch are more numerous, more wicked, more colossal and more immediate than most of us can imagine.

  134. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-hHTFWXr90

    Interview with Dr. Alexey Yablokov co-author of “Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment” recorded March 27, 2011.

    We in Washington are pretty much at the whims of a rotten DOE, bad Department of Ecology and the contractors like Fluor and dozens of others on the welfare trough ripping off us and putting future generations at risk.

    Orion commentators who push nuclear energy are aberrations, and have zilch when it comes to common and scientific sense. Yablokov is a hero, and a scientist of great depth, and no little comments here really are more than B-Bs against the powerful bulwark of these scientists’ on-the-ground and in-the-lab work.

    Thank goodness there are so many greater voices getting their valid work published other than Orion’s odd little platform.


  135. This is a collection of papers translated from the Russian with some revised and updated contributions. Written by leading authorities from Eastern Europe, the volume outlines the history of the health and environmental consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. According to the authors, official discussions from the International Atomic Energy Agency and associated United Nations’ agencies (e.g. the Chernobyl Forum reports) have largely downplayed or ignored many of the findings reported in the Eastern European scientific literature and consequently have erred by not including these assessments.


  136. Here’s the problem Paul. Starting in 1990, the nuclear ideologists came up with a game plan, pushed initially by Russia to push the claim that the amount of radiation released was 90% less than initially reported. Then a top Russian nuclear apparatchik came up with the idea of Radiophobia. By the time the 2nd big UNSCEAR report came out you could find scientists saying that thyroid cancer was just a myth.

    In addition, just as we’ve seen in Japan, the nuclear insiders took back the governments of the Ukraine and Byelorussia, actually destroying early reports done, and of course in the case of the Russian government destroying the health records of over 300,000 Liquidators.

    Thus, now we have a UN based consensus that only 4-9 thousand people will eventually die.

    It was the 2012 Diet report in Japan that gave us a brief opening to just how extensive the radiation is good for you scam has gone when the government exposed the fact that TEPCo and the nuclear village had been hand picking what scientist and reports would be published on the impacts of radiation.

    With the bible of radiation standards being the LSS Hiroshima survivor database controlled exclusively by the US and Japanese government being how the doctor the core methodology on how they figure out who dies from a certain radiation dose. The RERF LSS database findings have been so manipulated that they no longer have any meaning other than supporting the UNSCEAR and PAG scams here in the US. Obama has just released a new attack on the former Protective Action Guidelines (PAG)’s that determine how to cleanup after a nuke disaster. Of course this is being done at this time as the US fleet of reactors are now entering an era of likely serious incidents.

    The problem is simple. Dare enter the hotbox of university physics departments with a skeptical eye and what would be the chance you would survive even a single semester? Our hero’s of the past like Morgan, Stewart and Gofman only came about because of moral and ethical challenges. Physicists today are pretty much amoral pro-nuke ideologues. I had the pleasure of talking to a major anti-nuke activist in Japan 20 years ago. She was married to one of Japan’s top nuclear physicists. In Japan having divorce back then was tantamount to suicide for women. Being well educated, she intentionally became anti-nuclear simply because she learned what kind of a man her husband was. She shared the fact that anybody with such a huge ego as his was going to fail to see just how much his own behavior got in the way of reality. And dear folks, as we watch Fukushima unfold in and unending disaster, we can see why Fukushima happened, and why the Diet report in 2012 stated that the disaster was “manmade” by a culture of egoistical maniacs.

  137. No question the New World Order is behind covering up THE TRUTH about radiation. Who knows, Fukushima may be our death knell. A few heros are standing up and breaking through the coverup and exposing the suppressed realities. I’m glad you guys are hot on the job dodging bullets to get the word out here on Orion that nuclear radiation is worse than anything.

    You all should get medals for your brave stand. As for AGW, we know that is all a nefarious distraction to keep our eyes off the real danger – NUCLEAR RADIATION!

    Hang in their boys! In the mean time.



  138. Paul, Roger — Thanks for your accurate and informative comments. On the other hand David M seems interested in sowing ridiculous disinformation. Strangely trolls sometimes serve a useful purpose in triggering real knowledgeable people to refute them!

  139. Hi Mike,

    DM is clearly a serious pro-nuke character. I’ve dealt with them a long time ago on a national blog where people of all stripes came together to debate their differences etc. Usually people opposed to nuclear were in a serious minority or afraid to come out back between 2005-8 when people like this could reign with impunity. Those were difficult times. Bloated with self assurance and of course the best PR tactics money could buy, it wasn’t an easy time. They lost ever early argument. But of course, their arguments were all spin for the unknowing general public they mostly wrapped around their finger. Bush would hand them $13 billion in free cash to push their campaign, that we are still having to clean up their lies of Clean, Safe and Cheap. Of course only a few states like GA, FL and SC bought them, and are now paying for that which huge bills that will be with them for decades.

    Now that his beloved “Renaissance” is in serious collapse, they’ve had to regroup with their last ditch SMR strategy. These people have immense egos and money to play out their Faustian bargain. The NRC and the industry are now expediting this new agenda to replace their failure. Of course the ultimate goal here is to lock the cultures of the world into their nuclear security state.

    Oh, SMR stands for Small Modular Reactor… Small, hardly being what we might think of as small. Actually various models are as large as 1/4 the size of the current monsters.

    Their beloved Gen IV claims were a magic act, to move towards the real agenda. The plan to build an AT&T (monopoly) of nuclear electric companies and their agenda to head off a real revolution in renewables etc. which they hate more than anything. And now that its actually somewhat of a fair fight, the question is whether or not they can figure out a way screw people up so badly they don’t know what way to think with their misdirected climate change line. They don’t give a damn about that, or they would have actually done something to change things. These creeps probably haven’t lifted their hand to oppose coal facilities or fossil fuel facilities anywhere, which what they did in the 60’s.

  140. Roger, Mike, et al — I’m not trying to add to some mutual admiration society, but obviously, junk babble by the David M’s of the world can be replicated in any number of fields and when we sift through it independently, we end up finding voices of clarity come together.

    Check out what that grand bastion of something called ecopornography and sometimes the lesser greenwashing, Grist, is doing with it’s new pro-GMO columnist:


    . . . from the epigram, can we see the same sort of rhetorical bulimia tied to David M’s insider pro-nuclear utopia?

