We begin with climate coverage, starting with a headline from the Christian Science Monitor:
Why the UN Climate Summit will have a hard time doing anything
President Obama will address the UN Climate Summit, and more than 120 world leaders are expected to attend. But big emitters China and India will not be represented by their top leaders.
In New York on Sunday, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators demanded global action on climate change.
And on Monday, a new report found that global emissions of greenhouse gases jumped to new heights in 2013, with India alone increasing greenhouse emissions by 5 percent. Even the United States, which like many developed countries had seen its emissions fall in recent years, recorded an increase last year, according to the report from the Global Carbon Project.
Yet despite the mounting public pressure for action and new evidence of a continuing rise in heat-trapping gases, a United Nations summit Tuesday on climate change is given little chance of delivering much beyond dire rhetoric on the consequences of inaction.
From The Real News Network, a report on Sunday’s demonstrations:
Leading Activists Demand Climate Action at People’s Climate March
From the transcript:
MARY ROBINSON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF IRELAND, UN SPECIAL ENVOY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE: I think we have learned a lot since Copenhagen. First of all, this summit is taking place 15 months before the decision in Paris. Secondly, we know that there’s a lot happening all over the world on the climate issue. And there’s a New Climate Economy report that says that for every government now, it makes business sense for the government to reduce emissions, be more efficient, and move towards a carbon-neutral world. And that’s more jobs, better health, more equality, better for people. And that’s a big message.
So, at the same time, we need People’s Marches. We need everybody to demand of their leaders the kind of decision-making that is business as usual with a bit of greener touch. That’s not enough. We need to change course. We are on course for a four degree world, which would be catastrophic. We need to be on course to below two degrees. And that needs all the pressure that is here all over the world today, and we need to keep it up.
ANNIE LEONARD, GREENPEACE USA: Well, today’s march is not about a vague statement. It’s about a very clear demand, which is that we want climate solutions. And the reason that we don’t have one particular slogan we’re all agreeing to is that everyone’s coming to this march from very diverse places. But to me that represents a source of strength and diversity and inclusion that this March has that we haven’t seen before in the climate movement. So I’m excited that this is a real turning point and we’re going to start seeing some action following soon.
MARK RUFFALO, FILMMAKER: Implementing renewable energy is the greatest thing that people can do to give themselves power. Whoever controls your energy controls your destiny. And today we have renewable energy systems that are adoptable by any one person that over time will pay for themselves and will make their energy cheaper. It’s free. And that’s ready to go today. And so either our leaders are going to get it and then adopt it or people are going to adopted on their own.
DAME JANE MORRIS GOODALL, PRIMATOLOGIST, ETHOLOGIST, ANTHROPOLOGIST: It’s going to take more people to join the coalitions that are already being made by some of the big corporations, like Unilever, particularly pledging not to use oil palm from unsustainable use, because it’s the oil palm industry that’s destroying forests all over Asia. And it’s up to us the people to show our will. And that’s why a march like this is important.
WINNIE BYANYIMA, EXEC. DIR., OXFAM INTERNATIONAL: Climate change isn’t just an environmental issue. It’s a justice issue. We’re seeing the impact hitting the poorest people hardest, trapping people in poverty. It’s a food issue. It’s hitting the food system and denying people of food. It’s an issue of public health. It’s an issue of the survival of people.
The Guardian covers confrontation on Wall Street today:
Police face off with Flood Wall Street protesters in climate change march
- At least one person is arrested as New York demonstration builds in city’s financial district, site of adversarial Occupy protests
Hundreds of people gathered in New York City’s financial district on Monday, many with the intent of getting arrested as an act of civil disobedience to bring attention to the perils of climate change.
Flood Wall Street demonstrators, primarily dressed in blue to represent climate change-induced flooding, marched to New York City’s financial center to “highlight the role of Wall Street in fueling the climate crisis,” according to organizers.
At least one person had been arrested on Monday afternoon, though the New York police department said it did not yet have official reports on the arrest numbers.
A video of the action from Mashable:
Cops, Activists Clash at #FloodWallStreet
One day after a huge climate march in New York City, activists gathered on Wall Street Monday to protest what they say is corporate and economic institutions’ role in the climate crisis. The protesters, many dressed in blue, scheduled a rally in Battery Park before marching to the financial district in Lower Manhattan, according to organizers of the protest, #FloodWallStreet.
From the Guardian, a California fire update:
Rain helps firefighters from across US contain California King fire
- Wildfire about 60 miles east of Sacramento forced thousands to evacuate, destroyed 128 acres and worsened air quality for miles
Crews battling a huge northern California wildfire threatening thousands of homes braced for hotter temperatures and erratic winds Monday after cooler, wet weather helped them make progress over the weekend.
The fire east of Sacramento had burned through 137 square miles as of Monday morning, an increase of about nine square miles from the day before. The expected weather shift could increase fire activity, fire spokesman Ryan Lubben said.
More than 5,000 firefighters – from as far as Florida and Alaska – managed to increase containment of the fire from 10 to 17% Sunday, said Captain Tom Piranio, a state fire spokesman. It was 18% contained Monday morning.
