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A Blog About Human Rights
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An earlier version of this article was written but unpublished back in 2008 and it has now been revised and published to take account of various changes since then.The case is made for the provision of free public transport in every major town and city worldwide for a multitude of reasons. It has always been a good idea and should have been done a long time ago, but now with three major issues of our time; resource depletion, including oil, pollution and the climate crisis; they make it imperative that we move to such a system, both to conserve dwindling supplies of cheap energy, to reduce the use of vast mineral resources to make hundreds of millions of cars and to dramatically reduce our carbon emissions because climate change is happening faster than expected.
The Earth's climate has turned out to be more sensitive and complex than anticipated as evidenced by the recent dramatic record breaking summer ice melts in the Arcticc1 in 2007, 2008, 2012 and basically every year since then. With such a large change in the albedo or reflectivity over a huge area of the Arctic, this signifies the jump into positive feedback of the climate system, although it is not the only positive feedback. Combined with preliminary reports that frozen methane is beginning to be released from the Arctic sea floor and tundra and given that methane is 20 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas, it is clear we are probably at the point of things running out of control. Emissions need to be cut drastically, starting about 20 years ago.
Moving to free and well-designed public transport allows society to deal with these problems in the least disruptive manner and to do so in the most equitable way and it would increase the shared sense of everyone working together to cope with what are essentially going to be permanent problems. Free public transport is not the full solution but is definitely an important first step. Switching to public transport has the potential to achieve large scale reductions in fuel use and it can be done immediately without further research or perfection of any technology. The current status quo plan to replace all the petrol and diesel fuelled cars with electric ones still leaves us with the problem of massive resource usage, a replacement of oil wars for lithium wars, traffic congestion, deaths from air pollution , high accident rates and actually high energy use. It does not matter if the heavily promoted so called solution of producing millions of electric cars is run on renewable energy because it would require vastly more wind farms, solar farms and whatever else compared to a transport solution based on highly efficient, globally deployed free public transport system which would only require a fraction of energy and resources of a car based one.
Monday the 24th of September at 5pm is the deadline for making submissions to An Bord Pleanála on the South Dublin County Council & Coillte plans for what is known as the Dublin Mountains Project for the Hellfire Club & Masseys Wood nearby. The plan is one dreamed up by the council and will cost € 19 million of taxpayer money i.e. collected property tax etc for what is basically a bit of a white-elephant project that will damage the environment, limit public access and charge a fee for what is now free and is expected to run at a loss for at least first 3 years, but yet the private contractors running it will be "insulated" from losses. In essence the project will put an valuable amenity that is in public hands effectively into private hands and give them a license to milk the public forever on it. If this gets through, it will be replicated all over the country in that arrogant and greed driven way we are all familiar with from the Celtic Tiger days and again today.
Corruption and incompetence rule in certain corridors of Dublin City Council. Coventa the company which somehow won the tender (despite not being a party to the bidding) and Dublin City Council have pushed the cost up to nearly €100 million for the land. Council Manager Owen Keegan said not one cent of the €96 million that has already been spent will be clawed back if the plan doesn't go ahead. Despite also as extra €36 million in extra costs many Councillors state that this whole thing has nothing to do with mad ideas from Bertie Ahern. Even if it does not go ahead it will still cost €600 million, and obviously this is the best interests of every else abroad who likes to sabotage Irish planning and make a few million doing so. Renewable energy is the future but not for the old school chums of yesteryear.
It was three years on March 11th since the triple nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima plant in Japan in 2011. This article attempts to try and give an picture of the situation today and to show that the accident is still an active event that will take many decades to cleanup and it is anything but over.
Remembering What HappenedIt is three years since the accident on March 11th 2011 at the Fukushima power station complex. There has been surprisingly little coverage of it in the mainstream media compared to the Chernobyl accident in 1986 at the time. As most people know, the accident was a result of an earthquake which caused the tsunami which flooded the Fukushima site and knocked out the backup diesel generators used for cooling the plants and that is how the story goes. The first report many people heard was that they were using sea-water to cool the reactors. This in itself was frightening because sea-water and cooling of nuclear reactors should not be in the same sentence, ever and it can only mean one thing -the situation is desperate, everything has failed and since sea-water would destroy the reactor vessel and fuel rods it means its the very last resort at trying to stop a meltdown.
The Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is sponsoring an invite only fracking workshop in London this Friday 15th Nov 2013 as part of its long term plan to introduce fracking in Ireland. It has already commissioned research to help 'determine best practice guidelines to regulate the shale gas industry in Ireland' (all their own words). There is no hint here fracking will NOT be allowed whatever the findings. This same body though is immune from prosecution under Irish law (See Box 1 below) making a mockery of it's regulatory role.
Tue 12 Nov, 08:28
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