    “This tactic is similar to other techniques used by the biotech industry that I describe in my book, Genetic Roulette. GMO advocates, for example, often write up lengthy studies or reports that hardly anyone ever reads in detail. Instead, people generally look at the abstract and/or conclusion and accept the authors’ declaration that the findings demonstrate GMO safety. But when an expert actually takes the time to go through the details, he or she discovers that the conclusions are entirely unsupported and unjustified. In some cases, they are in direct opposition to the data.”

    — Jeffrey Smith, author of Genetic Roulette

  141. Gosh, here I’m trying to get on board and all I get is endless ad hominems. lol At least you could get my views right but then again maybe you can’t. Again, I’m not proNuke, I’m pro getting the facts right. Relative to some that makes me pro-Nuke, something that would surprise a lot of folks I’ve exchanged posts with.

    I’m concerned that the Passionara of nuclear radiation, our dear Helen Caldicott, is getting roughed up by one of the operatives of the NWO. Tell me what you think. Since you folks have nailed me for the trolling jerk that I am you might, just for once, actually try debunking one of my links on the substance. A PBS is working for the NWO type response doesn’t count. Substance, gentlemen, substance.




  142. I actually started to write a serious response, but then realized that our troll was going back to the Monbiot debate with Helen. We actually don’t know who this guy is. So am pretty much done with his circular parroting of Monbiot vs. Caldicott. Yeah, She messed up, but not intentionally. She was certainly not prepared for his slick UNSCEAR consensus soundbite on Chernobyl.

    Nope, she wasn’t prepared, nor capable of answering him in the 2-3 minutes she was allotted to reply. Nor was she the right person to ask. Note just how much he butters her up as his heroine, etc… She wrote him off, just as I’m gonna do here with you.

    Other than as mentioned before. Respond to the below AP story, that came out in 1995.

    Report: More Than 220,000 Belarussians Affected by Chernobyl

    Date: Mon, 11 Dec 1995 16:53:36 -0500

    MINSK, Belarus (AP) — More than 220,000 Belarussians have suffered physical
    ailments as a result of the 1986 nuclear accident at Chernobyl, according to a
    new government report.

    The report also found that almost a quarter of Belarus remains contaminated from
    world’s worst commercial nuclear power disaster, officials said Monday.

    Belarus’ Emergency Situations Ministry said the number of cases of leukemia,
    thyroid cancers and tumors in the former Soviet republic is still climbing years
    after the explosion in neighboring Ukraine.

    In fact, the worst of the contamination is along Belarus’ southern border with
    Ukraine, an area with 1.8 million people, the Interfax news agency said, citing
    the report.

    Leukemia cases there nearly doubled in 1995 from the previous year, following an
    upward trend that began in the late 1980s, Interfax said. Many of the sick are
    those who lived in an 18-mile zone around the plant.

    In Ukraine, doctors have also reported increases in thyroid and other cancers in
    children, and this spring, Ukraine’s Health Ministry said more than 125,000
    people had died by 1994 as a result of the accident.

    Official Soviet accounts put the number of deaths at 32, mainly plant operators
    and firefighters who were exposed to heavy doses of radiation immediately after

    AP-WS-12-11-95 1511EST

    Just throwing this next one in as a fantasy piece because it mentions the immense financial costs…

    Belarus brought to its knees by ‘invisible enemy’

    ireland.com – The Irish Times – OPINION

    April 26, 2001

    Fifteen years after Chernobyl, the world has moved on. But for
    Belarus the problems are only beginning. Thyroid cancer rates
    have risen by 2,400 per cent since the explosion, writes Eugene

    At 1.23 a.m. on April 26th, 1986, an explosion occurred in the
    No. 4 reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine. Some 190
    tons of highly radioactive uranium and graphite were blasted into
    the atmosphere.

    The radioactive cloud released from the burning reactor
    travelled north into the neighbouring country of Belarus. It then
    moved east over western Russia and west across Europe.

    The fallout from the disaster has directly affected over nine
    million people in Belarus, Ukraine and western Russia. The people
    of these countries were exposed to radioactivity 90 times greater
    than that released by the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The UN
    has declared the disaster the worst environmental catastrophe in

    It is the country of Belarus which has suffered, and continues
    to suffer, most from the disaster: 70 per cent of the radiation
    has fallen on its land and people.

    Mr Vladislav Ostapenko, head of Belarus’s Radiation Medicine
    Institute, told a recent press conference that “science cannot
    yet completely assess the consequences of the Chernobyl accident,
    but it is plain that a demographic catastrophe has occurred in
    our country.

    “We are now seeing genetic changes, especially among those who
    were less than six years of age when the accident happened and
    they were subjected to radiation. These people are now starting

    Medical research has shown that radioactive elements (primarily
    caesium 137 and iodine 131) cross the placental barrier from
    mother to foetus, contaminating each new generation. Faced with
    soaring levels of infertility and genetic changes, the gene pool
    of the Belarussian people is now under threat.

    The rates of thyroid cancer have increased by 2,400 per cent in
    the 15 years since the disaster and this figure is expected to
    continue to rise. There has been a 1,000 per cent increase in
    suicides in the contaminated zones and a 250 per cent increase in
    congenital birth deformities.

    With 99 per cent of the land of Belarus contaminated to varying
    degrees, the people of this stricken country are forced to live,
    eat, drink and breathe radiation.

    Ms Adi Roche, executive director of the Chernobyl Children’s
    Project, which has initiated 14 aid programmes for the stricken
    regions, has travelled on many humanitarian aid convoys to
    Belarus. She has found it to be “a country on its knees,
    struggling to fight against the invisible enemy of radiation, an
    enemy that is slowly destroying its people”.

    The Chernobyl disaster has financially crippled Belarus. It has
    cost the country 25 per cent of its annual national budget and it
    is estimated that by 2015 the fallout from the accident will have
    cost Belarus $235 billion.

    Because there is no international law governing an accident such
    as that which occurred at Chernobyl, Belarus has received no
    compensation for the damage to it from either Ukraine or Russia.

    In a vicious and toxic cycle, the country cannot afford to
    minimise the effects of the disaster because it is so
    economically crippled as a direct result of it.

    Within the world’s most radioactive environment, some 2,000
    towns and villages lie eerily silent and empty. These towns were
    evacuated in the weeks and months following the disaster because
    of the extremely high levels of radioactivity.

    Yet, in a very worrying development, the Belarussian authorities
    are attempting to change the existing laws relating to the
    protection of citizens suffering from the disaster to reduce the
    financial burden on the state.

    Prof Nesterenko is a Belarussian scientist who carries out
    independent research into the effects of the contaminated land.
    His research is crucial to all aid work relating to the disaster
    carried out in Belarus.