The Yomiuri Shimbun notes a number:
California logs 26% rise in wildfires
As of Sept. 6, there had been about 26 percent more wildfires in the state compared to the average for the same periods over the last five years, according to the state’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Statewide, there have been 6,660 wildfires this year as of Sept. 15, burning an area equal to about 80 percent of Tokyo, already more than the average for the last five years.
The state fire department said the wildfire season in the western United States has become about 70 days longer over the last 40 years.
“Usually it [the peak fire season in California] would be in June to the end of November. But unfortunately this year we started having fires in January,” said Scott McLean, a spokesman for the department.
While USA Today offers cause for chills:
New lab incidents fuel fear, safety concerns in Congress
Scientists wearing space-suitlike protective gear searched for hours in May for a mouse — infected with a virus similar to Ebola — that had escaped inside Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Montana, one of the federal government’s highest-security research facilities, according to newly obtained incident reports that provide a window into the secretive world of bioterror lab accidents.
During the same month at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, a lab worker suffered a cut while trying to round up escaped ferrets that had been infected with a deadly strain of avian influenza, records show. Four days later at Colorado State University’s bioterrorism lab, a worker failed to ensure dangerous bacteria had been killed before shipping specimens — some of them still able to grow — to another lab where a worker unwittingly handled them without key protective gear.
Nobody was sickened in the incidents and the mouse was caught the next day. Yet in the wake of serious lab mishaps with anthrax and bird flu at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that prompted an uproar and a Congressional hearing this summer, these additional incidents are further fueling bipartisan concern about lab safety.
CBC News covers medicated water:
Drinking water contaminated by excreted drugs a growing concern
- Researchers finding excreted drugs in drinking water
A Canadian study quietly released last month reported record-breaking levels of three pharmaceuticals in river water in southwestern Ontario.
Although the chemicals — the diabetic drug metformin, the acid reflux drug ranitidine, and the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide — are measured in nanograms per litre, and are extremely low, the levels detected have never been found before in North America.
When Health Canada sampled tap water across Canada, researchers found what they expected to find, traces of drugs in drinking water that comes from rivers and lakes, although that report has not yet been published.
And the Japan Times takes us to today’s Fukushimapocalypse Now!:
Fukushima cleanup going painfully slow
- Opposition to waste storage complicates project
Three and a half years after Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station spewed massive amounts of radioactive materials into the air and water, decontamination work in Fukushima Prefecture has yet to draw to an end.
The government initially hoped to complete the decontamination by the end of last March, but the process continues to lag far behind, prompting the government to push back the goal by three years to 2017.
Due to the slow progress, huge bags filled with contaminated soil can still be seen piled up at hundreds of temporary storage sites across the prefecture, and many residents are in limbo, unable to make up their minds about whether to return home in the near future or to relocate for good.
Jiji Press prepares to fire up the nuclear boilers:
Japan Sets Forth N-Reactor Restart Plan at IAEA Meeting
Japan set forth its plan for the restart of two reactors at the Sendai power station in the country’s southwest at a five-day annual meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency that began on Monday.
Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority has confirmed that enough safety measures have been taken for the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at the power station of Kyushu Electric Power Co., Science and Technology Policy Minister Shunichi Yamaguchi said.
In a speech, Yamaguchi also noted that the Japanese government in April adopted a basic energy policy in which nuclear energy is regarded as an important power source.
JapanToday covers the propaganda front:
Industry minister tries to convince public on need for nuclear energy
Japan’s new industry minister Yuko Obuchi said Sunday the resource-poor nation should be realistic about its energy needs as the government tries to convince a skeptical public on the necessity of nuclear power.
More than three years after the disaster at Fukushima, where a tsunami sent reactors into meltdown, the Japanese public remains unconvinced of the safety of the technology.
The difficult task of winning them round has fallen to Obuchi, appointed the country’s first female minister of economy, trade and industry by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
NHK WORLD offers belated posterior-protecting:
Japan to step up Fukushima contractors oversight
Japan’s labor minister says he’s ready to strengthen government monitoring of companies that are dispatching workers to decommission the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Yasuhisa Shiozaki visited a labor standards inspection office in Iwaki City on Monday. The office oversees areas surrounding the Fukushima plant.
His visit follows nearly 130 complaints from April to August alone of unpaid wages and inadequate safety measures for workers employed to decommission the Fukushima plant.
For our final item, a new nuke in Old Blighty from the Guardian:
Hinkley nuclear reactor project gains EU approval, leak reveals
- Green groups condemn commissioner Almunia’s U-turn as he deems Hinkley Point C subsidies to be within state aid rules
British plans for a nuclear renaissance centred on a nuclear reactor in Somerset achieved a breakthrough when a nine-month European Union state aid investigation ended with a call for Brussels to approve the project.
The EU’s competition commissioner, Joaquín Almunia, had expressed scepticism that the Hinkley Point C scheme could satisfy the EU’s stringent state aid criteria after the UK government agreed to underwrite the project with a loan guarantee and a commitment on the price of the electricity generated by the power station.
But the commissioner appears to have been persuaded that the proposed £17.6bn of subsidies are legal under bloc rules, despite the lack of a competitive tendering process. Hinkley Point will be operated by EDF, the French state-owned company, while two Chinese state-owned nuclear companies have agreed to help fund the plant.