Andrea Germanos

'Grim and alarming' UN report details 'catastrophic' global failure on climate

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned Thursday that humanity's "future is at stake" with governments' climate commitments, as he marked the launch of a U.N.-backed report he called "an alarming appraisal of just how far off course we are."

"This year has seen fossil fuel emissions bounce back, greenhouse gas concentrations continuing to rise, and severe human-enhanced weather events that have affected health, lives, and livelihoods on every continent," wrote Guterres in a foreword to the report, United in Science 2021.

"Unless there are immediate, rapid, and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions," he continued, "limiting warming to 1.5°C will be impossible, with catastrophic consequences for people and the planet on which we depend."

The third edition of the multi-agency United in Science report was compiled by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and brings together assessments from partner organizations including the Global Carbon Project (GCP), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Guterres also gave a video message alongside the launch in which he said that "we continue to destroy the things on which we depend for life on Earth."

The U.N. chief noted in his remarks that developed nations aren't immune from climate-related disasters, pointing to recent events like Hurricane Ida, which "cut power to over a million people in New Orleans" and left New York City "paralyzed by record-breaking rain that killed at least 50 people in the region."

United in Science 2021 - video message from United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres www.youtube.com

Key points noted in the report are that concentrations of key greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O)—continued to increase in 2020 and the first half of 2021.

CO2 emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels dropped in 2020 as a result of the pandemic-related economic slowdown. And while there remains "uncertainty about the global post-pandemic recovery," the report warns that decline appears to be temporary, pointing to "initial estimates for 2021 [that] show a strong recovery in emissions with a possible return to pre-Covid levels within a year or two."

The report also highlights the warming planet's impact on Arctic sea ice.

"In every year from 2017 to 2021," the report stated, "the Arctic average summer minimum and average winter maximum sea-ice extent were below the 1981–2010 long term average. In September 2020, the Arctic sea-ice extent reached its second lowest minimum on record."

The publication further notes the climate crisis' impacts on human health.

"The increased occurrence of wildfires leads to peaks in air pollution concentrations," the publication states, and "long-term exposure to air pollution is linked to chronic diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, heart diseases, effects on the nervous system and diabetes." The study also cites increasing evidence related to how "the compound effects of air pollution and Covid-19 may lead to increased Covid-19 mortality."

It's also likely that the annual global mean temperature will be between 0.9°C and 1.8°C above pre-industrial conditions for the period of 2021–2025, with a 40% chance of a single year within that five-year span being 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

According to WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas, the report shows that global demands for governments to "build back better" from the pandemic have fallen on deaf ears. "We are not going in the right direction," he wrote in a foreword to the report.

Joeri Rogelj, one of the authors of the report and the director of research and lecturer in climate change and the environment at the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, said the publication is another call to action.

"The messages in this report provide a grim and alarming picture," he said in a statement. "We are experiencing unprecedented climate change. We have caused it. And our actions to date are largely insufficient to avoid it from getting worse."

"The combined evidence in this report should empower anyone to make sure the report's messages are heard in places of power by those making decisions about our future," said Rogelj, pointing to COP 26, the upcoming U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, as "a key date where the world will have to come together to take the decisions necessary to halt climate change within our lifetimes."

New climate analysis highlights near total global failure to meet 1.5°C targets

A new analysis reveals a near total global failure of governments to have climate action and targets on track for limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Released Wednesday by the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), the assessment rated just one nation,The Gambia, as "1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible," and found the United States' overall climate action—despite a welcome "U-turn on climate change" since the Trump administration—to be "insufficient."

The analysis, which covered policies of 36 nations and the European Union, framed the widespread failings as particularly glaring given the "absolute urgency" of climate action made clear by the most recent IPCC report, a publication United Nations chief António Guterres declared "a code red for humanity."

CAT, a watchdog effort of Climate Analytics and NewClimate Institute, described a "2030 emissions gap" in projecting how governments' plans and current policies largely fall short of being on track to meet the 1.5˚C threshold of warming.

The analysis said "the IPCC is clear that getting onto a 1.5°C pathway means reducing emissions by 50% by 2030" and that meeting that goal "is no longer a matter of feasibility, but rather one of political will."

Such will appears to be lacking.

In a statement, Niklas Höhne of NewClimate Institute pointed to May, after U.S. President Joe Biden's "Leaders Summit on Climate" and the international Petersberg Climate Dialogue, when "we reported that there appeared to be good momentum with new climate action commitments, but governments then had only closed the emissions gap by up to 14%."

"But since then," said Höhne, "there has been little to no improvement: nothing is moving. Governments have now closed the gap by up to 15%, a minimal improvement since May. Anyone would think they have all the time in the world, when in fact the opposite is the case."

This latest assessment from CAT includes new factors in its ratings systems, reflecting net zero targets as well as "an overall rating, the domestic target, policies and action, fair share, climate mitigation finance (either on providing mitigation finance, or detailing what international support is needed), and land use and forestry (where relevant)."

Based on overall ratings, the U.K. is the only G20 nation deemed "almost sufficient," a classification that covers six other countries including Nepal and Costa Rica.

