Sunday, November 29, 2015

NO NUKES PHILANTHROPY: How to spend $1 billion wisely

Bill Gates weighing the facts . . . .
I read that Bill Gates is promising $1 billion to help jump start alternative energy technologies, and the promise is timed to give a boost to the Paris Climate Conference. (See "Bill Gates Expected to Create Billion-Dollar Fund for Clean Energy" by Coral Davenport in The New York Times, November 27, 2015.)

The announcement talks about wind and solar.

But if you look at where Bill Gates stands on nuclear, you will find that he is the chairman of a company that purports to find "good" forms of nuclear energy (TerraPower).

The single most powerful thing Bill Gates could do today is to say loud and clear that those investments in alternative energy solutions will only go to places that agree NOT to pursue nuclear -- nuclear power as well as nuclear weapons.

That could be especially important for countries -- such as India -- that are ramping up for big nuclear power expansions. And for the few remaining countries -- and the number is shrinking every day -- that have not yet signed on to the commitment for a nuclear weapons ban.

The logic is simple: nuclear power and nuclear weapons result in irreparable harm to human health. Decades of evidence is in. There's no more disagreement. Now it's just a political problem. (See HIROSHIMA: What does it mean to say, "We are ALL 'hibakusha'?" )

And everyone knows: Bill Gates is nothing if not logical.

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According to The New York Times ("Bill Gates Takes On Climate Change With Nudges and a Powerful Rolodex"), the Gates initiative is the linchpin in bringing India into an agreement: "In particular, Mr. Gates’s renown in India as a tech founder and philanthropist gave the French and American governments a key emissary to get the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, on board with their climate goals."

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The enormous irony is that now one country -- India -- is responding to its past subjugation by the Western imperial program with this hugely self-damaging program, and another country that has struggled with its relationship to the Western imperial program -- Japan -- is doing everything it can to aid and abet.

(See INDIA: Lured into playing the "Great Power" Nuclear Game)

In the spirit of Bill Gates, I would like to ask: what would it look like if we REALLY upgraded our world?  What would it mean if all the great minds of the tech world tackled a life-and-death problem.

(See Upgrade Your World. Abolish Nuclear Weapons. )

Hibakusha is a word that has traditionally been used to refer to people affected by the nuclear blasts in Hiroshima and Nagaski.  It is now being broadened to recognize the many additional victims of acute affects of nuclear radiation (including fallout from tests and radioactivity from mining and processing). In fact, we are all subject to the impact and threat of nuclear radiation spread indiscriminately by nations and corporations.

(See HIROSHIMA: What does it mean to say, "We are ALL 'hibakusha'?")

2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (August 6 and 9, 2015). Let's do something about it: make a nuclear ban a reality.

(See TIME FOR A NUCLEAR BAN? On the 70th Anniversary of Hiroshima/Nagasaki )