Worldlog Week 11 – 2011

18 מרץ 2011

Just as many others, I too followed the terrifying developments in Japan. The Boston Globe's Big Picture gives an impression of the disaster and ensures we pause to consider the immense suffering that his hit Japan.

This website discusses the top 10 myths about nuclear energy. This is especially for the people who are not convinced that nuclear energy is a sustainable alternative. Generating nuclear energy produces radioactive waste that remains dangerous for tens of thousands of years. Future generations will be confronted with an enormous and, for the time being, unsolvable waste issue. Extracting and enriching uranium, the raw material for nuclear energy, is highly polluting, and uranium is also a finite resource.

The developments around Tokyo Electric Power (the company that manages many of the nuclear stations in Japan), go to prove that utilities belong under government control. The government should manage the utilities in the Netherlands too. They should not be an extension of commercial interests.

Last week the Netherlands protested against plans for new nuclear power plants on Dutch soil and keeping a the only nuclear power plant in Borssele open. The current cabinet will probably award energy company Delta a license to build a second nuclear power plant in Borssele. I hope that in the coming months the people will protest heavily and that the cabinet will reverse those plans. Atomic energy must be stopped!

Unfortunately the Minister of Economic Affairs is not currently willing to reconsider the Netherlands' standpoint. This is the exact opposite of what has happened in Switzerland and Germany. The governments there have suspended plans for new nuclear power plants.

Now for news from the Lower House. We want a direct ban on pesticides that harm bees. In a television programme on 12 March, a Dutch research programme called Zembla garnered attention for the phenomena of worldwide bee death which is taking place on a massive scale, in the Netherlands in particular. We have been pushing for extremely toxic pesticides connected to bee-loss to be taken off the market for a very long time now. France, Italy and Slovenia have in the meantime introduced a ban on these dangerous toxins – these so-called neonicotinoids. In the Netherlands, the cabinet-appointed knowledge centre for bees at Wageningen University still vehemently denies the link between using these toxins and bee death.

Earlier this week the United Nations also sounded the alarm about global bee death. In some places in the world, the bee population has dropped by 85 percent. Environmental scientists at the UN have concluded that this could lead to an international crisis.

This week the European Union discussed cloned meat. European politics has provisionally banned trading in cloned animals and their products, but there is still too much room to duck this ban. Nothing yet has been established about the clone's descendants. Because of uncertain regulations, countries can still import cloned meat from such places as America, Canada, and Argentina. European parliament and the European Commission are discussing these regulations this week.

European parliament finds that meat from cloned animals and their descendents may not be traded. But unfortunately the European Commission believes that Europe will enter a trade war with the United States if it decides to stop imports or set up an obligatory announcement of origin. The Party for the Animals believes that cloning animals is morally reprehensible. Cloning entails serious health issues for animals and contravenes many ethics issues. Let's hope that trade in cloned animals and their products is banned entirely.

See you next week!