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New Greenpeace International Executive Director Dr Kumi Naidoo (centre)

Greenpeace's head Kumi Naidoo took centre stage this Sunday to address the issue of climate change skepticism in an interview with Andrew Maar in the BBC. He said that errors in the IPCC (International Panel for Climate Change) report on the consequences of climate change had been taken out of proportion whilst other facts, which are key to understanding the very basis of climate change, could have been downplayed. He said that this gave him a sense of 'deja vu' as scientists in South Africa (Kumi's homeland) actually denied the HIV Aids link." As a result we lost and continue to lose thousands and thousands of lives", he added. He also addressed the issue of the Tokyo 2 (the two Greenpeace activists that are on trial after exposing corruption in Japan's government funded whaling programme) after he was asked if climate change was shadowing other "traditional Greenpeace concerns" such as whaling. Kumi said that this is not the case and that it is important to understand that climate change is a reality which affects other Greenpeace campaigns, such as forests because deforestation can lead to CO2 emissions (for more information about this click here).

British newspapers picked up on his comments that breaking the law is justifiable when fighting climate change (if done in a peaceful manner, as Greenpeace does) carrying this on the headline and using an image of Kumi which clearly illustrates their point. Kumi's full answer was the following:

"Well Mahatma Gandhi broke the law, Martin Luther King broke the law, Nelson Mandela broke the law. All of these people are revered now. So sometimes it is necessary to get a message across when we are in a context where our children and grandchildren's lives are under threat."

To hear an extract from the interview click here and here for the full transcription.

Photo credit: © Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert / Greenpeace

"Russia is not a dustbin"

This weekend Greenpeace managed to block the shipping of a cargo of uranium from France to Russia for 6 hours. The shipping was not avoided but it drew attention towards the bigger issue: that big nuclear companies have been dumping nuclear waste in Siberia for more than 30 years. Spokesman for the French industrial group Areva said, according to Reuters, that "they are reusable materials, just slightly radioactive, it is not a case of nuclear waste. They will ultimately be reused to manufacture nuclear fuel." But Axel Renaudin, communications officer for Greenpeace France, replied: "technically, this uranium is reusable, but in very small quantities". "It's as if we sent the Russians orange juice, saying that one day they may be able to remove a few drops."

Here is some additional information found in our website:

"Russia is the only country which receives depleted uranium hexafluoride from abroad. Depleted uranium hexafluoride is a byproduct of enriching natural uranium and can't be used in industry. It is extremely dangerous. The history of atomic industry remembers accidents with uranium emissions, as a result of the emissions a lot of people died. By the way, storage conditions of depleted uranium in Russian factories don’t meet the contemporary standards. Nuclear waste is transported and storages in steel drums in the open air. As a result, the drums are rusting and damaging.

In order to avoid charges on storage and recycling of depleted uranium in Europe, European companies send nuclear waste formally for recycling to Russia. Counting transportation cost, it is very profitable for them. Only 10 per cent of depleted uranium is enriched and sent back to Europe and the rest stays in Russia for ever. The Federal Environmental, Engineering and Nuclear Supervision Agency reports say that nuclear waste, accumulating in Russia, has become a very serious danger for our country."

Much more than just coastal damage

The Spanish government has censored 2 minute TV footage of a documentary exposing coastal damage with the excuse that it gives a negative image of how the government is dealing with corruption in the Spanish coast. The government claims that this is not censorship, it is just making sure that it leaves no space for misinterpretation…The documentary narrates the following: "The coast concentrates a substantial part of the crimes against the environment and town planning, housing and illegal demolition". As written in the Spanish newspaper 'El Pais', according to Miguel Ángel Losada, responsible of the TV series "unfortunately, corruption is part of our history."