Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Climate news - 06/19/2018

NASA: May Was 4th Hottest on Record

19 June, 2018

According to reports from NASA GISS, May of 2018 was the 4th hottest in the 138 year global temperature record. This new warmth came as the Equatorial Pacific began to retreat from a cooling La Nina state — which, all things being equal, would have resulted in somewhat cooler than average global temperatures.

(Analysis of global temperature trends based on recent NASA and NOAA reports.)
But all things are not equal. Greenhouse gasses in the range of 410 ppm CO2 and 493 ppm CO2e have created a historically unprecedented heat forcing within the Earth’s atmosphere. As a result, recent global temperatures have consistently exceeded 1 C above 1880s levels and have hit as high as 1.5 C above 1880s levels on a monthly basis and 1.2 C above those levels on an annual basis.

For this May, temperatures were about 0.82 C above NASA’s 20th Century baseline or about 1.04 C above 1880s levels. This was the fourth hottest May in the global climate record despite La Nina influences continuing to maintain hold over the global climate system.
(NASA global anomalies map shows distribution of warmer than normal [yellow to red] and cooler than normal [blue to purple] temperatures across the globe. Note that warmer than normal conditions dominated.)

Overall, the greatest above average temperatures were experienced in the regions of Scandinavia and Antarctica — from an anomaly perspective. Meanwhile, significant trough zones generated counter-trend cool temperatures near Eastern Canada, over the North Atlantic south of Greenland, and across Central Siberia. As we moved into June, some of these zones have shifted or moderated, with cooler air tending to shift closer to eastern Europe in Asia and toward the North Atlantic cool water zone (due to melting Greenland ice) from Eastern Canada.

Looking ahead, NOAA is forecasting a 65 percent chance for a return to El Nino conditions in the Equatorial Pacific by winter of 2018-2019. With atmospheric CO2 hitting near 410 ppm and overall greenhouse gas levels hitting near 493 ppm CO2e, this switch to the warm side of natural variability will again bring with it the risk of record hot global temperatures, should the NOAA forecast bear out. Though we should be clear that El Nino is merely a short term aspect of natural variability that is riding over the long term warming trend generated by human produced greenhouse gas emissions, particularly CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning.

Atmospheric CO2 Hit 411 Parts Per Million During May

Presently high levels of atmospheric CO2 and other greenhouse gasses are already enough to warm the Earth by 1.5 to 2.3 C this Century and 3 to 4.7 C long term. But present path fossil fuel burning could push that number as high as 3-4 C this Century and 6-8 C or more over multiple centuries. For this reason, it is urgent that we transition to renewables such as wind, solar, and EVs as soon as possible.

Economic/financial news - 06/19/2018

The Next Recession Is Going To Be Horrific

X22 Report

The US leaves the UN Human Rights Council

US leaves 'hypocritical and self-serving' UN Human Rights Council

US leaves 'hypocritical and self-serving' UN Human Rights Council

19 June, 2018

Washington has decided to walk out of the UN Human Rights Council, accusing the body of hypocrisy. The US has long cited concerns about the body’s “anti-Israel bias.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley announced the decision at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

The US is officially withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council,” Haley said, calling it a “hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights.”

American participation is the last shred of credibility the council has,” Haley argued. “That is precisely why we must leave.”

The Human Rights Council is a poor defender of human rights. Worse than that, it has become an exercise in shameless hypocrisy,” Pompeo said, blasting the council for passing more resolutions against Israel than against the rest of the world combined.

"Disappointing, if not really surprising, news. Given the state of in today's world, the US should be stepping up, not stepping back" -- UN Human Rights Chief following USA decision to withdraw from U.N. Human Rights Council.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the US for the “courageous decision” to leave the body, which he called a “biased, hostile, anti-Israel organization that has betrayed its mission of protecting human rights.”

The US decision to leave this prejudiced body is an unequivocal statement that enough is enough,” Netanyahu said. “Israel welcomes the American announcement.”

Israel thanks President Trump, Secretary Pompeo and Ambassador Haley for their courageous decision against the hypocrisy and the lies of the so-called UN Human Rights Council.

This is the first time a member of the council would leave the body voluntarily. The US was halfway through its three-year term on the 47-member panel.

On Monday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein criticized Washington over the “unconscionable” policy of separating children of immigrants who cross the border illegally and holding them in detention centers.

I call on the United States to immediately end the practice of forcible separation of these children,” al-Hussein said.

