Hawaiian wetlands for Navy dump

SUBHEAD: This military chemical dump proposal threatens Oahu's Ewa leeward shores.

By Kane Hili on 29 June 2017 for Kanehili News -
(http://kanehili.blogspot.com/2017/06/wetlands-navy-chemical-dump.html)


Image above: Site used by migratory and endangered Hawaiian birds has been gradually bulldozed over for Navy use as chemical dump. From original article.

In order to provide members of the community with another opportunity to learn about this site, the Navy will be holding an Open House at Ewa Beach Public and School Library at 7pm on Thursday, June 29, 2017. In addition, the Navy has extended the 30-day public comment period until July 21.

SEND COMMENTS TO:

Denise Emsley
Public Affairs Officer
Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii
400 Marshall Road
JBPHH HI 96860-3139
denise.emsley@navy.mil
808-221-6387 - cel

Ancient Hawaiian Wetlands - Navy Chemical Dump - Threatens Ewa Leeward Shores.



Feedback sought for Navy’s landfill cleanup

By William Cole on 27 June 2017 for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser
http://www.staradvertiser.com/2017/06/27/hawaii-news/more-feedback-sought-for-navys-landfill-cleanup-proposal/

The Navy is extending the public comment period on a proposal to spend $1.2 million to reduce potential exposure to chemicals at a Barbers Point landfill where asbestos and burned waste were dumped between 1942 and 1997. The surface soil contains antimony, lead and hydrocarbons that exceed state Department of Health standards, the Navy said. The Navy is proposing to add cover material, put in place erosion control measures and add perimeter warning signs at the site.

Under The Radar: Ancient Ewa Freshwater Karst Pond Wetlands- Navy PCB Toxic Waste Dump



Hiding all this from the public for at least 14 years (and more likely nearly three decades) with an under the radar "public notice" for comment, the Ewa-Kapolei community was shocked and surprised - no neighborhood board notice, no political reps apparently notified - HCDA apparently not notified.

PHOTOS Below show the chemical dump site's natural, cultural history and ecology more complicated than just simple localized chemical dump.

Here's what you likely don't know:
Thermal Desorption Treatment site of PCB-Contaminated Soil, PCB, DDT, Asbestos, Sludge and other hazardous materials brought in to be burned for nearly two decades, maybe more.

Now, the Navy is leaving and wants it off their books and off their inventory. Is what they plan to do sufficient considering future use, site natural, cultural, ecological geography and history?

Stockpiling of Asbestos, PCB and other toxic chemicals for 14 years (or more) without any analysis of heavy rains washing the materials down subsurface karst ancient coral reef waterway channels into the Leeward beach shorelines used for camping, fishing, parties, endangered seals, turtles, limu, etc.

Recent studies found that high levels of lead and other heavy metals on the surface were exposed by recent rains. They very likely have been washing into the shoreline beaches and fisheries for 10-15 years at minimum.

This site is directly adjacent to a Fish & Wildlife endangered species preserve where school children are regularly taken to observe and care take the rare native plants and Opae Ula native shrimp which live in the same underground coral reef brackish water that comes directly wind borne and via subsurface water from this toxic dump.

Karst ponds and underground channels act as storm drains during heavy rains.

The Navy wants to treat the site by covering it up with more soil, but environmental watchdogs say that's not enough.

A Kapolei landfill is more hazardous than initially thought as clean up options, costs vary

http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/35678630/exclusive-navy-kapolei-landfill-plans-debated

"If they were going to do anything, they should seal it up and treat it like a Brownfield site," Carroll Cox of Envirowatch Inc. said. (Ric Daysog, HNN Story)


This site is an identifiable ancient natural karst pond and wetlands and ancient Hawaiian habitation area. It was identified as wetlands and ancient Hawaiian sites in the major 1999 Tuggles research down for the closing of the Naval Air Station Barbers point.

https://triadcentral.clu-in.org/user/doc/TPP-BarbersPt-Thermal_Trmt.pdf

Thermal Desorption Treatment of PCB-Contaminated Soil.
Former Naval Air Station Barbers Point. Oahu, Hawaii.
Department of the Navy.

An estimated 26,306 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated soil from 100 sites
at various Navy installations on Oahu were sent to the site for treatment.
Soil from 21 sites totaling more than 5,600 cubic yards had been excavated and
processed through the NAVFAC Kalaeloa site (2003- to ?)

PCB Contaminated soils from military bases all over Oahu, including possibly Kaneohe MCBH where there have been lawsuits filed.

Site Used By Migratory and Endangered Hawaiian Birds

It still has visits by migratory birds, ducks. They have been gradually bulldozing over it but water keeps appearing. It's an ancient karst water pond but they always deny it.

What Chemicals Have Been Stockpiled There?

PCB- Short for polychlorinated biphenyl. A family of industrial compounds used as lubricants, heat-transfer fluids, and plasticizers. The manufacture and use of PCBs has been restricted since the 1970s because they are very harmful to the environment, being especially deadly to fish and invertebrates, and stay in the food chain for many years. Most of the toxic materials came from WW-II and 50's-60's era Oahu military bases.

PCB's are found in old electric power transformers as dielectric and coolant fluids. PCBs as definite carcinogens in humans. The maximum allowable contaminant level in drinking water in the United States is set at zero.

The North American producer, Monsanto Company, marketed PCBs under the trade name Aroclor from 1930 to 1977. The commercial production of PCBs started in 1929 but their use has been banned or severely restricted in many countries since the 1970s and 80s.

Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), DDT and other pesticides had been shown to cause cancer and that their agricultural use was a threat to wildlife, particularly birds. DDE is dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene-breakdown product of DDT.

DDD (DDT) is dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a class of chemicals that occur naturally in coal, crude oil, and gasoline. They also are produced when coal, oil, gas, wood, garbage, and tobacco are burned. Cancer is a primary human health risk of exposure to PAHs.[43] Exposure to PAHs has also been linked with cardiovascular disease and poor fetal development.

Total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) is a term used to describe a large family of several hundred chemical compounds that originally come from crude oil.

Also: residual sewage sludge (and what ELSE? we don't know?



Navy admits lapses in Red Hill flow studies

By William Cole on 24 June 2017 in the Honolulu Start Advertiser
http://www.staradvertiser.com/2017/06/24/hawaii-news/navy-admits-lapses-in-red-hill-flow-studies/?HSA=304b9c8e9f0c5c558bbad055d7d009ce4a60bb8f

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state Department of Health sent a June 7 letter criticizing the Navy for providing too little information on water flow modeling to determine where previously spilled fuel might end up, even though the Navy has spent almost two years on the environmental investigation.

A better understanding of groundwater flow patterns is a critical step in the investigation of contamination at Red Hill, the EPA said on its website.

“While most parties agree that groundwater generally flows from the mountains to the ocean, there are specific geologic characteristics in the area around Red Hill that may cause some groundwater to flow in directions other than directly towards the ocean,” the EPA said.


Location of the site in Google Maps

Running out the comment clock: Started May 23 - public was not aware.
Navy says they ran notice in daily newspaper which makes it "ok"
Claim they wanted "public comment" but seem to hope they get ZERO as this was
all Under The Radar.

Is there a plan to make this a new City trash dump that has been a hot
potato for many years? Politicians want all trash and toxic substances
dumped in West Oahu and "Wild West" back roads Kalaleoa are ideal. Is this next?

