Challenges for 2014 and beyond (Third of a Series)

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By Dr. Bob Ocio

Isyo ug Servicio

Thursday, January 9, 2014


H. The Nuclear fall- out threat of Fukushima, Japan

In Cagayan de Oro and the rest of the country, we are still discussing about whether or not coal-fired powered plants are good for us when the rest of the world has banned or put regulations to make operations of coal plants no longer viable.

Matt Smith of CNN News noted that in 2011, the historic Japanese earthquake and tsunami triggered the worst nuclear accident since the Soviet Union's Chernobyl disaster in 1986, bringing safety issues back into the spotlight. Three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in northeastern Japan melted down after the tsunami swamped the plant and knocked out its emergency power systems.

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Though no fatalities have been blamed on the accident, the resulting contamination displaced more than 100,000 people, and the cleanup and damages have left Japan's largest utility on life support. Solan called it a "body blow" to the American nuclear establishment, following the gas revolution and the failure of government attempts to impose a price on carbon emissions. "Fracking," the use of hydraulic fracturing to break open underground rock formations that hold natural gas, has driven the cost of that fuel sharply downward. "

West Coast of North America is absolutely fried with nuclear radiation from Fukushima.

Michael Snyder of the Global Research (Oct 13, 2013), listed 28 signs that the West Coast of North America is absolutely fried with nuclear radiation from Fukushima. Some of those include the following:

1. Polar bears, seals and walruses along the Alaska coastline are suffering from fur loss and open sores

2. An epidemic of sea lion deaths along the California coastline.

3. Historic low salmon along the pacific Coast of Canada and the Alaska Coastline

4. Something is causing fish all along the west coast of Canada to bleed from their gills, bellies and eyeballs

5. A vast field of radioactive debris from Fukushima that is approximately the size of California has crossed the Pacific Ocean and is starting to collide with the west coast.

6. It is being projected that the radioactivity of coastal waters off the U.S. west coast could double over the next five to six years.

There is no way the Philippines cannot be affected Fukushima.

Are we going to be affected? THE ANSWER SHOULD BE YES. We are neighbors of Japan and the extent of the ecological destruction listed by Snyder in the West cannot make ours an exemption now and the near future. Thus, talking of the Scripture, when we can start to be reminded of the times when the seas will not have anything more to feed on us might have begun at Fukushima.

I. Realities of Climate Change

Tierney Smith of Eco News (December 27, 2013) wrote some realities of Climate Change which we need to understand to build a safe and sustainable future:

400 ppm: World Crosses Sobering Climate Milestone in May, scientists at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii confirmed that concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) had passed the ominous milestone of 400 parts per million (ppm)—concentrations not seen for more than 3 million years. According to experts, the last time our planet was exposed to equivalent levels of greenhouse gases, global temperatures were 3-4 degrees Celsius hotter and sea levels were 5-40 meters higher than today.

Extreme Weather

2013 was the seventh warmest year on record. As of November, it also had the second highest number of billion-dollar weather disasters around the globe since accurate records began in 2000. China, Russia, Europe, North America, Indonesia and India were plagued with floods while China, Portugal, Hungary, Finland and the UK all experienced heat waves. In the Uttarakhand state of India, flooding left 5,700 lives presumed lost and many more devastated.

At the other extreme, California’s Death Valley saw temperatures hit 54 degrees Celsius—the hottest temperature ever record on Earth in June—while Australia got so hot, the country’s heat map needed a new color added.

The Pacific saw some of its worst storms on record this year. In October, Cyclone Phallin carved a path of damage across India’s Odisha region—with storm surges reaching as high as 3.5 meters (11 feet). In November, it was the turn of the Philippines, when Typhoon Haiyan brought winds of 315 km/hr and gusts up to 380 km/hr.

Increasing Human Costs of Climate Change

More refugees – This year has seen storm surges engulfing large parts of the low lying Marshall Islands and who villages in Fiji already being forced to relocate because of rising seas.

Homelessness and Illnesses

We know that victims of calamities and typhoons have a hard time rebuilding homes for themselves. Thus homelessness and the absence of potable water and basic needs bring untold suffering and illnesses.

Drought, poverty, thirst and hunger

The World Bank painted a stark picture of our warming world. Millions would be left trapped in poverty as temperatures rise, with two degree Celsius and four degrees Celsius of warming expected to put serious strain on agricultural production, water resources and coastal communities. Other warnings this year include the threat of persistent flooding impacting development in Pakistan and climate change’s impact food production around the world.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 09, 2014.

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