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Juan Cole: Demonization of Ahmadinejad Part of Pro-War Effort

 

Juan Cole: Demonization of Ahmadinejad Part of Pro-War Effort
Ahmadinejad appearance at Colombia dominated the news media on Monday. The headline on the Daily News read "The Evil Has Landed." Fox News ran a screenshot that read: “Is war the only way to stop Mahmoud?” Middle East analyst Juan Cole said the demonization of the Iranian president is part of a neoconservative push for yet another war. Cole writes: "The real reason his visit is controversial is that the American right has decided the United States needs to go to war against Iran. Ahmadinejad is therefore being configured as an enemy head of state. "
While Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon kicked off a special session on climate change at the United Nations. Ban Ki-Moon said governments must take "unprecedented action" to reverse the trend of global warming.

UN: "Unprecedented Action" Needed on Climate Change

  • Ban Ki Moon: "We hold the future in our hands. Together we must ensure that our grandchildren will not have to ask why we have failed to do the right things and left them to suffer the consequences. So let us send a clear and collective signal to people everywhere. Today, let the world know that you are ready to shoulder this responsibility and that you will address this challenge head on."
Over 80 heads of state attended Monday's meeting but President Bush chose not to attend. Bush, who opposes international treaties to address global warming, has organized a competing climate change forum later this week in Washington. Ban Ki-Moon criticized the U.S. effort. He said "The UN climate process is the appropriate forum for negotiating global action." Yvo De Boer, a top UN climate change official, said the Bush administration needs to be part of the global discussion.
  • Yvo De Boer: "The United States is still the largest emitter worldwide of greenhouse gases. For that reason and for a number of others the participation of the US is essential at the same time the large developing countries like China, India Brazil, South Africa are growing very fast and to develop a future regime that also doesn't engage them in terms of limiting emissions of greenhouse gases would be pretty much meaningless."
Yvo de Boer stressed the urgency of reaching an agreement on a plan of action that would replace the Kyoto Protocol.
  • John Coequyt of Greenpeace: "Well what's on the table right now and what really needs to happen is we need to have a negotiating mandate, a very clear binding mandate that comes out of discussions in Indonesia and from that we need to see much larger greenhouse gas emissions reductions from the developed world, we need to see expanded participation from the developing world and we need to see global agreement that in the long run we're going to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half, in order to solve this problem."

Bush Administration Worked to Block California's Strengthening Emissions Standards


Meanwhile newly released government documents show that the Bush administration directed a behind-the-scenes effort to block California's attempt to develop its own standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. Emails show Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters prodded her staff to lobby members of Congress and state governors to oppose California's efforts.
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