    He has warned that the authorities are propagating a return to
    living in contaminated zones instead of giving objective
    information to the population about the dangers to health of
    living in contaminated areas.

    In spite of such a large-scale tragedy, the issue has been
    largely forgotten or ignored by the international community and
    the voices of the victims remain largely unheard.

    Fifteen years after the disaster – at a time when its full
    consequences have not yet peaked – there is a growing complacency
    within the international community about it.

    There is an urgent and vital need for the Chernobyl issue to be
    placed back at the top of the international agenda.

    Most of the aid to the affected regions is collected and
    distributed by international non-governmental organisations. If
    the problems are to be correctly tackled, it is imperative that
    increased financial commitments be given by UN member-states to
    the relief effort. Every government and every country has a
    crucial role to play.

    Although the Chernobyl power plant was finally closed down last
    December, it is by no means the end of the problem. An
    omnipresent threat of nuclear apocalypse still hangs over much of

    Within the last few weeks, a former director of security
    services in the Chernobyl region, Mr Valentine Kupny, has warned
    that radiation is still seeping from the entombed reactor.

    Speaking in last week’s German weekly *Focus*, he alerted people
    to the fact that the steel casing entombing the nuclear reactor
    was crumbling and in imminent danger of collapse. When this
    casing collapses, much of what will happen will depend on the

    Mr Kupny has said that nobody knows exactly what is happening
    inside the reactor. “In September 1996 we recorded the last
    atomic chain reaction but it is very possible that something is
    happening now. We don’t know.”

    Mr Kupny was dismissed from his post shortly after his interview
    for the article. Many people do not want to hear the truth.

    Isn’t it about time that we did?

    *Eugene Cahill is press officer of the Chernobyl Children’s

  143. Here is about the most comprehensive piece I have seen on the effects of Chernobyl, covering highest to lowest estimates of mortality or simply effects.

    A lot of it goes way beyond matters discussed here. In any case it is best for folks to make up their own minds.

    In sorting through the various claims and putting the radiation matter in a broader perspective the faith based true believers that I have encountered here have little objectivity or even honesty and therefore credibility in my opinion.



  144. http://netforbeginners.about.com/od/weirdwebculture/f/what-is-an-internet-troll.htm

    Question: What Is an Internet ‘Troll’?

    Answer: An internet ‘troll’ is an abusive or obnoxious user who uses shock value to promote arguments and disharmony in online communities.

    As seen, he has no real technical capacity himself to argue his case other than links, especially the last one that he’s probably not ever read through, per his earlier comments about wildlife around Chernobyl.

    He can’t comment on the 1995 article because it doesn’t fit his worldview, thus the growing verbal failure.

    In response not to him, as there will be no further direct responses until he can refute the 95 AP story, there is a move by scientists and a handful of people to build a serious counter to the UN low-ball claim and what happened between Helen and George.

    Helen had part of the answer to the mess she got into with Monbiot but the fact is that the small number of opponents face a “Star Chamber” effect as could be seen when opponents were actually excluded from presenting their own factual materials during the UNSCEAR process.

    The hope that the wide open scandal exposed by the Japanese government in 2012 on how scientists and radiation papers were openly censored was of course a huge reason on why the LDP had to come back into power in Japan, or risk long term investigations of just how extensive the allegations were to how deep the rabbit hole went.

    The nuclear village nearly had its darkest secrets exposed, and 5 months later, they retook the government reigns.

    And of course, there are calls around the world that Japan and TEPCo have failed to take Fukushima seriously. Tepco is in a race against time, to do something never before done, remove an entire spent fuel pond from a teetering building that could collapse with the next moderate quake in the most seismically active area in the world. The global media intentionally censored all knowledge of the 3-12 6.4 quake less than 20 miles from the facility that hit just 7 minute before unit 1 exploded. This was done intentionally to protect their Tsunami/flooding spin, as there nearly 20% of reactors worldwide are located close to faultlines with China being the biggest danger especially around the densely populated region of Hong Kong where there were plans to build over 20 reactors, since under immense concern, not to mention Taiwan’s call to close its reactors, and the recent super scandal out of S. Korea which is also seismically a hot spot. You can be assured that the global nuke industry is doing everything in its power to knock back the “True Believers” in all those countries…

    There should have been an international consortium in place that should have already moved the coolest spent fuel. Its still not clear how much MOX fuel is onsite and how to transfer it, since there is no technology in place on how to remove it prematurely or any of the hot non-MOX fuel. Its just too hot to handle and needs years more under water before it can be safely be moved. Time that the world can’t afford to wait for.

  145. “An internet ‘troll’ is an abusive or obnoxious user who uses shock value to promote arguments and disharmony in online communities.”

    Definitely I’m comfortable with argument. I can’t say I’m into promoting disharmony other than showing that relevant truths upset certain true believer types.

    I’ve posted on Orion for quite some time without causing any particular friction that I can see. Certain posters, like yourself, decided to respond to my substantive posts by employing ad hominems and lying. That’s when things started getting ugly.

    I would say the term “troll” more readily applies to you. Apparently having civilized discussions with folks who are not giving you high 5’s is something you have difficulty with.

    You need to lighten up.


  146. Oh yes my link completely agreed with the repopulating of the Chernobyl region as did your earlier link and my earlier link.

    3 strikes and you’re out. Lucky this isn’t baseball. lol

  147. The release of the nuclear genie from its relatively safe containment in matter on Earth was a hubristic mistake of colossal and deadly scope. The subsequent efforts to lie about the consequences of that error, and the obscene greedy scramble to profit from poisoning and endangering all life on our planet is a sad commentary on our lack of fitness to be the most advanced intelligence among those sharing our world. If any future historians survive to comment on our modern age, they will doubtless point to this stupid uncontrolled experiment on ourselves as the epitome of our misguided culture.

  148. Our ‘background radiation’ has increased from a reported 60 milli-rems per year (early 1940s) to 360 milli-rems per year , in NRC reports, to 600 millirems per year in literature from EPA’s Protective Action Guidelines (PAG)’s that the current administration has all but destroyed. But of course, all the public is told is that the current releases wherever or whatever they are won’t effect our health.

    We now all have manmade radiation in our bodies that was not there prior to the arrival of the atomic age that has changed our genetic future.

