Tag Archives: UN

Laid off workers supported by Hamas, take over UN refugee headquarters

Chaos in Gaza: Union workers for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) have seized control of its headquarters in protest of lay-offs caused by the withdrawal of financial support by the United States.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) announced last month more than 250 staff in Gaza and Judea and Samaria would lose their jobs, after a $300 million cut in annual funding from the United States. The redundancies have prompted daily protests by the agency’s labour union in the enclave, which UNRWA’s Gaza head said have led to security concerns. “They have taken over the compound where my office and other offices are,” said Matthias Schmale.

The agency’s Gaza chief admitted UNRWA does not have full control over the site, in Gaza City, explaining he has not been able to access his own office for more than two weeks. “I am the captain of the ship which has 13,000 sailors on it and they have basically thrown me off the bridge and consigned me to my captain’s quarters,” he told AFP, referring to the number of employees in Gaza.

Schmale accused the labor union of multiple incidents of “threatening and intimidating other fellow Palestinian staff. For me that crosses a red line. … I am very concerned about the safety and security of my Palestinian colleagues,” he added.

It appears the take over is backed by Hamas.

What we are seeing here is the possible collapse of the entire UN/Arab structure that has for decades used the Arab refugees from Israel — and their descendants — as political pawns. Rather than repatriate these people into Egypt or Jordan, both countries as well as the entire Arab world, with the help of the UN and sadly a lot of U.S. money, forced them into refugee camps and thus used them as a hammer against Israel

Without U.S. financial support, however, this ploy cannot work. The protests and violence coming from Gaza in the past year has been a response to this collapse. Hamas has depended on that funding to keep itself in power. Without it, it cannot pay off its supporters.

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U.S. withdraws from UN Human Rights Council

As long promised if it didn’t reform its anti-U.S. and anti-Israeli biases, the U.S. today officially withdrew from UN Human Rights Council.

I especially like the blunt statement by U.S. UN ambassador Nikki Haley in announcing the withdrawal:

“For too long, [the U.N. Human Rights Council] has been a protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias,” Ms. Haley said in announcing the move during a joint appearance at the State Department with Mr. Pompeo.

“Regrettably,” she added, “it is now clear that our call for reform was not heeded.”

It appears that this withdrawal means that the council will no longer be getting any U.S. funds.

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China offers its space station to the UN

The United Nations and China have signed an agreement whereby UN member nations can apply to run experiments on China’s space station, due to become operational in the 2020s.

The UN press release states that it is especially interested in applications from developing nations.

This isn’t a surprise. China is following the approach of the Soviet Union under Leonid Brezhnev during the 1970s and 1980s, using its space station program to generate positive international propaganda. This will also give them an opportunity to obtain technology ideas from other nations.

At the same time, this will force China to become more open with other nations, a side effect of Brezhnev’s space station program that was not expected or even wanted by the Russians at the time.

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UN agreement reached on space sustainability

In February a UN committee helped negotiate a agreement with 87 nations for establishing rules for space sustainability.

The agreement was reached during a meeting of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). COPUOS was created in 1959 as the main UN body to govern the exploration and use of space, and was instrumental in the creation of the five major space treaties. It has been the main multilateral forum where countries meet to discuss space issues and share updates on national activities and practices. As of 2018, those eighty-seven countries are formal members of COPUOS, with Bahrain, Denmark and Norway being the most recent additions. There are also nearly 40 observer organizations, including the Secure World Foundation.

…In 2016, the first set of 12 guidelines were agreed to by a consensus of all the members of COPUOS, and the mandate of the LTS Working Group was extended through 2018. The most recent meeting of STSC in February 2018 saw the LTS Working Group reach consensus on nine more guidelines and the preamble text, bringing the total to 21, as well as agreeing to review their implementation and potentially update them. The 21 guidelines represent countries’ best practices across a broad spectrum of space issues.

Though all of the guidelines essentially confirm policies that these nations have been following, they were reaffirmed by this agreement partly because of the Chinese anti-satellite test in 2007 that produced a lot of space junk.

A review of the guidelines reveals them to be mostly sensible and necessary. The problem is that this process is establishing the precedent that such rule-making should apply to all space activities, and it shall be imposed by UN committees of government bureaucrats here on Earth. For example, the process here appears to be entirely political, and involved none of the actual companies that build and produce rockets and satellites.

At some point in the future, such rule-making should be the responsibility of those who work and and live in space. I predict when that time comes, the UN and the political bureaucracies from these nations will be loath to give up this power. Stay tuned for the eventual rebellion that will follow.

