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Posts tagged ‘Climate Change’

Kerry: China Willing to Pressure NKorea on Nukes.


Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday China is willing to exert more pressure to get North Korea to give up its nuclear program.

He told reporters in Beijing he was pleased that China “could not have more forcefully reiterated its commitment” to the goal of denuclearizing North Korea.

The reclusive Asian state has defied international warnings not to build atomic bombs and long-range missiles. It is believed to have enough fissile material to build up to 10 nuclear bombs, but most intelligence analysts say it has yet to master the technology to deploy such weapons.

“I encouraged the Chinese to use every tool at their disposal, all of the means of persuasion that they have, building on the depths of their long and historic and cultural and common history (with North Korea),” he said.

“They made it very clear that if the North doesn’t comply and come to the table and be serious about talks and stop its program … they are prepared to take additional steps in order to make sure their policy is implemented,” Kerry said, adding the United States and China were now discussing “the specifics of how you do that”.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Kerry China would work with all parties concerned, including the United States, to play a constructive role for the region’s peace and stability.

“China will never allow chaos or war on the Korean Peninsula,” Wang said, according to China’s Foreign Ministry.

North Korea was raised during Kerry’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Foreign Ministry said, with Xi “setting forth China’s stance”. It gave no other details.

The East and South China Seas featured prominently on Kerry’s agenda too, with him calling for a “more rule of law based, less confrontational regime”.

The United States is uneasy about what it sees as China’s effort to gain creeping control over waters in the Asia-Pacific region, including its Nov. 23 declaration of an air defence identification zone (ADIZ) in an area of the East China Sea that includes islands at the centre of a dispute with Japan.

China claims about 90 percent of the 3.5 million square km (1.35 million square mile) South China Sea, depicting what it sees as its area on maps with a so-called nine-dash line, looping far out over the sea from south China.

China and the Association of South East Asian Nations have been discussing a code of conduct for the South China Sea, and Kerry said he believed China was ready to achieve that goal.

“That would help reduce tensions that stem from the territorial and maritime disputes and, in the meantime, it’s very important that everybody build crisis management tools and refrain from coercive or unilateral measures to assert whatever claims any country in the region may have,” he said.

Wang said China was committed to a peaceful resolution for both the East and South China Seas disputes, but urged the United States not take sides and said China had an “unshakable resolve” to protect its sovereignty.

The United States should “respect historical facts and China’s sovereign interests, adhere to an objective and impartial stance and take tangible actions to promote mutual trust in the region so as to safeguard regional peace and stability”, Wang said.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims over the South China Sea, or parts of it.

Kerry said he told China it would be a bad idea to establish an air defence identification zone in the South China Sea, similar to the one it set up over the East China Sea late last year, which prompted protests from Washington, Tokyo and Seoul.

“We have made it very clear that a unilateral, unannounced, unprocessed initiative like that can be very challenging to certain people in the region, and therefore to regional stability,” he said.

Wang said China was confident it could maintain peace in the South China Sea by working with ASEAN, and denounced efforts by “certain people internationally” to hype up tensions and “spread untruths”. “China is resolutely opposed to this,” Wang said, without elaborating.

Climate change was also on the agenda of Kerry’s talks.

“We need to see if working together we could identify any further steps that we may be able to take, specifically with respect to arrival at meaningful targets with respect to the 2015 climate change conference that will take place in Paris in December of next year,” Kerry said.

 

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Obama, Hollande Resurrect US-French Relations.


President Barack Obama on Tuesday tried to dismiss the notion that France has replaced Britain as the main U.S. partner in Europe, but it was clear during the state visit of President Francois Hollande that the two have the closest relationship between the nations’ leaders since Presidents Bill Clinton and Francois Mitterrand two decades ago.

Laure Mandeville, Washington, D.C., bureau chief of the venerable French publication Le Figaro, best captured this situation when she pointed out to Obama at his joint news conference with Hollande, “You have actually praised France very warmly today and granted our president the first state visit of your second term …

“Does that mean that France has become the best European ally of the U.S. and has replaced Great Britain in that role?”