Like the U.S., the EU, Germany, Norway, and Japan's overall climate plans were assessed as "insufficient." Canada joined Brazil, Australia, India, and UAE as countries whose plans were deemed "highly insufficient."

A small group of countries had overall climate plans classified "critically insufficient."

"Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Thailand perform so badly on climate action," the analysis found, "that if all governments were to adopt this approach, global warming would reach beyond 4°C."

To move in the right direction, the analysis urged developed nations "to further strengthen their targets to reduce emissions as fast as possible, to implement national policies to meet them, and to support more developing countries to make the transition."

In terms of energy sources, all governments should take advantage of the falling costs of renewables to boost such installations while also ditching plans for any continued coal and gas infrastructure, the analysis said.

Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics, stressed the need for swift action to rein in emissions.

"The IPCC has given the world a 'code red' warning on the dangers of climate change reinforcing the urgent need for the world to halve emissions by 2030," he said in a statement. "An increasing number of people around the world are suffering from ever more severe and frequent impacts of climate change, yet government action continues to lag behind what is needed."

"While many governments have committed to net zero," he said that "without near-term action achieving net zero is virtually impossible."

The publication was released on the heels of a global study revealing widespread climate anxiety in young people, with 58% of the 10,000 16-25-year-olds surveyed feeling "betrayed" by government inaction on the climate emergency.

"This study shouldn't be a moment of pity," said German climate activist Luisa Neubauer. "The adequate answer to this study would be drastic climate action."

US public is clear: War in Afghanistan wasn’t worth it

As corporate media amplify pro-war voices to cover developing events in Afghanistan, two polls out Sunday showed the U.S. public has little appetite for continuing the 20-year war.

A new CBS News/YouGov survey, conducted August 18-20, found that 63% approve of President Joe Biden's decision to pull troops out of Afghanistan, and just 37% disapprove. Just 47%, however, approve of the way Biden is handling the troop withdrawal.

Separate polling from NBC News, conducted August 14-17, asked if the war in Afghanistan was worth it. Sixty-one percent said it was not, compared to 29% who said it was. The last time the poll asked the question was in June of 2014 when similar percentages were found. At that time, 65% said the war wasn't worth it, compared to 27% who said it was.


Those findings mirror a poll out last week from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Conducted leading up to and after the Taliban entered Kabul on August 15, the survey found 62% of U.S. adults believed the war in Afghanistan wasn't worth fighting.

The surveys were released amid still emerging and chaotic scenes of Afghan civilians trying to flee Taliban takeover of the country. The British military said Sunday that seven people were killed as a result of a crowd crush at the Kabul airport.

Rightwing media have responded to the scenes of those trying to flee with fearmongering about the possible influx of Afghan refugees into the U.S. Human rights advocates, meanwhile, are calling on the Biden administration to "urgently do more" to help evacuate those most at risk of harm, including those who worked with U.S. and NATO forces, journalists, and women's rights activists.

Specific actions that should be taken, the groups, including Amnesty International USA and Human Rights Watch, said in Friday letter (pdf) to Biden, are working with allies to ensure those fleeing get to the Kabul airport safely and increasing the administration's stated goal of evacuating 5,000-9,000 people per day.

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN Sunday that in the last 24 hours, the U.S. helped secure the evacuation of nearly 8,000 civilians, with 3,900 people on U.S. military aircraft and another 3,900 on partners' aircraft.

There 'will never be' a US military solution in Afghanistan: Rep. Barbara Lee

Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee—who cast the sole vote against the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force that was used to justify the war in Afghanistan—reiterated on Sunday her assessment that "there is no military solution" to address the worsening chaos in that country.

Lee's (D-Calif.) remarks came in an interview on MSNBC's "American Voices with Alicia Menendez" as the Taliban effectively took control of the country and desperate Afghans tried to flee.

"Our focus now," said Lee, "has got to be... the safety and security of everyone at this moment, and I think it's a very dire situation."

"This is an example, though, that there is no military solution," she said. "We've been there 20 years, we have spent over a trillion dollars, and we have trained over 300,000 of the Afghan forces," Lee added, calling the current situation "a tragedy."

Citing Brown University's Costs of War Project's estimate that the war in Afghanistan cost U.S. taxpayers over $2 trillion, guest host Anand Giridharadas asked Lee about just where all the money ended up.

After acknowledging the hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops and Afghan civilians who lost their lives as a result of the war, the California Democrat pointed to "many, many reports [showing] that there was an enormous amount of corruption" and graft.

"It was just an untenable situation," she said.

Asked if the U.S. would learn any lessons from current disaster, Lee said: "Listen, 20 years ago I said that there was no military solution in Afghanistan. Of course we have to deal with the terrorist threats, of course we have to deal with national security."

"But," she said, "we have to remember we have three stools of our foreign and military policy: diplomacy, development, and defense." And those three aspects have "been out of balance."

"We need to get back to rebalancing," said Lee, praising the Biden administration for what she said was "doing the right thing" by pulling out of Afghanistan.

