Climate Strike Now!


I’m not teaching today. I informed the students earlier this week that today is the day of the Global Climate Strike, so I’m joining our local responsible people at Green River Park this afternoon for our West Central Minnesota Climate Strike, and I urged them to join too.

Don’t be the grey rat.

Comments

  1. says

    I spent two weeks trying to get our (mostly progressive) boss on board with this and as soon as we got an e-mail inviting us grunts to participate, we got an e-mail saying we are still required to work our scheduled shifts. Wish I could today. To anyone who is, stay out of trouble.

  2. says

    You know, every boss ever has always said you aren’t allowed to strike. The whole point of a strike is to show the bosses that they don’t own you.

  3. says

    The problem is, the grey rats wield the power. The bosses do own many of us. Where I live, most people live from one wage to another, with no savings. Standing up to your boss is a luxury that not everyone can afford.
    And when people who claimed to be on the side of the people came to power, they behaved just the same as the bosses do.

  4. blf says

    (This is a reconstructed & slightly edited cross-post from poopyhead’s current Political Madness All the Time thread.)

    In Ozland (from the Graudian’s Ozland blog earlier this week, quoted in full):

    Coalition MP to climate strike students: Everything you are told is a lie

    No one:

    Absolutely no one:

    Not a single soul:

    Craig Kelly: I understand how persuasive that peer group pressure can be for teenagers and their desire to conform and fit in with the crowd.

    However, I would say to any student considering joining the so-called climate protest, don’t be a sheep and think for yourself because you are being used and manipulated and everything you are told is a lie.

    The facts are, there is no link between climate change and drought. Polar bears are increasing in number. Today’s generation is safer from extreme weather at any time in human history.

    There is no 97% consensus. Such claims are a fraud. Crop yields have increased remarkably, wildfires have declined 25% over the past two decades, we are seeing less cyclones, not more.

    Cold weather kills many times more than hot weather, including here in Australia. The sea ice is not melting away.

    In fact, where the ill-fated Franklin expedition sailed in 1845, this year is blocked by thick sea ice.

    Renewables ain’t renewable and they certainly don’t make electricity cheaper. And if you are worried about sea level rise, I suggest that you get some old photos of Fort Denison, get the tide gauge data and go and have a look for yourself.

    Don’t take my word. I encourage all students in my electorate to study the science and learn for themselves.

    According to Ye Pffft! of All Knowledge, Kelly has form (and lots of it), including praising nazis (real ones from the WW ][ era); asserting the conviction of child rapist George Pell of the raping children cult was a grave miscarriage of justice; asserting the media are a lynch mob; and much more, all(?) quite odious. I presume he gets numerous bags of cash frequently (follow the money…).

    And as a reminder — this is what caused Kelly to rant — tomorrowtoday, Friday 20th September, is Global Climate Strike day.

  5. asclepias says

    Doing my dead level best! I joined the digital climate strike with my blog (last update was yesterday on how we know what we know about CO2 (sciencefornonscientistsblog.wordpress.com, if anyone’s curious)), and I’ll be biking as many places as I can. Unfortunately, the nearest official strikes to me are an hour west or an hour south, and driving that distance seems counterproductive. Besides, I’ve got dogs to watch, but those are within cycling distance.

  6. Rich Woods says

    @blf #5:

    That bloke is a right nutter.

    In fact, where the ill-fated Franklin expedition sailed in 1845, this year is blocked by thick sea ice.

    HMS Erebus and HMS Terror spent 18 months completely icebound before their crews abandoned the ships and attempted to walk to safety. These last five years have been sufficiently ice-free that successive expeditions have found both ships and explored the wrecks.

  7. torea says

    The comic is a complete mischaracterization!
    …at the end, the grey rat would either be on top of his big tower, or on mars.

  8. unclefrogy says

    I think the Golgafrinchans had the right idea they just picked the wrong bunch it should be the A ark that is sent far far away. Let the rich and powerful be sent as the vanguard to colonize the other planets.
    uncle frogy

  9. Pierce R. Butler says

    Once again, the “Our Demands” list omits a crucial item: Peace.

