Wednesday, June 29, 2016

There is no future if we cover up climate change

The idea that climate change is a vast global conspiracy -- involving everyone from Nasa and the British Met Office to Chinese government scientists and – has persisted in the United States to an alarming degree.

So much so that more than 180 members of Congress are believed to be climate deniers, including Senator Jim Inhofe, who once tossed a snowball to the presiding officer in February, saying: “You know what this is? It’s a snowball, from outside here. So it’s very, very cold out. Very unseasonable.” Washington DC gets an average of about 12cm (5 inches) of snow in February.

Now 31 major scientific organisations in the US – including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Meteorological Society and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics – have signed a joint letter to Congress urging them to accept that climate change is real and action needs to be taken.

“Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research concludes that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver,” they write. “This conclusion is based on multiple independent lines of evidence and the vast body of peer-reviewed science. There is strong evidence that ongoing climate change is having broad negative impacts on society, including the global economy, natural resources, and human health. For the United States, climate change impacts include greater threats of extreme weather events, sea level rise, and increased risk of regional water scarcity, heat waves, wildfires, and the disturbance of biological systems. The severity of climate change impacts is increasing and is expected to increase substantially in the coming decades.”

The letter adds that to reduce the risk of the “most severe” impacts of climate change, “greenhouse gas emissions must be substantially reduced”.


“In addition, adaptation is necessary to address unavoidable consequences for human health and safety, food security, water availability, and national security, among others,” the signatories say.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Rich India (video)

Wiping who off the map?

We all remember when Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad allegedly said Israel should “be wiped off the map." We now have an official Israeli map that is wiping off historic Christian and Muslim sites from a tourist map.

The City of David archaeological park located in the heart of a Palestinian neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, managed by Elad, a private political organisation that facilitates the purchase and takeover of Palestinian homes in the Old City and occupied East Jerusalem in an effort to increase Jewish settlement, features prominently, in large, bold red letters, on the Israeli tourism ministry's official Old City map, which is distributed free of charge at official tourist information centres in Jerusalem. The City of David is easily spotted, but the neighbourhood of Silwan that surrounds it is not labelled. Palestinian communities, including At-Tur, Wadi al-Joz and Issawiya do not appear, but the settlement of Maale Har Hazeitim is labelled with the Star of David.

But the nearby al-Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary, a 14-hectare compound that comprises Islam's third holiest site, al-Aqsa Mosque, as well as the Dome of the Rock, is only referred to by its Jewish name: the Temple Mount. There is no room on the list of the numbered sites for the Church of St Anne or the Church of the Redeemer, although the latter is on the map with a tiny, hard to find name. Palestinian neighbourhoods outside the Old City walls are absent on the map, apart from Ras al-Amud, while Jewish-only settlements built in those neighbourhoods are represented.


Betty Herschman, director of international relations and advocacy at Ir Amim, an Israeli human rights NGO that gives tours of East Jerusalem to diplomats and other parties, explained This map, in addition to erasing important Muslim and Christian holy sites in the Old City, completely erases entire neighbourhoods around the historic basin, supplanting them not only with Hebrew names but with the names of settlements." These settlements, added Herschman, are built by radical settlers within the heart of Palestinian neighbourhoods; namely, Bet Orot, a community of 150 settlers living in the Palestinian neighbourhood of At-Tur, that does not even appear on the map. "The map is legitimising private settlement around the historic basin. This is a form of consolidating Israeli control of arguably the epicentre of the most critical point of Jerusalem - which is itself the epicentre of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. So there are extremely important political consequences involved."

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/06/israel-removes-key-sites-jerusalem-city-map-160605110610513.html