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Earth's Ice Melt * Navy's Deadly Sonar Unleashed * Yucca Fight

July 20, 2002 - Part 1

1) Earth's Ice Melting Faster Than Projected
2) Navy Wins OK for New Sonar
3) Senate Vote does not mean End to Yucca Mountain Fight!


Editor's Notes:
The first item in this issue again deals with the rapid pace of global warming. As the temperatures and oceans continue to rise at unprecedented rates, one must wonder, is global climate change increasing exponentially, and is it already beyond our ability to control to sustain human and other life in this Century? In stark contrast to the rapid increase, the US economy is falling. It is now time to make a change. Yet those in power -- in greed -- in fear -- are moving in the wrong directions and making things worse for short term gain for a dwindling few more moments. Item 2 is on the approval of a federal agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, for the Navy's use of powerful sonar systems, which has proven to harm whales and dolphins. The Navy plans to develop this deadly-loud low frequency active sonar in 80 percent of the world's oceans! Item 3 is on the Senate's corrupt ruling in favor to override Nevada to make the war in terrorism more available on US soil, with thousands of radioactive shipments planned to Yucca Mountain! The press release from the Nuclear Information and Resource Service is also about the continued battle to stop the assault on life.


"THE WAR AGAINST TERRORISM is the political equivalent of a stock market bubble - hope, hubris and hyperbole parading as fact. We have learned nothing since September 11: we are more belligerent, jingoistic, imperialistic, and anti-Muslim than we were before. We have thus accentuated the very conditions that led to that disaster and are now fully invested in our own myopia. The price of this error could be enormous. The alternative is to dramatically change our policies and our way of speaking of them. There is no possibility of our politicians doing this willingly; hope lies in a broad, non-partisan, pro-democratic, pro-decency, pro-constitutional coalition of conscience. Those who profess to provide moral leadership and who enjoy access to the media could still accomplish this if they chose. But time is running out. "
Sam Smith
Editor of "The Progressive Review"
"Undernews" Email: news@prorev.com

Please take actions for the best strategy you can think of to make the big change! A recommended one is happening this Wednesday, 7:00pm -- Flyby News is showing the Kucinich videos at Sirius Community in Shutesbury, MA. For directions or for more information on this sustainable-directed community, visit their web site:
http://www.siriuscommunity.org

For more on the Congressman Dennis Kucinich Videos, see:
http://www.flybynews.com/cgi-local/newspro/viewnews.cgi?newsid1025805829,84082,

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1) Earth's Ice Melting Faster Than Projected

Earth Policy Institute
Update 8: March 12, 2002

Earth's Ice Melting Faster Than Projected

Lester R. Brown

Several new studies report that the earth's ice cover is melting faster than projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its landmark report released in early 2001. Among other things, this means that the IPCC team, which did not have the ice melt data through the 1990s, will need to revise upward its projected rise in sea level for this century--currently estimated to range from 0.09 meters to 0.88 meters (from 4 to 35 inches).

A study by two scientists from the University of Colorado's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research shows that melting of the large glaciers on the west coast of Alaska and in northern Canada is accelerating. Earlier data indicated that the melting of glaciers in these areas was raising sea level by 0.14 millimeters per year, but the new data for the 1990s indicate that the more rapid melting is now raising sea level by 0.32 millimeters a year, more than twice as fast.

The Colorado study is reinforced by a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study, which indicates glaciers are now shrinking in all 11 of Alaska's glaciated mountain ranges. An earlier USGS study reported that the number of glaciers in Glacier National Park in the United States has dwindled from 150 in 1850 to fewer than 50 today. They project the remaining glaciers will disappear within 30 years.

Another team of USGS scientists, which uses satellite data to measure changes in the area covered by glaciers, describes an accelerated melting of glaciers in several mountainous regions, including the South American Andes, the Swiss Alps, and the French and Spanish Pyrenees.

Glaciers are shrinking faster throughout the Andes. Professor Lonnie Thompson of Ohio State University reports that for the Qori Kalis glacier, which is located on the west side of the Quelccaya ice cap in the Peruvian Andes, the annual shrinkage from 1998 to 2000 was three times that which occurred between 1995 and 1998. And that, in turn, was nearly double the annual rate of retreat from 1993 to 1995. Thompson also projects that the large Quelccaya ice cap will disappear entirely between 2010 and 2020.

The vast snow/ice mass in the Himalayas, which ranks third in fresh water stored, after Antarctica and Greenland, is also retreating. Although data are not widely available for the Himalayan glaciers, those that have been studied indicate an accelerating retreat. For example, data for the 1990s show that the Dokriani Bamak Glacier in the Indian Himalayas retreated by 20 meters in 1998, more than during the preceding five years.