    Aside from all the other problems, pls consider the carbon footprint of war, the diversion of resources from other needs, and the prospects of the US expanding its worst destructiveness to more nations… soon.

  10. DanDare says

    It was a great march here in Brisbane. Our demands boiled down to
    . No new fossil fuel projects
    . 100% renewable energy by 2030
    . Assistance for workers in fossil fuel industries to transition.

  11. voidhawk says

    PZ, can we please not spread the deeply racist and classist Malthusian ‘overpopulation’ lie? Malthus was wrong in his predictions about population increasing exponentially whilst food production would only grow arithmetically. He was wrong that people would simply breed to catastrophe point, he was wrong that the best remedy for this was to court the spread of plague and ‘deleterious conditions’ for the poor.

    The problem is not over-population, it’s over-consumption.

  12. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To voidhawk
    You were right up until the last sentence. A vital component of why Malthus was wrong is that rich people have less kids than poor people. I’m sure that there are many facets to this, including emancipation of women, easy access to birth control, drastically reduced childhood mortality, etc. However, surely a vital component is drastically increased consumption compared to the typical subsistence farmer. Now, perhaps you’ll argue that increased consumption is bad for other reasons, but population growth re overpopulation is not one of them. Rather, the problem of excessive population growth is in very large part because of underconsumption and poverty.

    But I completely echo everything else you said up until that last misguided sentence.

  13. voidhawk says

    @15

    Apologies, I think I worded that last sentence clumsily. When I say ‘the problem’, I mean, the environmental problem. If everyone on Earth consumed as much as the average Vietnamese person, we’d have enough to go around without needing to change our economic system at all. If we focussed on distribution, we could comfortably feed 10bn people with the food we produce now.

    As for population growth, yes, as populations become richer, get more access to birth control, and secure control over their sexuality, birth-rates tend to drop.

  14. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Sure. I will add, I think it’s more than just birth control access. It’s also getting people off the subsistence farming model. It’s also empowering women economically so that they have a real choice whether to be a housewife or not. It’s also lowering child mortality rates. It’s also providing security for old people. It’s also IMO about making it (somewhat) expensive to raise a kid. There’s probably other important factors too, and I could be wrong, but I strongly suspect that it’s not just a simple story of mailing free condoms et al to every poor woman.

  15. John Morales says

    Malthus was wrong in his predictions about population increasing exponentially whilst food production would only grow arithmetically.

    He was not wrong in principle. The math is inescapable.

    (A bit like the person falling from a great height; halfway down, they muse “so far, so good”)

  16. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To John
    Anyone can make a bullshit model and claim that it’s conclusions are inescapable. The math may be impeccable, but the mathematical assumptions which the model is built on may be completely incorrect. There’s a technical term for it: garbage-in, garbage-out.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garbage_in,_garbage_out

    Malthus’s model is only as good as its assumptions, and how closely the world matches those assumptions. A critical assumption of Malthus is that giving people more food, and more broadly, a better standard of living, would mean that they would have just as many kids, or more kids. Rather, when you observe reality, you see the opposite. In practically every rich industrialized country, the birth rate per woman is below breakeven. Coupled with ongoing industrialization, this is why most informed people predict that global population will peak around 10 or 11 billion people.