Only now is there admission of a remediation plan, however these toxic
substances were trucked in from all over Oahu since 2003 and stockpiled
for disposal. How much has all the waste leaked into the porous karst
caves and channels down into the shoreline food chain of limu, reef fish,
turtles, seals etc. ? It has all been kept a secret for at least 14 years.

Only discovered two weeks ago, information about the "public notice" and
"public meeting" was already well underway- started May 22 .

https://triadcentral.clu-in.org/user/doc/TPP-BarbersPt-Thermal_Trmt.pdf

Thermal Desorption Treatment of PCB-Contaminated Soil.
Former Naval Air Station Barbers Point. Oahu, Hawaii.
Department of the Navy.

An estimated 26,306 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated soil from 100 sites at various Navy installations on Oahu were sent to the site for treatment. Soil from 21 sites totaling more than 5,600 cubic yards had been excavated and processed through the NAVFAC Kalaeloa site (2003- to ?)

PCB Contaminated soils from military bases all over Oahu, including Kaneohe MCBH where there have been lawsuits filed.

Site At Kalaeloa Was Freshwater Pond Before WW-II, 2003 Navy Turned It Into Turned Into PCB Toxic Dump

Still visited by migratory birds, ducks. They have been gradually bulldozing over it but water keeps appearing. It's an ancient karst water pond wetlands but the Navy denies it. 1928 air photos show it was there before WW-II Navy airfield, then after base closure was turned into toxic waster disposal site because it was so far away and out of sight. Nobody ever asked any questions.



Feedback sought for Navy’s cleanup

By William Cole on 27 June 32017 for the Honolulu Star Advertiser -
http://www.staradvertiser.com/2017/06/27/hawaii-news/more-feedback-sought-for-navys-landfill-cleanup-proposal/

The Navy is extending the public comment period on a proposal to spend $1.2 million to reduce potential exposure to chemicals at a Barbers Point landfill where asbestos and burned waste were dumped between 1942 and 1997. The surface soil contains antimony, lead and hydrocarbons that exceed state Department of Health standards, the Navy said. The Navy is proposing to add cover material, put in place erosion control measures and add perimeter warning signs at the site.

Not one person in the entire community was informed about this Project Plan, including either of the two local neighborhood boards which is where nearly all community projects are presented and questions answered. No one with the Hawaii Community Development Authority were this Navy parcel is located was aware of this plan or the claimed public meeting. A call to all of the local offices of elected officials in the area revealed not one of them or their staff knew about any public meeting.
NOT AWARE OF NAVY REQUEST FOR PUBLIC COMMENT:
Elected leaders of the Neighborhood Board # 34
Hawaii Community Development Authority (Governor Appointed leaders)
State Senator(s) of the district and surrounding areas
State Representative(s) of the district and surrounding areas
City Council Members of the district and surrounding areas
Adjacent Neighborhood Boards (downstream of potential PCB run-off)
Hawaiian Cultural leaders in the area
Residents of the Kalaeloa community

Click on an image to enlarge. 

















Suits over toxic soil at Marine Base
SUBHEAD: Residents began to report problems with asthma, cancer and birth defects.

By Chad Blair on 14 December 2014 for Civil Beat -
http://www.civilbeat.org/2016/12/more-suits-filed-over-fears-of-toxic-soil-at-marine-corps-base-hawaii/

Sixty-four military families have now filed suit over fears of pesticide contamination near their homes at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe.


Five separate lawsuits were filed earlier this year by 44 families who said they were not told about the contamination near their homes. On Dec. 8, two more lawsuits were filed on behalf of 20 additional families.

The lawsuits name as defendants Forest City Residential Management and its former subsidiary, Ohana Military Communities, which is owned by military housing developer Hunt Companies.

All of the families leased residential housing at the base sometime from 2006 to 2014. The lawsuits are seeking damages from the defendants that own and manage privatized housing at the base. Ten other unidentified defendants are also named in the suits.


“Since at least 2006, defendants have systematically failed to warn military families of pesticide contamination at MCBH and knowingly and intentionally exposed military families at MCBH to unsafe conditions including higher rates of cancer and other adverse health outcomes without disclosing these risks to military families or taking sufficient steps to protect military families from such risks,” the new claims allege.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys, Kyle Smith and Terrance Revere, declined to comment, and a spokesperson for Ohio-based Forest City said the company does not comment on pending litigation.

The new cases were filed in 1st Circuit Court in Honolulu.

The concerns about potential soil contamination date to 2006, when Ohana Military Communities (then a subsidiary of Forest City) was demolishing homes and buildings. The developer discovered high levels of organochlorine pesticides left over from termite treatments.

Forest City completed a state Department of Health-approved pesticide management plan, which allowed for higher levels of carcinogenic pesticides than the Environmental Protection Agency generally recommends to remain in the surface soil. It was assumed that military families would not live on the base longer than six years, given the frequency or relocations.

But residents also began to report problems with asthma, cancer and birth defects.

Barber, the wife of a Marine Corps veteran who lived on the base for several years, was the lead plaintiff in the initial lawsuit against Forest City in 2014. Barber’s case was later settled out of court.
Meanwhile, Forest City and Hunt Companies have been seeking to prevent Barber’s attorneys — Smith and Revere — from representing some of the other current and former residents of military housing who have submitted mediation demands.

Goodsill Anderson Quinn and Stifel and another law firm, Cox Fricke, argue that Smith and Revere should be disqualified because they violated conflict of interest and professional conduct rules by allegedly soliciting clients in the contaminated soil case.

Another complication: The earlier lawsuits have been shifted from 1st Circuit Court to the U.S. District Court in Hawaii, a matter that is under dispute.

It’s possible that additional cases might be filed. In the meantime, the jurisdiction debate could be settled by February, at which time discovery in the court cases could commence.

It’s unclear how much the plaintiffs are seeking, as there are no dollar amounts indicated in the court filings.Damages for emotional distress are also sought.



Navy Seeks comment on waste plan

By William Cole on 16 June 2017 for Honolulu Star-Advertiser



The Navy is seeking public comment on a proposal to spend $1.2 million to reduce potential exposure to chemicals at a Barbers Point landfill where asbestos and burned municipal waste were in trash dumped between 1942 and 1997. Surface soil contains antimony, lead and hydrocarbons that exceed state Department of Health action levels, the Navy said. 

The Navy is proposing to add cover material, put in place erosion control measures, add perimeter warning signs and conduct a review every five years at the industrial site in an old coral pit south of Runway 11 at Kalaeloa Airport.

The Barbers Point Sanitary Landfill is adjacent to the site of a 2003-04 operation to cleanse more than 44,500 cubic yards of soil contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that were collected from 14 military installations around Oahu. A thermal treatment plant was brought in to bake the soil at 900 degrees to remove PCBs as sludge.

A coral pit used to generate fill and road-base material in the early 1940s was subsequently used for the landfill, the Navy said. “Bagged asbestos was reportedly disposed of at the site between 1976 and 1991,” the Navy said in a synopsis of the mitigation plan. “According to historic reports, municipal waste was burned and placed in the landfill, then covered with coralline soil from a nearby coral pit. A landfill cover of compacted gravel and sand was placed over the site prior to closure in 1997 as a final waste containment measure.”

