Morning Bell: Should America Carry the U.N.?

Morning Bell: Should America Carry the U.N.?

Posted By Ericka Andersen On October 28, 2011 @ 9:46 am In American Leadership | 5 Comments

The 39-story United Nations headquarters stands on the banks of the East River in Manhattan. But now the U.N. is planning the construction of a new building next door, with a price tag pegged at $400 million — and it could soar even higher [1]. And since U.S. taxpayers pay 22 percent of the U.N. budget, the costs for that new building will come right out of your pocket, leading to a very serious question: Just how far should the United States go in supporting the U.N. and international organizations like it?

The issue of a new building in New York isn’t the only U.N. story to make the headlines this year. Take the issue of Palestine, which over the summer formally requested U.N. membership. If Palestine were to succeed in its unilateral efforts, it would be detrimental to U.S. interests in the region, isolate Israel, and deal a major setback to Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects. And all of that would come at the hands of an international organization over which the United States can exert strong influence but cannot control.  If Palestine is granted member status at the U.N., American interests–along with those of its allies–will be seriously harmed, requiring an even greater vigilance and financial commitment to maintain leverage for U.S. priorities.  Again, the question is posed: When does our commitment to an international organization become a problem?

In the latest installment of Heritage’s “Understanding America” series, Brett Schaefer addresses America’s role as a member of international organizations. He explains that conflicting interests will nearly always hinder forward movement on issues of peace, security, and human rights — but that doesn’t negate the benefit of having a platform for achieving U.S. interests. Schaefer further explains the risks [2] of participation in these bodies:

Supporting international organizations is not without consequence. It is a burden, albeit sometimes a burden worth bearing. But refusing to recognize the limitations of international organizations and their potential to cause harm does a disservice to the American people.

Joining with friendly nations for a mutual benefit or avenue to problem solving can prove to be valuable for the United States, but America’s leaders must never sacrifice the greater American interest for the sake of compromise. When does our commitment to an international organization become a problem? That’s a question U.S. leaders must continually ask themselves. Schaefer [2] explains how the United States must seek to strike that balance:

If the United States is not to undermine its interests, it must abandon its default position of supporting and engaging with international organizations regardless of their performance. Instead, the U.S. must assess honestly whether each organization works, whether its mission is focused and attainable and not dependent on “good faith” that does not exist, and whether it advances U.S. interests.

International organizations are a tool to attain a goal, not an end in themselves. They are one way for the U.S. to defend its interests and to seek to address problems in concert with other nations. But they are not the only option, and their strengths and weaknesses should be clearly understood.

America played a key role in the founding of the U.N., so our stake in its success is important. But there are always risks in working with other nations — and each international organization relies at least in part on the good faith of those involved. However, each country’s own priorities come first, which is why American leadership must be eternally vigilant in assessing the record and actions of participating countries.

That is true when it comes to issues such as America’s financial commitment to the U.N., particularly as the organization considers constructing a costly new complex in Manhattan. And that vigilance is even more imperative on issues of international security and the promotion of ideals at odds with America’s interests abroad, as is the case with Palestine’s bid for recognition in the U.N.

In a 1985 speech to the U.N. General Assembly, President Ronald Reagan addressed the U.N.’s role head on–and the need for America to remain vigilant, noting, “The vision of the U.N. Charter–to spare succeeding generations this scourge of war–remains real. It still stirs our soul and warms our hearts, but it also demands of us a realism that is rock hard, clear-eyed, steady, and sure–a realism that understands the nations of the United Nations are not united.” Those words hold true today and should guide America’s understanding of its commitment to international organizations but also the realities and limitations of its engagement.

Republicans Advance Bill Targeting US Funding for UN: ‘What Are We Paying For?’

Republicans Advance Bill Targeting US Funding for UN: ‘What Are We Paying For?’

By

Patrick Goodenough

October 14, 2011

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, meets with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Washington in March 2009. (UN Photo by Eskinder Debebe)

(CNSNews.com)

– A U.S. House committee Thursday approved a bill linking U.S. contributions to the United Nations to significant financial and other reforms, one day after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned she would recommend that President Obama veto the measure if it reaches his desk.

Deeply divided along party lines, the House Foreign Relations Committee voted 23-15 for the U.N. Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act (H.R. 2829), whose most radical provision aims to force the U.N. to change its funding mechanism from the current system of “assessed” contributions to voluntary ones.

Proponents say this would allow the U.S. – and other member states – to fund only those activities and agencies it regards as being efficiently managed, and in the national interest.

In order to compel the U.N. to make the shift, the legislation would withhold 50 percent of the U.S. assessed contributions to the regular budget (which does not include peacekeeping) if the U.N. has not moved at least 80 percent of the budget to voluntary funding within two years.

