United States Of America (US) | Centre for Science and Environment

United States Of America (US)


Connected events and difficult future

Two major events happening at two ends of the world—Japan’s natural disaster and nuclear fallout and unrest in Libya and other countries of the region—have one thing in common. Energy. The fallout from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, hit by earthquake and then the tsunami, has not yet been contained. As I write this, news is breaking about possible contamination of the seawater surrounding the damaged installation. Fears are it could lead to groundwater contamination and radioactive toxins in the food and fish. Last week there was a scare when Tokyo’s water was reported to have iodine 131 in excess of safe limits. Nobody really knows how badly the core of the reactor is damaged. Nobody’s clear how Fukushima’s problems will be buried.

The endgame at Cancun

By: Sunita Narain

As I write this, some 24 hours are left to finalise the agreement at the 16th Conference of Parties to the climate change convention being held in Cancun. At this moment it seems the predictable deadlock in talks will continue. Like all other global climate meetings, the world remains deeply divided on the matter of how to cut emissions of greenhouse gases that even today determine economic growth. Not much is expected to happen at the beach city of Cancun.

Sense the charged air

By: Manupriya

Radioactive material can be pinpointed remotely

Don’t pee in pool

By:  Vibha Varshney

It reacts with disinfectants, can cause diseases including cancer

Do chemicals used to disinfect water harm our health? Evidence suggests drinking water purified with common disinfectants like chlorine and bromine causes urinary bladder cancer. But it was not clear whether the chemicals can affect health when used to keep swimming pools or bathing water clean, until now.

Deal won, stakes lost

Last fortnight we discussed the clandestine endgame afoot at Cancun to change the framework of the climate change negotiations to suit big and powerful polluters. Since then Cancun has concluded and a deal, in the form of a spate of agreements, has been gavelled into existence by the chair. Commentators and climate activists in the Western world are ecstatic. Even the critics say pragmatism has worked and the world has taken a small step ahead in its battle to fight emissions that determine its growth.

The endgame at Cancun

As I write this, some 24 hours are left to finalise the agreement at the 16th Conference of Parties to the climate change convention being held in Cancun. At this moment it seems the predictable deadlock in talks will continue. Like all other global climate meetings, the world remains deeply divided on the matter of how to cut emissions of greenhouse gases that even today determine economic growth. Not much is expected to happen at the beach city of Cancun.

India signs nuclear convention

By: Savvy Soumya Misra

Intended as gift to Obama

India signed the international convention on compensating nuclear accident victims on October 27. The convention, to a large extent, shields suppliers of nuclear energy technology from paying damages.

Cloud view clears up

By: Smriti Sharma

Origin of aerosols dictates cloud shape

How cloudy is it outside? The answers may depend on the level of atmospheric pollution in one’s region. Cloud-forming microscopic particles, called aerosols, absorb and reflect solar radiation. These particles have the ability to modify cloud formation and encourage or suppress precipitation. They can be released from manmade sources like vehicles, industry, agriculture, and natural sources like sea salt, volcanic dust, sulphates from biogenic gases.

Brown oil and silvery sheen

By:  Dahr Jamail

Erika, who is a photographer, and myself, headed out in a boat from Fourchon, US state Louisi ana’s southernmost port. We had four co-travellers: Jonathan Henderson, Randy, Craig and guide. It was August 16, the day several of Louisiana’s fisheries were reopened for catching shrimp.

ABCDE of Obama’s sales pitch

There is no doubt US President Barack Obama was in India on a business trip. His recent electoral losses weighed heavily with him when he stitched up deals, reportedly worth US $10 billion, that would create about 50,000 jobs back home.

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