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Trump administration withholds $65 million from UN PLO agency

The Trump administration today withheld $65 million of a $125 million payment from the UN agency that is supposed to provide aid to Palestinian refugees but has instead been repeatedly found to use it to help the PLO and Hamas in terrorist acts.

In a letter, the State Department notified the U.N. Relief and Works Agency that the U.S. is withholding $65 million of a planned $125 million funding installment. The letter also makes clear that additional U.S. donations will be contingent on major changes by UNRWA, which has been heavily criticized by Israel. “We would like to see some reforms be made,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, adding that changes are needed to the way the agency operates and is funded. “This is not aimed at punishing anyone.”

The State Department said it was releasing the rest of the installment — $60 million — to prevent the agency from running out of cash by the end of the month and closing down. The U.S. is UNWRA’s largest donor, supplying nearly 30 percent of its budget. The agency focuses on providing health care, education and social services to Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

Not surprisingly, the PLO is reacting like a five year old, throwing a tantrum, as if it deserves this money no matter what it does.

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U.S. freezes $125 million grant to UN agency that funds Hamas in Gaza

This is probably related to my previous post: The Trump administration has frozen the payment of a $125 million grant to the UN agency that supposedly does refugee work in Gaza but has been found in the past to help Hamas with its terrorist activities.

The amount frozen is one-third of the annual funding the United States provides the organization, according to the report.

The three diplomats, who asked to remain anonymous because of the political sensitivity of the issue, told Channel 10 the grant had been frozen until the end of the reexamination of U.S. aid to the Palestinians, which began in recent days. According to the diplomats, officials in the administration have informed UN officials in the past two days that President Donald Trump is considering cutting this amount completely and could even increase the cut to $180 million, which would be half the total U.S. funding for UNRWA.

From the article it appears that there are conflicting opinions about this action in the Israeli government.

UNRWA has been caught using its schools for Hamas anti-Semitic propaganda as well a place to store missiles. Let me repeat that: The UN and Hamas think there is nothing wrong with using schools to store weapons.

But hey, let’s give them millions so they won’t get upset at us!

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Builders of Ghana’s first satellite push for government help

The new colonial movement: The student engineers who built Ghana’s first satellite, GhanaSat-1 and launched in July, are pushing their government to establish the legal framework for future space activities in that country.

Student engineers behind the successful launch of Ghana’s first satellite into orbit have appealed to the government to set up a multi-stakeholder committee to come up with an act, the Ghana outer space act, a key requirement that would enable the country to ratify and sign the United Nations Outer Space Treaty.

They said if the country signed and ratified the treaty, it would give investors the signal and confidence that the country was ready for them to come and establish space science facilities.

The description in the article of what these students want suggests they do not quite understand the ramifications of all the UN space treaties, because it appears they also want Ghana to become signatories to them all. This would be a big mistake. While every country that launches satellites is a signatory to the Outer Space Treaty, very few have signed the Moon Treaty, as its language puts far more serious restrictions on property rights.

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WHO fakes data to claim weedkiller causes cancer

Par for the course: IARC, the agency of the World Health Organization (WHO) that focuses on cancer research, has apparently faked data so that it could make the claim — in opposition to every other published paper in the world — that a commonly used weedkiller causes cancer.

This detail about the man in charge might explain what happened:

The chairman of the IARC sub-group tasked with reviewing evidence of glyphosate’s effect on laboratory animals was Charles Jameson, an American toxicologist. In testimony as part of personal-injury lawsuits against Monsanto in the United States, Jameson told lawyers for Monsanto he did not know when, why or by whom the edits had been made.

Monsanto is facing multiple legal claims in the U.S. from plaintiffs who allege glyphosate gave them or their loved ones cancer. Jameson is an expert witness for the plaintiffs. He did not respond to questions for this article. [emphasis mine]

If you want to read the whole ugly story, go to the second link above. This report cites numerous examples where IARC clearly fudged their reports to hide the fact that their conclusions were consistently debunked by other research.

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A modern academic looks at the Outer Space Treaty

Link here. I could also label this another sign of the coming dark age. Consider her proposals:

Space laws need to be updated for our time. Extending the Outer Space Treaty or writing a new one is unlikely to work, as US hesitancy to sign the [Treaty on Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space and of the Threat or Use of Force Against Outer Space Objects (PPWT)] shows. ‘Soft law’, driven by need, seems the best option for revising the rules for space operators.