American taxpayers account for 22 percent of the U.N.’s regular operating budget and 27 percent of the separate peacekeeping budget in “assessed” dues. In addition the U.S. provides billions of dollars in voluntary contributions for various U.N. agencies. In FY 2010 the total U.S. contribution was $7.69 billion.

Conservatives critical of the U.N. have long advocated the U.S. using its leverage, as the biggest funder by far, to push the world body to reform – and to weaken efforts by hostile member-states to use the U.N. to harm American interests.

The bill’s author, committee chairwoman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), told Thursday’s markup hearing that the U.N. budget continues to climb.

“What are we paying for?” she asked, then cited repressive regimes’ membership on the Human Rights Council, a continuing anti-Israel bias, the elevation of member states like North Korea and Iran to leadership positions in various bodies, and corruption scandals.

“Why do we bear the financial burden for this?” Ros-Lehtinen continued. “Every year, scores of member countries that contribute almost nothing to the U.N. vote together to pass the budget. Then they pass the costs on to big donors like the U.S., which is assessed a whopping 22 percent.

“In contrast, China pays just three percent. We need a game-changer.”

The committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Howard Berman, said the “real agenda” behind the bill was to end U.S. participation in the U.N. and to “deal a fatal financial blow to the world body.”

He argued that there was no evidence to support the notion that withholding dues can leverage meaningful change.

“Previous attempts at withholding did not lead to any significant and lasting reforms – they only succeeded in weakening our diplomatic standing and influence, and undermining efforts to promote transparency, fiscal responsibility and good management practices in the U.N. system,” Berman told the committee.

‘A dangerous retreat’

If the bill does pass in the House – where it has 125 co-sponsors, all Republican – its passage through the Democrat-controlled Senate would be an uphill battle. Even if it did make it through the Senate, its chances of making it into law are slim.

In a letter to Ros-Lehtinen on Wednesday, Clinton expressed strong opposition to the measure, saying if it reached the president, she would recommend a veto.

Citing U.N. missions in Iraq and Afghanistan as examples, she argued that international engagement through the U.N. comes at a fraction of the cost of acting alone.

“This bill also represents a dangerous retreat from the longstanding, bipartisan focus of the United States on constructive engagement within the United Nations to galvanize collective action to tackle urgent security problems,” she wrote

House GOP targets the U.N.

House GOP
targets the U.N.

By: Tim Mak
August 30, 2011 06:08
AM EDT
House Republicans are planning to introduce legislation Tuesday that will
force major changes at the United Nations, an organization that the bill’s author has
called a “stew of corruption, mismanagement and negligence.”

The bill, by Republican House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, would require the UN adopt a voluntary
budget model, in which countries selectively choose which UN agencies to
fund.

The bill is expected to be introduced on Tuesday, and will also end funding
for Palestinian refugees and limit the use of U.S. funds only to projects
directly outlined by Congress.

An aide familiar with the legislation told
Bloomberg News
that shifting the UN budget to a voluntary system would
encourage competition for funds and better performance from UN agencies.

Ros-Lehtinen’s leverage for change at the U.N. is the large amount of the
international body’s budget that the American taxpayer has traditionally been
responsible for. The United States pays 22 percent of the UN’s regular
operations budget, and is assessed 27 percent of the peacekeeping budget. U.S.
payments totaled $3.35 billion in 2010, of which $2.67 billion was spent on
peacekeeping operations worldwide.

This Republican vision on foreign affairs stands in stark contrast to that of
President Obama’s, which has focused recently on multilateralism and
international consensus.

But Republicans are not the only ones concerned about growing spending at the
United Nations. Speaking on behalf of the United States, senior U.S. diplomat
Joseph Torsella recently objected to a nearly 3 percent cost of living raise to
the approximately 5,000 UN employees in New York City, saying that “a raise is
inappropriate this time of global fiscal austerity, when member state
governments everywhere are implementing drastic austerity
measures.”

© 2011 POLITICO LLC

Defund the United Nations

Defund the United Nations

December 22nd, 2010

Neil Stevens, RedState.com

The United States of America keeps the United Nations afloat. In 2009 we were assessed 22% of the budget of the UN, and paid out slightly under 24% of what was collected, thanks to the Tax Equalization Fund system. So in practice we paid about a quarter of the UN budget. Without us, the UN has to do some serious belt tightening.

So if we’re going to keep alive the UN as we know it, spending $598,292,101 in a direct assessment and surely more in other expenses, we’d best make sure we’re getting our money’s worth. The Obama deficit has gone through the roof and we simply cannot afford frivolous luxuries anymore. If the UN is not achieving its mission, it’s time we stopped paying for it.

