30 April 2018   Leave a comment

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a Powerpoint presentation outlining what he termed were Iranian “lies” about it nuclear program.  The Prime Minister claimed that Israeli agents raided a warehouse in Tehran last January which contained “55,000 printed pages and 183 compact discs” dating back to 2003.  We do know that Iran had an active nuclear weapons program from 2003-2007 even though it was a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).  The NPT does not, however, ban research on nuclear weapons, merely the possession of nuclear weapons, and the Iranian weapons program was stimulated by the US invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003.  Prime Minister Netanyahu did not produce any evidence that Iran had violated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which committed Iran to end its enrichment program in 2015.  All evidence, including the assessments of the US Departments of State and Defense, as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency, have certified that Iran has been in full compliance with the JCPOA.  The presentation was clearly an attempt by the Prime Minister to influence US President Trump’s decision whether to de-certify the JCPOA on 12 May.  Netanyahu’s presentation followed an air strike against Syria on Sunday that actually registered as a 2.6 magnitude earthquake.  The strike was against a munitions depot and a number of Iranians and Iraqis were killed.  No state has claimed responsibility for the strike, but most analysts believe that Israel conducted the attack.


Thirty days ago, US President Trump announced tariffs on imported aluminum and steel but gave affected countries 30 days to negotiate better terms on their trade with the US.  That deadline expires at midnight tonight (I hope to be fast asleep at that time).  South Korea agreed to renegotiate, but all other countries rejected the US demand, including important US allies in Europe.  So tomorrow morning I will wake up to find out whether a trade war has begun.  Europe has been quite emphatic that it will retaliate if the tariffs are imposed, and their threatened tariffs are carefully selected to affect politically sensitive products exported from key US states.  Late News:  The Washington Post has published an article stating that Trump will defer his decision until 1 June.  No trade war tomorrow.


Jeff Tollefson has written a remarkable review of current climate change policies for the journal Nature.  He examines a variety of different policies with respect to energy alternatives and acknowledges that the world has been making remarkable strides toward the development of renewable energies.  But economic growth in many emerging economies is still dependent on fossil fuels and Tollefson notes that

“So it was in 2017, when, after staying relatively flat from 2014 to 2016, carbon emissions grew by about 1.5% (see ‘A brief lull’). All it took to create that spike was a small rise in economic growth across the developing world, according to a final estimate released in March by the Global Carbon Project, an international research consortium that monitors carbon emissions and climate trends.”

The trade-off between economic growth and climate change still seems to be weighted in favor of increased carbon emissions since it is unlikely that states will forego economic growth voluntarily.  That relationship has to change if the world is to avoid serious climate change. 

climate scenarios

Posted April 30, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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