    The documentation of how an entire culture of scientists for the last 60 years and their unethical Faustian bargain was exposed by a handful of ethical whistleblowers is there to be found. Thanks to people like Alice Stewart the world no longer does x-rays on our feet to buy shoes or on pregnant women. Thanks to John Glenn for exposing the US government’s draconian experiments on unknowing American Citizens. And John Goffman for exposing the fact that no radiation levels are safe, destroying his career as a major insider. Other’s like the GE engineers who quit over the design flaws that led to Fukushima and could yet reek havoc at any one of the 20 plus lookalike aging reactors in the US that all should have been shut down are just part of this unending nuclear nightmare. The amount of radiation that these egotistical monsters have released upon thousands of future generations could easily wipe out all higher life forms on the planet and do so for millions of years if this civilization lost the ability to continue on with its technological agenda. With even Nova now acknowledging such a cataclysmic event with the shift in the magnetic poles, that would destroy all electrical systems on earth. We could all be facing meltdowns at all 400 nuclear facilities with no way to cool them whatever. Such an event is not acknowledged, just as a terrorist attack on a reactor had never been seriously planned for prior to 9-11.

    The nuclear era has shone itself for what it is a dreadful mistake, in line with the theme of this string about a moral atmosphere.

    And a quote from the founder of the nuclear navy – Admiral Rickover

    “I’ll be philosophical. Until about two billion years ago, it was impossible to

    have any life on earth; that is, there was so much radiation on earth you couldn’t have

    any life: fish or anything. Gradually, about two billion years ago, the amount of

    radiation on this planet and probably in the entire system reduced and made it possible

    for some form of life to begin…Now when we go back to using nuclear power, we are

    creating something which nature tried to destroy to make life possible… Every time you

    produce radiation, you produce something that has a certain half-life, in some cases for

    billions of years. I think the human race is going to wreck itself, and it is important

    that we get control of this horrible force and try to eliminate it… I do not believe

    that nuclear power is worth it if it creates radiation. Then you might ask me why do I

    have nuclear powered ships. That is a necessary evil. I would sink them all. Have I given

    you an answer to your question.” Admiral Hyman Rickover

  149. I want to thank all the commenters who have reaffirmed my horror at our nuclear nightmare. Even David M has played an unwitting role in bringing forth all these knowledgeable folks to remind us of our ongoing folly. I learned a lot from you folks, and I intend to bring up these issues in a couple of groups that I attend.

  150. It’s a lot easier when you separate the part from the whole isn’t it, like pretending you can separating nuclear power from the larger energy picture? Too bad the nuclear genie was released but it was. Get use to it.

    Now a very simple question has emerged. Would you prefer fossil fuel or nuclear energy as a source of energy? Fossil fuel takes us directly to hell, we pretty much know that. Nuclear power at least potentially buys us some time if we use it intelligently to get alternatives on line and get a handle on our population growth insanity.

    When it comes to the fossil fuel problem you folks have been ducking and dodging and pretending it’s all about slaying the nuclear Godzilla. And your hype of the problem of nuclear radiation has been ridiculous. That’s not what I say, that’s what science says.

    As for your figures on rising background radiation Roger let’s see the link. I’m not buying anything you say just on your say so.

    Oh Mike when you get together with your groups let them know about all the conspiracy stuff that your buddies have put out there and the fact they and you haven’t refuted any fact, evidence and science that I or my links have offered, including refuting your view that there is no evidence supporting a radiation threshold. Fat chance!

    Well go about promoting global warming guys. Maybe you can get a check from Exxon.



  151. Just to put things in some kind of perspective maybe we should take a look at coal, a principal nuclear alternative.


    ” According to the reports issued by the World Health Organization in 2008 and by environmental groups in 2004, coal particulates pollution are estimated to shorten approximately 1,000,000 lives annually worldwide, including nearly 24,000 lives a year in the United States.”

    “if external costs such as damage to the environment and to human health, from the airborne particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, chromium VI and arsenic emissions produced by coal, were taken into account. It was estimated in the study that external, downstream, fossil fuel costs amount up to 1–2% of the EU’s entire Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with coal the main fossil fuel accountable for this, and this was before the external cost of global warming from these sources was even included.[6] The study also found that the environmental and health costs of coal alone were €0.06/kWh, or 6 cents/kWh, with the energy sources of the lowest external costs associated with them being nuclear power €0.0019/kWh, and wind power at €0.0009/kWh.[7]”

    “Coal and coal waste products (including fly ash, bottom ash and boiler slag) releases approximately 20 toxic-release chemicals, including arsenic, lead, mercury, nickel, vanadium, beryllium, cadmium, barium, chromium, copper, molybdenum, zinc, selenium and radium, which are dangerous if released into the environment. While these substances are trace impurities, enough coal is burned that significant amounts of these substances are released.”

    “Plant-emitted radiation carried by coal-derived fly ash delivers 100 times more radiation to the surrounding environment than does the normal operation of a similarly productive nuclear plant”

    Need we mention global warming and asthma? There is so much much more.

    Are you pleased with your nuclear alternative Steve?



  152. I was gonna let the troll blather, but this one I just couldn’t resist! 🙂

    If people like this actually gave a flying shit about just how bad coal was, especially pronuckle heads, They would be the first to go head to head with the coal industry. But you will never, ever see this guy or any of their ilk actually doing something like calling for the coal industry to debate directly with the pro-nuke people!

    Now why is this? Because they are pretty much one and the same crowd.

    When anti-nuke people like Amory Lovins and others started to target the energy industry and how they have driven consumers into making false decisions, it wasn’t because they ever cared about what was happening to people – Just their bottom line.

    Another more extreme version was that millions of people have died from coal radiation. That was quickly softened since Fukushima, as can be seen by the spin man with the quote from the WHO, the very entity that refused to evaluate the potential link of Depleted Uranium and the massive cancer epidemic in Iraq. But that’s okay, It was Helen Caldicott that pointed out that WHO has an agreement going back to 1959 that it will not do anything with radiation issues unless cleared first by the IAEA, the only independent UN agency that reports only to the nuclear powers within the national security council. We even have a former head of WHO speaking out about this situation and how its been used to do things like build up a global consensus of physicists that rule entities like RERF, DOE, ICRP, NCRP etc.

    Sorry, but all fossil fuel emit radiation, not just coal, oil is nearly as bad, or also the radiation in cigarettes caused by fertilizers etc.

    Nor does the really sad sack claim that nukes will be the only baseload option to save the world as we know it. Remember DM, your on an environmental blog, and most people have long been opposed to coal use as an energy source, and my goodness, there’s been a rather dramatic reduction in coal development in the US in the last few years. Hell, So California actually weathered two summers in a row without San Onofre without a problem!