A Navy review between 1994 and 1998 indicated that chemicals of potential concern were not present in concentrations that could pose a risk, but the report was reviewed in 2011 and found to have “data gaps” over the characterization of the surface soil, the Navy said.

Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, also known as Superfund, the Navy is responsible for the investigation and cleanup of contamination resulting from its past operations.

The landfill, consisting of about 4.8 acres, no longer is in operation, but is part of the Navy’s Solid Waste Management Facility, which takes in green waste and sewage sludge.

The landfill cover was maintained as a vegetated surface until 2009, when heavy rain caused flooding and erosion of the cover, the Navy said. Compost material was spread across the surface, but charred wood and plastic started to become visible.

The $1.2 million mitigation plan is the Navy’s “preferred” alternative among several being considered. The most expensive would be the $42 million removal and disposal of soil and debris down to 10 feet.

Ewa Beach historian John Bond said he has concerns over the contamination remaining in the ground. Army Air Corps photos from 1928 show a karst sinkhole pond mauka of the landfill site, and “anything you put in the ground there is going to leach right down into the water table and into the ocean,” he said.

Bond said the Navy mitigation plan is new to him and other community members and that further review of the alternatives is needed. The state Department of Health in December said it concurred with the Navy’s preferred plan.

.

A Plan to Beat Climate Change

SUBHEAD: Even if Donald Trump won't help experts have a plan to avoid complete disaster if we act.

By Nick Visser on 30 June 2017 for Huffington Post -
(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/climate-change-plan-2020_us_5955ef9ce4b0da2c73227dbe)

http://www.islandbreath.org/2017Year/06/170630chartbig.jpg
Image above: Chart of remaining "spendable" CO2 from the Global Carbon Project in original article and Nature. Click to enlarge.

The world has just a few years to scale back global carbon emissions to avoid the worst effects of climate change, a panel of leading experts and scientists warned this week. That goal may seem farfetched, but they say it is attainable.

The journal Nature published a statement Wednesday from a group of six climate experts urging the world to urgently reduce emissions in order to keep the planet from warming beyond safe limits that scientists established as part of the landmark Paris climate agreement. Dozens of prominent co-signers have also added their names to the statement.

The group, led by Christiana Figueres, the former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, has set a goal of 2020 to begin lowering emissions after a multiyear plateau. The experts said that despite growing antagonism from some parts of the world (like the U.S. under the Trump administration), the transition is still possible.

“When it comes to climate, timing is everything,” the authors write.

As several outlets note, the group points to basic math to rationalize the urgency of a target just three years away: The planet can probably only emit about 600 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere before temperatures rise beyond 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius.

Above that temperature, scientists say a slew of horrific effects would be seen around the planet, including heat waves, more intense weather events, rising seas and mass extinctions.

The authors estimate we only have about 15 years, maximum, before that allocation is exhausted, and it’d be near impossible to emit carbon for the next decade and a half and then immediately stop. Scientists warn the world is perilously close to missing targets if reductions aren’t locked in soon, and some say the Paris commitments aren’t even close to being strong enough.

“If the current rate of annual emissions stays at this level, we would have to drop them almost immediately to zero once we exhaust the budget,” the statement reads. “Such a ‘jump to distress’ is in no one’s interest.

A more gradual descent would allow the global economy time to adapt smoothly. The good news is that it is still possible to meet the Paris temperature goals if emissions begin to fall by 2020.”

Many of those negative climate impacts have already begun to take place ― even with the limited warming over the past century, the experts write:
After roughly 1°C of global warming driven by human activity, ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are already losing mass at an increasing rate. Summer sea ice is disappearing in the Arctic and coral reefs are dying from heat stress — entire ecosystems are starting to collapse. The social impacts of climate change from intensified heatwaves, droughts and sea-level rise are inexorable and affect the poorest and weakest first.
However, despite those fears, the group presents six goals they identify as “idealistic at best, unrealistic at worst” to achieve what they’re calling Mission 2020. The group has urged rapid investment in renewable energy to generate 30 percent of the world’s power by 2020, and said no new coal plants should be approved beyond that date. The experts called for 15 percent of all cars sold to be electric vehicles and for vast reforestation efforts to create a “carbon sink.” Other efforts would involve retooling investment in cities and business to favor environmental projects.

While those goals may seem unattainable, the authors note that optimism must be encouraged and efforts by the likes of President Donald Trump to withdraw America from the Paris Agreement will not stop a clean energy transition. Trump’s anti-climate agenda is likely to come to a fore during next week’s Group of 20 meeting, as a coalition led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel seeks to refocus attention on the issue, the nonprofit environmental news site Grist notes.

“Recent political events have thrown the future of our world into sharp focus. But as before Paris, we must remember that impossible is not a fact, it’s an attitude. It is crucial that success stories are shared. Demonstrating where countries and businesses have over-achieved on their targets will raise the bar for others. More-ambitious targets become easier to set,” the experts write in Journal.

“There will always be those who hide their heads in the sand and ignore the global risks of climate change. But there are many more of us committed to overcoming this inertia. Let us stay optimistic and act boldly together.”
.

Kauai hui sues DLNR over GMOs

SUBHEAD: To ensure that public lands are given the proper and environmental review before being leased out for commercial use. 

By Staff on 14 June 2017 for Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action -
(http://www.hapahi.org/news/2017/6/14/kauai-groups-sue-state-to-enforce-environmental-review-law)


Image above: "No Tresspass" sign on gate to public land leased to private corporations for experimenting with pesticides combined with genetically modified organisms sited on "reclaimed" wetlands close to nearby the ocean reefs and westside Kauai populations centers. What could go wrong? From (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maggie-sergio/gmo-pesticide-experiments_b_3513496.html).

A Kauai-based community group, Ke Kauhulu o Mana, have filed a lawsuit against the State Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and Syngenta.

The suit calls for enforcement of Hawaii Revised Statute (HRS) Chapter 343, which requires an environmental assessment (EA) or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for any significant actions or development proposed on publicly-owned, coastal and conservation-zoned lands.

In this instance, the lands in question are located on Kauai’s west side in Mana adjacent to the coast, about three quarters of a mile from the homes and community of Kekaha, and close to the frequent surfing and recreation beach, Targets.

The hui, Ke Kauhulu O Mana, is represented by west side residents Loui Cabebe and Punohu Kekaualua III. The plaintiffs include the Surfrider Foundation, Kohola Leo and the Hawai'i Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.).
“These lands are historically Hawaiian crown lands. According to the state Constitution, these lands are supposed to be held and protected as part of the public trust. The State of Hawai`i as the present caretaker of these lands needs to take that responsibility seriously. We are disappointed that to date, they have failed to do so. We feel compelled to take this legal action to ensure that the regulations designed to preserve and protect crown lands are respected, and that state agencies do their job and enforce those laws.”

- Loui Cabebe, long time west Kauai resident and representative of plaintiff group, Ke Kauhulu o Mana.
The plaintiffs are represented by public interest attorney, Lance Collins, who has a wide range of experience with a focus on good government, environmental protection and native Hawaiian law. Mr. Collins has brought a number of successful cases under HRS 343, most recently Kalepa v. Dept. of Transportation and Maalaea Community Assn v. Dept. of Housing & Human Concerns.

