Friday, October 01, 2010

Greenpeace Guns A-Blazin’!

yosemite-sam-with-guns-drawn After a series of posts about Germany and its decision to keep its nuclear plants open while transitioning to renewable energy sources– and good luck on that! – it was time to move on to other subjects, however much the Germans had turned that overly tortured episode into an amusing soap opera.

However, a soap opera needs a villain to keep the pot boiling and one has to admit that the German effort didn’t have a very clearly defined antagonist. Until now:

Chernobyl-like disasters at Germany's most vulnerable reactors could render parts of the country uninhabitable for decades, Greenpeace has warned.

For a Chernobyl-like disaster, you’d need, at a minimum, an RBMK reactor, which Germany does not have. (The design is banned in the U.S.) But let’s allow that Greenpeace means this metaphorically – since it’s not going to make distinctions, any energy plant with nuclear on its mailbox is a potential Chernobyl.

In the case of a Chernobyl-like disaster at Kruemmel, a reactor south of Hamburg, unfavorable weather conditions could render large parts of northeastern Germany, including Berlin, uninhabitable for decades, the group warned.

"An estimated 4.7 million people would have to be resettled in this scenario," Greenpeace writes in a news release.

It’s a very amusing article, based on no evidence whatever that Germany’s nuclear plants are rickety buckets of bolts ready to start flinging fuel rods out the windows. Greenpeace is just annoyed at the German decision and is firing off its guns like Yosemite Sam at Bugs Bunny – that is, loudly yet ineffectively.

To be fair, the article does include this:

Yet while the International Atomic Energy Agency rates German reactors as among the safest in the world, they're certainly not immune to possible problems.

That’s called risk, which is countered by safety standards. That’s as true of any energy source (or, really, human endeavor). Even if the plants themselves are highly unlikely to create a disaster, operators are continuously developing ways to turn a vanishing small risk to an even smaller one. Risk assessment is a huge subject – start here if you want to learn more about it (as it relates to nuclear plants.)

In the end analysis, if this is our villain, maybe there still really isn’t one in this story. Short, ornery and voluble Greenpeace may be in this instance, fair and honest not so much.

Created in 1945 by Friz Frelang to bedevil Bugs Bunny and anyone else he came across, Yosemite Sam proved to be the second most durable gun-toting character in the Warner Bros. cartoon repertory (Elmer Fudd will always be number one.) Though modern parents may think twice about how often cartoon characters get blasted with no ill effect, Yosemite Sam does allow kids a zone where they can be bad-tempered, loud, and obnoxious without driving the folks crazy. Plus, he’s hapless if indomitable, which kids also know a lot about.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

"For a Chernobyl-like disaster, you’d need, at a minimum, an RBMK reactor, which Germany does not have. (The design is banned in the U.S.) "

Banned in the EU as well. Lithuania had to shut down Ignalina's unit 2 at the end of last year to join the EU. Unit 2 began operations the year after the Chernobyl-4 accident and was recently (until 31 Dec 2009) producing nearly 80% of Lithuania's electricity.

donb said...

Given the reactor designs in Germany, a bad accident would cause a Three-Mile-Island-like disaster, which killed nobody and made none of the surrounding land uninhabitable.

Economically, a disaster for sure. But with regard to safety, a non-issue. So you Greenpeace folks, just don't invest your money in nuclear power plants (the rest of us want to make a good profit).

SteveK9 said...

People should really read Bernard Cohen's 'The Nuclear Energy Option' (Plenum Press 1990 and available online), and particularly Chapter 7 'The Chernobyl accident — can it happen here?' to understand just how unlikely it was even for Chernobyl to happen. Starting with the fact that it began with a decision to run an incredibly ill-conceived 'experiment' on the reactor while running. It goes on from there with one incredible blunder after another. Of course the main point being that these designs were inherently many orders of magnitude riskier than any other. The bulk of Cohen's book addresses means of assessing risk, particularly of radiation.

Rajan Alexander said...

A Greenpeace Membership could land you in the US Terror Database!

You may think it innocuous but in future, with a membership with organizations like Greenpeace you may have to say practically goodbye to studying, immigrating or visiting the US simply because you could be in their terror database. With the US in the lead can other countries not but follow suit? Why? There are indications that the world might be finally losing its patience with the increasing trend of eco-terrorism that flows from the Greenpeace type model of protests. The tipping point apparently had been the twin events of the Discovery Channel hostage crisis in the US and Greenpeace’s unconstitutional assault on an oil rig in Greenland that had their respective governments fuming.

A new report by terrorism researchers at the University of Maryland concludes that the deadly hostage-taking incident at the Discovery Communications headquarters in suburban Washington, D.C. meets the criteria of a terrorist act. And why this report is significant is that they happen to be the wing of Homeland Security Department of the US government.

Read more: Defeated & Frustrated: Climate Activists Turn to Terror, Go Berserk http://devconsultancygroup.blogspot.com/2010/09/defeated-frustrated-climate-activists.html


How silly can Greenpeace get? Imagine appealing to Dr. ManMohan Singh to save our Monsoons?

The year 2009-10, India suffered its worst drought in almost four decades, with monsoon rains 22% below average. As seen in the photo, Greenpeace activists then hung an 80-foot banner from the Mumbai-Thane Bridge addressed to the Indian prime minister on June 4, 2009. It requested him to save our monsoons given the drought situation. How mischievous this tactic is illustrated by their article 29th June 2009, titled “It’s anomaly reigning” posted 29th June 2009 in the Greenpeace India website - just a few days after this stunt:

“On assessing the historical data, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its fourth Assessment Report suggested, “warming in India is likely to be above the average for South Asia, with an increase in summer precipitation and an increase in the frequency of intense precipitation in some parts.” That the Indian monsoons are going to undergo gross changes as a direct result of climate change – rainfall will increase by ~ 20 per cent overall in the summer monsoon, but the distribution of this increase will not be evenly spread across the country.”