    So literally the first sustained attack on the US energy industry of any duration started in the 1970’s after the OPEC energy crisis along with the Santa Barbara oil spill. When it became a national emergency. The country quickly moved from oil based energy sources in a matter of years. We all now know that whether its oil, coal, nuclear or the renewables. They aren’t gonna happen unless they retain monopoly control over the source, forcing most people into a rental relationship with the energy source. And when anyone with a lick of sense follows the cash, rather the BS, its clear that we are now watching in countries around the world, that when solar and wind, with energy storage systems are engaged that we see traditional energy monopolies losing it, as can be seen with the recent threat in Germany that E.ON, the 2nd largest utility company threatening to move to Turkey. So, just as it was publicly exposed that your buddies that starred in the disastrous Pandora’s Promise (less than 2,000 people nationwide went to see it in the theaters where it was open for an entire week)Schallenberger, or what’s his name at the Breathrough Institute was found to be funded by the Rockefellers, a Climate Change Denier, opposed to solar and wind, yet kept suggesting how much they loved wind, but were actually caught being openly opposed.

    These people, are PR spinners, and in this case are the ultimate in divide and conquer and the energy issue is the longest oldest, war against the modern environmental movement there is, even the Sierra Club bought into their pro-nuke hype in the 60’s using coal that time, but as soon as they went along with the BS, they were then used to roll over opposition as if they had some kind of consensus. It only took the Club until 1974 to see the error of their ways, and never look back on the lies, and manipulation that was used. In fact, after they got their endorsement, coal even expanded even further.

    So beware of wolf’s in Sheep’s clothing. If these people actually cared about what their manipulative tactics, there wouldn’t be a coal facility left in the US anywhere. They just don’t want people to own their own source of energy, as is now rapidly happening across Europe.

  153. Roger slobbers on incoherently, full of conspiracies and incapable of the simplest math not to mention stumbling drunkenly into all sorts of weird digressions. He’s against fossil fuel and nuclear. Isn’t that cute! So if nuclear goes where is most of the energy substitute coming from?
    Fossil fuel uh duh. The ramp up from alternative energy is going to take decades. But he’s got a magic wand that’s going to make them both go away.

    This is what happens when folks get frozen in an ideological cul-de-sac. You end up with members of the flat earth society projecting their hate because they are caught in the cobweb of their own incoherence and can’t find a way out.

    Yes I like Amory Lovins too for some stuff, but as a predictor he has been out to lunch. http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/10/amory-lovins-wrong-before-wrong-now-and.html

    Just out of curiosity Roger, do you agree with Paul that 911 was an inside job? Just curious.


  154. One of the favorite ploys of trolls and industry plants is to try to divert a discussion of reasonable ideas and data into a personalized name calling contest. If they can bait you with their insults to come down to that level, they have succeeded in sabotaging your attempts to communicate in a rational manner. Their strategy is to try to get your goat by any means. The best counter to this is to refuse to be drawn in to the ad hominem game by ignoring their taunts and simply stating your points without indulging in retaliatory jabs or gottcha’s. Reasoned discourse and proofs are the one thing trolls don’t want to deal with…

  155. Wow, just stepping away from troll land for a weak — while interviewing real people in real places around what nuclear energy does to people and ecosystems — I see the medication levels have not reached plasma-level for David M.

    Good research on runaway methane and an ice-free summer arctic coming on by 2015. Nuclear power plants, what a wasted idiocy. I think we are a point where this stupidity about the miracle of big energy coming to our rescue with kick-ass (sic) clean (sic-sic) nuclear energy falls flat.

    Quoting —

    How real, and imminent, is the danger of runaway global warming?

    “Without stopping it, sooner, or later, one way or another, the loss of Arctic summer sea ice would lead to runaway global warming,” says Arctic Methane Emergency Group (AMEG).

    For runaway global warming to develop into an unstoppable worldwide disaster, first off a tipping point must occur. A tipping point is when there is no turning back, similar to the Titanic hitting the iceberg one hundred years ago.

    The Tipping Point

    As for the risk of a climatic tipping point event within current lifetimes, first-rate advice comes from Peter Wadhams (Professor of Ocean Physics and Head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group, Dept. of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge).

    Here’s why Prof Wadhams’ advice is so keenly followed: Over the past 40 years, Dr. Wadhams has led 40 research trips to the poles, including 7 trips on nuclear submarines, conducting sonar readings (to accurately measure ice thickness), in order to study, analyze, and interpret the behaviour of sea ice. As such, he doesn’t rely upon scientific models; rather, he believes in “boots-on-the-ground” as the most thorough way to understand what is happening in nature.

    Here is what Prof Wadhams says about a climatic tipping point, as expressed in the Abstract version of the article “Arctic Ice Cover, Ice Thickness and Tipping Points,”1: “We show results from some recent work from submarines, and speculate that the trend towards retreat and thinning will inevitably lead to an eventual loss of all ice in summer, which can be described as a ‘tipping point’ in that the former situation, of an Arctic covered with mainly multi-year ice, cannot be retrieved.”

    In other words, Prof Wadhams’ tipping point appears to be when the Arctic is ice free, which he believes will occur around the year 2015. This, in turn, implies a runaway heating up of Earth over an indeterminate period of time because of positive feedback between an ice-less Arctic, thawing permafrost and melting hydrates (methane locked in ice) emitting increasingly massive quantities of methane into the atmosphere, or to put it another way, runaway global warming.

    But, nobody can possibly know the timing of the sequence of events leading up to runaway global warming, nor, for sure, whether it will happen as expected; it could be better, or it could be worse than expectations. But, whichever result, it’s not good.

    The Tipping Point Controversy

    Though, there are respectable scientists at odds with Prof Wadhams, for example: A new paper, “Reducing Spread in Climate Model Projections of a September Ice-Free Arctic,”2 claims that the Arctic will be ice-free in September by around 2054-58, which is certainly a long way off from Prof Wadhams’ 2015 deadline.

    In response to the PNAS paper, Prof Wadhams claims their projection departs significantly from his empirical observations of the rapid loss of Arctic summer sea ice, and here is how they differ: They use “scientific models,” i.e. computers; he uses “empirical evidence,” or boots-on-the-ground.

    Along those lines, Prof Wadhams says, “The modelers did not pay sufficient regard to observation, especially of ice thickness… A very great physicist, Richard Feynmann, said that when a model comes up against measurements that contradict it, it is the measurements that must be preferred and the model must be abandoned or changed.”3

    If Prof Wadhams is correct, the earthly consequences, over an indeterminate period of time, will most likely be:

    Sea levels will rise – probably a lot… for example, one-day Miami will be under water.