Obama replied that he has two daughters who are “both gorgeous and wonderful. And that’s how I feel about my outstanding European partners. All of them are wonderful in their own ways.”

However, as Obama and Hollande went through a welcoming ceremony at the White House, their news conference, and a state dinner, reporters from France and the United States recalled the sharp tensions between their countries after the U.S. strike against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 2003.

The strong opposition by then-President Jacques Chirac to the Iraq offensive resulted in a modern-day low point of relations between Paris and Washington. In the United States, this was symbolized by the congressional cafeterias offering “Freedom Fries” in lieu of French fries.

All that was in the dim past Tuesday during the first state visit of a French president to the United States since 1996.

Hollande said Obama’s election as president in 2008 “had been welcomed in France” because “America was able to make something possible, to make progress possible.”

He went on to recall his decision last summer to stand with Obama on a strike on Syria, saying, “We were prepared to resort to force, but we found another option — negotiation.”

From France and the United States being “extremely attentive” in helping Lebanon deal with its massive influx of refugees, to his commitment to the cause of climate change, Hollande repeatedly underscored his solidarity with the American president.

The French Socialist president was warm and positive, even regarding the spy controversy by National Security Agency renegade Edward Snowden.

“Following the revelations [of European eavesdropping by the NSA] that appeared due to Mr. Snowden,” Hollande told reporters, “President Obama and myself clarified things. This was in the past.”

Hollande said, “Mutual trust has been restored, and that mutual trust must be based on respect for each other’s country, but also based on the protection of private life, of personal data — the fact that any individual, in spite of technological progress, can be sure that he is not being spied on.”

Obama’s response to Le Figaro’s Mandeville notwithstanding, there is a strong case to be made that Obama works more closely with France’s Hollande than with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Where Hollande stood firm with Obama on Syria, Cameron was unable to join any military alliance against the Assad regime when the British House of Commons voted down his proposal.

In addition, it is obvious that France is now the key conduit in trying to help Obama craft a new U.S. relationship with Iran.

Hollande said as much when he told reporters: “Nothing prevented us from having bilateral contacts, and I had some bilateral contacts. In New York I received [Iranian] President [Hassan] Rouhani during the General Assembly. So it is perfectly legitimate for discussions to take place.”

Ken Weinstein, president of the Hudson Institute, summarized the Obama-Hollande friendship to Newsmax.

“Unlike President Bush, Barack Obama has a tough time turning foreign leaders into confidants — and his judgment, as when he chose [Turkish Premier] Erdogan as a preferred interlocutor, has been wrong,” Weinstein said.

“It’s clear that Obama and Hollande have a real and deep rapport. Both need each other — Obama for guidance on Syria, where his policies have failed, and to show that he does have European allies after Snowden, and Hollande, these days, to prove that he isn’t a laughingstock but a world leader.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Creationist Debates ‘Science Guy’ with CNN’s Piers Morgan.


Bill Nye “The Science Guy” and Creation Museum founder Ken Ham carried their evolution/creationism debate onto CNN Tuesday night as Piers Morgan tried to bring global warming into the fray.

Nye and Ham debated Tuesday night at the Petersburg, Kentucky-based museum, then appeared jointly on “Piers Morgan Live.” 

Story continues below.

Though Ham said that climate change was not a part of the debate, Morgan queried him, “Who is responsible for this massive snowstorm raging across America: God or science?”

Ham didn’t answer directly, and Morgan asked whether he thinks it is alarming that the percentage of people who deny global warming is on the rise.

“I didn’t even tell you what I believe about global warming,” Ham responded.

“I was under the assumption that you don’t believe in global warming as an entity,” Morgan said.

“Well, no, I’ve never said that,” Ham said. “Where have I said that?”

Ham said he believes that climates do change and that there should be investigation into what is happening and why.

“The Bible tells us that the world is running down,” Ham said, “so we do have extremes in weather patterns today.” Climate change has existed since “the flood of Noah’s day,” he told Morgan.

Nye said he is skeptical the world is winding down because of punishment from a deity and he does not believe a “great flood” occurred 4,000 years ago.

Morgan next asked Ham if he believes that dinosaurs and man co-existed, as is depicted in his museum. Ham said he does; his beliefs are based on the biblical account that all land animals were made on the sixth day of Creation.