    I think this picture says it all:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fertility_rate_world_map_2.png

    Also, rather interesting that Africa has such high birth rates, and how Africa is the last bastion of widespread hunger, which can be attributed directly to the modern Green movement and specifically because of their neo-Malhusian religious dogma. It was Green pressure on persons and groups like Norman Borlaug that prevented the introduction of modern farming practices and modern inorganic fertilizer into Africa, which is surely a huge contributing factor to the very large birth rates per woman observed in Africa.
    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1997/01/forgotten-benefactor-of-humanity/306101/

    Environmental lobbyists persuaded the Ford Foundation and the World Bank to back off from most African agriculture projects. The Rockefeller Foundation largely backed away too—though it might have in any case, because it was shifting toward an emphasis on biotechnological agricultural research. “World Bank fear of green political pressure in Washington became the single biggest obstacle to feeding Africa,” Borlaug says. The green parties of Western Europe persuaded most of their governments to stop supplying fertilizer to Africa; an exception was Norway, which has a large crown corporation that makes fertilizer and avidly promotes its use. Borlaug, once an honored presence at the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, became, he says, “a tar baby to them politically, because all the ideas the greenies couldn’t stand were sticking to me.”

    Borlaug’s reaction to the campaign was anger. He says, “Some of the environmental lobbyists of the Western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They’ve never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for fifty years, they’d be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things.”

    Of course, I would be a fool to distill it down into that single fact, but it’s also true that the Green movement is a delusional cult that is the party most responsible for the ills that they’re trying to combat. The Green movement is the most dangerous intellectual group today by far, threatening the survival of the human species precisely because they subscribe to the racist, classist, colonialist viewpoint that can be summed up as neo-Malthusianism. Look only to Africa to see what they have wrought.

    Why did the earliest Greens oppose nuclear power? According to known quotes from many Sierra Club leaders circa 1970, it wasn’t because nuclear power was dangerous or anything. It was because they were afraid that lots of cheap power would lead to overpopulation and destroy the scenic character of California. It’s this horrible combination of white-man entitlement, racist viewpoints that the “other” should suffer to prevent overpopulation, plus a stupendous amount of delusion re their delusional belief that keeping people poor is the best way to reduce population growth when in reality it’s the worst thing that you can do re overpopulation.

    Examples:
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2019/02/14/the-real-reason-they-hate-nuclear-is-because-it-means-we-dont-need-renewables/

    In 1966, misanthropic conservationists within the Sierra Club had embraced Malthusianism. Writes Rhodes:

    The small-world, zero-population-growth, soft-energy-path faction of the environmental movement that emerge across the 1960s and 1970s knowingly or unknowingly incorporated the antihumanist ideology of the neo-Malthusians into its arguments… “more power plants create more industry,” [the Sierra Club’s executive director complained,] “that in turn invites greater population density.”

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/06/11/if-nuclear-power-is-so-safe-why-are-we-so-afraid-of-it/

    “Even if nuclear power were clean, safe, economic, assured of ample fuel, and socially benign,” said the god head of renewables, Amory Lovins, in 1977, “it would still be unattractive because of the political implications of the kind of energy economy it would lock us into.”

    What kind of an energy economy would that be, exactly? A prosperous, clean, and high-energy one. “If you ask me, it’d be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy because of what we would do with it,” explained Lovins.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/10/09/anti-nuclear-bias-of-u-n-ipcc-is-rooted-in-cold-war-fears-of-atomic-and-population-bombs/

    When asked in the mid-1990s if he had been worried about nuclear accidents, Sierra Club anti-nuclear activist Martin Litton replied, “No, I really didn’t care because there are too many people anyway … I think that playing dirty if you have a noble end is fine.”

    PS: There’s interesting circumstantial evidence that the biggest source of funding historically and even today of Green orgs is fossil fuel money because they recognize the utility that the Green orgs have because when Greens get into power, the first thing that they do is shut down nuclear power plants and replace them with coal and natural gas plants, such as what has happened in Germany; Germany is still building new coal plants and expanding coal mining. It’s madness.

  17. John Morales says

    GerrardOfTitanServer, wow. What a clumsy segue.

    Re your hobby-horse, recently in the news: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-27/energy-audit-finds-nuclear-power-is-not-the-answer-for-australia/11450850

    PS I was particularly amused because “Anyone can make a bullshit model and claim that it’s conclusions are inescapable.” is something climate denialists say about climate modelling.

    But fine, if resources are actually unlimited and accessible, and ignoring externalities, all is well and Malthus was full of shit. If.