“This suit is being filed to ensure that sensitive, coastal, and publicly-owned lands zoned for conservation are given the proper and legally required environmental review prior to being leased out for private commercial use,” said Collins.

According to Collins, a thorough review evaluating direct, indirect and cumulative impacts which the law requires, has not been done.

The complaint further states that the proposed use of the lands may have significant negative impacts given the anticipated heavy application of Restricted Use Pesticides involved in the industrial farming of crops by Syngenta.

Syngenta has announced plans to sell its Hawai'i operations to the Wisconsin-based company, Hartung Brothers. However, media reports also indicate that Hartung Brothers will be contracted by Syngenta to perform the same activities currently conducted by Syngenta employees. Thus the environmental and health impacts will remain similar regardless of the named entity conducting day to day operations.

State must ensure that permittees abide by regulations and protect public lands

“These lands are historically Hawaiian crown lands. According to the state Constitution, these lands are supposed to be held and protected as part of the public trust,” says Loui Cabebe, a native Hawaian and long time West side resident and representative of the plaintiff group, Ke Kauhulu o Mana.

“The State of Hawaii as the present caretaker of these lands needs to take that responsibility seriously.

We are disappointed that to date, they have failed to do so. We feel compelled to take this legal action to ensure that the regulations designed to preserve and protect crown lands are respected, and that state agencies do their job and enforce those laws,” he added.

The complaint states that the DLNR must require and ensure the execution of a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) covering the lands currently being used by Syngenta.

Based on what is known of the company’s activities thus far, and because of the close proximity of the parcel in question to the ocean and its conservation designation, Syngenta’s use of the land will have significant impacts on the recreational use of the beach and near-shore waters, adjacent reef eco-systems, fishermen, surfers and endangered native species.

Area once considered for park expansion leased instead to Syngenta

In granting Syngenta its permit to utilize the lands the DLNR has stated the action is exempt from the requirements of HRS343 as no significant impacts are expected.  The complaint alleges this decision was made based on only a superficial review.  

That review is woefully inadequate in light of the area’s conservation zoning, its proximity to the coastline and the pesticide-intensive nature of the proposed use by Syngenta.

The complaint further points out that exemption to HRS343 was granted even though the Office of Hawaiian Affairs expressed concerns about possible burials in the area and even though Syngenta’s own federal permits indicate much of the work is done in areas that impact critical habitats of rare and endangered species.

The approximately 60 acre parcel comprises section 5(b) lands, which means they are held in public trust for the people of Hawai`i and are subject to native Hawaiian entitlements.  The area was previously identified by State agencies as ideal for future park expansion, but is now part of Syngenta’s approximately 3,000 acres of leased, publicly-owned crown lands on Kauai’s west side.

Pesticide-intensive industrial farming hazardous to health and the environment

The complaint argues that a full EIS is needed given the scale and nature of the planned industrial farming activities which are distinctly different from the operations of local farmers in several ways.

First and foremost, these large scale actions are occurring on state-owned conservation lands situated in a sensitive coastal environment.

Secondly they involve the heavy application of restricted use pesticides (RUP). Thirdly, night-time activity involving the use of bright lights is known to impact endangered species such as the ‘a’o (Newell’s Shearwater) and ua’u (Hawaiian Petrel). The Kauai Endangered Seabird Recovery Project has reported that between 1993 and 2013, populations of the ‘a’o declined by 94 percent while the ua’u declined by 78 percent.

The federal permits held by Syngenta to grow experimental crops state clearly that the activity is occurring in areas where critical habitats for endangered species exist.

The case will be heard in the environmental court on Kaua‘i, presided over by the Hon. Randal Valenciano.

.

When the Deal Goes Down

SUBHEAD: Stresses and tensions are a’buildin’ and the time for being a nation of feckless idiots is drawing to a close.

By James Kunstler on 30 June 2017 for Kunstler.com -
(http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/when-the-deal-goes-down/)


Image above: Oil painting "Feeding the Baby" by Mark Bryan, 2017 subtitled "Baby Trump loves Bannon’s Total...itarian Bullshit. He wants you to have some too." From (https://www.artofmarkbryan.com/feeding-the-baby-trump-bannon-art/).

Who needs Russia when the Tweety-Bird-in-Chief is hacking his own presidency into a global joke? Or at least it might be a joke if the USA weren’t such a menace to international order, and to itself, by the way. Interestingly, the 25th amendment allows for the removal of a president from office on account of incompetence or disability, but not for being an embarrassment to the nation.

They may come after him anyway with the 25th, especially as the financial system unravels later this year, because this time, unlike 2008-9, central bank interventions will not avail to rescue the faltering money system from nine years of previous central bank interventions.

All it takes is for the “liquidity” flows to seize up and before you know it, there’s no food in the supermarkets because everything in our just-in-time economy is exquisitely calibrated to the sure expectation of getting paid, and when that goes, it all goes.

Then the question arises: well, can’t you just re-start the liquidity flows? Not when the process requires another abracadabra magic act of summoning X-trillions of dollars out of absolutely nothing when the previous X-trillions created out of absolutely nothing are rushing at warp speed into the black hole of deleveraging because it has been discovered that the “loans” they were based on can never be paid back, not in this universe or any number of universes like it. In a word, they’re worthless.

Deleveraging is the polite term economists give to your net worth rapidly evaporating. Liquidity is the polite term for cash money and things denominated in them that can readily be converted into cash money. The problem with the kind of liquidity-creation solution to deleveraging is that it rapidly leads to money itself becoming worthless.

The preview of coming attractions is currently playing out in Illinois — soon to be joined by Connecticut, California, Kentucky, and many other bankrupt states. Illinois is dead broke. It can’t pay the contractors who fix things like roads and storm drains, and supply food to its prisons.

It’s over $200-billion deep in pension obligations that will never be honored. Its Medicaid system is a shambles. It doesn’t even have the cash-on-hand to pay lottery winners (what happened to all the cash paid into the lottery by the suckers who didn’t win, which is supposed to pay off the winners?). The state legislature hasn’t passed a budget in three years.

The governor and the mayor of Chicago and everybody else nominally in charge have no idea what they’re going to do about it. Think the federal government is going to just step in and save the day there?

They’d have to bail out every other foundering state and that’s just not going to happen, especially with that same federal government about to run out of cash money itself, with no resolution of the debt ceiling controversy that might allow it to even pretend to borrow more money by issuing treasury bonds that are instantly bought by the Federal Reserve — which, of course, is not an official government agency but a private banking consortium contracted to manage the nation’s money.

Do you begin to see the outlines of the clusterfuck rising like a bad moon over the harvest season of 2017? The American people, by and large, have no more idea how false and fragile the financial arrangements of the nation are than the average eight-year-old has about why the re-po squad is towing away Daddy’s Ford-F150.

We’re just doing what we always do: gittin’ our summer on. Breaking out the potato salad and the Bud Lites — at least those who have enough mojo left in their MasterCards to charge the party supplies.

An awful lot of Americans must be maxed out, though, people who actually used to work at things and get paid for it.

Each one of them is a walking Illinois now, facing each dawning day with a bigger load of problems, more things they can’t pay for, and moving closer to the dreadful day when everything is gone, every chattel, every knickknack, the very roof over their head, and most particularly the belief that they live in a fair and decent society.