While the timing of the US exit from the UN body coincides with this criticism, Washington’s objections to the Human Rights Council over the years have mostly been in regard to Israel. Ambassador Haley has accused the council of a “relentless, pathological campaign” against Israel, and said the US would leave unless the body gets rid of its “chronic anti-Israel bias.”

Shortly after its establishment in 2006, the council voted to make a review of alleged human rights abuses by Israel a permanent feature of every session, known as Agenda Item 7. Likewise, the body’s special rapporteur on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the only expert whose mandate is not time-limited.

The George W. Bush administration boycotted the council at its inception, but the Obama administration decided to “re-engage” with the body in 2009. Even so, in 2011 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused the council of “structural bias” against Israel.

Shortly after its establishment in 2006, the council voted to make a review of alleged human rights abuses by Israel a permanent feature of every session, known as Agenda Item 7. Likewise, the body’s special rapporteur on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the only expert whose mandate is not time-limited.
The George W. Bush administration boycotted the council at its inception, but the Obama administration decided to “re-engage” with the body in 2009. Even so, in 2011 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused the council of “structural bias”against Israel.

By withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council, the Trump administration is effectively saying they don't believe in human rights or in holding @realDonaldTrump accountable to international law.

Domestically, some critics of President Donald Trump are citing the move as proof his administration does not believe in human rights and rule of law.

The decision “sends a clear message that the Trump administration does not intend to lead the world when it comes to human rights,” said Senator Chris Coons (D-Delaware), who serves on the Foreign Relations Committee.

Leaving the council is unlikely any immediate practical implications for US diplomacy, aside from allowing the UN body to continue condemnations of Israel without much in the way of opposition. Last month, when the council voted to investigate the killing of over 100 Palestinians in protests along the Israel-Gaza border and accused Israel of excessive force, only the US and Australia voted against.

Russia Nominates For UN Human Rights Council Election - Permanent Mission to UN

Russia put forward its candidacy for membership of the UN Human Rights Council for 2021-2023, the Russian Permanent Mission to the United Nations said on Wednesday.

"Russia will continue its effective work in the Human Rights Council to maintain equal dialogue and cooperation in the human rights sphere. For this purpose, Russia has proposed its candidacy for membership of the Human Rights Council for 2021-2023," First Secretary of the Russian Mission to the United Nations, Fedor Strzhizhovskiy, said.


Liberation of Daraa in SE Syria is about to begin

Syria - Ready To Start The Daraa Campaign

19 June, 2018

There are signs that the long expected liberation of the Daraa region in southwest Syria is about to begin. After a month of negotiations between Russia, Israel, Jordan and the U.S. no peaceful solution has been found. The various terrorist forces in the (green) area, including al-Qaeda aligned HTS and groups loyal to the Islamic State, have rejected all negotiations. For over a month Russian negotiators tried to convince locals to give up and to reconcile with the government. But the hardliners under the rebels have killed anyone who talked with the Russians. The U.S. government has warned against a Daraa operation and threatened to intervene.

First airstrikes were launched by the Syrian government today against villages in the eastern part of the Deraa area. Some local fighting is ongoing. This is not yet the expected all out attack on the 'rebel' held areas but the testing of enemy forces. 

The Syrian army has assembled a large force to liberate the southwest. It includes ten thousands of soldiers, more than 100 tanks and lots of artillery. Short range air defenses have been moved into the area to protect the Syrian troops. A well coordinated attack on several front and multiple axes should allow for a quick victory.

Israel, with U.S. backing, might intervene in such an operation even if it makes little sense to do so. The current state can not continue indefinitely. Any intervention might well lead to a war for which Israel is unprepared. The Syrian army is willing and able to hit back into Israel. After seven years of war it is not afraid of a fight.

The Russian military is warning of a false-flag "chemical incident" in Deir Ezzor governorate. The Syrian Observatory reports that Islamic State remnants in the southeastern desert and in the Rukban camp, both under cover of the U.S. occupied zone around al-Tanf, prepare for a large attack on Syrian government forces. It claims that such an attack is an attempt to occupy the zone between al-Tanf and Albu Kamal at the Euphrates. Both operation would be planned diversions intended to draw Syrian forces away from Deraa and could provide excuses for U.S. intervention on the opposition side.

Late Sunday an airstrike destroyed a building in the Harri area near Albu Kamal directly on the Syrian-Iraqi border. The building was used as a headquarter for the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU) who are securing the border in coordination with the Syrian army in the fight against the Islamic State. More than 20 fighters were killed and more than 10 were wounded. This may have been in preparation for the reportedly planned large ISIS attack.