Soft law comprises rules or guidelines that have legal significance but are not binding. It sets standards of conduct for agreeing parties, much like those that protect the environment and endangered species. ‘Rules of the road’ and best practices for space should be developed. These could take a similar form to the navigation guidelines set out in the 1972 Convention on International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, which govern when one vessel should give way to another, as well as other interactions.

Soft law works when it is in the interest of all parties to abide by it. If countries and companies want to maintain the space environment as a usable domain, then it is in their interests to accommodate a variety of operations. Space is more complex to manage than air, land or sea because of the distance, physics and technology involved. Just as in the cyber domain, technology has preceded regulation, making it difficult to impose after the fact.

The first focus of an analogous set of space guidelines should be environmental protection and debris avoidance, areas that most spacefaring nations agree on. [emphasis mine]

Rather than fix a bad law, the Outer Space Treaty, that is binding on everyone, she proposes the we make the laws “soft,” thus unreliable because everyone can ignore them whenever they want. The result? Utter contempt for the law.

Then she indicates her main interest, which isn’t exploration or the settlement of the solar system, which is the actual interest of the people who are building rockets and spaceships, but “environmental protection.” Above all, we must establish strict regulations that will prevent those pristine lifeless worlds from being damaged by us evil humans!

If anything is a prescription for stunting the growth of space exploration, this is it. Unfortunately, it appears that this prescription is also the dominate intellectual approach of today’s academic community.

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Senate committee approves funding for UN global warming bureaucracy

Our beloved Democratic-controlled Senate: A Senate committee today rejected Trump’s proposal to cut all UN spending for its global warming bureaucracy, including the IPCC, and re-installed the $10 million budget item.

It is important to note how the vote went:

The amendment passed 16-14. Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee voted in favor, as did all committee Democrats except for West Virginia’s Joe Manchin.

Essentially, the Senate is now controlled by the Democrats, with the help of a handful of fake Republicans. I should add that the Republican leadership is partly allowing this, by not imposing any party discipline on any of its members.

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The difficult task of legally preserving the Apollo lunar sites

Link here.

While I heartily agree that these historic sites should be preserved, if you read the article you will notice how the focus with these people is not the future, but preserving relics of the past. I say we don’t need more memorials. The best memorial for Apollo 11 would be thriving city on the Moon, even if it trampled on Tranquility Base.

Note also that the restrictions imposed by the Outer Space Treaty once again make things worse. Under the treaty, there is no way for the U.S. to reasonably preserve these American historical sites, without first getting the approval of the UN. The result? I guarantee that any arrangement we manage to work out will almost certainly restrict the freedoms of future space colonists. This not a good thing, and it certainly isn’t something we here on Earth should be doing to the brave people who will someday want to build new civilizations on other worlds.

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Australian academic group to review Outer Space Treaty

Another op-ed today once again notes that the Outer Space Treaty needs updating, and notes that an Australian working group linked to an academic international space conference in Australia in September will be reviewing the treaty and suggesting future revisions.

In late September 2017, Adelaide will host the largest space-related meeting on the annual calendar – the 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC). In more recent years, there has been a companion conference just prior to the IAC – the Space Generation Congress (SGC). This was initiated on the request of states through the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space to represent the interests of the next generation in outer space.

At the SGC, a group of young Australians will lead a working group of delegates from across the globe, to develop and propose a set of supplementary protocols to the OST, in order to adapt global space governance to the needs of the next 50 years.

The article emphasizes that any changes to the treaty should be made with future generations in mind, and this is one reason the members of the working group are being drawn from the Space Generation Congress, since this is an event comprised mostly of students. That they are modern academic students is nonetheless worrisome, considering the increasingly oppressive culture of modern academic student communities. I fear that their naive effort to establish rules will be based too much on the good intentions of young people, and we all know what path that puts us on.

A personal note: I will have another op-ed published this week by The Federalist on the recent efforts in both houses of Congress to deal with the Outer Space Treaty, and it includes my detailed analysis of the proposed space law that was approved by a House committee in early June.

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Republicans prepare legislation to defund UN

While both houses of Congress are moving forward on meaningless condemnations of the UN’s vote declaring the Oslo Accords null and Israel’s presence in parts of Jerusalem illegal, Republicans in both houses are also preparing legislation that will actually cut funding to the UN.

The right-wing House Freedom Caucus will meet next Monday to decide between two proposals to bring to the House. One would be to reduce American funding to the UN. The other, more aggressive proposal is to make funding voluntary, thus leaving it to Congress every two years to decide whether to continue contributing to the organization. “One is an incremental step, the other is really a herculean leap,” said Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows.

