New York’s Complacency Will Lead to the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Indian Point (photo: the governor’s office)

Leonard Rodberg & Herschel Specter

New York’s recently-passed Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act has been described as the boldest climate legislation in the nation. It sets demanding milestones for reducing carbon emissions, starting with the 2030 goal that New York state should, by then, derive 70% of its electricity from renewable sources (solar, wind, and waterpower). By 2040, it should derive all of its electricity from “clean” sources, and it should be carbon-neutral in all its uses of energy by 2050.

These goals pose daunting challenges, but within two years the challenge will become even greater when the Indian Point nuclear plant, 36 miles up the Hudson River from New York City, is scheduled to shut down. Governor Cuomo agreed to its closure, even though it is functioning safely and economically, because of fears of a nuclear accident raised by the community around the site. When he agreed to the closure, he made a commitment it would not result in any new carbon emissions. Nevertheless, the operator of New York’s electric grid has made clear that three natural gas-powered generating plants will be fired up to replace the carbon-free electricity flowing from Indian Point. These replacement plants will release 7 million metric tons of greenhouse gases for each year thereafter. The increased greenhouse gas emissions will undermine the new climate law before it even gets started, and the smaller capacity of the gas plants may well lead to shortages of electric power in the coming years.

We have shown elsewhere that attempting to meet the new law’s 2030 goal with only renewable sources would cost more than $100 billion and is completely impractical. However, the language of the new climate law ignores the contribution that nuclear power, which emits no carbon dioxide, can make toward a carbon-free future. Indeed, if Indian Point and other nuclear plants, which already provide nearly a third of New York’s electricity, are kept running, and the governor’s planned expansion of offshore wind takes place, a 2030 goal of 70% carbon-free electricity will be met without any further expenditure. 

There is no need to shut down Indian Point. This facility, which produces a quarter of the New York City Metro region’s electricity, is safe and reliable and can keep going for decades more. The current closure agreement does allow the plant, if necessary, to continue operating through 2024 and 2025. While the current operator, the Entergy Corp., is giving up control of the plant, the New York Power Authority could take it over and continue operating it, as it did safely and efficiently for many years before Entergy came into the picture. In fact, Indian Point should remain operational until such time as new, carbon-free resources can replace it. That way, it can continue to help meet the state’s emission reduction goals.

We recognize that including nuclear energy, along with carbon-free renewable energy sources, in meeting our climate goals will require a major re-evaluation of risk by groups deeply invested in opposing nuclear power. These groups, some of which campaigned for the closure of Indian Point, are concerned that nuclear reactors will suffer accidents that could have catastrophic consequences. In fact, as one of us has explained in a brief guide, this is not possible. Nuclear reactor accidents have led to very few deaths – 28 plant workers and firefighters perished at Chernobyl, along with an estimated 60 deaths from thyroid cancer worldwide — and there were zero fatalities from the Three Mile Island and Fukushima events. Hundreds of thousands have already suffered from the effects of climate change, and millions more are likely to suffer if climate change proceeds as it is on course now.

Keeping Indian Point and other nuclear plants operating while the state builds new, even safer nuclear facilities and installs modest amounts of renewable resources offers the most practical, achievable path for New York to meet its emission goals and offer our children and grandchildren a realistic chance for a carbon-free, stable future.

***

Leonard Rodberg is a physicist who taught climate change and public policy at Queens College/CUNY until his retirement in 2017. Herschel Specter is an engineer who focused on nuclear safety issues in many positions, including at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Coronavirus: Antichrist tells followers kneel and cry to curb the pandemic

Coronavirus: Iraqi cleric tells followers kneel and cry to curb the pandemic

Al Khalej Today

Thank you for your reading and interest in the news Coronavirus: Iraqi cleric tells followers kneel and cry to curb the pandemic and now with details

Hind Al Soulia – Riyadh – Iraqi populist cleric Muqtada Al Sadr said on Wednesday that his supporters must kneel and cry between carrying out “special prayers” on Friday to beg for God’s help in combating the coronavirus crisis.