    (I do for you what others do for me, or, as per Burns,
    “O wad some Power the giftie gie us
    To see oursels as ithers see us!”)

  18. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    PPS:
    And again, it’s not just me who believes that the Greens are the biggest obstacle to fixing global warming and ocean acidification. It’s also leading climate scientists like James Hansen and Kerry Emanuel.

    An open letter written by four leading climate scientists, including the two just named:
    https://www.cnn.com/2013/11/03/world/nuclear-energy-climate-change-scientists-letter/index.html

    […] continued opposition to nuclear power threatens humanity’s ability to avoid dangerous climate change.

    Renewables like wind and solar and biomass will certainly play roles in a future energy economy, but those energy sources cannot scale up fast enough to deliver cheap and reliable power at the scale the global economy requires. While it may be theoretically possible to stabilize the climate without nuclear power, in the real world there is no credible path to climate stabilization that does not include a substantial role for nuclear power.

    See what Kerry Emanuel has said here:
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/10/29/top-climate-scientists-warn-governments-of-blatant-anti-nuclear-bias-in-latest-ipcc-climate-report/

    The anti-nuclear bias of this latest IPCC release is rather blatant, and reflects the ideology of the environmental movement. History may record that this was more of an impediment to decarbonization than climate denial.

    See what James Hansen wrote here as well:
    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2011/20110729_BabyLauren.pdf

    A facile explanation would focus on the ‘merchants of doubt’ who have managed to confuse the public about the reality of human-made climate change. The merchants play a role, to be sure, a sordid one, but they are not the main obstacle to solution of human-made climate change.The bigger problem is that people who accept the reality of climate change are not proposing actions that would work.

    See also:
    https://youtu.be/KnN328eD-sA
    http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2018/10/25/open-letter-to-heads-of-state-of-the-g-20-from-scientists-and-scholars-on-nuclear-for-climate-change

    So, we have the foremost preeminent climate scientist, James Hansen, and many other leading climate scientists saying that the Greens are the group most at fault for global warming and ocean acidification. We also have the foremost preeminent human being of all time, who specialized in growing food, Norman Borlaug, saying that the Greens are the group most at fault for ongoing world hunger.

    On the other side, we have so-called Green experts like Mark Jacobson whose grant is funded by natural gas interests.
    https://atomicinsights.com/stanfords-universitys-new-natural-gas-initiative/
    https://atomicinsights.com/following-the-money-whos-funding-stanfords-natural-gas-initative/
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2019/03/28/the-dirty-secret-of-renewables-advocates-is-that-they-protect-fossil-fuel-interests-not-the-climate/

    What can I do or say to convince you Green people out there reading this now that you’re part of a religious cult, and beyond “climate change and ocean acidification is bad”, almost everything you know is a lie? Our world, and specifically human civilization depends on it. The truth of the matter is:

    Renewables without nuclear won’t cut it. (See above for sources.)
    Nuclear can solve for half of human-caused CO2 emissions on its own (with transport being most of the remainder which will depend on access to clean, abundant, CO2-free electricity in one way or another).
    Everything you think you know about the dangers of radiation to human health, and especially the consequences of the Chernobyl accident, are mostly lies.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/apr/05/anti-nuclear-lobby-misled-world
    After you exclude estimates based on the pseudoscience LNT model of radiation harm to human health, nuclear power has only killed about 50 people, almost all of them from the Chernobyl accident. Even with LNT-based estimates, the total number of people killed is less than a few hundred. This is according to the thousands of scientists from around the world who worked for the UN agency called UNSCEAR to produce a report on Chernobyl, comaprable to the IPCC for climate change.
    https://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2005/pr38/en/
    https://www.who.int/ionizing_radiation/a_e/fukushima/faqs-fukushima/en/
    Nuclear waste from civilian power plants has never killed anyone, and likely will never kill anyone.
    https://jmkorhonen.net/2013/08/15/graph-of-the-week-what-happens-if-nuclear-waste-repository-leaks/
    http://thorconpower.com/docs/ct_yankee.pdf
    Worrying about nuclear waste depends entirely on homeopathic thinking. Let me quote a comment from the source above:

    It is highly instructive to note how anti-nuclear activists seek to discredit the science here. They may well know that even using highly pessimistic assumptions about e.g. the copper canister and the bentonite clay, there is an overwhelming probability that any doses caused to the environment or to the public will be negligible. Perhaps for that reason, or perhaps simply because they themselves honestly believe that any leakage results to immediately horrendous effects, they completely ignore the crucial question: “so what?”

    What would happen if a waste repository springs a leak?

    What would be the effects of the leak to humans or to the environment?

    Even if you search through the voluminous material provided by the anti-nuclear brigade, you most likely will not find a single statement answering these questions. Cleverly, anti-nuclear activists simply state it’s possible that nuclear waste can leak – which is not in doubt, anything is possible – and rely on innuendo and human imagination (fertilized by perceptions of nuclear waste as something unthinkably horrible) to fill in the gaps in the narrative.

    Whether you go along with this manipulation is, of course, up to you.

    The land contamination in Chernobyl and Fukushima, while bad, is not as bad as you think it is. The World Health Organization says that the biggest threat to human health today in the area around Chernobyl is the depression from pseudoscience radiation fearmongering (see WHO report above).
    Even if renewables could work, and they can’t, solar and wind are far more polluting and bad for the environment. They require magnitude or more materials, meaning that much more mining. They produce toxic waste that lasts forever – electronic waste with toxic elements for solar cells that will be taken apart by hand by poor people in poor countries as the rich countries ship their e-waste overseas ala standard racist colonialist practices, and wind turbines require lots of rare earth metals for their permanent magnets which also involves environmental catastrophes to mine and refine.
    https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/renewable/wind/big-winds-dirty-little-secret-rare-earth-minerals/
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/05/23/if-solar-panels-are-so-clean-why-do-they-produce-so-much-toxic-waste/
    Solar and wind are often backed by natural gas in the short-term, and natural gas leaks are probably much higher than previously thought, and even very small leaks of natural gas release relatively large amounts of methane into the air, which is a way worse greenhouse gas than CO2.
    https://grist.org/article/natural-gas-leaks-are-a-much-bigger-problem-than-we-thought/
    There’s also plenty of other untalked problems, like the super-powerful greenhouse gas that is commonly used in certain electronic equipment associated with renewables.
    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-49567197

    Other than conventional religion, the Green movement is the biggest delusion of our tome. The Green movement is also the most dangerous because of the immediate threat of global warming and ocean acidification.

  19. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    But fine, if resources are actually unlimited and accessible, and ignoring externalities, all is well and Malthus was full of shit. If.

    John, you’re either competent, or lying. I carefully explained my objection to Malthus, and this was not it. I encourage you to try reading for once, fucking shitter. Almost every single conversation we have is best described by you utterly failing reading comprehension and strawmanning me in one way or another, and this time is no exception.

  20. John Morales says

    Ah well, to take you a little bit more seriously:

    Malthus’s model is only as good as its assumptions, and how closely the world matches those assumptions. A critical assumption of Malthus is that giving people more food, and more broadly, a better standard of living, would mean that they would have just as many kids, or more kids. Rather, when you observe reality, you see the opposite. In practically every rich industrialized country, the birth rate per woman is below breakeven. Coupled with ongoing industrialization, this is why most informed people predict that global population will peak around 10 or 11 billion people.

    Look at the resource consumption and concomitant pollution and environmental degradation per capita; it ain’t about the number of people per se, it’s about sustainability.

    And yeah, I know about demographics; e.g. Why the world population won’t exceed 11 billion | Hans Rosling (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LyzBoHo5EI).

    Not the point. Point is sustainability.