    Atmospheric jet stream displacement, because of a rapidly warming Arctic, will force ultra extreme weather events (this is already happening), especially in the Northern Hemisphere.

    Resulting in – catastrophic flooding, e.g. Central Europe 2013
    And, resulting in – severe droughts, e.g., China (2011- worst in 50 years & 2013), U.S. (2012- worst in 50 years), Russia (2010- worst in 50 years & 2012), Syria (2006-11- worst in history of Fertile Crescent), and on and on.

    Which equate to- decreased food production. Leading to food riots, leading to political turmoil, leading to war

  156. After dealing in his usual ad hominems toward me Paul quickly pivots and decides methane is what we need to get hysterical about. No, no, no Paul, it’s all about nukes, those substitutes for ghgs, don’t you remember?

    Mike as usual contributes nothing to the conversation, attacks me again and of course genuflects to the conspiracy twins.

    By the way, same question to you Mike. Do you agree with Paul that 911 was an inside job?

    In case you guys forgot, this entire conversation is a result of my original comment to Steve. Kind of hard to troll a discussion you started. And of course the ad hominems were in each case initiated by you folks. Anybody is free to check back on all these facts.

    When it comes to trolling, a little mirror gazing by each of you might help reveal the source of your projection.



  157. Ahh, like a fly on dung, David M, and using Latin vocabulary. Ad hominems. Whew, what a guy, what a smart guy.

    It’s the bomb us with his erudite comebacks. Hysterical and September 11, 2001 conspiracy inside job guy, that’s me alright.

    David M, a case of contamination, and failed mental processes.

    But, alas, a springboard of sorts — A Petition to get waste tanks built. The industry can’t even get that right.


    At least David M is assisting Orion readers here!

  158. Paul

    “September 11, 2001 conspiracy inside job guy, that’s me alright.”

    So you said. Are you taking it back? I just want to make sure you 3 Musketeers are all on the same page. I think I know the answer to that, just looking for confirmation.

    Oh yes, I’m all for nuclear waste containment and I think it is a shame Yucca Mountain, dedicated to that purpose was deactivated. Storing spent fuel rods on sight is not a good idea as we have seen. And I guess it would help with the Hanford waste problem too.


  159. David M. asks:

    “He’s against fossil fuel and nuclear. Isn’t that cute! So if nuclear goes where is most of the energy substitute coming from?”

    Muscles? Human and non-human.

    There can be no replacement, as we’re at peak net energy (See R. Heinberg). The overwhelmingly likely probable future will be a world using vastly less energy than the present one. Fortunately, there are MANY good ways to redesign and redirect our lives so that we can live well under the coming conditions. This should be the direction of research and action. Not “replacement”.

  160. I’m all for down scaling James and in the long term that is the solution. But in the short to medium term we are stuck with this problem, a society largely driven by fossil fuel. My take is while we are working toward more down to earth local solutions there is an interim period we have to deal with that requires we get rid of fossil fuel as an energy source before global warming drives us off the cliff. Part of that interim solution seems to be unavoidably nuclear power. So my simple narrative is, first we phase out fossil fuel and then as local sustainable solutions come into play phase out nuclear power.

    My main problem with what you say is more in the area of what you don’t say. Without a change in population growth all other solutions are moot.

    I’m in general agreement with Richard Heinberg. He gets that continued economic and population growth are dead ends.



  161. We’ve had a few conspiracy buffs hop on my originated topic and let me know in forceful and unflattering terms that first off I didn’t belong there and I was a terrible person for suggesting nuclear radiation was not going to swallow the world, using experts who of course were all tainted, and was in fact primarily a local problem and actually a fairly limited one at that.

    Of course that made me a tool of THEM! I even questioned Helen, the sainted Mother Theresa of the radiation-will-kill-us-all faith. CAN YOU IMAGINE!

    I think they should make more of an effort to connect the dots. Wise conspiracy folks generally know conspiracies are everywhere, as we have already seen suggested from their rudimentary contributions, and devil types(Hired tools like me) to carry their message, intentions are everywhere, seductively hiding their real agendas.

    Consulting the better angels of my nature I thought I would offer them a site that could facilitate their bringing the broader conspiracy message to the ignorant masses. This should help fill the bill.


    In the mean time.



  162. I love this putz. Amazingly focused on self, on stupidity, and, well, the David M’s of the world are united to be as far from reality as possible.

    Another fine activist, ground truther, you know, conspiracy person.

    Thanks for the eugenics lesson — MORE TREES, LESS PEOPLE.

    Another whacked out homily. From “David M” the marker for the nuclear weapons and toxicity industry.



    Tortured Science: Health Studies, Ethics and Nuclear Weapons in the United States

    “Community members that live downwind and downstream of Department of Energy weapons-production sites know firsthand that contamination doesn’t stop at the fence line. They have been subjected to health studies that protect the agency and the federal government from a moral responsibility to fully disclose the entire environmental and health legacy of nuclear weapons production. Tortured Science raises important ethical issues about how health studies have gone awry and how citizens who served the United States during the Cold War have been abandoned by their government as acceptable collateral damage.”
    —Susan Gordon, Director, Alliance for Nuclear Accountability

    “Before torturing suspects to extract data became the norm today, torturing science to hide data was standard operating procedure in the nuclear age. Tortured Science sheds light on key narratives of obstruction and deceit that have kept the dangers of ionizing radiation from public view. Dedicated to the late radiation-research pioneer Dr. Alice Stewart, this book honors her life’s work by documenting a wide array of health effects resulting from the mass production of nuclear weapons in the United States. In a post-Fukushima world, knowing the difference between convoluted half-truths and elusive hard truths can make all the difference in the world.”
    —Robert Del Tredici, Photographer/author, The People of Three Mile Island and At Work in the Fields of the Bomb

    “We need to be constantly reminded about the ‘public’ in public health. Public health science without the ‘public; is not just bad science, it is ethically flawed. Put more simply, it is wrong. This book is simultaneously inspiring and dismaying, showing in detail what technically and ethically flawed public health science looks like. No practitioners or students of public health should be allowed to avert their eyes. Tortured Science is food for thought and a goad to action, by some of the most important figures in the movement to truly include ‘public’ in public health.”
    —David Ozonoff, MD, MPH, Professor of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health

    “The cost of great power is measured more than in dollars. Tortured Science: Health Studies, Ethics, and Nuclear Weapons in the United States discusses the hazards that many workers have faced working with nuclear weapons in recent history. Many ethicist come together to discuss this concern, and the concerns surrounding denial, suppression, and other actions used to keep outcries against these dangers under the radar. Calling for reform within the military industrial complex and within scientific research, Tortured Science brings another very strong concern about nuclear war and power, highly recommended.”
    —James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief, Midwest Book Review, Library Bookwatch: January 2012

  164. Paul

    “Thanks for the eugenics lesson—MORE TREES, LESS PEOPLE.”