The country, which suffers from a poor healthcare system, recorded a total of 1,202 confirmed cases on Wednesday and 69 deaths. Most are linked to neighbouring Iran, where the outbreak has killed nearly 4,000 people and infected more than 64,000.

“I will be holding a special prayer on Friday that will curb the pandemic,” the cleric said on Twitter.

Mr Al Sadr advised his followers to cry and remain prostrate on the ground for half an hour whilst asking God to annihilate the virus.

“This must be done after Friday prayers but before the afternoon prayers,” he said.

The cleric, who is an influential figure in Iraq’s political and social spheres, blamed the pandemic on the legalisation of same-sex marriage in a tweet last month.

Mr Al Sadr said the pandemic would not stop unless governments revoked laws legalising the unions.

Iraq’s response to the pandemic has been undermined by power struggles among the ruling Shiite elites to nominate a new prime minister after the resignation of Adel Abdul Mahdi last November.

Open borders with Iran, which supports armed Shiite militias in Iraq and across the region, has also limited the chances of overcoming the crisis.

Iraq is a transit hub for Iranian support to the Syrian regime.

There is also major concern that Iraq, shattered by decades of war and sanctions, cannot respond to a large number of cases.

The world Health Organisation said that Iraq’s medical infrastructure had “some significant gaps” that it was working to address.

There are also more than four million people, almost half of them children, in need of humanitarian assistance in Iraq.

Fear and lack of knowledge managing infected dead bodies is also a rising concern for authorities.

The health ministry said it would follow guidelines set out by the WHO, which says “safe burials are guaranteed in any cemetery as long as the precautions are taken.”

Last month, authorities introduced a curfew and restrictions on travel as part of measures to contain the infections.

But officials have raised concerns that the public is not abiding by these measures.

Mr Al Sadr urged his supporters to follow government guidelines, reversing earlier statements that encouraged his Shiite followers to mix and come together to mark religious occasions.

Updated: April 8, 2020 07:17 PM

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New York Still Won’t Shut Down Indian Point (Revelation 6)

Even Facing A Pandemic, New York State Remains In The Grip Of The Green Movement

Apr 7, 2020,

Governor Cuomo didn’t stop there. Despite policies like the above that severely limit the importation into and  use of natural gas in New York State, his government plans to  the two remaining reactors of theIndian Point Nuclear Power Plant in Westchester County, New York, which currently provide about 25% of New York City’s energy needs. The first reactor is set to be mothballed this month. 

From where will New York get the energy to replace Indian Point? The Governor talks about using offshore wind farms, hydroelectric power from Canada, and other sources, but they remain theoretical – and there are many impediments to any of them eventually becoming reality.  It would not be a stretch to wonder if the Governor is entrusting New York State’s energy needs to hope and wishful thinking. If so, there couldn’t be a worse time to do so.

If Downstate New York needs one thing right now, it’s reliable energy. Nothing would turn the current COVID-19 calamity into a catastrophe quicker than rolling blackouts. To date, from an energy perspective New York has been fortunate. The general economic downturn combined with the oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia both have depressed demand for energy and driven down its price. In addition, the COVID-19 outbreak followed a mild winter as the Northeast warmed into spring. But things easily could have gone the other way, and still can.

Saudi Arabia’s mercurial ruler Prince Muhammed Bin Salman and Russia’s Vladimir Putin seemed on the verge of creating their own energy axis prior to the current spat. Nothing prevents them from doing so in the future. Should they agree on a production cut to stabilize the oil markets, and should the natural gas and oil bottlenecks caused by Governor Cuomo’s pipeline policies help bankrupt American shale producers, which always remains a possibility in a severely collapsing economy wrought by COVID-19, then once again the United States could be at the mercy of foreign energy suppliers with their own political agendas for our indispensable energy needs.

Further, should the Coronavirus problem continue and even get worse as we head into periods where we need greater energy for air conditioning or heat, the current economic damage will only be magnified by the large energy costs we so far have avoided. To take it to the extreme, should New York, as in 2018, need to import energy from Russia despite having the world’s richest natural gas fields three hours away in the Marcellus Shale region, who’s to say if Putin will come to the rescue, and if he does what price would he charge?