  21. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To John
    And re your link. Any yahoo can call themselves a think tank and issue a report. Whereas, I cited the real leading experts, and they say that believing in renewables is almost as bad as believing in the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy, to quote James Hansen from here:
    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2011/20110729_BabyLauren.pdf

    And the most frustrating part about all of this is that it’s blatantly obvious to anyone who looks at what is happening on the ground. I constantly hear from the Green movement that we only have 10 years left, and they might be right, and yet somehow they cite Germany as the example to follow – Germany who is right now building more coal power plants and expanding coal mining. By comparison, France build enough nuclear for 50% of their electricity demand in a mere 15 years, and they have much cheaper electricity, and obviously they don’t have the need to build more coal power plants nor expand coal mining. There is every reason to believe that the rest of the world could easily follow the course set by France if only we could get rid of the Green obstructionists. The Greens are the height of human irrationality – endangering our very existence on this planet, while also being the loudest to sound the alarm. It’s unbelievable. How are the conclusions to these indisputable facts not blatantly obvious to everyone? It’s like I’m in The Truman Show.

  22. John Morales says

    And re your link. Any yahoo can call themselves a think tank and issue a report.

    As I’ve already noted, just like a climate denialist.

  23. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To John

    Not the point. Point is sustainability.

    1- I demand an apology for the gross strawman.
    2- I have no fucking idea why you’re disputing the obvious and well-respected opinion that the single best way to make human civilization “sustainable” and to make resource usage “sustainable” is to drastically reduce the size of the human population. One can make good arguments that our current civilization may not be sustainable no matter what we do at the current population size.

  24. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    As I’ve already noted, just like a climate denialist.

    What the flying fuck. What sort of ad hom / poisoning the well is this? I’ve been arguing the entire time that the strategy of the Greens is not enough, and that they’re not taking the problem of global warming and ocean acidification seriously enough, and that the Greens will be responsible for the end of human civilization because of global warming and ocean acidificaiton because of their resistance to nuclear power, inorganic fertilizer, and their general pseudoscience neo-Malthusian beliefs.

    How dare you compare me to a climate change denier.

  25. John Morales says

    Dear oh dear. Relax, man, enough with the indignation.

    Look, you’ve said your stuff, I’ve said my stuff.
    Your own words are juxtaposed with mine; if I really am strawmanning (I prefer straw dummying, but whatever) you, then it will already be evident.

    re your (2), me, I’d rather live in the Culture universe. Fanciful, but a shitload better than Gilead, no?

  26. consciousness razor says

    After you exclude estimates based on the pseudoscience LNT model of radiation harm to human health, nuclear power has only killed about 50 people, almost all of them from the Chernobyl accident.

    The author of the op-ed you had just cited doesn’t agree with those numbers.

    The UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (Unscear) is the equivalent of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Like the IPCC, it calls on the world’s leading scientists to assess thousands of papers and produce an overview. Here is what it says about the impacts of Chernobyl.
    Of the workers who tried to contain the emergency at Chernobyl, 134 suffered acute radiation syndrome; 28 died soon afterwards. Nineteen others died later, but generally not from diseases associated with radiation. The remaining 87 have suffered other complications, including four cases of solid cancer and two of leukaemia.
    In the rest of the population there have been 6,848 cases of thyroid cancer among young children – arising “almost entirely” from the Soviet Union’s failure to prevent people from drinking milk contaminated with iodine 131. Otherwise “there has been no persuasive evidence of any other health effect in the general population that can be attributed to radiation exposure”.