Thompson has also studied Kilimanjaro, observing that between 1989 and 2000, Kilimanjaro lost 33 percent of its ice field. He projects that it could disappear entirely within the next 15 years. (See table http://www.earth-policy.org/Updates/Update8.htm.)

Both the North and the South Poles are showing the effects of climate change. The South Pole is covered by a continent the size of the United States. The Antarctic ice sheet, which is 1.5 miles thick in some places, contains over 90 percent of the world's fresh water.

While this vast ice sheet is relatively stable, the ice shelves--the portions of the ice sheet that extend into the surrounding seas--are fast disappearing. A team of U.S. and British scientists reported in 1999 that the ice shelves on either side of the Antarctic Peninsula are in full retreat. From mid-century through 1997, these areas lost 7,000 square kilometers as the ice sheet disintegrated. But then within scarcely one year they lost another 3,000 square kilometers. Delaware-sized icebergs that have broken off are a threat to ships in the area. The scientists attribute the accelerated ice melting to a regional temperature rise of 2.5 degrees Celsius (4.5 degrees Fahrenheit) since 1940.

While the South Pole is covered by a huge continent, the North Pole is covered by the Arctic Ocean. Arctic sea ice is melting fast. Over the last 35 years, the ice has thinned 42 percent--from an average of 3.1 meters to 1.8 meters. It has also shrunk by 6 percent since 1978. Together, thinning and shrinking have reduced the mass of sea ice by half. A team of Norwegian scientists projects that the Arctic Sea could be entirely ice-free during the summer by mid-century, if not before.

If this melting materializes as projected, the early explorers' dream of a northwest passage--a shortcut from Europe to Asia--could be realized. Unfortunately, what was a dream for them could be a nightmare for us.

If the Arctic Ocean becomes ice-free in the summer, it would not affect sea level because the ice is already in the water, but it would alter the regional heat balance. When sunlight strikes ice and snow, most of it is reflected back into space, but if it instead strikes land or open water, then much of the energy in the light is absorbed and converted into heat, leading to higher temperatures. This is what computer modelers refer to as a positive feedback loop, a situation where a trend creates conditions that reinforce itself.

Richard Kerr, writing in Science, says summer "would convert the Arctic Ocean from a brilliantly white reflector sending 80 percent of solar energy back into space into a heat collector absorbing 80 percent of [incoming sunlight]." The discovery of open water at the North Pole by an ice breaker cruise ship in August 2000 provides further evidence that the melting process may now be feeding on itself.

This prospect of much warmer summers in the Arctic is of concern because Greenland, which has the world's second largest ice sheet, is largely within the Arctic Circle. In a Science article in 2000, a team of U.S. scientists from NASA reported that the vast Greenland ice sheet is starting to melt. Greenland is gaining some ice in higher elevations in its northern reaches, but it is losing much more at the lower elevations along its southern and southeastern coasts. This huge island of 2.2 million square kilometers--three times the size of Texas--is experiencing a net loss of 51 billion cubic meters of ice each year, which is raising sea level by 0.13 millimeters per year, according to the NASA team.

The team also reports that the melting there appears to be accelerating because the ice sheet on its southern and eastern edges has thinned by more than a meter a year since 1993. If all the ice on Greenland were to melt, it would raise sea level by 7 meters (23 feet), but even under a high temperature rise scenario, it could take many centuries for it to melt completely.

The accelerated melting of ice, particularly during the last decade or so, is consistent with the accelerating rise in temperature that has occurred since 1980. With the IPCC projecting global average temperature to rise by 1.4 to 5.8 degrees Celsius (2.5 to 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit) during this century, the melting of ice will likely continue to gain momentum.

Our generation is the first to have the capacity to alter the earth's climate. We are also, therefore, the first to wrestle with the ethical question of whether the capacity to change the planet's climate gives us the right to do so.

Copyright 2002 Earth Policy Institute
http://www.earth-policy.org/Updates/Update8_printable.htm

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Scientists Say Future Climate Change Could Be Sudden
July 13 Future changes in the Earth's climate may happen suddenly, triggered by man-made factors, scientists warned. (Reuters, LATimes.com)

Warmer World Will Starve Many, Report Says
July 13 Scientists say rising temperatures are likely to boost crops in parts of the globe but devastate them in others. (LATimes.com, BBCNews.com)

Sizzling Sun Makes Cloudy Days
July 13 New research shows that the United States becomes cloudier during periods of increased solar activity, possibly because the increased radiation heats the upper atmosphere and nudges the jet stream. (CNN.com, Astronomy.com, Scripps Howard News Service, Detroit News online)

Arctic Oscillation Causes Climate Change
July 10 A little known climate pattern called the Arctic Oscillation, or North Atlantic Oscillation, has been linked to warming winters, according to Colorado State University Researchers. (ENN.com, CBC News.com)