None of this is out of the question or fanciful. The Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 hit in three waves lasting from March 1918 to the summer of 1919. China already seems to be starting a second wave of COVID-19. During the first wave in the United States, Andrew Cuomo has taken a difficult situation handed to him and handled it well. Should it hit again, this time with no Indian Point providing nuclear power, no gas pipelines or in-State fracking providing natural gas power, and few American energy producers available to offset the cost of foreign energy, Governor Cuomo may have some real explaining to do.

Trump is Destroying Nuclear Diplomacy (Revelation 16)

Russia Says U.S. ‘Unwillingness’ Is Threatening Major Nuclear Weapons Deal

On 4/08/20 at 10:46 AM EDT

Russia has again pointed the finger at the U.S. for delaying the extension of the New START nuclear weapons treaty, which expires next year.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters Wednesday that any questions about why the deal has not been extended should be directed to Washington rather than Moscow. Peskov said the Kremlin remains keen to make a deal, but has met with delay from the White House.

“Actions on destruction of this document—on its non-extension—are taken not by Moscow,” Peskov told reporters, according to the Tass state news agency. “Rather, this is our U.S. colleagues’ unwillingness, and we have repeatedly expressed our regret in that regard.”

The 10-year New START treaty came into force in 2011. It extended the existing START agreement, which was signed in the early 1990s.

New START capped the number of deployed Russian and U.S. strategic nuclear warheads and bombs at 1,550, and the number of deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and heavy bombers used for nuclear missions at 700. The total allowed number of deployed and non-deployed assets is currently 800.

New START is the last of what former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev called the “three principal pillars of global strategic stability,” following the collapse of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty last year.

Russia has repeatedly said that it wants to extend New START, but the U.S. has still not revealed its plans. President Donald Trump has hinted that they wish to include China in any new deal, but experts—among them one of the original negotiators of START—have warned this is not feasible in such a short time frame. Chinese officials have dismissed any suggestion of involvement in a new treaty.

Newsweek has contacted the State Department for comment on its plans regarding New START.

Read more

Peskov acknowledged that the New START deal has fallen down the pecking order with the appearance of the coronavirus pandemic. Both the U.S. and Russia—like many other nations—are struggling to contain the virus. “The coronavirus has halted many vital processes,” Peskov said, “This is the reality we have to face.”

Russian Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia Dmitry Medvedev—who was serving as president when New START was signed—complained Wednesday that in the nine years since the deal was agreed, the U.S. has flipped from “cooperation to political pressure and unleashed an unprecedented war of sanctions against us, trying to oust Russia from the global agenda.”

In an op-ed for Tass, Medvedev suggested that removing sanctions on Moscow would be a good first step to re-open New START talks. “If the New START deal ceases to exist, its demise will have extremely serious consequences for international security,” the former president and prime minister said.

Russian officials including President Vladimir Putin have urged the White House to lift sanctions—imposed because of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, support of separatists in eastern Ukraine and meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election—to help the global response to coronavirus.

People are pictured walking past a Russian Topol ICBM during the International Military-Technical Forum Army-2017 at the Kubinka Patriot Park outside Moscow, Russia, on August 22, 2017ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images/Getty

The Iranian Nuclear Horn Continues to Grow (Daniel 8:4)

Iran to unveil new nuclear centrifuges at Natanz as government forges ahead with program

Photo: US Department of Energy

Today is Iran’s national Nuclear Technology Day, which will be marked by the unveiling of new nuclear centrifuges at the Natanz enrichment plant.

As a response to increased sanctions imposed by the US, the Iranian government has abandoned all commitments to halt its nuclear enrichment. Today, Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile amounts to five times the amount allotted to it in the original 2015 deal.