This month I believe the UN has finally crossed the threshold of uselessness, and it’s time we defund it….

Read more.

Enough Already — Just Move the UN to Iran

Enough Already — Just Move the UN to Iran

The UN’s Economic and Social Council has just elected Iran to a seat on the UN’s women’s rights commission. Wouldn’t it be easier to just ship the entire UN, lock, stock and seating arrangements, to Iran?

U.N. health organization praises U.S. health reforms you know it’s bad when the totalitarian UN likes it

U.N. health organization praises U.S. health reforms

3:40pm EDT

By Matthew Bigg

ATLANTA (Reuters) – The head of the U.N. World Health Organization on Wednesday praised U.S. healthcare reforms signed by President Barack Obama this week as a breakthrough, stepping into a sharp domestic political debate.

“The people in this country and their leaders are courageous. That (healthcare reform) is an unprecedented achievement,” WHO Director General Margaret Chan said.

She was speaking to reporters after a lecture in which she argued that unrestricted market forces were limited as a means of redressing imbalances in global health care.

The reforms of the $2.5 trillion healthcare sector passed by Congress after months of heated debate will extend health insurance to 32 million Americans who currently have none.

It will also bar insurers from refusing coverage to people with preexisting medical conditions, expand the Medicaid government health insurance program for the poor and impose new taxes on the wealthy.

Conservatives and other critics argue that it will send the U.S. budget deficit soaring and slow economic recovery, but also that it represents unwarranted federal intrusion into the freedom of individuals to make healthcare choices.

Chan has made clear her view that governments and global organizations such as WHO should make a case for market regulation to deliver more equitable health benefits.

“Market forces, all by themselves, will not solve social problems. That is why public health needs to be concerned,” said Chan in a lecture at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The hardest thing … is persuading world leaders or ministers … that health concerns can, in some instances, be more important than economic interests. Economic growth is not, after all, the be-all, end-all, cure-all,” said Chan, whose organization is based in Geneva.

She cited pharmaceutical companies which she said would not by themselves conduct costly research to deliver cheap drugs to combat preventable diseases that largely affect the poor.

(Editing by Tom Brown and David Storey)

Top UN climate official resigning

APNewsBreak: Top UN climate official resigning

 

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Feb 18, 9:03 AM (ET)

By ARTHUR MAX

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AMSTERDAM (AP) – Top U.N. climate change official Yvo de Boer told The Associated Press on Thursday that he was resigning after nearly four years, a period when governments struggled without success to agree on a new global warming deal.

His departure takes effect July 1, five months before 193 nations are due to reconvene in Mexico for another attempt to reach a binding worldwide accord on controlling greenhouse gases. De Boer’s resignation adds to the uncertainty that a full treaty can be finalized there.

De Boer is known to be deeply disappointed with the outcome of the last summit in Copenhagen, which drew 120 world leaders but failed to reach more than a vague promise by several countries to limit carbon emissions – and even that deal fell short of consensus.

But he denied to the AP that his decision to quit was a result of frustration with Copenhagen.

“Copenhagen wasn’t what I had hoped it would be,” he acknowledged, but the summit nonetheless prompted governments to submit plans and targets for reigning in the emissions primarily blamed for global warming. “I think that’s a pretty solid foundation for the global response that many are looking for,” he said.

De Boer told the AP he believes talks “are on track.”

He recommended the next talks take a different tack. Rather than convene several negotiating sessions involving nearly 200 countries, Mexico, which is chairing the negotiations throughout this year, should prepare the November conference to work in smaller groups to lay the groundwork of a deal.

The Mexicans should “engage more intensively early in the process, so that you don’t only rely on formal meetings but through bilateral contacts and frequent meetings in a smaller setting and an earlier understanding of how the process can be advanced,” he told AP.

“At the moment, it tends to be very much a stop-and-start affair with everything concentrated in the formal negotiations, where I think a much more continuous engagement by (Mexico) is needed.”

The partial agreement reached in Copenhagen, brokered by Obama, “was very significant,” he said. But he acknowledged frustration that the deal was merely “noted” rather than formally adopted by all countries.

“We were about an inch away from a formal agreement. It was basically in our grasp, but it didn’t happen,” he said. “So that was a pity.”

The media-savvy former Dutch civil servant and climate negotiator was widely credited with raising the profile of climate issues through his frequent press encounters and his backstage lobbying of world leaders.

But his constant travel and frenetic diplomacy failed to bridge the suspicions and distrust between developing and industrial countries that barred the way to a final agreement at the climate change summit in Copenhagen in December.

People who know de Boer say he was more disheartened by the snail-paced negotiations than he was ready to admit.