Retreating Sea Ice Threatens Existence of Alaskan Town
July 9 Towns on Alaska's coast are dealing with what many observers believe are the early heralds of climate change. (Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times)

Warming Shrinks Peruvian Glaciers
July 9 Hundreds of snow-tipped glaciers in the Peruvian Andes are retreating, and scientists say it is the direct result of a warming climate. (Washingtonpost.com)

Climate Change Underestimated, Say Scientists
July 2 Researchers report climate change for the 20th century may have been greater than previous estimates, according to a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory report. (Weather.com)

For the above and additional references, see:
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/Headlines/2001/200107.html

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For a related article, "Alaska, No Longer So Frigid, Starts to Crack, Burn and Sag" by Timothy Egan, NYTimes, (June 16, 2002), see
http://www.greenhousenet.org/news/June-2002/alaska.html

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2) Navy Wins OK for New Sonar

The San Francisco Chronicle
Tuesday, July 16, 2002

NEWS

Navy wins OK for new sonar despite fears for whales
Jane Kay
Chronicle Environment Writer
E-mail Jane Kay at jkay@sfchronicle.com.

Rejecting warnings of potential injury to whales and dolphins, a federal agency has approved plans by the Navy to deploy a powerful sonar system to search out enemy submarines.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday that the Navy could start using the sonar system -- the underwater equivalent of radar -- in 80 percent of the world's oceans. The new rule, expected to be published today in the Federal Register, exempts the Navy from provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act that prohibit harassing sea animals.

"We know the decision is controversial," said Rebecca Lent, deputy director of regulatory programs. "But we're confident that we made a decision based on science and public input that will protect marine mammals and allow the Navy system to operate.

"We don't expect any marine mammal deaths," Lent added. "If we get evidence of any injury or death that we link to a naval activity, we'll re-examine the letter of authorization."

The coast of California is off-limits to the surveillance technology, which the Navy says it needs to find silent-running submarines. When the Navy applied for approval in California, the state's Coastal Commission raised questions over possible harm to marine mammals and the Navy withdrew its application. Twenty-two other states have authorized the system off their shores.

The Navy will not apply to operate off the California coast "until such time as plans to operate near California have been finalized," said spokeswoman Lt. Commander Pauline Storum.

The Navy wants to use four sonar ships in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. On each ship, an array of 18 loudspeakers, each the size of a Volkswagen, will hang into the ocean to a depth of about 200 feet.

Each ship's array operates at a frequency range of 250 to 500 hertz and emits sound at 215 decibels. When the sound strikes an object, echoes return and get picked up by a couple of hundred underwater microphones trailing off the back of the vessel. A computer determines whether the object is a submarine and how far away and how fast it's moving.

Before the Pentagon can deploy the low-frequency active sonar, or LFA, anywhere in the world, the Navy has to apply for a permit from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, identifying the waters and listing the kinds of animals that live in the area.

The Navy must show that it will prevent harm to marine mammals and sea turtles by keeping them away from the sonar ships, which at close range produce high decibel levels.

Sound in the deep ocean can injure the ears and cause internal hemorrhaging among marine mammals as well as interfere with communication, breeding, feeding and migration, according to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

Within six-tenths of a mile, the sound level from the ships would be well above the maximum level considered safe for a whale's hearing, which is 180 decibels, according to the Navy. Even 100 miles from the sound source, the sound level would be from 150 to 160 decibels. The Navy acknowledges that the level might be high enough to disrupt whale migrations at 120 decibels.

Until now, the controversial surveillance system has been used only in research. But it has drawn opposition from the Humane Society of the United States, Earth Island Institute in San Francisco and 44 scientists from 13 universities and research institutions.

They assert that there is a lack of evidence as to which decibel levels interfere with underwater species dependent on acoustics for survival and warn that many animals could die in the ocean uncounted by observers.

Joel Reynolds, a Natural Resources Defense Council attorney who has been tracking the Navy's technology for seven years, is considering litigation.

David Phillips, executive director of Earth Island Institute, said, "The Navy's system has the potential to deafen every marine mammal living in the world's oceans. Alternative systems exist that don't have adverse impacts on whales and other marine life."

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For more information, see FlybyNews.com updated "breaking news stories"
"The harmful impact on Whales and Dolphins by the U.S. Navy's experimental use of active sonar systems" or visit:
http://www.flybynews.com/cgi-local/newspro/viewnews.cgi?newsid948385848,37113,m

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3) Senate Vote does not mean End to Yucca Mountain Fight!


Nuclear Information and Resource Service
http://www.nirs.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kevin Kamps, 202.328.0002
July 9, 2002 cell: 202.262.9518
Michael Mariotte, 202.328.0002
Home: 301.277.3481

Senate Vote does not mean End to Yucca Mountain Fight!
Plans include more Congressional actions, legal suits, protests, and blockades!

