UN climate conference taking the World in entirely the wrong direction, say 100 scientists in open letter to UN Secretary General
Open Letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations
Dec. 13, 2007
His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon
Secretary-General, United Nations
New York, N.Y.
Dear Mr. Secretary-General,
Re: UN climate conference taking the World in entirely the wrong direction
It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages. Geological, archaeological, oral and written histories all attest to the dramatic challenges posed to past societies from unanticipated changes in temperature, precipitation, winds and other climatic variables. We therefore need to equip nations to become resilient to the full range of these natural phenomena by promoting economic growth and wealth generation.
Rarely has a document from the supposedly hidden world of intelligence had such an impact as the National Intelligence Estimate released this week. Rarely has an administration been so unprepared for such an event. And rarely have vehement critics of the “intelligence community” on issues such as Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction reversed themselves so quickly.
All this shows that we not only have a problem interpreting what the mullahs in Tehran are up to, but also a more fundamental problem: Too much of the intelligence community is engaging in policy formulation rather than “intelligence” analysis, and too many in Congress and the media are happy about it. President Bush may not be able to repair his Iran policy (which was not rigorous enough to begin with) in his last year, but he would leave a lasting legacy by returning the intelligence world to its proper function.
George W. Bush has made plenty of mistakes. Probably the biggest one was thinking that just because he could get along with Democrats in Texas, he could get along with Democrats in Congress. Silly man! Democrats in Texas care about governing Texas. Democrats in Congress care only about gaining political advantage. Slow learner, there, Mr. President!
But part of Bush’s legacy will be this: He learns from his mistakes, but he doesn’t back down when he believes he’s right.
The obvious example is Iraq, and now, when the Democrats are panicking for fear we might be victorious in that campaign, it’s easy to forget how much guts it took for the President not to accede to the Democrats’ demands to withdraw from Iraq, the way his father bowed to their demand that he break his promise and raise taxes.
But we’ve had another example recently: the breakthrough in stem cell technology that allows us to have all the stem cells we need, taken from people’s own bodies so there’ll be no rejection problem — without having to use any dead embryos.
How many years now has Bush been beaten up by so-called “scientists” because he is so heartless and unfeeling and religious that he forces the rest of us to do without vital research just because Christians get all sentimental about embryos.
The truth was never what they claimed. Bush never banned stem cell research. In fact, he was the first president to allow federal funding of stem cell research. Clinton didn’t do it. Nobody had done it. Bush did it.
A decade ago, Thomson was the first to isolate human embryonic stem cells. Last week, he (and Japan’s Shinya Yamanaka) announced one of the great scientific breakthroughs since the discovery of DNA: an embryo-free way to produce genetically matched stem cells.
Even a scientist who cares not a whit about the morality of embryo destruction will adopt this technique because it is so simple and powerful. The embryonic stem cell debate is over.
Which allows a bit of reflection on the storm that has raged ever since the August 2001 announcement of President Bush’s stem cell policy. The verdict is clear: Rarely has a president — so vilified for a moral stance — been so thoroughly vindicated.