Sweden is experiencing a rather unusual winter this year, in fact, it is the mildest in the history of the nation since temperature records first began being recorded in 1756. If the remainder of the winter continues at the present rate it will mark an unheralded warm period for the cold months of the year. The temperature only once went below -10 degrees Celsius during the entire winter. Meterologist, Bengt Lundstom noted what differentiates this winter from those of previous years is the consistency in temperatures.
We are not experts in global warming, just ordinary observers in what is occurring in the world. Undoubtedly, those who decry the existence of any such notion as global warming will put forth explanations. We continue to be fascinated that a record was set for warmth.
Global warming could cost the world up to $20 trillion over the coming decades in the effort to develop cleaner energy sources according to a new report issues by UN Secretary General, Ban ki-moon. The report will be a major topic of discussion at the upcoming two day climate meeting in Febrary which is intended to help shape the direction of UN policy on climate control. A new climate control treaty is expected by 2009 that will replace the existing Kyoto Agreement. The Kyoto pact requires the 37 industrial nations to reuce greenhouse gases by a relatively modest 5% on average.
Much of the focus on climate control debate revolves around the United States which simply has refused to cooperate with nations of the world and the emerging industrial giants of China and India which are and increasingly will become major sources of pollution. The 52 page report by Ban argues that a global investment of betwen $15 to $20 trillion will be required “to place the world on a markedly different and sustainable energy trajectory.”
A great unknown is the attitude of the new American president who will assume office in January of 2009. Will she/he be an activist in the struggle to control the effects of global warming or will she/he ignore it as has been the policy of George Bush? Only the future knows the answer to that question.
The Chinese Communist government expressed its appreciation to the United States for supporting the principle of “one China.” The Taiwan government has been making noise about an effort to declalre Taiwan and independent nation and seek membership in the United Nations. Over fifty years ago when defeated forces of the Kuomintang conservative Chinese government fled the mainland in the wake of victory by the Communist Chinese, their presence on the island of Taiwan has been a continual source of conflict. About twenty years ago, the United States finally abandoned its support for the Taiwan government dreams of reconquering China. As Chinese Foreign Minister, Yang Jiechi told visiting US naval commander, Admiral Timothy Keating, “the Chinese side appreciates the United States government’s adherence to the one Chine policy and its oppositiion to the Taiwan authorities efforts at a referendum on Taiwan’s membership in the United Nations.
The Taiwan government has to accept reality and work toward closer cooperation with the Chinese Communist government. One day, Communist China will become a democratic society and until that time arrives, there is need for peace between the two entities.
Posted in Asia, China, Emerging Issues in the World, George Bush, Military, Peace, Politics, United States, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Raton Tata, chief executive officer of his company was driving one day when he noticed an indian family clustered on a motor bike in the rain. The incident sparked a dream in the mind of Tata. “It led me to wonder,” he reflected, “whether one could c onceive of a safe, affordable all-weather form of transportation for such a family.” Well, Tata Motors has translated a dream into a reality. It unveiled in New Dehli, the Tata, a car that wiil only coast about $2500 and will revolutionize life on planet Earth. It is a modern version of the Ford Model T car that made millions of Americans able to purchase a vehicle. However, the 200 million middle class people of India will now have an opportunity to pollute the world on an equal basis with other developed nations.
The Tata may be the equvalent of an atomic bomb exploding in the world. CO2 emissions will sky rocket as millions of middle class Indians, and then other Asians, get access to cars. This is a disaster in the making and the world must address this new issue. As people in India get off their motor scooters, they are getting on the vehicle to their own planetary destruction. And, the West has nothing to say other than, don’t be as stupid as we have been for a hundred years.
Salah Nasrawi, writing in the Turkish Daily News, emphasized the growing concern among Arab nations regarding the increased power of Iran in the Middle East. many share America’s anxieties, but regard a military option an an invitaton to disaster. Among there greatest fears is an American-Iran military confrontation could set the Middle East ablaze and give rise to violence and insurgency. Iraq and Lebanon are major concerns among Arab leaders since both nations are suseptible to Iranian influence, particularly, since Iran is funding insurgent groups. Even befoe America got into the picture, Arab leaders have been attempting to curtail Iran’s influence over what happens in Lebanon and trying to hedge in Hizbullah which is closely linked to Iran.
Many Middle East experts like Steven Cook at the Council on Foreign Relations, are warning that Arab leaders are probably hedging their bets rather than lining up behind the United States. Bush has confused most Middle Eastern nations, and they still wonder if he is serious about an Israeli-Palestinian peace or whether he simply lacks a copherent approach to dealing with the problem. That underlines the importance to Bush of being decisive and working to ensure both sides in the conflict are ready to accept compromise and move on rather than remained paralyzed in rhetoric.
Posted in Emerging Issues in the World, Human Rights, Iraq War, Islam, Multicultural, Muslims, Peace, Politics, United States, US Foreign Policy, World News
Tagged Arab nations, Iran, Iraq, Israel-Palestinians, Lebanon, Middle East, US
Science is taking a back seat to the Pope with the dismantling of the astronomical observatory that has been part of Castel Gandoifo, south of Rome, for more than 75 years. The Pope claims he needs more room for diplomats and has ordered the observatory be removed to a new location. Father Jose G. Funes, director of the observatory, claims “it is not a downgrading of science in the Vatican. To remain within the palace would have had only a symbolic significance..” But, many observers note that symbolism is exactly what the Catholic Church needs at a time when it is led by a Pope who has expressed sympathy for an Intelligent Design view of the origin of the world even though such ideas run counter to the scientific staff of the Observatory.
Pope Benedict XVI increasingly has cast his lot with more conservative forces within the Vatican. He opposes all reform ideas that have been circulating within the Church for the past forty years. Perhaps, the removal of the Observatory to another location was merely an attempt to get him some more room for discussions with diplomats. On the other hand, perhaps he needed more room to discuss the world with scientists.