“You don’t find dinosaur bones with labels on them,” Ham said, questioning how anyone could know a dinosaur bone is 70 million years old.

Morgan noted that Nye was looking at Ham “with a look of vague bafflement on your face.”

Nye said the debate had been “very respectful” and both men gave it their best. He said he participated because he fears the next generation of scientists won’t understand that scientific uncertainty isn’t the same as scientific doubt.

Both scientists and people of faith were wary of the debate even being held. Scientists feared it would give creationism equal standing with evolutionary theory in the minds of the public. Christian groups worried that observers would think all people of faith reject science, making for an either/or proposition.

The Creation Museum said the event sold 800 tickets, and more than a million were expected to watch via a live Internet steam. The Associated Press reported that some of those in attendance wore “Bill Nye is my home boy” T-shirts, and that one fan wore a bow tie and Nye’s signature lab coat.

Nye was host of the educational TV program “Bill Nye the Science Guy” in the 1990s.

“I just want to remind us all there are billions of people in the world who are deeply religious, who get enriched by the wonderful sense of community by their religion,” Nye said during the debate. “But these same people do not embrace the extraordinary view that the Earth is somehow only 6,000 years old.”

Nye has previously urged parents who doubt evolution not to pass those beliefs on to their children.

“Creation is the only viable model of historical science confirmed by observational science in today’s modern scientific era,” Ham told the debate audience. He also introduced scientists who he said were also creationists.

“I believe the word ‘science’ has been high-jacked by secularists,” he said.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Greg Richter

Rove: SOTU Intent Was to Give Democrats Talking Points.


President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday was intended to give Democrats talking points, and then blame Republicans if they “didn’t get what they want” in Congress during the year, Karl Rove said Wednesday.

“This was all designed to do two things. One is to give Democrats a series of talking points about what they were supposedly trying to achieve this year. And, then, to be able to blame the Republicans, if they didn’t get what they want,” Rove told Fox News’ “Happening Now.”

Story continues below video.

Rove, who served as deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, said much of President Obama’s speech contained “old familiar themes,” such as minimum wage increases, unemployment benefits, immigration reform, and climate change. He said what was new in the speech was “relatively small and very unimpressive.”

The statements the president made about Obamacare were meant to “stiffen the spine” of Democrats facing reelection in the fall, Rove explained. He said the topic of women getting paid less than men was simply to “add to the narrative of what (Democrats) are all about.”

Rove stressed the president does have authority to issue executive orders, as President Obama has threatened to do if Congress does not act on legislative issues. He said the test of its legality was whether or not the president’s actions were based in statute. On this point, Rove claimed President Obama “doesn’t seem to care what the law has to say.”

“There is no statutory authority for a president to exempt an entire class of people from immigration law enforcement, and yet he did it.

“There is no provision in the Affordable Care Act that gives him ability to unilaterally suspend the employer mandate, but he did it,” he said.

Rove maintained the president might act through executive order and then “dare somebody” to take him to court. He said he thought the president’s threat of executive orders was “more bluster and bluff than reality.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Wanda Carruthers

State of Union Not Good: Poll Finds Most Disapprove of Obama’s Leadership.


Image: State of Union Not Good: Poll Finds Most Disapprove of Obama's Leadership

By Melissa Clyne

In the throes of record disapproval ratings and a blanket lack of confidence by Americans, President Barack Obama will attempt to turn the tide tonight when he delivers his sixth State of the Union address.

But doing so could be a Herculean task based on the results of a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Tuesday that found negative ratings in everything from the economy to the job performance of the president and Congress.

Urgent: Do You Approve or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

More than half of the respondents disapprove of the president’s job performance — 51 percent — though Congress fared even worse, garnering an 81 percent disapproval rating. Forty percent hold negative views of Democrats, topped by 47 percent feeling negatively toward Republicans. Obama’s approval rating also remains essentially tied with the record low approval in NBC’s polling that he registered in October.

“Since the rise of modern polling in the 1930s, only George W. Bush has begun his sixth year in the White House on rockier ground than Mr. Obama,” the Journal said in its article.