So, I wonder what we’re going to do with a Tweety-Bird-in-Chief in the White House when this deal goes down. Stresses and tensions are out there a’buildin’ and the time for being a nation of feckless idiots is drawing to a close. The sad thing is: it wasn’t even fun while it lasted.



Trump to Unleash Trade War

SUBHEAD: Trump - true to his campaign promises - is set to launch a global trade wars after all,

By Tyler Durden on 30 June 2017 for Zero Hedge -
(http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-30/trump-overrules-cabinet-prepares-unleash-global-trade-war)

While one of Trump's recurring campaign promises was that he would "punish" China and other key US trade counterparties if elected, for taking advantage of free-trade by imposing steep tariffs and duties on foreign imports to "level the playing field", the President's stance changed drastically after the election, U-turning following his amicable meeting with China's president Xi Jinping in March, but mostly as a result of pressure by his ex-Goldman advisors to keep existing trade arrangements in place and not "rock the boat."

Now, all that may be about to fall apart.

According to Axios, behind the constant media scandals, "one of the most consequential and contentious internal debates of his presidency unfolded during a tense meeting Monday in the Roosevelt Room of the White House" where with "more than 20 top officials present, including Trump and Vice President Pence, the president and a small band of America First advisers made it clear they're hell-bent on imposing tariffs — potentially in the 20% range — on steel, and likely other imports."

In other words, Trump - true to his campaign promises - is set to launch a global trade wars after all, one where then main country impacted would be China, however the collateral damage would extend to Canada, Mexico, Japan, Germany and the UK.



There will be another financial crisis?

SUBHEAD: We are already seeing the early warning signs with delinquency rates rising and commercial lending on the decline.

By Robert Lance on 29 June 2017 for Real Investment Advise -
(https://realinvestmentadvice.com/yes-ms-yellen-there-will-be-another-financial-crisis/)

[IB Publsiher's note: To see the several charts relating to this article, please click on link above for original article.]

Janet Yellen, Federal Reserve Chair, recently stated;
“Will I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? No, probably that would be going too far. But I do think we’re much safer and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don’t believe it will.”
That is a pretty bold statement to make considering that every one of her predecessors failed to predict the negative consequences of their actions.

Will there will be another “Financial Crisis” in our lifetimes?

Yes, it is virtually guaranteed.
The previous “crisis” wasn’t about just “an asset gone bad,” but rather the systemic shock caused by a “freeze” in the credit markets when Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. Counterparties evaporated, banks froze lending and the credit market ceased to function.

Credit, not the stock market, is the “lifeblood” of the economy.

Of course, it is all good now because the Federal Reserve says so with Ms. Yellen placing a great amount of faith in the Federal Reserve’s own carefully constructing, and recently released results, of “bank stress tests.” Interestingly, EVERY bank passed with flying colors.

In other words, the Millennial generation has now passed the baton of “Everybody Gets A Trophy” to the banking sector.
“Test results released by the Federal Reserve show that the 34 institutions under scrutiny have enough capital to make it through the two scenarios regulators posed — one akin to the financial crisis and another entailing a shallower downturn.
Under the scenarios, the banks tested ‘would experience substantial losses.’ However, in total, the institutions ‘could continue lending to businesses and households, thanks to the capital built up by the sector following the financial crisis.’
In the most severe scenario, bank losses are projected to be $493 billion. In the less severe, the losses were put at $322 billion.”
This passage of the “test” by every bank, of course, is based on several faulty assumptions including:
  • FASB Rule 157 is still repealed allowing banks to mythically mark bad assets to “face value” which makes balance sheets stronger than they appear. So, how do you know what “toxic assets” still exist?
  • There is roughly $2 Trillion of excess reserves supporting banks which will evaporate IF the Fed actually commences with shrinking their bloated balance sheet. 
  • The worst case scenario only accounted for a “doubling” of the unemployment rate, or 8.6% from current levels, despite the fact we have an exceptionally low labor force participation rate and a surge to more than 10% is quite likely in the next recession. 
  • With more leverage in the system than at any point any previous history, and banks inextricably linked to the financial markets, just how sensitive are the tests to another “worst case scenario?”
What was NOT included in the test was another “Financial Crisis” scenario which SHOULD be the baseline of the stress tests to begin with. Unemployment rates of 15% or more, asset price declines of 50% and default rates of 20% or greater on outstanding debt should be the baseline by which you stress test financial systems against another systemic shock.

The Federal Reserve is once again engaging in very faulty thinking by believing the system will operate normally during a more severe economic scenario.

It isn’t just the losses projected on the banking sector in terms of defaulting loans that are the problem, but also the collapse in the asset markets when defaults ramp sharply as recessionary pressures build.

Most assuredly, lenders will immediately shut off access to capital leading to another “freeze” in the credit system. (Not to mention the sharp losses in market capitalization due to share price declines.)

Here is why Janet Yellen is wrong in believing another “Financial Crisis” can’t occur.

Catalyst 1: Delinquency & Defaults

We are already seeing the early warning signs with delinquency rates rising and commercial lending on the decline in both consumer and commercial and industrial loans.

Of course, as I noted above, once delinquency and default rates begin to rise, the first thing banks tend to do is to stop lending. Naturally, as banks shut off capital to businesses, private investment begins to slow which reduces employment and leads to slower economic growth.

Of course, this also includes the credit problems of the collapse in Commercial Real Estate which is grossly leveraged at a time when prices have begun to stagnate with an oversupply of inventory sitting on the ground.

Catalyst 2: Leverage & Robots

It isn’t just bank loans which will catalyze the coming financial crisis. It is also, be the massive surge in debt and leverage over the last eight years including student loans, credit cards, corporate debt and margin loans. As I discussed recently in the “Illusion Of Liquidity:”
“The illusion of liquidity has a dangerous side effect. The process of the previous two debt-deleveraging cycles led to rather sharp market reversions as margin calls, and the subsequent unwinding of margin debt fueled a liquidation cycle in financial assets. The resultant loss of the ‘wealth effect’ weighed on consumption pushing the economy into recession which then impacted corporate and household debt leading to defaults, write-offs, and bankruptcies.”
“With the push lower in interest rates, the assumed ‘riskiness’ of piling on leverage was removed. However, while the cost of sustaining higher debt levels is lower, the consequences of excess leverage in the system remains the same.”
You will notice in the chart above, that even relatively small deleveraging processes had significant negative impacts on the economy and the financial markets. With total system leverage spiking to levels never before witnessed in history, it is quite likely the next event that leads to a reversion in debt will be just as damaging to the financial and economic systems.

Of course, when you combine leverage into investor crowding into “passive indexing,” the risk of a “disorderly unwinding of portfolios” due to the lack of market liquidity becomes an issue. As Mark Carney, head of the BOE, recently opined:
“Market adjustments to date have occurred without significant stress. However, the risk of a sharp and disorderly reversal remains given the compressed credit and liquidity risk premia. As a result, market participants need to be mindful of the risks of diminished market liquidity, asset price discontinuities and contagion across asset markets.’”
At some point, that reversion process will take hold. It is then investor “psychology” will collide with “margin debt” and ETF liquidity. As I noted in my podcast with Peak Prosperity:
“It will be the equivalent of striking a match, lighting a stick of dynamite and throwing it into a tanker full of gasoline.”
When the “robot trading algorithms” begin to reverse, it will NOT BE a slow and methodical process but rather a stampede with little regard to price, valuation or fundamental measures as the exit will become very narrow.

