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Triple Crunch Log                                                                                                            

boulder has rolled down the valley, shattering two-lane concrete bridges, snapping buildings in half and gouging cliffs to leave roads jutting into space.” “Nobody has food,” says Qazi Inam of Save the Children. “If anybody is rich, if anybody is poor, there is no difference.”708

12.8.10. BP to pay record fine over for continued safety violations at Texas City refinery: $50m, five years after the lethal explosion. Osha has found more than 300 “egregious, wilful violations” in the refinery – BP’s biggest. While BP did not admit guilt, it agreed in a settlement with Osha to a maximum allowable $21m fine and to spend $1bn on the refinery over the next five years, bringing it into compliance. … But BP has not accepted any responsibility in agreeing to pay the fine.709

17 countries experience record temperatures so far in 2010: Russia, Belarus and Ukraine but also many African, Middle Eastern and Latin American countries. Guardian: “The number of record highs is itself a record – the previous record was for 14 new high temperatures in 2007. … Pakistan, now experiencing its worst ever floods, had Asia's hottest day in its history on 26 May, when 53.5C (128.3F) was recorded in Mohenjo-daro, according to the Pakistani Meteorological Department.  This June was also the hottest ever on record and 2010 is on course to be the warmest year since records began, according to separate data from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published last month.710

14.8.10. We have to create a more local, decentralised energy system, writes UK energy minister Greg Barker.When David Cameron became Prime Minister he pledged that the new Coalition would be the greenest government ever. As Climate Change Minister my job is to help deliver this promise. …. the old dominance of the energy economy by a few large corporations is also being challenged. Our homes, businesses and communities can also become dynamic players in the new energy economy by producing their own green electricity and selling it back into the national grid. New feed-in tariffs – a system of financial incentives to encourage households and communities to produce their own electricity – are at the heart of our efforts to "green" Britain and empower consumers and to create a more local, decentralised energy system. With interest rates providing little return on financial investments, the domestic and community scale feed-in tariffs provide some of the best secure investment returns available in the market. … whatever changes we implement to increase the level of large-scale renewable roll-out, investors can be certain that there will be no surprises or retrospective policy changes as we recognise that investor confidence is key to deployment. ….So I want to send a clear message to industry and international investors: If you invest in the UK, whether it is in micro-hydro or huge offshore wind, you can expect plenty of 'TLC' – transparency, longevity and certainty in the new Government's energy policy.”711

Will China leapfrog France as a nuclear superpower? Telegraph: China “wants to build 153 new plants using existing technology and believes it can cut the costs of French and Japanese-based reactor designs by one third by rolling out the parts in bulk.”712

16.8.10. The reality of nuclear energy is inconsistent with dreams of a renaissance, ETH nuclear expert says.

“Nuclear energy is not on the rise – the hard facts point to a continuing, slow phase-out around the world. … Of the more than 200 countries in the world, only 30 use nuclear power. In July 2010, a total of 439 nuclear power plants with a net installed capacity of 373.038 gigawatts (GW) were connected to various national electricity grids, about 1.2GW more than at the beginning of 2006. … During the next five years, on average, roughly 10 new nuclear reactors are expected to become operational every year. But this assumes that all are constructed according to schedule, and the nuclear industry has rarely met its promised construction deadlines.” The build rate will struggle to exceed the closure rate. And then there is the uranium resource problem. 713

Plan to relieve Macondo well pressure. FT: “US government officials are considering installing a new blowout preventer – the stack of valves intended to stop oil and gas escapes – into BP’s ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico. Thad Allen, the retired former Coast Guard admiral and national incident commander, told reporters that the “most important” thing now is to “manage the pressure”.”714

17.8.10. Obama to tighten terms of deep-water oil drilling permits. The use of environmental waivers for oil and gas companies seeking deepwater drilling permits has come under fire in the aftermath of the Macondo spill. BP received such a waiver for Deepwater Horizon on April 6, 2009.715

UK's biggest companies are carrying £73bn pension deficit. Telegraph: “Many of Britain's biggest companies face a "material risk" from the size of their pension deficits, with 10 members of the FTSE 100 weighed down by pension liabilities that are greater than their market value,” including BT, British Airways and Invensys.716

18.8.10. Scientists dispute White House claim that spilled BP oil has vanished. Guardian: “At least two independent teams of scientists reported new evidence of oil persisting deep under the surface of the sea. … University of South Florida scientists, returning from a 10-day research voyage, said they found oil on the ocean floor in the DeSoto canyon, a prime spawning ground for fish far to the east of BP's rogue oil well. Preliminary results suggested that oil was getting into the phytoplankton, the microscopic plants at the bottom of the Gulf food chain. … Scientists from the University of Georgia also disputed the White House claim, releasing their own analysis suggesting 70% to 79% of the oil in the Gulf of Mexico remained in the water. “The idea that 75% of the oil is gone and of no concern for the environment is just absolutely incorrect,” said Charles Hopkinson, a marine science professor at the university. 717

BP might not be able to execute the final kill of its well until September, says Thad Allen. Guardian: “BP and government officials had yet to agree on a way to pump cement into the bottom of the well without putting too much pressure on a cement seal at the top. Engineers are assessing whether to install a new blow-out preventer or a new system for relieving pressure on the cap at the top of the well.”718

19.8.10. Huge oil plume found below the surface in the Gulf. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution reports a plume 22 miles long, more than a mile wide and 3,500ft under the sea. FT: “Contrary to previous assumptions by scientists, the WHOI team found no so-called “dead zones”, or regions with oxygen depletion where little marine life could exist. The report found that of dozens of samples taken, only a few measured below expected levels of oxygen, and that those were only “slightly depleted”.”719

Banks accused of draining £50bn out of UK firms

UK banks' net lending has fallen by £50bn over the past year, and figures suggest small firms are being hardest hit. Guardian: “Over the whole of the last year net lending flows – which take account of loans going to clients as well as money being repaid to banks – are down £49.8bn. That compares with a £9.4bn fall the year before and a rise of £85bn a year earlier. The Liberal Democrats' Treasury spokesman, Matthew Oakeshott,

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