15 November 2009

Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property:

WHOEVER cheats and thereby dishonestly induces the person deceived to deliver any property to any person, or to make, alter or destroy the whole or any part of a valuable security, or anything which is signed or sealed, and which is capable of being converted into a valuable security, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

-Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860

Dishonesty hit the atmosphere:

THE irony of a cover story on climate change is too unsubtle to miss in this 420th issue of the magazine. A fraudulent attempt to sabotage a 15-year multilateral process has brought into the debate even those who never discuss it because climate change politics is immediate enough and dirty enough to compete with any other cloak-and-dagger political intrigue story.

It has been obvious from the beginning the rich countries do not want to pay for what they need to do. They agreed to common but differentiated responsibilities under a moral obligation, but now, there is no fig leaf. They openly run down the idea of equal entitlements to the atmosphere.

They do not even blush before disowning responsibility for the historical emission that caused the climate to change. They do not want to offer financial and technological help to poorer countries to achieve growth without carbon emission. What they are on the lookout for is opportunity to fish in dirty water, make money out of climate change. More obvious fraudulent behaviour is not easy to identify.

But it is the environment minister’s letter to the prime minister that has been the talk of the town. It suggested an about-turn in India’s position to align it with climate criminals of the world. It cannot be ignored as an innocent effort of a dealmaker.

Fraudulent behaviour has always marked climate negotiations. Trusting the market to tackle climate change is itself dishonesty how can a problem get solved by the tools of an economic system that created it in the first place?

Aubergine with the new gene

THERE are valid concerns that the poor farmers of India four-fifths are small and marginal should not be left to the vicissitudes of the market. Countries that promote the private sector in agriculture can do so because they have millions of dollars of subsidies to protect their farmers. The Indian government, though, wants the farmer to live off the private sector without any real support. Genetically modified crops are driven entirely by the private sectors profit motive.

The big fraud in India’s GM story, though, is on the consumer. The government has never had a public debate on whether we need GM food. It is controversial across the world, and the precautionary principle the bedrock of health and environmental regulations demands it not be allowed till all reasonable doubts have been allayed. Without labeling, the consumer cannot make an informed choice. Regulators say they know all they need to know and the consumer should trust them.

India’s regulators of genetically modified crops have been viewed with suspicion for their proximity to industry. They occupy an office that requires they defend the trust Indians place in the government. That trust requires the reasons for their decisions are public, unambiguous and in line with their mandate. Instead, the regulatory system works under industry’s influence. This is defrauding public trust.

The name of the toxic game:

A SHIP awaiting breaking at the Alang yard in Gujarat has a murky past. Activists have shown the ships owners changed its name to dodge US regulations that prevent sending toxic materials, including ships, to other countries for recycling. The Basel Convention, an international treaty, bars rich countries from dumping their toxic wastes on poor countries.

The fraud here is not limited to the owners registering the ship under a new name. The shipbreaking yards owners, who compromise health and safety of workers, are equally fraudulent.

Source: Down to Earth. 15 November 2009

06 November 2009

Fears over sub scrapyard decision:

Eight disused submarines are already being stored at Devonport 
An anti-nuclear campaigner has raised concerns officials have already decided Plymouth should be a scrapyard for decommissioned nuclear submarines.

Ian Avent, who sits on the Submarine Dismantling Project (SDP) consultation advisory group, said he feared it was a "done deal" for Devonport Dockyard.

His concerns come after the SDP panel, which is to recommend how to dispose of submarines, lost two members.

The government said that no decision had been taken yet.

The UK currently has a fleet of 27 nuclear submarines.

Eight disused vessels are being stored at Devonport, ahead of being dismantled, while seven are at Rosyth, in Fife.

The SDP panel has to decide how to deal with the radioactive and non-radioactive hazardous wastes from the submarines in the short and long-term.

However, earlier this week, government adviser Peter Lanyon resigned from it in protest at the sacking of his colleague, Dr Jane Hunt.

Mr Lanyon said his position was no longer tenable as his views and those of his dismissed colleague were not being considered.

Mr Avent, who is on the SDP panel and is a member of the local pressure group CANSAR (the Campaign Against Nuclear Storage And Radiation), said he was concerned Dr Hunt was sacked because the government was given advice it did not want to hear.

He said: "I'm frightened that it's a done deal. I'm frightened that the consultation might be just window dressing.

"If that's the case, what are we left with? We're left with our councillors and our MPs to defend us."

The government said that it did listen to scientists' advice.

Ed Miliband, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, who was at the Met Office in Exeter on Friday, said: "We do listen to scientists, including on that issue.

"In the end, government has to make its decisions on the basis of the best scientific evidence available to it.

"We should be by guided by the science and that is the approach that we'll take."

Source: BBC. 6 November 2009

05 November 2009

Ship Bound for Breaking Finds New Career:

The Margaret Hill, a 50,700 tonne liquid natural gas tanker, was stopped from leaving the UK’s Southampton docks in August this year. The Environment Agency took swift action after it received intelligence that the ship was bound for dismantling on the Indian subcontinent, where ships are routinely broken up on beaches in conditions which put workers and the environment at risk. Due to its age, the Margaret Hill is likely to contain hazardous materials such as asbestos.

Description: 74 / 71,804gt / 50,746dwt (MHL) [lpg] [c/s : V7HK5]
Category: LNG Tanker

Waste ships containing hazardous materials can only be dismantled at properly authorised dismantling facilities in either the EU or an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) country.

Since detaining the ship in August the Environment Agency has worked with Fortress Credit Co LLC which became the mortgagee in possession of the Margaret Hill – to find a suitable legal alternative. All parties to the sale and refurbishment have provided the necessary contracts and evidence to demonstrate there are no reasonable grounds to detain the vessel any longer.

The ship is now destined to be refurbished in Dubai before being put back to use as a floating treatment plant for liquid natural gas. It is due to sail to Dubai from Southampton docks as soon as practicable.

Source: Marine Link. 5 November 2009