    Standard pro-growth line. Now we are really getting down to it. So Mr. Conspiracy Man, how do you propose to keep us from going over the biosphere cliff without some sort of end to population growth, nay even a reversal?

    I’m not seeing any salvation in your radiation is going to eat us all obsession.



  165. Here I think is an attempt at a balanced assessment of Alice Stewart’s work, a little antidote to the kind of slobbering true believer advocacy we so commonly have gotten by many of the free riders on my topic.


  166. This creep David M (sort of a robo-troll) just comes up with real doozies. Pro-growth? Right, retrograde. Nah, I am on the record for true sustainability and trained in deep ecology and understand Richard Heinberg’s thesis and what the Post Carbon Institute is calling for.

    Pro-growth is your disaster capitalism, your pro-nuclear crap. So, enjoy that unchecked growth imperative, robo-troll.

    Oh, that’s right, robo-troll David M is the seer of all things on overshoot, all knowledge around tragedy of the commons, the true voice of Genuine Progress Index, and mister expert in transition cities, voluntary extinction, planned population contraction. While he sucks on his nuclear rod all the way to the bank!

    Some of us, fortunately, have taught here and in other countries; have been journalists for the mainstream and not-so-mainstream; have had it up to hear from greenie weenies and ecopornographers and green washers; and get the human population issue around a more urban world, bigger slums, and absolute unchecked consumption from the, err, One Percent and 19 Percenters in the world.

  167. I doubt the solutions David M robo-troll proposes have anything to do with what folk in Africa are doing about land grabs by US, EU, China. I doubt his-her-its solutions have anything to do with re-tipping the power and wealth inequities so the 80 percent of us can get this ship of fools righted; or anything to do with the master-slave relationship created by Capitalism.

    His solution is disaster capitalism, sacrifice zones and stiff arms for the transnational financiers.

    What a drab robo-troll you have become.

    This anti-conspiracy conspiracy-baiting yammering is spectrumy, mister robo-troll.

    Oh, yeah, it is September 11, 2013:


  168. The truth is Paul, I don’t think you know what you believe. You are cognitive dissonance writ large. Your coming apart at the seams in addressing me speaks volumes. You seem to have no idea where I’m coming from after all this time – just invented crap. It’s hard to imagine you could teach anybody. You simply have no integrity.



  169. In case anybody is under the delusion that Paul isn’t a conspiracy nutcase here is a quote from one of his recently linked to heros.

    “It has been proven conclusively that World Trade Center Building 7 fell at free fall which can only be achieved by controlled demolition that removes all resistance below to debris falling from above so that no time is lost in overcoming resistance from intact structures. NIST has acknowledged this fact, but has not changed its story.

    In other words, still in America today official denial takes precedence over science and known undisputed facts.

    On this 12th anniversary of a false flag event, it is unnecessary for me to report the voluminous evidence that conclusively proves that the official story is a lie.”

    Also Paul your own writing in dv is some of the worst I’ve seen. Maybe a writing class would help.


  170. I messed up, confusing our friendly troll’s agenda with his claims.

    Troll man (DM) made a claim earlier about coal having dramatic impacts, and then in a classic nuke-spin tactic, implied that this was being caused by radiation. If you read his post (176)

    He puts in quotes from the wikipedia reference that:

    “Plant-emitted radiation carried by coal-derived fly ash delivers 100 times more radiation to the surrounding environment than does the normal operation of a similarly productive nuclear plant”

    Well, this quote took me for a loop for awhile, but the reason is a bit complex, since its linked to a previous discussion with another DOE troll elsewhere, who claimed that 25,000 people were dying every year in the US from coal radiation.

    So I took the time to look at this claim a bit closer. Actually, the 25,000 deaths a year claim is false, and in fact, is based on all the contaminants the coal releases, not from radiation. And of course, environmentalists have long been wanting to shutdown coal production due to its impacts, including those on human health. So no problem!

    But of course, when this rank and file pro-nuker used the above quote, its worth looking closer at their tactics. In fact, there’s a wonderful answer to this. First off, the quote comes from a Scientific American article that shows just how desperate these people have become that has the title, “Coal Ash Is More Radioactive than Nuclear Waste.


    Wow! But more to the point, when looking closer, you will find that our nuke-troll’s wonderful quote comes not from any study done by WHO, as implied its crafted tactic, but from a single Oak Ridge DOE scientist as clarified in the above article. And of course, the title is completely absurd on its face, as to how radioactive coal ash could actually be more radioactive than spent nuclear fuel etc.


    Yes, folks, go take a look at that wikipedia site he quotes and then, if you are familiar with wikipedia’s politicized nature, then all you have to do is realize that a pro-nuke activist posted that quote below the section refering to the WHO study, which it wasn’t part of, but actually from the Scientific American piece that finally acknowledged it as a quote from a single DOE flack.

    So based on no study or report, other than a quote from a single Dept. of Energy insider, we find this insidious claim that has gotten all kinds of online mileage.

    But I think its important to go into the mindset of the nuclear trolling tactics of our wonderful guest and his ilk a bit closer. Think of his post in the context of the original topic of this string, moral behavior. Let’s start with a historical perspective. These exact same arguments were made by nuclear proponents to draw in the Sierra Club over 50 years ago, into supporting nuclear energy. What the club soon learned was that nuclear proponents have no intention of replacing coal with nuclear but just as a divide and conquer wedge. And of course, the Sierra Club would eventually reverse its support for nuclear and continues its stand against it today.

    So in fact, when this argument is made, by the nuclear industry, its being done by those that have never gave a damn about these impacts, but were just using them to confuse those that do care about the environmental issues as a way to deflect the real dangers of radiation. We all know that the coal industry has long gotten away with releasing all kinds of toxins into the environment. The nuclear industry in essence claiming, that because they are really good at keeping the radiation they produce from getting released during optimum conditions from escaping into the environment, that they could actually be considered as viable condidate to replace coal or natural gas.