These ideas also have strong support by a number of Senators. I am hopeful that Congress will go beyond a mere condemnation and pass something that will actually cause the UN some pain.

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New Republican bill to move U.S. embassy to Jerusalem

Three Republican Senators today introduced legislation that would move the American embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

To a certain extent this law is mere show, as there already is a law that calls for the U.S. to do this, though that law also allowed presidents to waive the move if they thought it would harm international relations. That concern is essentially gone now, and it appears this new law eliminates the waiver clause.

This is likely only the beginning. At least, I hope it is.

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Republicans offer two meaningless resolutions condemning UN-Israel resolution

Failure theater: Two resolutions, one in the House and the other in the Senate, are going to be offered by Republicans to condemn the UN resolution that declared Israel’s presence in parts of Jerusalem and Israel to be illegal.

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) was quoted by The Hill as having said on Friday he will introduce a measure on Tuesday expressing support for Israel and throwing the “sense of the Senate” behind disapproving the United Nations resolution. “Over the last eight years, the Obama administration has made a series of blatantly misguided choices when it comes to working with our strongest ally in the Middle East,” Moran said in a statement. He added the Trump administration will “have to work overtime to repair the damage President Obama has done.”

Separately, Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) said Friday he is offering a resolution condemning President Barack Obama and the United Nations “for their dangerous anti-Israel actions”, according to The Hill.

Neither resolution will have any teeth. Essentially, they will declare that the UN was mean for what it did, but the U.S. Congress ain’t going to do anything about it.

Obviously, Congressional action might not end with these resolutions, but do not be surprised if this is all these cowards do.

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The upcoming Israeli response to the UN and Obama attacks

Link here. Essentially, the UN and the Palestinians might have literally shot themselves in the foot with their attempts to declare Israel’s presence in Jerusalem and the West Bank as illegal. The article outlines in great detail the long term negative results of the UN resolution last week, all of which we can now expect. I cannot quote it all, but this one quote will give you a taste:

Regarding the international community, the Security Council opened the door for its members to boycott Israel. As a result, Israel should show the UN and its factotums the door. Israel should work to de-internationalize the Palestinian conflict by expelling UN personnel from its territory.

The same is the case with the EU. Once Britain exits the EU, Israel should end the EU’s illegal operations in Judea and Samaria and declare EU personnel acting illegally persona non grata.

As for the Palestinians, Resolution 2334 obligates Israel to reconsider its recognition of the PLO. Since 1993, Israel has recognized the PLO despite its deep and continuous engagement in terrorism. Israel legitimized the PLO because the terrorist group was ostensibly its partner in peace. Now, after the PLO successfully killed the peace process by getting the Security Council to abrogate 242, Israel’s continued recognition of the PLO makes little sense. Neither PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas nor his deputies in Fatah – convicted, imprisoned mass murderer and terrorism master Marwan Barghouti, and Jibril Rajoub who said he wishes he had a nuclear bomb so he could drop it on Israel and who tried to get Israel expelled from FIFA – has any interest in recognizing Israel, let alone making peace with it. The same of course can be said for the PLO’s coalition partner Hamas.

An Israeli decision to stop recognizing the PLO will also have implications for the Trump administration.

In the aftermath of 2334, calls are steadily mounting in Congress for the US cancel its recognition of the PLO and end US financial support for the Palestinian Authority. If Israel has already ended its recognition of the PLO, chances will rise that the US will follow suit. Such a US move will have positive strategic implications for Israel.

Read it all. There is more, all of which is likely to happen, since the Israelis are faced with survival and will need to fight back.

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Obama and the UN vs Israel and the Free World

I think the following list of stories sums up the situation:

The Obama administration position:

Next some of the response, from Israel, from conservatives, from Congress:

This story list is hardly complete but it does encapsulate the Obama/Israel/UN events of the past week. Make sure you read the stories at the links to really understand what is happening. Based on this information all I can conclude is that Obama and his administration decided in the past week to go public with their hatred of Israel. I call it hatred because I don’t know what else to call it. To them, the building of houses for Israelis to live in is more evil that Palestinian and Islamic terrorist bombings, murders, hijackings, and rocket firings.