Just 2 percent of respondents said they were very satisfied with the economy. Seventy-one percent were very or somewhat dissatisfied, compared with 26 percent who were somewhat satisfied.

Obama plans to focus on seven key issues this evening, according to The Washington Post. Those agenda items include: defending Obamacare, climate change, early childhood education, immigration reform, ending the war in Afghanistan, foreign policy, and bipartisanship.

A whopping 91 percent of those polled said job creation should be an absolute priority this year, followed by trimming the federal budget, preschool for all children, and addressing Iran’s nuclear program. While the president is expected to make climate change one of his key talking points, only 27 percent of poll respondents think the issue should be a priority for the administration.

After failing to produce any meaningful legislative results with Republicans in 2013, the president plans to tout a “pen and phone strategy,” according to The Washington Post.

“Look for Obama to focus on actions that he and his administration can take unilaterally without seeking approval from the Republican-controlled House, which remains hostile to his agenda,” the paper reports. “For weeks now, the president and his advisers have talked about a ‘pen and phone’ strategy by which Obama signs executive orders or uses the bully pulpit of the White House as convening power to make progress on issues ranging from the economy to the environment.”

Other noteworthy poll results:

  • 44 percent of respondents reported negative views of Obama, while 42 percent felt positively about him.
  • 62 percent of respondents used negative descriptors, such as “downhill,” “wrong track,” “disaster” and “hard times,” to characterize where they think America is headed in the nest year.
  • 48 percent said Obamacare is a “total bad idea.”
  • 55 percent favored legalizing marijuana.

The White House was dismissive of the poll numbers.

“I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about that. Here’s what I spend a lot of time worrying about: making sure the American people see publicly what I see privately every day, which is a president who’s focused very much on opportunity, action and optimism,” White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said on NBC’s “Today” show Tuesday.

“Notwithstanding what the polls say and notwithstanding what Congress does … the president of the United States doesn’t come down to work every day or go home up to the residence every night worried about poll numbers. What he worries about is making sure there’s opportunity for every American,” McDonough said.

Urgent: Do You Approve or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Reddit Moderator: Newspapers Should Ban Climate Change Skeptics.


The man who banned climate change skeptics from the popular social news forum Reddit, says newspapers should follow his lead.

Nathan Allen claims anyone who refuses to follow the orthodox view of global warming does not deserve to have his voice heard.

“These people were true believers, blind to the fact that their arguments were hopelessly flawed, the result of cherry-picked data and conspiratorial thinking,” Allen writes on Grist.org.

“They had no idea that the smart-sounding talking points from their preferred climate blog were, even to a casual climate science observer, plainly wrong.”

Allen, a moderator with Reddit, who describes himself as a “Phd chemist,” decided to ban climate-change skeptics from contributing to Reddit’s science forum.

“They were completely enamored by the emotionally charged and rhetoric-based arguments of pundits on talk radio and Fox News,” he said.

Allen went on to say that the “evidence simply does not exist to justify continued denial that climate change is caused by humans and will be bad.”

So, he explained, “We needed more than just an ad hoc approach to correct the situation. The answer was found in the form of proactive moderation.”

Which meant that “when a potentially controversial submission was posted, a warning would be issued stating the rules for comments (most importantly that your comment isn’t a conspiracy theory) and advising that further violations of the rules could result in the commenter being banned from the forum.”

“If a half-dozen volunteers can keep a page with more than 4 million users from being a microphone for the antiscientific, is it too much to ask for newspapers to police their own editorial pages as proficiently?” Allen asked

The move by the user-generated forum was blasted as censorship by critics. “The greenies—and their many useful idiots in the liberal media—are terrified of open debate on climate-change because the real world evidence long ago parted company with their scientifically threadbare theory,” James Delingpole, columnist and author of The Little Green Book of Eco Fascism, told Fox News.

Allen’s tactic, he argued, is part of a “classic liberal defense mechanism: If the facts don’t support you, then close down the argument.”