So what's Greenpeace's actual position any way? Does global warming cause increased or decreased rainfall? They say both. This is not strange, as global warming according to its proponents can do almost everything and anything like simultaneously making sea water more salty and less salty! But it does not matter really as global warming or CO2 has nothing to do with monsoon intensity. But it finds a perfect 1:1 correlation fit with ENSO - El Nino (La Nina) Southern Oscillation.

However, if the IPCC painted scenario had only been true, an increase by 20% in rainfall could have given India a double digit growth rate for agriculture and at least double of that in terms of GDP. Such stupendous growth could have wiped out the face of poverty within 5-10 years in our country. If this is “climate change”, Indians should be welcoming it with open arms. But alas, more than a decade has passed after the IPCC had predicted such a scenario but we find practically no such change in our rainfall long period average (LPA). The LPA, even factoring the current “exceptional” summer rainfall, remains still a tad below 100%.

This typical means justify end tactics not only eats into the credibility of not only Greenpeace but the entire NGO and environmental organizations. What public credibility has NGO/environment groups left with if NGOs and environmental groups pursue advocacy clams that have no factual basis? If they tout they follow evidence based M&E then they should ensure their advocacy campaigns reflect this value as well.

Anonymous said...

"There are indications that the world might be finally losing its patience with the increasing trend of eco-terrorism that flows from the Greenpeace type model of protests. The tipping point apparently had been the twin events of the Discovery Channel hostage crisis in the US and Greenpeace’s unconstitutional assault on an oil rig in Greenland that had their respective governments fuming."

This is insulting and inaccurate. Saying that a psychotic gunman "flowed" from Greenpeace's "model of protest" is as offensive as it is incoherent.

It's the same as blaming the entire right wing for Timothy McVeigh.

Anonymous said...

"So what's Greenpeace's actual position any way? Does global warming cause increased or decreased rainfall? They say both."

The logical fallacies and scientific ignorance in this statement are too dense to unpack in one comment. Suffice to say that most people who have read more than Tea Party pamphlets on the issue are aware that global warming alters the climate of different regions in different ways. It also increases the inconsistency of weather patterns. So, yes, it can lead to increased rainfall somewhere, less elsewhere. What's so baffling about that, for anyone who understands the entire globe is not one big "climate"?

Brian Mays said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian Mays said...

"This is insulting and inaccurate. Saying that a psychotic gunman 'flowed' from Greenpeace's 'model of protest' is as offensive as it is incoherent."

I totally agree. The motives of the "psychotic gunman" (even though his "guns" were merely starter pistols full of blanks) are quite different from those of Greenpeace. James Lee never expected to survive his protest, as evidenced by his suicide-note/manifesto.

The difference between James Lee and Greenpeace is that Mr. Lee had the courage of his convictions (as misguided as they might have been), whereas Greenpeace is apparently composed of a group of whiny, privileged little snot-nosed cowards, who would prefer to live to see the revenue (in donations) flow in from their latest stunt.

James Lee merely took Greenpeace's advocacy to its logical conclusions. That those in the more mainstream (and more heavily financed) end of the movement don't rush to join him is not to say that they are not all that far apart in ideology. The main difference between the two boils down to willpower and accounting.

"Suffice to say that most people who have read more than Tea Party pamphlets on the issue are aware that global warming alters the climate of different regions in different ways. It also increases the inconsistency of weather patterns. So, yes, it can lead to increased rainfall somewhere, less elsewhere."

So Global Warming means never having to say that you're sorry. Very convenient.

I knew that I should have gone into climatology. It would be very nice (and quite a change of pace) to work in a field in which any flaky hypothesis that I care to put out could not be contradicted by empirical evidence, as long as it is fashionable at the moment. If A happens, then my hypothesis is confirmed, but if B happens (the exact opposite of A), my hypothesis is also confirmed. Joy! Now I'll fly to Bali for a relaxing conference, where I can bask in the acceptance of my "consensus" colleagues.

Have the bookmakers in Vegas heard about this? They could make a killing with this type of scam!

Anonymous said...

So climate is uniform all over the world, and should respond uniformly to any perturbations, is your point?

How then is it summer in the southern hemisphere when it's winter in the north?

How can it be raining here, yet sunny in California? etc.

(Most of) you see the point.

The Earth's "climate" is not homogenous and uniform. Why is that so hard to grasp? Why, then, should local climates be expected to respond uniformly to global warming?

Crack all the jokes you want to distract from the issue; those who actually follow the line of logic (or lack thereof) will see where you've come up short.

DocForesight said...

@Anon -- I assume your question about winter/summer was rhetorical, but in case it wasn't, it's because of the tilt of the earth on its axis.

Eco-terrorists from Greenpeace, Earth Liberation Front (ELF), Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and going back to The Monkey Wrench Gang seem to adhere to a neo-Malthusian view of humanity. When they commit crimes, cause destruction to personal property and injure or kill in the name of their cause, there are consequences to be dealt with.

Don't look now, but the wheels are coming off the UN IPCC bus.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame because greenpeace once had some moral high ground but in the last 20-30 years they have slowly become eco terrorists.