Importantly, as prices decline it will trigger margin calls which will induce more indiscriminate selling. The forced redemption cycle will cause catastrophic spreads between the current bid and ask pricing for ETF’s.

As investors are forced to dump positions to meet margin calls, the lack of buyers will form a vacuum causing rapid price declines which leave investors helpless on the sidelines watching years of capital appreciation vanish in moments.

Catalyst 3: Pensions

Lastly, and a point clearly missed by Ms. Yellen in her quest to dismiss financial crisis risks, is the $3 Trillion “Pension Crisis” that is just one sharp downturn away from imploding. The cresting of the “baby boom” generation now puts these massively underfunded pensions at risk of a “run on assets” during the next downturn which could send the entire system into chaos.

Of course, this problem can be directly traced to the malfeasance of pension fund managers, and pension boards, which used excessively high return rates to lower costs of contributions.
“Pension computations are performed by actuaries using assumptions regarding current and future demographics, life expectancy, investment returns, levels of contributions or taxation, and payouts to beneficiaries, among other variables. The biggest problem, following two major bear markets and sub-par annualized returns since the turn of the century, is the expected investment return rate.
Using faulty assumptions is the lynch-pin to the inability to meet future obligations. By over-estimating returns, it has artificially inflated future pension values and reduced the required contribution amounts by individuals and governments paying into the pension system.
It is the same problem for the average American who plans on getting 6-8% return a year on their 401k plan, so why save money. Which explains why 8-out-of-10 American’s are woefully underfunded for retirement.”
The chart below demonstrates the problem pensions face today. The chart shows a $1000 investment into the S&P 500 TOTAL return from 1995 to present. There is a substantial difference between a dollar-weighted outcome in markets versus just looking at a market-capitalization weighted index return. I have then projected for using variable rates of market returns with cycling bull and bear markets, out to 2060 along with projections of 8%, 7%, 6%, 5% and 4% average rates of return from 1995 out to 2060.

See the problem here. The average rate of return growth is far above what markets are expected to return over a long period of time. But this has not deterred pension funds from clinging on to exceptionally high return rates. According to a recent report from the Hoover Institution:
Despite the introduction of new accounting standards, the vast majority of state and local governments continue to understate their pension costs and liabilities by relying on investment return assumptions of 7-8 percent per year. This report applies market valuation to pension liabilities for 649 state and local pension funds. Considering only already-earned benefits and treating those liabilities as the guaranteed government debt that they are, I find that as of FY 2015 accrued unfunded liabilities of U.S. state and local pension systems are at least $3.846 trillion, or 2.8 times more than the value reflected in government disclosures. Furthermore, while total government employer contributions to pension systems were $111 billion in 2015, or 4.9 percent of state and local government own revenue, the true annual cost of keeping pension liabilities from rising would be approximately $289 billion or 12.7 percent of revenue. Applying the principles of financial economics reveals that states have large hidden unfunded liabilities and continue to run substantial hidden deficits by means of their pension systems.”
If the numbers above are right, the unfunded obligations of approximately $4-$5 trillion, depending on the estimates, would have to be set aside today such that the principal and interest would cover the program’s shortfall between tax revenues and payouts over the next 75 years.

That ain’t gonna happen.

As Axel Merk recently penned:
“So while the banks may not need a bailout, I’m not so sure about pension funds or individual investors. Yet, ‘needing a bailout’ and actually getting one are different stories.”
Axel is right. When the next major bear market comes growling, the “financial crisis” won’t be secluded to just sub-prime auto loans, student loans, and commercial real estate. The real crisis comes when there is a “run on pensions” when the “fear” prevails that benefits will be lost entirely.

As George Will recently wrote:
“The problems of state and local pensions are cumulatively huge. The problems of Social Security and Medicare are each huge, but in 2016 neither candidate addressed them, and today’s White House chief of staff vows that the administration will not ‘meddle’ with either program. Demography, however, is destiny for entitlements, so arithmetic will do the meddling.”
Ms. Yellen is wrong about the next financial crisis. The only question is the timing and magnitude of its occurrence?


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Giant A380 jets coming to Honolulu

SUBHEAD: It will cost the state of Hawaii $30 million for airport to accommodate these giant planes.

By Blaze Lovell on 29 June 2017 for Civil Beat -
(http://www.civilbeat.org/2017/06/these-giant-honu-planes-will-cost-hawaii-30m-to-accommodate/)


Image above: Five hundred seat European built Airbus 380 dwarfs a Boeing 747.  From (http://imgprix.com/wallpaper/airbus-a380/1920x1080).

[IB Publisher's note: We think the state would do better to prepare its harbors for future ship travel between islands and to mainland sites.]

All Nippon Airways wants to fly the world’s largest aircraft to Honolulu, and the state of Hawaii is on board.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation plans to spend up to $30 million to outfit two gates at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport to serve the world’s largest commercial jumbo jet.

Officials believe accommodating All Nippon Airways’ huge plane may be worth the expense, however, due to potential increases in airport revenue and tourism.

The double-decker Airbus A380 has an average capacity of about 500 passengers, while the Japanese airline’s current planes flying to Honolulu carry up to 216 passengers. The Hawaii Tourism Authority estimates that Japanese tourists spend an average of $242.60 a day while they’re in the islands.

To accommodate the A380, the transportation department will expand a seating area in the international terminal, create a food court and build additional jet bridges at two gates to give passengers access to and from the plane’s second level.

Outside the terminal, the aircraft parking area will be reconfigured to accommodate the A380’s 80-meter wingspan. Baggage areas will also be expanded to accommodate the bigger load of passengers.

The improvements, which should begin in 2018 and finish in 2019, are part of a larger project to update the airport, said transportation department spokesman Tim Sakahara.


Image above: All Nippon Airways painted the A380 to look like Hawaiian sea turtle (honu). From Civil Beat article.

All Nippon Airways’ “Flying Honu,” one of the airlines’ three A380s, will start flying to Honolulu in 2019. The plane’s fuselage will be wrapped with an image of Hawaii’s most famous reptile, the sea turtle. The plane is powered by four Rolls Royce engines and has a maximum takeoff weight of 1.2 million pounds.

The transportation department has put out a bid for the gate project and has not received any responses yet. Sakahara said that the final cost may fluctuate depending on contract negotiations.

Honolulu will be the ninth U.S. airport to have facilities capable of docking the A380. The others include Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, Seattle and John F. Kennedy in New York City.

Bringing The Honu To Hawaii
Gov. David Ige met with All Nippon Airways officials to discuss flying the A380 to Hawaii during his trip to Japan in late 2015.

Cindy McMillan, a spokeswoman for the governor’s office, said that ANA executives promised to commit more planes to Hawaii if the state could make the improvements to service the ANA’s aircraft. Shortly after Ige’s visit, ANA placed an order for three A380s, the first requisitions Airbus received for the giant planes since 2013.

Sakahara said the governor then asked the transportation department to start studying what it would take to upgrade the airport to accommodate the plane.

“This is a strategically important move for Hawaii,” McMillan said. She said that in the future, other carriers may use the gates to fly in double-deckers, giving residents more travel options.


