Tag Archive | "U.S."

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Limiting Iran’s Nuclear Program

Posted on 15 December 2013 by admin

There is much controversy about the very limited deal that was struck between Iran the U.S. and other member states of the Security Council of the U.N. plus Germany.  The significance is this marks the first discussion between leaders of the U.S. and Iran since 1979.

The most important step in the agreement is for Iran to freeze its nuclear development program in place except for its nuclear material enrichment activities that it will roll back from a level of 20% enrichment to a level of 5%.  While this may not be seen as significant, the 5% level is the international norm for enriched uranium for power generation while anything over that serves efforts to develop a bomb.

While this agreement is only valid for a six month time period, it is meant to give the two sides enough time to reach a more definitive agreement that will bind both for many years.  In exchange for this short-term agreement, the U.N. will loosen a minor amount of the economic sanctions on Iran.  This will give Iran access to about $7 billion of its assets while retaining sanctions on the rest of the total of about $100 billion that is presently blocked.

Countries such as the U.S., U.K., France, Russia, China and Germany support the treaty.  Regional parties who still do not trust Iran are vehement in their rejection of the deal.  Most particularly Israel and Saudi Arabia oppose any agreement.

It is said that the sanctions imposed on Iran over the years have taken quite a toll on the Iranian economy.  Stretching from sanctions on anything related to nuclear materials, oil, arm sales, certain financial institutions, including the country’s central bank, these steps have made Iran an international pariah.  They have created plummeting oil revenues, the local currency has lost 80% of its value and there is spiraling inflation and layoffs.

Considering the severe impact of the sanctions on Iran, the minor concessions granted during the agreement appear to be well worth the risk. Any agreement would also call for the unlimited access of U.N. inspectors at any interval considered necessary, including daily.  This is a hard learned lesson from previous agreements.

Use the following links to obtain more information about the agreement or to access source documents:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/28/world/obama-says-he-spoke-to-irans-president-by-phone.html

http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/24/world/meast/iran-deal-text/index.html

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/24/iran-nuclear-agreement-q-and-a/

http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/24/world/meast/iran-nuclear-deal-qa/index.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/24/netanyahu-iran-deal-israel-nuclear_n_4332906.html/

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Record Warmest Year in U.S.

Posted on 05 July 2012 by Jerry

The April 2012 report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center declares that when April is added to the first three months of 2012 or when it is added to the previous 11 months stretching into 2011, they calculate it “to be the warmest year-to-date and 12 months periods since record keeping began in 1895,” or one hundred and seventeen years.  If you compare the one year average U. S. temperature with the average temperature between the years 1901 to 2000, this year has a higher average temperature, up 2.8°F.  Comparing the first four months of this year with the long-term annual average, the first four months of 2012 were 5.4°F higher.

Given the national temperatures, extended drought, and heat wave engulfing the U.S. in May – June and continuing this month, 2012 may yet again set a record. This graphic evidence cannot be lost on climate deniers. Paraphrasing a quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act III, scene II, “Me thinks they protesteth too much.”  The lengths to which they are going to suppress reminders of the problem is significant.  To some of us it indicates they privately know there is a problem.

An article in the June 28, 2012 edition of Nature magazine, entitled “Sea Versus Senators” focuses on just one small aspect of how local and state governments and their business communities are trying to hide the validity of climate science. The North Carolina House of Representatives rejected a law passed in the state senate forbidding scientists in state agencies from using exponential extrapolation to predict sea-level rise.  They compromised however, by limiting the scientists to only linear extrapolation for the next three to four years while the state conducts a new sea-level study.  Similarly, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality removed all references to rising sea levels from a study of Galveston Bay in the Gulf.  In addition, the Virginia General Assembly commissioned a study of rising sea levels only after references to sea-level rise and climate change had been removed from the bill.

What all of these locations have in common is active real estate and tourist businesses. Legislators and businessmen are afraid of further depression in their coastal real estate markets and future reduced tourism because of the fear of rising waters.  This is called “cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.”  To the extent that avoiding reminders of climate change, which they know is real, lulls the larger population into ignoring the worsening problem, these businessmen and legislators put off initiation of real solutions which makes their ultimate catastrophe even worse.

Use the following links to obtain more information on these developments:

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/summary-info/national/2012/4

http://www.nature.com/news/sea-versus-senators-1.10893

 

 

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