“I saw him at the airport after Copenhagen,” said Jake Schmidt, a climate expert for the U.S.-based Natural Resources Defense Council. “He was tired, worn out.” The summit “clearly took a toll on him.”

Schmidt, speaking from Washington, said the Dutch diplomat was “very effective in pushing the envelope” and winning attention for climate change. “He’s done a powerful job … in getting the world to focus on this.”

During de Boer’s tenure, climate talks rose “to a standing item on the agenda of political leaders,” said Oxfam International, a nonprofit group that monitors the talks and advises delegations. World leaders “could learn much from de Boer’s perseverance as well as his uncompromising commitment to do what’s necessary – not just what’s easy.”

The German Green Party said de Boer’s departure presented a chance for a strategic reorientation of his U.N. office.

“The failure of the Copenhagen climate conference was due partly to bad preparation and organization,” the Greens’ climate change specialist Hermann Ott said in a statement. “Now a credible and experienced successor has to be found to make sure the international process to combat climate change continues without delay.”

De Boer, 55, was appointed in 2006 to shepherd through an agreement to succeed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which required industrial countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions an average 5 percent.

He said the high point of his efforts was the agreement by developing countries, reached at the 2007 conference in Bali, Indonesia, to join in efforts to contain global warming in return for financial and technical help from the wealthy nations.

The Bali meeting was so intense that during its final meeting, when he was accused of mishandling negotiating arrangements, de Boer walked off the podium in tears. He came back later to an ovation from the thousands of delegates.

His assertiveness sometimes led to accusations that he was overstepping the bounds of a neutral U.N. facilitator.

“They are absolutely right. I did that because I felt the process needed that extra push,” he told the AP.

When he was hired, he said, he told U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, “If you want someone to sit in Bonn and keep his mouth shut then I’m not the right person for the job.”

Yet De Boer habitually put a positive spin on events. Though he occasionally chastised governments, he did it in diplomatic tones. At times when his aides were describing him as “furious” – especially with the administration of George W. Bush – de Boer kept his public comments so modulated that it sounded like praise.

De Boer said he will be a consultant on climate and sustainability issues for KPMG, a global accounting firm, and will be associated with several universities.

“I have always maintained that while governments provide the necessary policy framework, the real solutions must come from business,” he said in a statement released later Thursday. “Copenhagen did not provide us with a clear agreement in legal terms, but the political commitment and sense of direction toward a low-emissions world are overwhelming. This calls for new partnerships with the business sector and I now have the chance to help make this happen,” he said.

De Boer, who comes from a diplomatic family, was born in Vienna and traveled the world before attending a British boarding school. He studied social work at university in The Hague, and one of his early jobs was as a parole officer. He worked for the United Nations in Canada and Kenya, then joined the Dutch housing ministry. He has been involved in climate change issues since 1994, and three years later became the chief climate delegate for the Netherlands.

Associated Press Writer Verena Schmitt contributed to this report from Berlin.

Uncoupling the U.S. from the UN

Uncoupling the U.S. from the UN

By Edward Bernard Glick

Over the past sixty years, the political architecture and political mathematics of the United Nations have changed drastically. Not only has the number of Security Council non-permanent members been increased from 6 to 10, but the pivotal position in the General Assembly once held by Latin America is now held by Third-world countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. They have hijacked the United Nations and transformed it into one of the most anti-Western, anti-American, anti-Semitic, and anti-democratic organizations on the planet.
They are also determined to make the UN the substitute for sovereignty and the surrogate for a sovereign state’s decision-making institutions. Except when their own interests are at stake, they preach that the Security Council is the Government of the Earth and the General Assembly is the Parliament of Mankind.
America can keep the Security Council at bay because it has a veto there. But in the veto-free General Assembly, America, which pays 20 percent of the United Nations’ regular budget and about a third of its peacekeeping budget, has only four options: Either it abstains on a resolution, or it supports one it doesn’t like, or it introduces one it does like, or it waters it down to utter ineffectiveness in order to get the two-thirds vote required to pass a resolution in a General Assembly that is unrecognizably different from the one the UN’s founders envisaged in San Francisco in 1945. 
The situation is now so bad that it forced John Bolton, when he was the United States ambassador to the United Nations, to remark: “Many people want me to be the UN’s ambassador to the U.S. That is not my job. I am the U.S. ambassador to the UN, and my primary duty is to advance U.S. foreign policy.”
States, like individuals, can be inert. They remain tied to policies and processes long after they have ceased serving their intended purposes. One example is America’s membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization: Only God knows why the United States still belongs to NATO. NATO is a Cold War-generated anachronism whose only purpose was to deter Soviet aggression in Western Europe. Soviet Russia is gone, but the Europeans still want America to help them whenever they get into trouble. However, they have neither the means nor the will to help America when it gets into trouble.  
Another example of how inertia triumphs over intelligence is America’s membership in the United Nations. Although the United States was one of the organization’s founding members, it should separate itself from that body. And while it is doing that, it ought to encourage the United Nations to move its headquarters from New York City to a place more congenial to its orientation. Perhaps United Nations headquarters should be in the middle of Khartoum or in a suburb of Pyongyang.
Whatever usefulness the UN had in its early years has been dissipated by its indecency and irresponsibility in later years. A case in point is its incessant denunciations of Israel, to which it gave birth and legitimacy when it adopted the Palestine partition resolution in November 1947. Palestine and Israel aside, really important events, such as America’s recognition of Communist China, the ending of the Korean and Vietnam wars, and the defusing of the Cuban missile crisis, were settled not by the United Nations but by diplomats operating outside the world organization.
To those who would argue that America’s jettisoning the United Nations would mean its return to pre-Second World War isolationism, one should note that in the age of the computer, the internet, and the high-speed airplane, America can defend its vital political and socioeconomic interests in old-fashioned ways: ambassadorial diplomacy, summit meetings, bilateral and multilateral treaties, trade talks, and cultural and scientific exchanges.”
In short, when a more pro-American administration comes to power again in Washington, one of its first moves, after ending the current recession and so-called jobless recovery, must be starting the legal and administrative process of extracting the United States from the United Nations, and the United Nations from the United States.
Surely, when they put their heads together, the city, state, and federal governments will find a better use for the UN’s expensive and untaxed property along New York’s famed East River. 
Edward Bernard Glick is Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Temple University