No other air carrier has expressed interest in flying the A380 to Honolulu so far, Sakahara said. Of the 20-plus airlines with service to Honolulu, only Korean Air and Qantas, which serves Australia, currently have the planes in their fleets.

Boeing recently acknowledged at the Paris Air Show that it sees no future in passenger travel for its version of the A380, the 747. It intends to make new 747s only for cargo transportation.

Though sales for smaller, twin-engine craft have trumped the A380 in recent years, Michael Boyd, president of the Colorado-based Boyd Group, which provides aviation consultation, said the gate upgrades will be worth the cost.

“Honolulu is the perfect market for the A380,” Boyd said. “It’s almost an imperative. Honolulu is facing a lot of competition around the world for the Japanese dollar.”

ANA currently flies 14 to 16 flights per week between Japan and Honolulu on Boeing 767s, which carry up to 216 passengers. The airline plans to replace its 767s with the new 787, which holds 240 people, on Honolulu routes even before it starts flying A380s to Oahu.

On average, the Honolulu flights are 90 percent full, airline executives said earlier this year, the Japan Times reported.

ANA has not said whether the A380s will replace smaller planes for all of its Honolulu flights once the airport renovations are completed. Either way, the A380 should increase the net amount of tourism dollars spent in Hawaii, said Eric Takahata, managing director for Hawaii Tourism Japan.

He said the total number of passengers arriving on ANA’s A380s aren’t as significant as the greater amount of money those passengers will spend. Airlines are reducing their economy classes to add more first class, business and premium economy passengers.

“If we can tax the infrastructure less but maintain or increase spending, that’s what we are aiming toward,” Takahata said.

ANA representatives could not be reached for comment.

Paying For The Upgrades
The state’s capital improvements budget allows the transportation department to spend up to $30 million just on improving the two gates.

Sakahara said the final cost of the project will depend on the construction contracts.

The Legislature approved a total of $446.6 million in capital improvements at the airport over the next two years.

The department will pay for the improvements to accommodate the A380s through bonds financed with airport revenue.

Wesley Machida, director for the Hawaii State Department of Finance, said that most of the airport’s $353 million in revenue from 2016 came from concessions, landing fees and rentals.

The airport brought in $145.5 million from vendors like car rental companies and restaurants. Airlines paid $66 million in usage fees (companies with heavier planes like the A380 would need to pay more, because the charges are based on weight).

Also, $115.4 million came from rentals of aeronautical facilities such as hangars. Non-aeronautical rentals such as storage for goods brought in $15.8 million.

Before the transportation department makes decisions on airport improvement projects, Sakahara said it communicates with airport tenants, as well as the Airlines Committee of Hawaii, which includes representatives of 20 airlines that operate in the state.

In regards to the A380 gate project, the department “wouldn’t have made these improvements unless an airline needs these improvements.”

It’s not yet clear how much additional revenue the airport will receive from A380 flights.

However, what the plane carries may be more of an economic advantage for Hawaii than the plane itself.

Each year, about 1.5 million tourists fly from Japan to Hawaii, and that amount is expected to increase to 1.6 million by the time ANA’s Flying Honu starts touching down in 2019. But because ANA hasn’t indicated how many A380 routes will fly to Honolulu, there are no specific estimates yet of the plane’s impact on tourism.

Tourists from Japan produce about $400 million in revenue for Hawaii’s tourism industry each year.

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Australia ignores climate risks

FSUBHEAD: The country's government  has shirked responsibility to its people's health and future.

By Ian Dunlopon 26 June 2107 for Resilience -
(http://www.resilience.org/stories/2017-06-26/australia-ignores-risks-shirks-moral-responsibility-on-climate/)


Image above: Uncontrolled bushfire in 2015 burns among the hills of Adalaide, Australia. From original article.

The first responsibility of a government is to safeguard the people and their future wellbeing.

The ability to do so is increasingly threatened by human-induced climate change, the accelerating impacts of which are driving political instability and conflict globally. 

 Climate change poses an existential risk to humanity which, unless addressed as an emergency, will have catastrophic consequences.

An existential risk is an adverse outcome that would either annihilate intelligent life or permanently and drastically curtail its potential.

In military terms, Australia and the adjacent Asia-Pacific region is considered to be “Disaster Alley”, where the most extreme impacts are already being experienced.

These risks are either not understood or willfully ignored at the leadership level in Australia, which is a profound failure of imagination, far worse than that which triggered the Global Financial Crisis in 2008.

The management of existential risk cannot be handled with conventional, reactive, learn-from-failure techniques. We only play this game once, so we must get it right first time.

This should mean an honest, objective look at the real risks to which we are exposed, guarding especially against the more extreme possibilities which would have consequences damaging beyond quantification, and which human civilization as we know it would be lucky to survive.

Instead, the climate and energy policies adopted by successive Australian governments over the last twenty years, largely driven by ideology and corporate fossil fuel interests, have deliberately refused to acknowledge this existential threat to our future well-being, as the shouting match over the wholly inadequate reforms proposed by the Finkel Review demonstrates only too well.

Our leaders have access to the best possible scientific advice and to the overwhelming evidence that we have badly underestimated both the speed and extent of climate change impact.

 In such circumstances, to ignore this threat is a fundamental breach of the fiduciary responsibility with which political, bureaucratic and corporate leaders are entrusted by the community they are supposed to serve.

A hotter planet has already taken us perilously close to, and in some cases over, tipping points which will cause profound changes in major climate systems: at the polar ice-caps, in the oceans, and the large permafrost carbon stores.

Physical impacts of global warming include a hotter and more extreme climate, more frequent and severe droughts, desertification, increasing insecurity of food and water supplies, stronger storms and cyclones, and coastal inundation.

Climate change was a significant factor in triggering the war in Syria, the Mediterranean migrant crisis and the “Arab Spring”, albeit this aspect is rarely discussed.

Our current global carbon emission trajectory, if left unchecked, will drive increasingly severe humanitarian crises, forced migrations, political instability and conflicts.

Australia is not immune, domestically or regionally.

We already have extended heat waves above 40oC, catastrophic bushfires, intense storms and flooding. The regional impacts do not receive much attention but they are striking hard at vulnerable communities in Asia and the Pacific, forcing them into a spiral of dislocation and migration. 

Impacts on China and South Asia will have profound consequences for employment and financial stability in Australia.

In the absence of emergency action to reduce Australian and global emissions far faster than currently proposed, the level of disruption and conflict will escalate to the point that outright regional chaos is likely.

Militarized solutions will not be effective. Australia is failing in its duty to its own people, and as a world citizen, by downplaying these implications and in shirking its responsibility to act.

Yet people understand climate risks, even as political leaders wilfully underplay or ignore them. 84% of 8000 people in eight countries recently surveyed for the Global Challenges Foundation consider climate change a “global catastrophic risk”.

The figure for Australia was 75%. Many people now see climate change as a bigger threat than other concerns such as epidemics, weapons of mass destruction and the rise of artificial intelligence threats.

So what is to be done if our leaders are incapable of rising to the task?

First, establish a high-level climate and conflict task-force in Australia to urgently assess the existential risks of climate change, and develop risk-management techniques and policy appropriate to that challenge.

Second, recognise that climate change is now a global emergency which threatens human civilization, and contribute to building practical steps internationally for a coordinated global emergency response.

