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Kaltofen M.P.J.,Boston Chemical Data Corporation | Alvarez R.,Institute for Policy Studies | Hixson L.,Kyle Street
Journal of Environmental Radioactivity | Year: 2016

Analysis of 287 soil, sediment and house dust samples collected in a 200 km2-zone in northern St. Louis County, Missouri, establish that offsite migration of radiological contaminants from Manhattan Project-era uranium processing wastes has occurred in this populated area. Specifically, 48% of samples (111 of a subset of 229 soils and sediments tested) had 210Pb concentrations above the risk-based soil cleanup limits for residential farming established by the US Department of Energy at the Fernald, OH, uranium plant, which handled and stored the same concentrated Manhattan Project-era wastes; the geographical distribution of the exceedances are consistent with water and radon gas releases from a landfill and related sites used to store and dispose of legacy uranium wastes; and offsite soil and house dust samples proximal to the landfill showed distinctive secular disequilibrium among uranium and its progeny indicative of uranium ore processing wastes. The secular disequilibrium of uranium progeny in the environment provides an important method for distinguishing natural uranium from industrial uranium wastes. In this study, the detection of unsupported 210Pb beyond expected atmospheric deposition rates is examined as a possible indicator of excessive radon emissions from buried uranium and radium-containing wastes. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Alvarez R.,Institute for Policy Studies
Science and Global Security | Year: 2011

The amount of plutonium discarded as wastes from the U.S. nuclear weapons complex appears to be significantly greater than the U.S. Department of Energy's 1996 declaration of its plutonium holdings. This is due to in part to improved radioactive waste characterization and the disposal of plutonium residues originally intended for use in weapons. The Hanford site in Washington State has the largest quantity of plutonium wastes, which pose potentially serious human risks to ground water and the near shore the Columbia River. The department should revise its accounting for plutonium, and take steps to remove plutonium discarded to the environment at Hanford, as it is required to do at Idaho National Laboratory. © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Broad R.,American University of Washington | Cavanagh J.,Institute for Policy Studies
Third World Quarterly | Year: 2011

This article argues that the contemporary triple crises of finance, food and environment, which have shaken the global economy since 2008, have exposed what should be seen as the Achilles heel of the dominant development theory and practice of the past 30 years: vulnerability. We argue that the crises not only add momentum to the delegitimisation of the old model, but also offer legitimacy for paths that lessen vulnerability and increase what we call 'rootedness' (a term we prefer to 'resilience' or 'sustainability'). After offering a brief history of 'vulnerable' development and reviewing the literature on vulnerability from the development, economic and environmental fields, we use this vulnerability versus rootedness frame to present analysis from our field work in two 'vulnerable' countries: the Philippines and Trinidad and Tobago. Integrating the article's sections, we then propose a new interdisciplinary framework for development that builds on and supplements the human rights, ecological, equity and democracy frames: the notion of 'rootedness' at the household, local and country levels. © 2011 Southseries Inc.

Broad R.,United International University Dhanmondi | Cavanagh J.,Institute for Policy Studies
Journal of Peasant Studies | Year: 2012

This article tracks the debate about development in theory and practice, moving from the global level of the development debate to the rice fields of the Philippines. The authors offer a reframing of the development debate through the lens of 'vulnerability' versus 'rootedness' in social, environmental and economic terms. They argue that food and farming are currently at the leading edge of the development debate and of the vulnerability versus rootedness frame. They demonstrate this through their field notes from research with small-scale, rice farmers in the Philippines who have transitioned from chemical-intensive to organic production. The authors then show how their research results mesh with those of others and examine the significance of this farming 'revolution' for a transformation of the overall development paradigm. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