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/uncoupling_the_us_from_the_un.html at December 14, 2009 – 08:59:50 AM EST

The Cuckoo’s Nest visits Copenhagen

The Cuckoo’s Nest visits Copenhagen

By Mark W. Hendrickson

One of my all-time favorite novels is Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, later made into an Oscar-winning film.  Set in an institution for psychological patients, Cuckoo’s Nest was a cautionary tale about all institutions-schools, churches, businesses, government bureaucracies, etc., it dramatized the horrors of what can happen when those in charge hijack an institution and place their own ambitions and lust for power, prestige, and control above the welfare of the very people whom the institution was created to help. 
The United Nations fits the cuckoo’s nest paradigm perfectly.  It is ostensibly dedicated to some of mankind’s loftiest ideals.  The U.N. Declaration of Human Rights affirms: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.” “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest.” “No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.” “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion,” etc. 
In practice, though, the U.N. welcomes, legitimizes, and empowers regimes that systematically trample those rights.  U.N. officials readily betray the welfare and liberty of billions of individuals in their pursuit of world government.  With cynical irony, the UN extends the voting privilege to regimes that would never permit an honest, democratic vote in their own countries.  Also, because the major obstacle to global government is a strong, sovereign United States, U.N. delegates from illiberal regimes routinely gang up to vote against our interests.
Why would any American want to strengthen the UN?  Some individuals crave the unprecedented powers that a worldwide government would have.  Others pathologically hate liberal democracy, free markets, and limits on government power, and so despise American sovereignty.  Most pro-U.N. Americans, to give them the benefit of the doubt, are idealists who believe that the way to establish peace on earth is to do away with nation-states.  No nation-states, no wars, right?  Not so.
It amazes me that the same people who loathe private-sector business monopolies believe that a global monopoly of governmental power would be benign. When Stalin consolidated hegemony over the 15 republics that constituted the Soviet Union, there was no more war in the conventional sense, but the Soviet Union remained an exceedingly violent place.  The government warred against its own people, but the disarmed populace couldn’t fight back.  The death toll was enormous.
Those who believe that a one-world government would produce peace on earth should google “R. J. Rummel and democide.”  They will learn that wars have killed far fewer people than have strong governments.  Competition in business serves consumer welfare far better than monopoly, and so does political competition.  The 20th century featured lab-like experiments proving this: East and West Germany, North and South Korea, China vs. Taiwan and Hong Kong, east of the Iron Curtain and west of it – in all cases people voted with their feet to leave countries where there was a deadly monopoly of political power to live where politicians competed for the citizens’ approval.
This week the UN is pursuing all 3 of its nefarious goals trashing the rights of individuals, pushing for global governance, and knocking the U.S. down a few pegs-at the “climate change” meeting in Copenhagen.
UN Goal #1: The highest estimate of the estimated costs of a global cap & trade regime that I have seen was not from a global-warming skeptic, but the U.N.’s own figure of $552 trillion during the 21st century.  Since global GDP today is around $65 trillion, the UN is talking about sacrificing nearly a decade’s worth of wealth in the name of combating climate change.  Since the most lethal environment for humans is poverty, the U.N.’s call to reduce wealth by that unfathomable amount would cause tens of millions of unnecessary deaths — a gargantuan genocide or democide — and the violation of the most fundamental human right of all, life.
UN Goal #2: Preliminary language composed in advance of the Copenhagen confab calls for creation of a new UN body, “the Conference of the Parties (COP).” COP needs sweeping powers, because “the way society is structured will need to change fundamentally.”  Such “change” won’t be cheap, so the UN seeks a “massive scaling up of financial resources” to fund COP. 
Surprise! The UN wants to levy taxes!  This is huge, because if the U.N. ever gains the power to tax sovereign nations, national sovereignty will be in mortal jeopardy, and the era of one-world government will draw near.
UN Goal #3: The climate change claque seeks to penalize rich countries — especially the US — for our prosperity.  According to Friends of the Earth, “A climate change response must have at its heart a redistribution of wealth and resources.”  President Obama emphatically believes this.  He wants to redistribute American wealth abroad.  He doesn’t understand that rich countries became rich by embracing the principles of private property and free enterprise, while poor countries shunned that same road to prosperity.  The U.S. didn’t get rich by taking wealth from poor countries, and what poor countries need to prosper is not transfers of US wealth, but to adopt the right values and policies.
Thankfully, it doesn’t appear that the Copenhagen meeting will produce a CO2 emissions control agreement against a backdrop of global cooling, the climategate scandal, and economic weakness.  Nevertheless, what the U.N. insiders and Obama are plotting there is monstrous.  This week, the cuckoo’s nest is in Copenhagen. 
Mark Hendrickson, Ph.D. teaches economics at Grove City College and is Fellow for Economic and Social Policy with the College’s Center for Vision & Values.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/the_cuckoos_nest_visits_copenh_1.html at December 07, 2009 – 12:01:58 PM EST