As for the response, I have my doubts whether Congress will really do the right thing and dump the UN. In all my life only once have I seen real leadership in these matters, and that was during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, when he decided to withdraw from UNESCO because, as his administration noted at the time, ”Unesco has extraneously politicized virtually every subject it deals with, has exhibited hostility toward the basic institutions of a free society, especially a free market and a free press, and has demonstrated unrestrained budgetary expansion.”

Right now I suspect that the cowardly Republican leadership is scheming for ways they can participate in some form of “failure theater,” something to which they are very practiced, where they pass some meaningless resolutions condemning the UN while allowing its funding and its support to continue unhindered. We shall see if my cynicism here is justified. The one aspect of these events that suggests I might be too pessimistic is the number of Democrats publicly condemning the President. Democratic support these days is very confined to the big urban coastal cities, which also happens to be where their Jewish support is centered. Obama’s actions this week fire a bullet into that support, and very clearly threaten to damage it badly. They have already lost middle Ameica. If they lose the urban Jewish voter their chances of winning elections in the future will become even more difficult.

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UN Secretary-General declares climate change debate ‘over’

The certainty of politics: In a newspaper interview on Thursday UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared, without doubt, that the scientific debate on human-caused global warming “is over”.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that his greatest achievement at the helm of the world’s biggest international organization was last year’s climate change accord in Paris, and he expressed open frustration that Republicans in the U.S. continue to obstruct President Obama and to politicize the subject. “The debate on science and the debate on politics as far as climate change is concerned is over,” Mr. Ban told The Washington Times in an exclusive interview. “Still, the Republican Party, they are not convinced.

“There should be no political consideration on this,” he said. “There should be no room for politics to get involved.” [emphasis mine]

I am so glad that this politician, not a scientist, knows so much about the climate field that he can dictate the future research of scientists. I am so glad that this politician, not a scientist, thinks he has the ability to tell skeptics to shut up. And I am so glad that this politician, not a scientist, can demand that skeptics shut up because he wants to keep politics out of science. (Note the irony and hypocrisy here.)

I find it most interesting that whenever anyone raises questions about the theory of human-caused global warming, the response by its advocates is almost never to discuss the actual data, but to tell the questioners to shut up, and to insist the debate is settled, even though the very existence of those questioners proves it is not.

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Iran completes another ballistic missile test

Does this make you feel safer? Iran has successfully completed another ballistic missile test with a rocket capable of reaching Israel and most of the Middle East.

And does the Obama administration response below ease your mind?

The rogue nation conducted the test in defiance of a United Nations resolution that calls on Iran to cease work on its ballistic missile program. “Iran has to abide by U.N. resolutions with regard to ballistic missiles tests, and if they have violated or not been consistent with those resolutions, that clearly would be a concern for us,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said.

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UN finds that only Israel violates women’s rights

Time to pull out of the UN: The women’s rights panel of the United Nations has declared that only one nation in the entire world oppresses women, and that nation is Israel.

As the article notes, this UN propaganda panel for attacking Israel somehow couldn’t notice any abuse in Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, and China, all of which have clearly known policies that persecute women in the worst ways.

Why we keep funding this travesty only suggests to me that our elected leaders approve of this and want to see Israel attacked while letting the real persecutors get away with it.

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UN climate chief this week declared that communism is the best way to fight global warming.

Honesty! The UN climate chief this week declared that communism is the best way to fight global warming.

United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres said that democracy is a poor political system for fighting global warming. Communist China, she says, is the best model. China may be the world’s top emitter of carbon dioxide and struggling with major pollution problems of their own, but the country is “doing it right” when it comes to fighting global warming says Figueres. “They actually want to breathe air that they don’t have to look at,” she said. “They’re not doing this because they want to save the planet. They’re doing it because it’s in their national interest.”

Putting aside the minor detail that communist states have routinely had the worst environmental record — “ghastly” as the article above accurately notes — this statement by Figueres is remarkably refreshing in that might be the first time an environmentalist has admitted the movement’s true agenda. They don’t want to save the environment, they want to gain power and then use it to squelch everyone else’s freedom.

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How the tentacles of the green environmental movement dominate the IPCC.

How the tentacles of the green environmental movement dominate the IPCC.

The U.N. has charged the IPCC with weighing the evidence on climate change in an objective manner. The problem is that numerous IPCC personnel have ties to environmental groups, many of which raise funds by hyping the alleged dangers of climate change. This relationship raises a legitimate question about their objectivity.