To Washington, the primary threat of a nuclear Iran is the erosion of leverage held by nuclear-equipped Western countries and their allies. The Islamic regime is often regarded by the West as an irrational actor, and the asymmetry of weapons capabilities is viewed as critical in subduing Tehran’s efforts to threaten US allies in the region.

Furthermore, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq will likely find it increasingly difficult to reject Iranian influence over their governments given Tehran’s potential nuclear advantage, exacerbating the Cold War-like struggle for regional domination with Saudi Arabia. Today’s announcement is likely to provoke an escalatory response from Riyadh, whose nuclear program has already received assistance from the White House Expect a prolongation of regional proxy conflicts, namely in Yemen, as Riyadh finds its military intervention ever more crucial to secure the reinstalment of the Saudi-sympathetic Yemeni government.

Wake up smarter with an assessment of the stories that will make headlines in the next 24 hours. Download The Daily Brief.

Coronavirus Continues to Kill Iranians (Revelation 6)

Over 20,400 Coronavirus Deaths in Iran

General

Published: Tuesday, 07 April 2020

The Coronavirus death toll in Iran has risen to 20,400 as of Tuesday afternoon, according to sources of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran(PMOI/MEK) from 245 cities in all Iran’s 31 provinces.

These are the death tolls per province as of that time:

• Tehran 2,430+

• Gilan 1,700+

• Isfahan 1,660+

• Mazandaran 1,630+

• Khuzestan 870+

• Golestan 860+

• Alborz 730+

• Zanjan 370+

• Fars 360+

• Qazvin 320+

• East Azerbaijan 335+

• Ilam 160+

• South Khorasan 55+

• Hormozgan 42+

• West Azerbaijan 430

• Ardebil 445

• Bushehr 40

• Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari 82

• Khorasan Razavi 1800

• Semnan 350

• Qom 2050

• Kurdistan 340

• Kerman 345

• Kermanshah 630

• Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad 122

• Lorestan 510

• Markazi 300

• Hamedan 560

Meanwhile, President Hassan Rouhani wants to get people back to work, insisting that the virus is on the decline, something that has again sparked infighting among the regime.

Parliament deputy Ahmad Moradi said that when he heard Rouhani’s comments about labeling Hormozgan virus-free, he could only think of two reasons for that. Either Rouhani was given the wrong information or Rouhani was lying. Moradi believes that the second option is closer to the truth and that “the president’s decision and argument are wrong a hundred percent”.

The economy is struggling in Iran. It was struggling before the coronavirus and before the US sanctions, but the regime should focus on protecting the people’s health and saving lives.

After all, the mullahs have hundreds of billions of dollars tucked away ready to be sent to suppressive forces. Yet all they offer the people are aid packages of $12 to $36 and loans of $60 to $120 for four million low-income families when 80% of the country lives below the poverty line.

Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said: “The money meager aid by Khamenei and Rouhani to cover the massive blow by Coronavirus to three million deprived families is less than a day’s wage paid to Iraqi and Afghan mercenaries of the terrorist Quds force.”

She continued: “The insulting gesture reflects the regime’s fear of an uprising. Khamenei and Rouhani have left millions of helpless Iranians without protection in the face of Coronavirus outbreak, while the wealth of the country controlled by the IRGC and its affiliates, the Mostazafan Foundation, The HQ to Execute Khomeini’s Order, Khomeini’s Relief Committee, the Martyrs Foundation, Astan-e Quds Razavi Fund, as well as other major economic organizations can easily pay the wages of workers, office employees and unemployed so that they can be quarantined.”

Rajavi added that the people’s stolen wealth must immediately be put at the disposal of the Iranian people.

The US and China Nuclear Horns (Daniel 7)

US Containment Policy Towards China: Threats To Security In South Asia – OpEd

Irfan Mahar*April 7, 2020

US President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping at APEC Summit. Photo Credit: Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen\

“The Future of Politics will be decided in Asia and the United States will be right at the centre of the action” — Hillary Clinton

South Asian region is home to a large population that faces multiple internal and external problems. The biggest challenge for South Asia as opined by various writers is peace and security. Former Advisor to PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz emphasized on the need for South Asian political leadership to develop a clear narrative on security issues which are a great hindrance to the peaceful development and stability of the states of the region. Internally regional states have been experiencing instability, underdevelopment, poverty, corruption, illiteracy, sectarian conflicts, terrorism, and many other problems.