Third, launch a domestic emergency initiative to decarbonise the economy no later than 2030 and build the capacity to drawdown carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Fourth, build more resilient communities domestically, and also in the most vulnerable nations regionally by high-level commitments and development assistance; build a flexible capacity to support communities in likely hotspots of instability and conflict; and rethink refugee governance accordingly.

Fifth, ensure that Australia’s defence forces and government agencies are fully aware of and prepared for this changed environment; and ensure their abilities to provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

Sixth, establish a national leadership group, outside conventional politics, drawn from across society, charged with implementing the national climate emergency program.

A pious hope in current circumstances? Our leaders clearly do not want the responsibility to secure our future.

So “Everything becomes possible, particularly when it is unavoidable”.

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Heatwave melts Arizona

SUBHEAD: Much of the man-made landscape there is petroleum based plastic and now Climate Change is melting it.

By Tyler Durden on 26 June 2017 for Zero Hedge -
(http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-25/epic-pictures-arizonas-heatwave-everything-literally-melting)


Image above: Extreme Heat on 21 June 12017 means the temperature map of Arizona almost runs out of colors on it legend past 120ยบ Fahrenheit. Looks a bit like the surface of Mars. From original article.

Ask any Arizonan whether their summers are more tolerable because "it's a dry heat" and you're likely to be asked to turn your oven to 150 degrees, stick your head inside for 20 minutes and report back as to whether or not the humidity within the oven ever crossed you mind. Probably not.


Image above: Yes, it is so hot that you may need oven mittens to drive around in the sun in Arizona. From original article.

Arizonans have learned to cope with the "dry heat," this summer has been particularly brutal for people living in the Southwest as temperatures have already soared to over 120 degrees in certain areas. What's worse, it's only June.


Image above: A petroleum based mailbox fails in the sun from the weight of mail made up of bills and credit card offers. Note condition of "grass" lawn about to become blowing sand. From original article.


Image above: In Tempe, Arizona a trash bin becomes trash itself due to high temperatures. Ironically, most of the trash appears to be packaging for refrigerated food that exacerbates the heat. From original article.

And while the heatwave may not be that fun for the people living through it, it does making for some amazing pictures of stuff melting.


Image above: Towards sunset the heat damage to the plastic yard fence can be surveyed in this suburban neighborhood. Looks like something out of a horror movie. From original article.

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US in Afghanistan blocking peace

SUBHEAD: Comments from Taliban chief come as Pentagon weighs sending an additional 4,000 troops to Afghanistan.

By Andrea Germano on 23 June 2017 for Common Dreams -
(https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/06/23/us-occupation-afghanistan-main-obstacle-peace-taliban#)


Image above: US Army Hummer stuck in the sand in southern Afghanistan. From (https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/never-ending-book-war/).

The U.S. occupation of Afghanistan is "the main obstacle" to peace, the Taliban's leader said Friday.

In his comments to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada also denounced the plan to increase number of U.S. troops in the country, and accused the U.S. and its allies of "destabilizing the whole region."

The Pentagon is reportedly weighing sending an additional 4,000 troops to Afghanistan. Akhundzada appeared to reference that development, saying, "The more they insist on maintaining the presence of their forces here or want a surge of their forces, the more regional sensitivity against them will intensify."

"Americans should understand that continuation of war in Afghanistan, upsurge of bombardment ... will never usher in success for them. The Afghans are not a people to kowtow to someone," he said.

Echoing previous comments made by the Taliban, he said, "The occupation is the main obstacle in the way of peace." He added that "constructive and good relations with you and the world" would follow a withdrawal of forces.

U.S. based activists have also criticized the proposal to send more troops as "escalating this endless war."

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: US anti-terrorism strategy backfires 6/22/17
Ea O Ka Aina: United States of Permanent War 2/26/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Stop War for Christmas 12/24/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Real Soldiers Just Say No 9/3/09.

The End Begins

SUBHEAD: New York's "Billionaires Row" suffers biggest foreclosure in its history.

By Tyler Durden on 23 June 2017 for Zero Hedge  -
(http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-23/new-yorks-billionaires-row-suffers-biggest-foreclosure-history)


Image above: And perhaps most impressive is the view of Central Park — waking up to this everyday is worth $100 million.From (http://www.businessinsider.com/inside-one57s-100-million-penthouse-2015-1#and-perhaps-most-impressive-is-the-view-of-central-park--waking-up-to-this-everyday-is-worth-100-million-10).

In the latest sign that NYC’s ultra-high end property market is on the verge of imploding after a wave of overly aggressive development, another luxury condo at Manhattan’s One57 tower, a member of “Billionaire’s Row,” a group of high-end towers clustered along the southern edge of Central Park, has gone into foreclosure - the second in the span of a month.

The 6,240-square-foot (580-square-meter) full-floor penthouse in question, One57’s Apartment 79, sold for $50.9 million in December 2014, making it the eighth-priciest in the building.
“It’s probably the most-expensive foreclosure we’ve ever seen in luxury development,” said Donna Olshan, president of high-end Manhattan brokerage Olshan Realty Inc. “I don’t know of a foreclosure that’s larger than that.”
According to Bloomberg, the shell company that purchased the property took out an unusually large mortgage and promised to repay in full a year later.
In September 2015, the company took out a $35.3 million mortgage from lender Banque Havilland SA, based in Luxembourg. The full payment of the loan was due one year later, according to court documents filed in connection with the foreclosure.

The borrower failed to repay, and now Banque Havilland is forcing a sale to recoup the funds, plus interest.
And, in what’s become a strong contender for the “no sh*t” quote of the day, a spokeswoman for Extell Developments, the developer that built One57, said there' s a lesson to be learned from this unfortunate situation.
“This shows that too much leverage is probably not wise,” Anna LaPorte, an Extell spokeswoman, said of the most recent default.


Image above: Ninety stories of multimillion dollar apartments is a new record in NYC real estate. Evan Joseph/Extell Development. From (http://www.businessinsider.com/inside-one57s-100-million-penthouse-2015-1#of-the-26-units-sold-so-far-only-half-of-the-buyers-are-known-they-include-head-of-bdo-unicon-group-andrey-dubinsky-and-president-of-swanson-health-products-leland-swanson-2).

A June 14th auction was scheduled for a 56th-floor apartment at the same tower. That condo was purchased in July 2015 for $21.4 million. Public records have yet to reveal any transfer of ownership for that property.

Investors across the NYC property spectrum should take note; prices in Manhattan and Brooklyn have risen so quickly they’ve effectively pushed marginal buyers out of the market and forced renters to devote a greater share of their income to housing.

Today, more than 30% of Americans pay half their income in rent - the highest percentage in decades.

And with more investors in the city concentrating on luxury properties, some ultra-luxury buildings like One57 are struggling with unsustainable vacancy rates of nearly 40%.

Until last month, no apartments on Billionaires’ Row, which also includes 432 Park Ave., had been subject to a foreclosure auction, according to PropertyShark. The loss of a Manhattan residential property to creditors is a rare event, regardless of the unit's price-tag: Only 27 new residential foreclosures in the borough in the first quarter.

Could this be the start of a trend? We think so. Which leads us to our next question: How, exactly, does one short the luxury real-estate market?

We also look forward to The Left deciding that a probe into this transaction is warranted, just in case it was some complex way to transfer Russian funds to Trump... (only half-kidding).
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