The outrageous 60-39 U.S. Senate vote on July 9, 2002, to override Nevada's veto of the proposed Yucca Mountain high-level nuclear waste dump does not mean Yucca Mountain ever will open. Instead, it simply sets the stage for years of courtroom activity, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensing proceedings, continued Congressional action, and an increased likelihood of large protests and blockades of highways and railways.

"Today's Senate vote accomplished only one thing," said Michael Mariotte, executive director of Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS). "It proved that 60 members of the U.S. Senate caved in to the nuclear power industry and put those interests above the interests of the American people. By approving this project, the Senate has assured that this multi-billion dollar waste of taxpayer and ratepayer money will continue for now. But that doesn't mean Yucca is a done deal."

"The increased opposition to Yucca Mountain from previous votes should be a clear warning to the NRC and future Congresses that there is a great deal of doubt about Yucca Mountain, and they must be prepared to stop this project at anytime," said Kevin Kamps of NIRS' Radioactive Waste Project.

"The State of Nevada and environmental groups will be continuing to mount lawsuits against the project, on numerous grounds, including the failure of the project to meet the environmental regulations established to protect the public. Instead, the Department of Energy, NRC and Environmental Protection Agency all have weakened public protection standards in recent years to accommodate the ill-chosen site, rather than rejecting the site as should have been done," said Kamps.

NIRS expressed no confidence in the NRC to conduct a fair licensing process. "The NRC may be an 'independent' agency, but it is staffed entirely by nuclear advocates who want to see a new future for this obsolete technology," explained Mariotte. "Since its establishment in 1975, the NRC has rejected only two license applications of the thousands of it has received, and one of those, at the Byron nuclear complex in Illinois, was overturned on appeal. Only a 1996 decision by an Atomic Safety Licensing Board, which rejected on environmental racism grounds a uranium enrichment plant proposed by a company called Louisiana Energy Services (LES), ever stood. And the NRC then took steps to limit the public's right in such licensing hearings, to be sure that never happens again. Indeed, LES is on the verge of announcing a new effort to build such a plant."


NIRS pointed out that Yucca Mountain does little to solve the nation's growing radioactive waste problem. "Yucca Mountain is legally limited in how much high-level atomic waste it can accept," said Kamps. "Even if it opened, it would only be able to accept about half the waste expected to be generated by the nation's nuclear reactors. The rest will remain where it is now, on-site at every nuclear reactor in the country, and the Energy Department will be out there looking for another politically-weak state to dump the waste on."

"Meanwhile, the DOE is encouraging the construction of still more nuclear reactors that will have no place to store their lethal waste," said Mariotte. "Just two weeks ago, Secretary Abraham announced that he will give $17 million of taxpayer money to three wealthy nuclear utilities to begin the process of licensing new reactors. This is not only an unacceptable use of tax money, it gives the lie to any belief that DOE even cares about the nuclear waste problem. Where does Abraham propose this waste will go-under the DOE's Forrestal Building in downtown Washington, D.C.?"

"Yucca Mountain already is projected to cost some $58 Billion, and the costs seem to rise daily," said Mariotte. "And if Abraham and the nuclear utilities get their way, we're going to have to start this process all over again, with a new site, and tens of billions more dollars spent to support this unnecessary and dangerous source of electricity. It simply boggles the mind that any public official could propose such a plan. It is past time to aggressively promote sustainable energy technologies-that's where we should be spending our money, not on more nuclear power."


Mariotte said NIRS would now step up its preparations for large protests and blockades of highways and railways if the transport of high-level waste actually begins in the U.S. NIRS and grassroots environmental organizations have been training people in non-violent resistance to such shipments since 1997, and has sent activists to Germany to learn from the massive protests there in the past few years.

"Germany has made six shipments of nuclear waste casks since 1995," said Kamps, who was in Germany earlier this year to view a shipment. "It now requires some 30,000 police and $100 million to move a cask just 250 miles, disrupts the transportation network of much of the country, and requires a police state in large parts of northern Germany. The U.S. is talking about thousands of shipments, averaging 2,000 miles. There will be thousands of protestors along these routes," he predicted.

Mariotte also warned that some members of Congress may again attempt to open an "interim" storage site at Yucca Mountain next session, and begin the transportation of radioactive waste as soon as possible. "We expect Congress would reject such an attempt," he said, "but we will be ready if it does not."

To find out each Senators' vote on this issue, see:
http://www.nirs.org/YUCCAVOTELIST.htm

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For part 2 - 20 July 2002 -

4) Behind Assassination of President John F. Kennedy
5) Robert Bowman Strategy Session
6) Skolnicks Report - Citizens' Committee to Clean Up the Courts
7) FBI/CIA attacks Peltier attorney Jennifer Harbury

See:
http://www.flybynews.com/cgi-local/newspro/viewnews.cgi?newsid1027205321,56786,


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