The examples are legion. Donald Wuebbles, one of the two leaders of the introductory first chapter of the Working Group 1 report (a draft of which may be released next Monday)—has been writing awareness-raising climate change reports for the activist Union of Concerned Scientists for a decade. Another chapter of the full IPCC report, “Open Oceans,” is led by Australian marine biologist Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, who has written a string of reports with titles such as “Pacific in Peril” for Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Astrophysicist Michael Oppenheimer, in charge of another chapter of the IPCC report, “Emergent Risks and Key Vulnerabilities,” advises the Environmental Defense Fund (after having spent more than two decades on its payroll).

University of Maryland scientist Richard Moss is a former fulltime WWF vice president, while Jennifer Morgan used to be the WWF’s chief climate change spokesperson. Both are currently IPCC review editors—a position that’s supposed to ensure that feedback from IPCC external reviewers is addressed in an even-handed manner.

My own examination of the 2007 IPCC report found that two-thirds of its 44 chapters included at least one individual with ties to the WWF. Some were former or current employees, others were members of a WWF advisory panel whose purpose is to heighten the public’s sense of urgency around climate change.

Considering these facts, if the IPCC report even mentions the 15 year pause in warming it will be a remarkable thing.

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Another look at the leaked IPCC draft report.

Another look at the leaked IPCC draft report. Key quote:

To those of us who have been following the climate debate for decades, the next few years will be electrifying. There is a high probability we will witness the crackup of one of the most influential scientific paradigms of the 20th century, and the implications for policy and global politics could be staggering.

The article also takes a close look at the contradiction between the data and the IPCC models and says this:

[W]hat is commonly called the “mainstream” view of climate science is contained in the spread of results from computer models. What is commonly dismissed as the “skeptical” or “denier” view coincides with the real-world observations. Now you know how to interpret those terms when you hear them.

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“The timing couldn’t be worse.”

The next IPCC report: “The timing couldn’t be worse.”

The author describes how the new report, due out in just a couple of months, is probably already obsolete because of a slew of new papers documenting the long 10 to 15 year pause in global warming that was not predicted by any of the climate models used by the IPCC.

This quote I think sums things up nicely, however:

Due to a ‘combination of errors’, the models have overestimated warming by 100% over the past 20 years and by 400% over the past 15 years.

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“We’re just not interested in continuing to support bureaucracies and talkfests.”

Canada to the UN environmental movement: “We’re just not interested in continuing to support bureaucracies and talkfests.”

The country has pulled out of a UN program supposedly aimed at “combating desertification,” noting that

only 18% of the roughly CAD$350,000 per year that Canada contributed to the U.N. initiative is “actually spent on programming,” [Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper] told Parliament this week during question period. “The rest goes to various bureaucratic measures. … It’s not an effective way to spend taxpayers’ money.”

As is their normal approach to debate, there is a lot of wailing, gnashing of teeth, and name-calling among the environmentalists, but no substantive response to counter Harper’s point above.

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Building a real Peace Forest in Israel

Dedication to the Peace Forest
One of the plaques inside the Peace Forest

Just after the 1967 war, a strip of land in Jerusalem that had been part of no man’s land after the city was divided following the 1948 war was turned into a Peace Forest to symbolize “the hope for peace and serenity between all Jerusalem’s residents.” Located on a hillside that overlooks the city, the Jewish National Fund sponsored a campaign to have the site landscaped elegantly, with a promenade and a series of architectural observation points, each designed differently as if their architects were competing with each other for the most creative structure.

In 2003 my oldest nephew was married from the highest point on this hillside, just above the Peace Forest, with the entire city of Jerusalem as the backdrop. At the time there was a catering hall at this location, and it seemed to them to be a perfect place to tie the knot.
» Read more

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China, Russia, Brazil, India and other UN members have proposed giving the UN more control over the governance and operation of the internet.

What could go wrong? China, Russia, Brazil, India and other UN members have proposed giving the UN more control over the governance and operation of the internet.

Fortunately, it appears that members of Congress from both parties seem hostile to this idea.

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The Obama administration formally announced today that it is joining Europe in writing an international code of conduct for space.

What could go wrong? The Obama administration formally announced today that it is joining Europe in writing an international code of conduct for space.

The State Department announcement describing the administration’s intentions notes the U.S. will not agree to anything “that in any way constrains our national security-related activities in space or our ability to protect the United States and our allies.” However, it is also so vague about what they will agree to that I wonder what the point is. Either this whole effort is a waste of time, or it carries the risk that our government will agree to a treaty with unintended consequences that cannot be predicted.

In such a circumstances, it seems to me that the wiser thing to do would be to do nothing.

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