NGO representatives gather next to on the mini red Eiffel Tower after a sit-in protest closed to the plenary session to denounce the first draft COP21 Climate Conference agreement, and put pressure to reach an international agreement to limit global warming, during the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference in Le Bourget, north of Paris, France, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Francois Mori) More LE BOURGET, France (AP) — The latest news related to the U.N. climate conference in Paris, which runs through Dec. 11. All times local: Just about all countries have reservations about the latest draft of a global agreement to fight climate change, though none has rejected it outright. In a plenary session late Wednesday, delegates from India and Malaysia said the draft needs stronger commitments from wealthy nations to provide financial support for poor nations to cope with climate change. Malaysian negotiator Gurdial Singh Nijar said the help from rich countries so far amounts to "paltry dribbles." Wealthy nations, which want the new agreement to apply to everyone, say there are too many paragraphs in the draft with one set of rules for rich countries and another for poor ones. Oil-rich Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, hinted that it won't accept a long-term goal of keeping the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) — a demand by island nations and other vulnerable countries. There are two remaining scheduled day of talks, but the yearly U.N. negotiations rarely finish on time. Hundreds of protesters have held a sit-in demonstration against a new draft agreement released Wednesday at the Paris climate talks. Protester Kyle Gracey said "it is still not enough. It is not enough across the board. We are calling for much stronger action across the board." The new draft leaves key issues unresolved just two days before the talks are due to end. It doesn't settle whether governments are aiming to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) above pre-industrial times or closer to 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F). Janet Redman, with the Institute for Policy Studies, said "I won't be surprised if the Paris deal does not deliver what we need. I think it's a travesty but it is not a surprise." Some protesters chanted "what do we want? Climate justice. When do we want it? Now!" Island nations are keeping up the pressure on negotiators at the Paris climate talks for a strong accord against global warming. Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sosene Sopoaga said a new draft accord released Wednesday is "looking good," but warned "the next few hours are extremely important." The talks are scheduled to end Friday. He said he considers it an "achievement" that key issues are still in the latest draft, such as responsibility for damages caused by future climate change, even though the final language remains unresolved. The foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, Tony De Brum, said he met with U.S. Republican members of Congress who warned that a Paris accord might not "fly at home." De Brum, however, says "it has to fly ... there has to be commitment from everyone. It doesn't matter what party they belong to." Negotiators have released a new, shorter draft of an international accord to fight global warming that removes many previous questions but leaves several key issues unresolved. The talks in Paris are scheduled to end in two days. The draft document released by U.N. climate agency Wednesday is 29 pages, down from a 48-page version released Saturday. It does not resolve the question of the long-term goal of the accord — whether it is to remove carbon emissions from the economy altogether, or just reduce them. Nor does it settle whether governments are aiming to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) above pre-industrial times or closer to 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F). There are about 100 places where there are decisions still to be made — either multiple options in brackets, or blank spaces. The host of Paris climate talks says negotiators have completed a new draft of a global climate accord, two days before the high-stakes conference is scheduled to end. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius distributed the draft to delegations on Wednesday. He said it's down to 29 pages, from a 48-page version released Saturday. He said "three-quarters" of the brackets in the previous version have been deleted, meaning negotiators have come to agreement on some of the many sticking points. Fabius said that "we've made progress but still a lot of work remains to be done." The sticking points include how to define the obligations of countries in different stages of development in fighting climate change. Star Wars heroes are trying to save Earth from getting too hot. Activists dressed as Yoda and Storm Troopers appeared at the Paris climate conference Wednesday in one of many authorized protest stunts around the talks. They're part of a push by the activist group Avaaz for governments to abandon oil, gas and coal in favor of renewable energy. That's one of the sticking points in the Paris talks, which run through Friday. Amid a ubiquitous international promotional campaign before the Dec. 18 release of "The Force Awakens," the spirit of Star Wars appeared to be on many minds at the Paris conference — one security guard greeted visitors Wednesday with "may the force be with you." U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is announcing that the United States will double its commitment to helping vulnerable nations adapt to climate change impacts such as increased extreme weather events. Kerry says the U.S. will increase the amount of money it provides for climate adaption grants to $860 million from $430 million by 2020. The money will be part of an existing promise by wealthy countries to jointly mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 in climate finance. Developing nations have been demanding more money for adaption in talks on a new global climate agreement in Paris. The U.S. money, which must be approved by Congress, will help fund domestic weather services, tracking systems to better assist poorer nations in forecasting and coping with major storms and other extreme weather events. It wasn't immediately clear whether this is money that has already been promised in other aid packages. A coalition of rich and poor nations calling for a binding and ambitious global pact on climate change is emerging as a new, potentially powerful bloc in U.N. climate talks outside Paris. The European Union has been taking the lead in recruiting countries to the alliance, which includes more than 100 countries, including small island nations and some African and Latin American countries. Major developing nations like China and India aren't part of it. Though U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern referred to it as a "coalition of ambition" earlier this week, a negotiator for another developed country said the U.S. hadn't yet joined the group. Speaking on condition of anonymity because the talks were ongoing, the negotiator said that the alliance is expected to announce common positions on crunch issues later Wednesday. The negotiator said they include having a legally binding agreement with a reference to the desire by vulnerable nations to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees C, compared with pre-industrial times, as well as a commitment to review countries' climate targets every five years, starting before 2020. There were still discussions with the U.S. about how to deal with climate finance for developing nations, the negotiator said. Actor and climate activist Alec Baldwin says he wants to see an American oil company go out of business, and more attention paid to indigenous people in a global climate accord under negotiations in Paris. Baldwin said that while he doesn't want to see mass U.S. job losses, "I'd love to see a major oil company go out of business in the United States. That would be a tremendous sign of progress," he told The Associated Press in an interview on the sidelines of the Paris climate talks. He praised work of indigenous people "who can report what's really going on" with the planet's climate, thanks to NGOs providing them drone technology and cameras to post images and data online. "I'm more eager to rely on people like this ... than to rely on governments and industry." Many U.S. lawmakers oppose a binding agreement in Paris to limit carbon emissions because they fear it would hurt U.S. industry and jobs. Baldwin was in Paris to host the Equator Prize awards ceremony, a U.N.-sponsored event honoring people contributing to the fight against climate change and poverty. One winner was Farkhunda Ateel Siddiqi from Kabul, who described her work to reduce poverty and malnutrition after a remote province in northeastern Afghanistan had run out of traditional resources. Climate conference organizers waiting to see the latest draft of the Paris climate accord will have to wait a bit longer: It's been delayed a few hours. A French official says the draft, expected for release at 1 p.m. (1200 GMT), will not be released until at least 3 p.m. (1400 GMT). The official says negotiators are working to "harmonize" one or two points in the text. The official, not authorized to be publicly named speaking about the high-stakes negotiations, would not elaborate on which points. It's the first official delay in the negotiating process so far. The two-week talks, the culmination of years of U.N. efforts to fight global warming, are scheduled to wrap up Friday. Sticking points have included how much of it should be legally binding, and what rich countries should do to help poor countries adapt and reduce climate change. The Paris climate talks have a new visitor: a two-story-high, mechanically operated polar bear. Activists from Greenpeace rolled the bear into the conference venue Wednesday morning. It's among many scattered protest actions around the two weeks of talks. "We want the bear to represent everyone hoping in the next 72 hours" for a robust climate deal, said Greenpeace's Ben Stewart. The talks are scheduled to wrap up Friday night. The same bear protested in front of the headquarters of Royal Dutch Shell as part of campaigns against oil drilling in the Arctic. Activists are trying to call attention to melting glaciers, rising sea levels and other results of man-made emissions that contribute to global warming.

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