28 March 2019   Leave a comment

The World Meteorological Organization has released its annual report on the State of the Global Climate for 2018. The report has a tremendous amount of information on climate change and much of the information is alarming. The report assesses the effects of climate change on amplifying natural hazards:

“In 2018, weather and climate events accounted for most of nearly 62 million people affected by natural hazards, according to an analysis of 281 events recorded by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED).9 Floods continued to affect the largest number, amounting to more than 35 million people in 2018. The CRED statistics also highlight that over 9 million people were affected by drought worldwide, including in Kenya, Afghanistan, and Central America, as well as migration hotspots El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.”

Reuters is reporting that the Trump Administration “has approved six secret authorizations by companies to sell nuclear power technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia.” According to the report, the Trump Administration has been working with a group called IP3 International which has a number of former US military and diplomatic officials on its board. It is not clear why the agreements are secret, but Saudi Arabia has, in the past, made clear it does not support the usual US controls on how the technology is governed. The plans were reviewed in the Interim Staff Report Committee on Oversight and Reform U.S. House of Representatives which was released in February 2019. According to that report:

“When Congress passed the Atomic Energy Act, it imposed stringent controls on the export of U.S. technology to a foreign country that could be used to create nuclear weapons. Under Section 123 of the Act, the U.S. may not transfer nuclear technology to a foreign country without the approval of Congress, in order to ensure that the agreement reached with the foreign government meets nine specific nonproliferation requirements.

“The whistleblowers who came forward have expressed significant concerns about the potential procedural and legal violations connected with rushing through a plan to transfer nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. They have warned of conflicts of interest among top White House advisers that could implicate federal criminal statutes. They have also warned about a working environment inside the White House marked by chaos, dysfunction, and backbiting. And they have warned about political appointees ignoring directives from top ethics advisors at the White House who repeatedly and unsuccessfully ordered senior Trump Administration officials to halt their efforts.”

This plan is sheer madness. Saudi Arabia has not proven to be a reliable US ally nor a state governed by laws and norms consistent with US values. Moreover, if these plans were adopted, there is little question that Iran would regard them as a significant national security threat which would lead Iran to adopt nuclear weapons itself. But there is evidence that the plan is consistent with the private interests of members of the Trump Administration. According to the Washington Post:

“The report released Tuesday notes that one of the power plant manufacturers that could benefit from a nuclear deal, Westinghouse Electric, is a subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management, the company that has provided financial relief to the family of Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and a senior White House adviser. Brookfield Asset Management took a 99-year lease on the Kushner family’s deeply indebted New York City property at 666 Fifth Ave.”

This plan needs to be stopped.

Posted March 28, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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