The strike makes otherwise little military sense. The PMU are nominally under command of the Iraqi government. They used a house on the Syrian side, some 200 meters from the border, as there was no adequate space on the Iraqi side. While they may have Iranian support and may help the Syrian army in some of its operations they are neither Iranian troops nor do they belong to the Lebanese Hezbullah.

The Syrian government accused the U.S. of having attacked the building. One U.S. source claims to CNN that the Israeli air-force attacked the site. I doubt that this is true. The U.S. has previously attacked Syrian government aligned forces in the area. It obviously continues to use ISIS to disrupt Syrian army operations. But as the U.S. needs Iraq it can not admit that it hit Iraqi forces. That would practically guarantee that the incoming Iraqi government would tell it to leave. It might have asked Israel to provide a cover for the strike.

Technically Israel could have done the attack. It would have needed tanker support and Jordanian compliance for overflight. Over the weekend Netanyahoo announced that Israel would hit Iranian forces all over Syria. But even CNN notes that the strike is untypical for Israel and does not make any sense.

Whoever committed the strike did so in an airspace that is controlled by the U.S. military. The leaders of the PMU in Iraq will use it to rally their forces against any U.S. bases in the country.

In north Syria Turkey is continuing its colonization of Syrian towns and regions. Turkish post offices, Turkish teachers, policemen and imans are pushing the population to adopt Turkish culture. It will more difficult to dislodge than the few thousand 'rebels' in the Deraa region.

Syrian Offensive Begins Near Jordanian Border

Israeli News Live

Unexpected Early Syrian Offensive Begins Near Jordanian Border near Daraa. 60 plus tanks have been moved into the area and Russian officers are training extensively their counter parts.

Trump’s trade war with China

Trump’s trade war with China has MASSIVE geopolitical consequences (Video)
China retaliates with $50 Billion tariffs on US goods. The Duran – News in Review – Episode 29.

The Trump White House formally announced the list of Chinese products to be hit with tariffs.

The US will implement 25% tariff on $50 Billion in Chinese imports, representing 1,102 product lines with the list of imported goods among those listed on China’s 2025 plan.

The US tariffs against China will be implemented in two tiers.

The first tier on July 6th will cover $34 Billion in imports. A second tier will cover the remaining $16 Billion, or 284 product lines.

POTUS Trump said in a statement that the The United States can no longer tolerate losing our technology and intellectual property through unfair economic practices.”
These tariffs are essential to preventing further unfair transfers of American technology and intellectual property to China, which will protect American jobs.”
In addition, they will serve as an initial step toward bringing balance to the trade relationship between the United States and China.”

China immediately retaliated with $50 Billion in tariffs against US goods including soybeans, light aircraft, orange juice, whiskey and beef, starting July 6th.
The Chinese government clarified that tariffs on US soybeans will begin July 6, while tariffs on US crude oil, natural gas, coal and some refined oil products will begin at a later date.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris, take a deeper look at the impending trade war, and what this means for the global economy.

Zerohedge ( reports that the response from China signaled a rapid escalation of the dispute. China will impose tariffs with “equal scale, equal intensity” on imports from the U.S. and all of the country’s earlier trade commitments are now off the table, the Commerce Ministry said in a statement on its website late Friday.

China’s Ministry of Finance is setting a two-tier system with $34 Billion on July 6th and $16 Billion more in tariffs to follow…

On June 15, 2018, the U.S. government issued a list of goods subject to tariffs, which will impose a tariff of 25% on about 50 billion U.S. dollars of goods imported from China, of which about US$34 billion will be goods from July 6, 2018. It began to impose tariffs and began to solicit public opinions on about 16 billion U.S. dollars in tariffs. The U.S. measures violated the relevant rules of the World Trade Organization and it is contrary to the consensus reached in the Sino-U.S. negotiations. It seriously violates our legitimate rights and interests and threatens the interests of our country and people.
According to the “People’s Republic of China Foreign Trade Law,” “The People’s Republic of China Import and Export Tariff Regulations,” and other laws and regulations and the basic principles of international law, the State Council Tariff Commission decided to impose an additional 25% on 659 items of US$50 billion imported goods originating in the United States. Tariffs, including 545 items of approximately US$34 billion in goods, have been subject to additional tariffs since July 6, 2018, and the implementation time of additional tariffs on other commodities has been announced separately.