UN Climate Reports: They Lie

UN Climate Reports: They Lie

Article with charts

http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/10/un_climate_reports_they_lie.html

By Marc Sheppard
For years, claims that UN climate reports represent the consensus of the majority of international scientists have been mindlessly accepted and regurgitated by left-leaning policy makers and the media at large.  But in the past week or so, it’s become more apparent than ever that those who’ve accused the international organization of politicizing science and manipulating data have been right all along.

This latest disclosure again concerns what has become the favorite propaganda propagation tool of climate activists — the infamous “Hockey Stick Graph.” The familiar reconstruction, which deceitfully depicts last millennium’s global temperatures as flat prior to a dramatic upturn last century, has been displayed and touted ad nauseum as irrefutable proof of unprecedented and, therefore, anthropogenic, global warming (AGW). 
Despite its previous debunking, the embattled AGW poster-child continues to languish in UN climate reports, which are unduly revered and quoted as gospel by all manner of proselytizers.  In fact, just last week it had the bad timing to show up in a desperate UN compendium, released just days before Climate Audit published facts that promise to be the Hockey Stick’s (HS) long overdue epitaph.  And those facts not only assuage any doubt of the chart’s fraudulence, but also of the deliberate and devious complicity of its creators, defenders and leading UN sponsors.
But before delving into the sordid details, perhaps a little background is in order.
The Real Inconvenient Truth

Prior to the 2001 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Assessment Report (TAR), the accepted depiction of the prior millennium’s warmth was that published in the panel’s 1990 maiden assessment. Specifically — global temperatures had fluctuated drastically over the period. This schematic, taken from IPCC 1990 Figure 7c, clearly demonstrates the IPCC “consensus” of the time:


And data derived from sources including tree-rings, lake sediments, ice cores and historic documents bear that position out.  Indeed, it’s abundantly evident that since the last glacial period ended, over 14,000 years ago, the Earth’s climate has undergone multi-century swings from warming to cooling that occur often and with remarkable rapidity.  And not one but three such radical shifts occurred within the past millennium.
The years 900-1300 AD have been labeled the Medieval Warming Period (MWP), as global temperatures rose precipitously from the bitter cold of the previous epoch — the Dark Ages — to levels several degrees warmer than today.  A sudden period of cooling then followed and lasted until the year 1850.  This Little Ice Age (LIA) brought on extremely cold temperatures, corresponding with three periods of protracted solar inactivity, the lowest temperatures coinciding with the quietest of the three (The Maunder Minimum 1645-1710).