Externally the involvement of foreign powers also remains a big source of tensions throughout the region. Particularly, when it comes to the US-China relations and their security policies in South Asia which mostly revolve around three major factors i.e. human rights, trade, and security. Both Washington and Beijing have contending world views which lead them to the divergence of opinions concerning security interests in South Asia.

However, an interesting fact to note is that on one hand the United States considers China as a staunch adversary and on the other hand, they are major trade and business partners worth $737.1 billion during 2018 and worth $559 billion during 2019. Furthermore, the US introduced the policy of “Rebalancing or Pivot to Asia” which is considered as part of a greater strategy of containment of China. Beijing’s fast economic growth compelled the US, being a dominant power, to introduce a new policy that aims to contain the increasing Chinese influence in Asia via looking over the changing global economic, political, financial structures of the world. In this regard, Washington has been trying to engage with more nations in the South Asian region particularly India and Pakistan.

For containing Beijing, Washington adopts a two-pronged policy based on hard and soft power, United States has historically been involved in the South Asian region owing to multiple reasons such as Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, India-Pakistan nuclear tests, 9/11 incident, Washington-Delhi rapprochement, and above all for the containment of China.

The rise of Beijing compelled the United States to engage deeply with South Asian nations to limit Chinese influence and engagement, particularly with Delhi to create a balance of power in the region. In this regard, the Chinese factor became the major reason for Washington to make India an important trade and investment partner.

In addition to this, increasing strategic significance of the Indian Ocean with growing Chinese presence worried the US. The ocean provides direct access to the oil-rich Persian Gulf. As for Chinese policy concern toward the US, it pledges to opt the policy of hedging i.e. two contradictory policy directions simultaneously being pursued, which in this case are: balancing and engagement.

On one hand the state maintains a strong military, builds and strengthens alliances, while on the other hand it builds trade networks, increases diplomatic links, and creates multilateral frameworks. Hence, China projects soft power through Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and tries to make more alliances. Moreover, China aims at changing the global structure in which the US has a dominant position through political, economic, and financial structures of the world. Moreover, Beijing particularly aspires to be the regional hegemon particularly in South Asia because of its near abroad and first testing ground for success of BRI project to become successful globally.

While the growing Indo-US nexus has posed serious threats to the security of the South Asian region. Pakistan, being a strategically important nation, could best serve American interest through being a part of American policies and actions in which Afghan issue and BRI keep much importance. Also, Washington keeps an attentive eye over Afghanistan and Iran in the region for limiting Chinese influence therefore it doesn’t want Iran and Afghanistan draw closer to China by being part of BRI. China and Iran share cordial relations but American sanctions over Iran create restrictions for Beijing to engage with Tehran for trade and other exchange of goods.

The presence of the US forces in Afghanistan, after 9/11, has worsened the security condition of the region. Because of this South Asian region has become fragile giving birth to multiple terrorist elements such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and Taliban rendering the region unstable and fragile. Moreover, Washington’s support for the Indian-led transport corridor project under development in Iran and Afghanistan results in growing Indian influence and involvement in both the countries. Resultantly Delhi misuses its influence and involvement in both states against Pakistan and carries out terrorist activities on Pakistan’s soil as is evident from the arrest of an Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, who entered Balochistan, one of the provinces of Pakistan, from Iran with malicious aim of carrying out terrorist activities.

Therefore, all these acts of Washington to contain Beijing in South Asia gives birth to many security concerns in the region. Such as increasing interstate tensions between nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan, insurgency, violent conflicts, and security problems ranging from militancy to organized crime which makes it more complex and insecure.

*The writer is working as a Research Associate at the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), a non-partisan think-tank based out of Islamabad, and Ph.D. scholar in the Department of Defense and Strategic Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad, Pakistan.