    Of course the author, Monbiot, is just a writer/journalist, but at least you found one who bothered to give a somewhat credible-looking source, although it doesn’t support your own claims. But near the beginning he also linked (casually and disapprovingly) to this other Guardian article which had made other points, such as these:

    The doctors and scientists who have dealt directly with the catastrophe said that the UN International Atomic Energy Agency’s “official” toll, through its Chernobyl Forum, of 50 dead and perhaps 4,000 eventual fatalities was insulting and grossly simplistic. The Ukrainian Scientific Centre for Radiation, which estimated that infant mortality increased 20 to 30% after the accident, said their data had not been accepted by the UN because it had not been published in a major scientific journal.
    Konstantin Tatuyan, one of the “liquidators” who had helped clean up the plant, told us that nearly all his colleagues had died or had cancers of one sort or another, but that no one had ever asked him for evidence. There was burning resentment at the way the UN, the industry and ill-informed pundits had played down the catastrophe.
    While there have been thousands of east European studies into the health effects of radiation from Chernobyl, only a very few have been accepted by the UN, and there have been just a handful of international studies trying to gauge an overall figure. They range from the UN’s Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation study (57 direct deaths and 4,000 cancers expected) to the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), who estimated that more than 10,000 people had been affected by thyroid cancer alone and a further 50,000 cases could be expected.
    Moving up the scale, a 2006 report for Green MEPs suggested up to 60,000 possible deaths; Greenpeace took the evidence of 52 scientists and estimated the deaths and illnesses to be 93,000 terminal cancers already and perhaps 140,000 more in time. Using other data, the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences declared in 2006 that 212,000 people had died as a direct consequence of Chernobyl.
    At the end of 2006, Yablokov and two colleagues, factoring in the worldwide drop in births and increase in cancers seen after the accident, estimated in a study published in the annals of the New York Academy of Sciences that 985,000 people had so far died and the environment had been devastated. Their findings were met with almost complete silence by the World Health Organisation and the industry.
    So who can we trust when the estimates swing so wildly? Should we believe the empirical evidence of the doctors; or governments and industrialists backed by their PR companies? So politicised has nuclear energy become, that you can now pick and choose your data, rubbish your opponents, and ignore anything you do not like. The fact is we may never know the truth about Chernobyl because the records are lost, thousands of people from 24 countries who cleaned up the site have dispersed across the vast former Soviet Union, and many people have died.

    Since arguing with you always feels like a waste of time, I’ll keep it and short would just like to add this: don’t abuse the fact that, for various reasons, we may never “really” know (to a near certainty) what the whole truth is about everyone affected by the Chernobyl radiation. I’m very sure it’s more than 50, and you can’t make that claim honestly, so don’t make it.

  27. consciousness razor says

    When I said “somewhat credible-looking source,” I take that from the fact that it’s a United Nations committee/panel, which is some kind of evidence (not very strong) that it’s more reputable than, say, random statements appearing on blogs or from people on the street. However, I should be clear that this is of course a political entity.

  28. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To Consciousness Razor
    I take it you didn’t even finish reading the summary.
    https://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2005/pr38/en/

    About 4000 cases of thyroid cancer, mainly in children and adolescents at the time of the accident, have resulted from the accident’s contamination and at least nine children died of thyroid cancer; however the survival rate among such cancer victims, judging from experience in Belarus, has been almost 99%.

    Quoting Consciousness Razor

    But near the beginning he also linked (casually and disapprovingly) to this other Guardian article which had made other points, such as these:

    Yea, they’re conspiracy theorists. Those who deny the conclusions of UNSCEAR are typically no better than those who deny the conclusions of IPCC. The point of the Monbiot article is that when you engage with the conspiracy theorists who deny the UNSCEAR report, you quickly find that they have no evidentiary reasons to do so. It’s all hot air.

    don’t abuse the fact that, for various reasons, we may never “really” know (to a near certainty) what the whole truth is about everyone affected by the Chernobyl radiation.

    You’re buying into the delusional conspiracy theory, and I won’t accept that. The evidence is overwhelmingly against you, and you would realize that if you bothered to look at the primary sources.

    However, I should be clear that this is of course a political entity.

    Remember this nonsense the next time you engage with a climate denier talking about the political biases of IPCC.

    And it’s not just UNSCEAR. It’s also practically every reputable health article, scientist, journal, etc. The only people who say otherwise are people without proper scientific degrees, like Helen Caldicott, without any proper evidentiary basis, also like Helen Caldicott.

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