    And once again, if you look at the people who are actually making these kinds of arguments, and understand that they really don’t give a damn about any of this, other than confusing people into not acting, or worse, thinking that nuclear energy is the answer for climate change.

    Let’s bend their logic here to look at closer. We have three of the largest energy industries in the world, coal, nuclear and oil. Of course we know that they all have the best scientists that money can buy. And also, we have a really major disconnect. The experts in the oil industry claim that there is no man-made impacts from fossil fuels, while the nuclear experts are saying the exact opposite.

    Now, imagine, if our country’s corporate media had even the slightest shred of ethical marrow in them, there would have been a town hall debate between these two industrial energy giants on why their opinions are so different! But this has never happened, and as a result, the people of this country and elsewhere have been left confused about the issue.

    So in realitiy, our nuclear troll doesn’t give a damn about the environment, but is hear in a desperate last ditch attempt protect his dying ideology. The nuke proponents have been exposed for what their real agenda is:

    1 To undermine the renewable energy revolution taking place, by sucking up all government funding for itself.

    2. This agenda isn’t just coming from some nebulous strategists within IAEA – DOE – NRC, but is coming directly from within the electric industry itself. You can see what they and the oil industry want to do, with their corporate drivien agenda. Remove the EPA, remove regulations so they can drive up their profits, and then move towards a massive consolidation agenda that would then remove state or local authority over new super sized – too big to fail monopoly.

    3. This last point can’t be more important as electric companies, are the only corporations currently allowed in the US to considered for special handling as a “Natural” monopoly, due to the fact that the last thing we need is excess electricity that is just going to waste. We all saw how their attempt to form an AT&T of electric companies with Enron worked out with its invasion of California in 2001. And for those less familiar with just how serious this problem is, go look at the Public Utilities Holding Company Act which the energy industry under Bush was finally withdrawn in 2005 as part of their nuclear wish list.

    4. So, the last thing people need to understand is that nuclear agenda has failed with its centrally planned agenda of power. Their bleeping promises that they could come back with some kind of cheap, clean or safe option is decades away. Too late to make a difference for climate change.

    Last but not least, As seen by DM’s slash and burn troll behavior, that his agenda to get the last word no matter how vicious the tactics. I’d say, that we have more than enough evidence here to have him banned by the sysop.

    I for one, don’t care to have any further debate with somebody this abusive, and certainly believe that there needs to be a certain amount of civil exchange, but this isn’t happening.

  171. You really have to read this creep. Conspiracies everywhere. And once again doesn’t have a clue where I’m coming from. It’s because these ideologues live in an echo chamber. Kind of Jimmy Swaggart with false scientific pretensions. And of course he’s a high roader.


    “I for one, don’t care to have any further debate with somebody this abusive, and certainly believe that there needs to be a certain amount of civil exchange, but this isn’t happening.”

    Civil exchange my ass. You are one big phony. And please stop free riding my topics Conspiracy Man, Mindless Ideologue and need I mention big time troll.

    Maybe I can a final sign off from your buddy Conspiracy Man 3 aka Mike and I can be done with you trolls.



  172. This discussion goes back to a comment I made in post #98. I’d assumed if there was a response it would be civilized and topical but unfortunately a blizzard of ad hominems were unleashed against me. Maybe I shouldn’t have responded in kind but whatever; I didn’t start it.

    I’d like to update what I was trying to say and make this about the substance and not the person. Maybe it’s impossible at this point but let’s give it a try.

    One of the problems with getting overpopulation in focus is a kind of false equality given to every environmental challenge that comes up. For instance overpopulation and fossil fuel overload are essentially fatal long term while something sexier like a Fukushima or Chernobyl nuclear radiation spill, as bad as it is, is primarily a local problem, with low mortality consequences and doesn’t seem to have long term environment destroying characteristics, judging from the robust natural comeback in the evacuated area around Chernobyl.

    I’m just saying let’s get our priorities straight or we will be endlessly distracted by every environmental scare that comes up. And whatever the problem, population is an important driver.

    This article by Monbiot on Helen Caldicott, the queen of the nuclear radiation scare, gives us some sense of the problem of obsessive distraction. http://www.monbiot.com/2011/04/04/evidence-meltdown/

  173. The Ehrlich-Simon bet

    The gambling that occurred between a scientist and an economist was idiotic. Even though the scientist has been proven to be correct in many respects, the scientist lost the bet. Perversions of science such as those by economists have served to distract, mislead and set back the science of human population dynamics and overpopulation for too long. Similarly, a widely shared and consensually validated, preter-natural demographic transition theory (DTT) promulgated by demographers served a common purpose. This theoretical perversion of science ignored, avoided and denied apparently unforeseen and admittedly unwelcome research related to the diminishing prospects for future human wellbeing and environmental health on a planet with the size, composition and ecology of a finite and frangible planet like Earth.

    On our watch many too many people listen to and act upon what the economists and demographers say because their pseudoscience is politically convenient, economically expedient, legally rationalized, socially accepted, religiously tolerated and culturally syntonic. Their fabrications and optical delusions have acquired the imprimatur of science at least in large part because too many people with scientific knowledge refuse to stand up and speak out in affirmation of the best available scientific evidence. Too many scientists will not speak truth, according to the lights and science they possess, to those with the great wealth and power.

    All that is actively and wrongheadedly being done by those who are few in number to massively extirpate global biodiversity, to recklessly dissipate finite resources, to relentlessly degrade the environment and to threaten the future of children everywhere is bad enough. The elective mutism perpetrated by so many knowledgeable people is even worse. The masters of the universe along with their sycophants and minions, all of whom act as if “greed is good” and money rules the world, are but a few; those with ‘feet of clay’ are many. Thank you to everyone here in PMC community and elsewhere with feet of clay for speaking out as if you are a million voices. By so doing we educate one another to what science discloses to all of us about the placement of the human species within the order of living things on Earth and the way the blessed world we inhabit works. Otherwise, the silence of so many and the greedmongering of so few kill the world.

  174. Paul Ehrlich with his silly bet set back the movement to deal with the disastrous effects of exponential population growth. He also made some other bad predictions. What the Malthusian dilemma did was impose accelerated limits on other species to make way for ours, so we have a rapid reduction of biodiversity.

    When will human beings generally hit their limits assuming we don’t deal with population growth? Who knows. It will probably be a spectrum of stresses. We will probably run short of vital resources and be walloped by Mother Nature and whatever keeps us minimally psychologically sane will start to crack.



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