Kudos to TruthOut for pairing these two gems from the UK Guardian and the NY Times:
The UN conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty has closed with little accomplished in the way of new ways to enforce the fast-unravelling treaty. A May 28 report in the LA Times notes:
The United States tried to keep the focus on alleged nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea instead of its pledges to whittle down its own arsenal. Iran, which contends that its atomic program is strictly for generating electricity, refused to discuss proposals to restrict access to nuclear fuel and objected to being singled out as a "proliferation concern." And Egypt joined Iran in demanding that the conference address Israel's nuclear status and declare the Middle East "a nuclear-free zone." "The conference after a full month ended up where we started, which is a system full of loopholes, ailing and not a road map to fix it," Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told reporters in Vienna as the conference fizzled to a close...
The US defended itself May 20 against charges from states without nuclear weapons that it is failing to fulfill its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). At a month-long conference reviewing the NPT, non-nuclear states dismissed U.S. diplomats' recitation of warhead and missile reductions. "Most of these measures date from before 2000," Mexico's Luis Alfonso de Alba complained to delegates, referring to the 2000 NPT conference, when the U.S. and other nuclear powers committed to "13 practical steps" to meet the treaty's goal of eliminating atomic arms. Those steps included activation of the 1996 treaty banning all nuclear tests—a pact since rejected by the Bush administration. U.S. delegate Jackie Sanders pointed to current "alarming examples" of proliferation, referring to North Korea's declared weapons program and U.S. allegations that Iran also plans to build atomic arms. Confronting such threats—not focusing on US—"must be the primary objective of the 2005 Review Conference," the ambassador said.
The "peak oil" phenomenon, which has so far received more serious treatment in the foreign press than here in the USA, is starting to break through to the mainstream--at least among the business media. On May 4, Bloomberg.com opinion columnist Matthew Lynn asks "Are You Ready to Sign Up for the $100 Oil Club?" He writes:
Reviving a perennial theme of the reigning energy oligarchs, President Bush told the National Small Business Week Conference in DC April 27 that more nuclear plants are the answer to rising oil costs. "We've got a fundamental question we got to face here in America," Bush said. "Do we want to continue to grow more dependent on other nations to meet our enegy needs?
Well, it seems workers are battling to contain a large spill of crude-contaminated water—111,300 gallons—at ConocoPhillips' Kuparuk oil filed on Alaska's North Slope. State officials are concerned about impacts on the fragile tundra environment. How ironic that this comes days after the Senate voted to open the nearby ANWR to oil development. Fortunately, however, the compliant media have contained the crisis—by keeping it out of the headlines.
Resorting to the sleazy tactic of burying the measure in a budget package to head off a Democratic fillibuster, Senate Republicans passed a major hurdle in opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil exploitation. By a single vote, the Senate defeated a Democrat-backed measure that would have prevented a vote on ANWR as part of a budget resolution March 17. If the House similarly agrees to this subterfuge, western North America's last great caribou herd faces twilight.
A March 18 report on al-Jazeera noted a cruel irony to OPEC's just-ended conference in Isfahan, where the oil ministers of the 11 member nations agreed to boost production in a bid to bring down global prices. No sooner did the conference close before prices surged to an all-time record high of $57 a barrel.