It is not the first time that “proactive moderation” at Reddit has stirred controversy. Earlier this year, its politics forum banned several sites, including Fox Nation, Huffington Post and National Review, to avoid what it called sensationalized headlines and “bad journalism,” reports Fox.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Lisa Barron

Anger as UN Claims 95 Certainty on Manmade Global Warming.


Reaction came thick and fast Friday to the United Nations’ latest report on climate change that claimed it is 95 percent certain that global warming is manmade.

Even that figure was slammed as meaningless. “Ninety-five percent doesn’t mean anything,” David Kreutzer, the Heritage Foundation‘s Research Fellow in Energy, Economics, and Climate Change told Newsmax. “It’s not a scientific term.

House Energy Committee member Michael Burgess said he viewed the report “very skeptically.” In an interview with Newsmax TV, the Texan said, “The current data from the very recent past does not support the previous prefaced proposition that it was getting worse and worse from 2009 onward.”

The report, released by the U.N. International Panel on Climate Change, claimed it is “extremely likely” that humans are responsible for at least “half of the observed increase in global average surface temperatures since the 1950s.” It put the likelihood at 95 percent.

A similar report in 2007 said global warming was “very likely” manmade, putting the likelihood at 90 percent. The 2001 report just called such a theory “likely” at 66 percent.

It was these figures that concerned Kreutzer. “What’s interesting is how much people make out of a quasi-scientific study,” he told Newsmax.

“The critical thing is where we are headed,” he continued. “It’s not likely we will have catastrophes. We don’t see it accelerating. There’s a straw man and they are saying if you believe humans are contributing to global warming you must believe in a catastrophe.”

Furthermore, said Kreutzer, “If we had a cap on carbon or a carbon tax and took it to all the developed countries, it would have negligible impact on world temperatures. And you won’t get the developing countries to sign on to continued poverty. They need a huge increase in energy to have an improved standard of living.”

Thomas Stocker, co-chair of the UN Working Group, claimed, “Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes in all components of the climate system. Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.”

Qin Dahe, the other co-chair, added, “Our assessment of the science finds that the atmosphere and oceans have warmed, the amount of new snow and ice has diminished, the global mean sea level has risen and concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased.”

But a separate assessment of thousands of scientific papers by the Nongovernment International Panel on Climate Change, a group of independent scientists and scholars from 15 countries, reached different conclusions.

The NIPCC’s report, Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, published and released by the Heartland Institute earlier this month, found the human effect is likely to be small relative to natural causes.

“NIPCC’s conclusion, drawn from its extensive review of the scientific evidence, is that the greenhouse gas-induced global climate signal is so small as to be embedded within the background variability of the natural climate system and is not dangerous,” said the report.

Following the release of the UN’s findings, Joseph Bast, president of the Heartland Institute, said, “We urge the public to compare and contrast these two reports on what is probably the most important public policy issue of our age. The NIPCC report was produced by a team of independent scientists with no agenda other than to find the truth.”

He continued, “The IPCC study, in contrast, is produced by a government agency, part of the United Nations. That agency’s mission is to find a human impact on climate. Over the history of the IPCC, each report has expressed a higher level of alarmism and a higher level of confidence in its certainty that man-made global warming will be harmful.”

“The authors of the NIPCC study do not believe man-made global warming is a crisis or that scientists know enough about how the climate works to make policy-relevant recommendations to the world’s government leaders.” added Bast.

The UN report also failed to explain why temperatures have stayed basically steady since 1998, the Global Policy Foundation said.

“Due to natural variability, trends based on short records are very sensitive to the beginning and end dates and do not in general reflect long-term climate trends,” it read.
“Unless global temperature will begin to rise again in the next few years, the IPCC is very likely going to suffer an existential blow to its credibility,” said Benny Peiser, director of the foundation.

“In the face of such facts,” said the NIPCC’s reports, referring to the pause in global warming. “The most prudent climate policy is to prepare for and adapt to natural climate events and the threats they pose.”

“Adaptive planning for future hazardous climate events and change should be tailored to provide reasonable responses to their known rates, magnitudes and risks,” it added.
“Policymakers should resist pressure from lobby groups to silence those who question the authority of the IPCC as the sole gatekeeper and voice speaking in behalf of ‘climate science.'”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Lisa Barron

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