And then began the modern warming period, which, by the way, many scientists believe ended with the millennium itself.
Given these natural shifts over the past 1000 years, it’s certainly not surprising that after a period of cooling, which followed a period of warming, we’d again enter a period of warming. 
And that, of course, presented quite the quandary to opportunists hell-bent on blaming warming on industrial revolution-triggered atmospheric CO2 increases. Something had to be done to convince the world that modern warming was unprecedented and could therefore only be explained by something unnatural, specifically — the “Greenhouse Effect.”
And something was. 
The End of a Warming Era

During testimony before the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works Hearing on Climate Change and the Media in 2006, University of Oklahoma geophysicist Dr. David Deming recalled “an astonishing email from a major researcher in the area of climate change” who told him that “we have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.”  In June of this year, piece, Deming identified the year of that email as 1995 and the source only as a lead author of that month’s Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States report. 
Many believe that man to be Jonathan Overpeck – which Prof. Deming didn’t deny in an email response — who would later also serve as an IPCC lead author.  So it comes as no surprise that this reconstruction, which did indeed “get rid of the Medieval Warm Period,” was featured prominently in the subsequent 2001 TAR, particularly in the Summary for Policymakers (SPM), the highly-politicized synopsis which commands the bulk of media and political attention.

This, the original and by far most ubiquitous version of the HS graph, was derived from a 1998 paper by Michael E. Mann, Raymond S. Bradley and Malcolm K. Hughes (MBH98).  It was promptly met with challenges to both its proxy data and statistical analysis methodology.  Of these, various papers by two Canadians — statistician Stephen McIntyre and economist Ross McKitrick — stood out in dispelling the AGW-supporting hockey-stick shape arrived at by MBH, claiming it the result of severe data defects and flawed calculations, particularly an invalid principal component analysis.
In a coordinated effort to defend the refuted thesis, alarmed alarmists tendered a handful of supporting studies.  Mann himself cheered those either attacking McIntyre and McKitrick or supporting his own reconstruction and dubbed them the “Hockey Team.”  And the position of team forward and co-captain was bestowed upon Keith Briffa of Britain’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU), whose temperature graphs, derived from Yamal, Russia tree ring data were heavily cited by the IPCC as supporting evidence of MBH’s assertion of unprecedented 20th century warming. 
While studies reaffirming both the MWP and LIA continued to be published, congressional hearings and expert panels found MBH to be largely unsupported by studies relying on legitimate proxy data other than Briffa’s.   Still, most alarmists continued (and continue) to defend the HS on principle. 
Which in no way dilutes this plain truth:  By the time most Americans received their first lesson in climate hysteria in the Albert Gore lecture hall that was the 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth, the MBH chart the nutty professor stood before and offered as proof of impending doom was already held in disrepute by most serious persons of science.
Lest there be any doubt, why else would the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) — notwithstanding the appointments of both Briffa and Overpeck as lead authors – give the graph short mention and exclude it entirely from the SPM?
It appeared the Hockey Team was being sent back to the minors. 

That is — for the moment.
Desperate Times Call For Disparate Actions

Given the current economic and political climate, it’s not surprising that the globe’s climate ranks dead last when Americans are asked to name the “most important issue facing the country right now.”   Needless to say, that’s an uncomfortable position for the Greenhouse Gas Team, what with a Senate Climate Bill promising even more government control than its House counterpart at the plate and the December Copenhagen Climate Summit on deck.
Accordingly, on September 24th, in a transparently desperate effort to stoke the coals, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released its Climate Change Science Compendium 2009.  The eco-plea opens with these words from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

“The science has become more irrevocable than ever: Climate change is happening. The evidence is all around us. And unless we act, we will see catastrophic consequences including rising sea-levels, droughts and famine, and the loss of up to a third of the world’s plant and animal species.”

Amazing.  But the frantic hype of this call-to-pointless-action quickly segues to blatant lies just three sentences later when Ban states “that climate change is accelerating at a much faster pace than was previously thought by scientists.”  It would appear the Sec-Gen believes that the cooling temperatures the new millennium issued in have somehow escaped everyone’s notice. 
Imagine the uphill battle he’ll face should predictions of the U.S. Northeast suffering its coldest winter in a decade due to a weak El Nino come true. 
So it wasn’t all that shocking to spot this undeniably dramatic graph on only the fifth of this end-is-near report’s 75 pages. 
The striking chart is marked as Figure 1.3: Correlation between temperature and CO2.  As its title suggests, it attempts to plot atmospheric CO2 concentrations and mean global temperature during the past millennium.  Notice anything vaguely familiar about the temperature plot in red?

Why, it’s our old friend, Mr. Hockey Stick – apparently having sat for a bit of a makeover.

Interestingly enough, this reconstruction wasn’t lifted from prior IPCC assessments, or, for that matter, any UN entity at all.  No, the source was actually a graphic posted to Wikimedia in 2005 by Hanno Sandvik, a Norwegian research biologist.  Sandvik cited two data sources for his temperature plot – a 2004 paper by Jones and Mann (abracadabra – no more MWP) for 1000-1880, and, for the remainder, “instrumental records published on the web” by Jones, Parker, Osborn and – wait for it …… Briffa.
So the chart the UN climate experts used to sell the CO2 -°C connection to an increasingly skeptical public was pulled from Wiki, crafted by an unknown biologist, conveniently ends about the same year warming ended, and based on a debunked temperature reconstruction. 
It would therefore appear they consider Sanvik quite the unsung authority. Yet I wonder whether these geniuses are aware of this 2006 graphic, also from Sandvik, and plotting northern hemisphere temperatures over the past 2000 years.  This one cites 2005 data published by Moberg, Sonechkin, Holmgren, Datsenko, Karlén, and Lauritzen as its source and paints a somewhat different picture.  Hello MWP and LIA, where’ve you been?

 


 
Any guesses whether or not UNEP would have used Sandvik’s chart had his temperature dataset been from Moberg et al. rather than Mann et al.? 
I contacted Hanno Sandvik a week ago last Saturday and asked him essentially that same question.  He responded that he was unaware of the UNEP Compendium and therefore had “no idea which graphics they may have chosen.”  He also pointed out that while Mann’s was global data, Mobergs was northern hemisphere only — a point well taken,  however MHB98 was also derived from NH data yet remarkably resembles the Mann “global” data Sandvik used.
Also — Take a look at the period between 1000 and 1800 in both reconstructions. Is it even the least bit feasible that averaging southern hemisphere data into the latter would produce the former?
Or that UNEP strived to present the facts honestly?
Not Man Made — Mann Made

One of McIntyre’s chief complaints when auditing MHB98 was Mann’s refusal to provide his data, methods and source code.  The Hockey Team’s most dreaded opposing goaltender has been reporting the same deceptiveness from Briffa, who for years refused to release his Yamal measurement data.    This, despite the fact that HS-defending papers relying solely on Yamal continued to be published in major science journals.
But last year, Briffa used the data in a paper he published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Journal. As the journal adheres to its strict data archiving rules, McIntyre convinced one of its editors to help get Briffa’s data released.  And late last month, the data was indeed published at CRU.
Last week, McIntyre analyzed the CRU archive Yamal data and proved that Briffa et al. had cherry-picked and manipulated data, intentionally omitting records not friendly to their position.  In fact, when Briffa’s hand-selected figures were replaced by a broader dataset for the same Polar Ural region (much of which he had deliberately dropped), the Hockey-Stick suddenly disappeared, revealing no significant trend in the 20th century whatsoever! 
In Steve’s new graph, below, the Red represents the original 12 cherry picked Yamal trees, while the Black incorporates the broader Yamal dataset.

Any questions whether or not global warming is Mann made?
Inhofe was right

The public’s belief in manmade climate change doesn’t hang on its grasp of geophysics or thermodynamics.  Technical explanations of positive feedbacks and radiative forcings, read by few and understand by fewer still, aren’t likely to foster acceptance of a new energy tax that will dramatically raise the price of literally every facet of human life.  Let’s get real — even experts on the subject can’t seem to agree on what caused modern warming.
But alarmists know all too well that as long as citizens are convinced that warming is both enduring and unprecedented, such inconveniences as the missing hot spot,  laughably  mistaken climate models, 800 year CO2 /Temperature latency and perhaps even current cooling can be cleverly obfuscated with Goebbels-like double-talk and outright lies. 

And without the Hockey Stick’s counterfeit portrait of runaway 20th century warming, climate crisis peddlers’ credibility levels are reduced to those of used car salesmen.  Not where you want to be when hoping to sell the instinctively absurd premise that the actions of mankind can influence temperatures in either direction.
So they cheat. And they lie. And they have from the very beginning.
In 1989, climate scientist Stephen Schneider told Discover magazine:

“To capture the public imagination, we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have. Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective, and being honest.”

Twelve years later, Schneider was a lead author of the IPCC’s TAR, the same UN report that formally introduced the delusory Hockey Stick Graph.
In his masterpiece work, Heaven and Earth, Ian Plimer assessed the cadre whose own assessments form the foundation of virtually every climate-related scheme, law, tax, regulation and treaty throughout the globe thusly:

“The IPCC is clearly an ascientific political organization in which environmental activists and government representatives are setting the agenda for a variety of reasons including boosting trade, encouraging protectionism, adding costs to competitors and pushing their own sovereign barrow.”  

Add lying perpetrators of fraud, and I’d say that about sums it up.
Speaking on the Senate floor in July of 2003, Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla) rightly called the threat of catastrophic global warming the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.”
Let’s make damned sure it doesn’t become the most expensive.
Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/10/un_climate_reports_they_lie.html at October 05, 2009 – 09:40:19 AM EDT