Lee's 2001 vote against the AUMF was referenced on Sunday by MSNBC political analyst Mehdi Hasan in a Twitter thread in which he lamented that "those of us who warned against invading and occupying Afghanistan 20 years ago have been tragically, awfully, vindicated."

"I also wish everyone had listened to Rep. Barbara Lee back in September 2001," he wrote.

According to the Costs of War Project, over 5.3 million Afghans have been displaced since the U.S. occupation and invasion in 2001. The project further estimates that 241,000 people have died as a direct result of the war.

Study details how Trump unleashed 'outright slaughter' of wolves in Wisconsin

A new study published Monday estimates Wisconsin lost as much as a third of its gray wolf population after the Trump administration stripped federal protections for the animals and the state allowed for a public wolf hunt widely decried as being "divorced from science and ethical norms."

The February hunt, panned (pdf) by wildlife advocates as "an outright slaughter," killed 218 wolves—already far past the quota the state had set. But over 100 additional wolf deaths were the result of "cryptic poaching," University of Wisconsin–Madison environmental studies scientists found, referring to illegal killings in which hunters hide evidence of their activities.

The majority of those surplus deaths, the researchers estimate, occurred after the Trump administration announced on November 3, 2020 the lifting of endangered species protections for gray wolves in the lower 48 states. That shift became effective in January 2021.

According to the study, published in the journal Peerj, between 98 and 105 wolves died since November 2020 "that would have been alive had delisting not occurred."

An optimistic scenario puts the state wolf numbers for April 2021 at between 695 and 751 wolves. That's down from at least 1,034 wolves last year, representing a decrease of 27–33% in one year.

That decline, the researchers said, is at clear odds with Wisconsin's stated goal of the hunt "to allow for a sustainable harvest that neither increases nor decreases the state's wolf population."

"Although the [Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources] is aiming for a stable population, we estimate the population actually dropped significantly," said co-author Adrian Treves, a professor in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and director of the Carnivore Coexistence Lab at UW–Madison, in a statement.

Cancellation of the state's next hunt, set for November, could allow for the wolf population to rebound in one or two years. Standing in the way of that is Wisconsin's mandate for a wolf hunt in the absence of federal protections, and kill allowances set on shaky scientific ground, according to the researchers.

Also troublesome is the fact that the state didn't mandate the collection of wolf carcasses for assessing data of wolf ages or detection of alpha females.

Co-author Francisco Santiago-Ávila said the results suggest the lifting of federal protections gave a subtle green light for more killings.

"During these periods, we see an effect on poaching, both reported and cryptic," he said. "Those wolves disappear and you never find them again."

"Additional deaths are caused simply by the policy signal," he said, "and the wolf hunt adds to that."

Citing "the importance of predators in restoring ecosystem health and function," the researchers offer recommendations including, at the federal level, a "protected non-game" classification for wolves. At the state level, authorities "should prove themselves capable of reducing poaching to a stringent minimum for a 5-year post-delisting monitoring period," the study said.

Wildlife advocates have already expressed concern that the wolf population hit seen in Wisconsin could be a harbinger of the fate of wolves in other states unless the Biden administration quickly restores federal protections for the iconic animals.

According to Samantha Bruegger, wildlife coexistence campaigner at WildEarth Guardians, "Quite simply put, post-delisting, too many wolves are being killed and there is absolutely no justification for it. No scientific justification. No ethical justification. No public safety justification. No economic justification."

WildEarth Guardians is among a handful of conservation organizations last month that released guides for laypeople as well as state agency wildlife policymakers to show how to best prioritize "wolf stewardship and a broader vision for conserving species in the face of global climate change and mass extinctions."

"New wolf plans informed by science and ethics are needed now more than ever, as the disastrous winter wolf hunt in Wisconsin showed," said Amaroq Weiss, senior West Coast wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity, expressing optimism the guides could be tools for "a more hopeful course in states' stewardship of these beloved animals."

'Existential risk': Leaked IPCC climate report draft 'reads like a 4,000-page indictment' of humanity's failure

Agence France-Presse reported Monday on the contents of a leaked draft of a United Nations intergovernmental climate panel report which warned that devastating effects of a warming world are set to hit far sooner than previously thought, with impacts including an additional tens of millions of people facing hunger by 2050.

"This is a warning of existential risk. Of survival. Of collapse," said climate movement Extinction Rebellion in response to AFP's reporting on what the draft contained.

The draft Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) document warns of sweeping impacts on weather events, food, ecosystems, and disease—changes expected even if global temperature rise is kept under the Paris climate agreement's second threshold of 2°Celsius. It also calls for systems-wide changes to avert a worst-case climate scenario.

"By far the most comprehensive catalogue ever assembled of how climate change is upending our world, the report reads like a 4,000-page indictment of humanity's stewardship of the planet," reported AFP.

The final document is set to be released in February at the end of the formal review process.

IPCC responded to the media reporting with a statement indicating the draft document is likely based on the Second-Order Draft of the Working Group II report, which was circulated for review by governments and experts in December and January.

Because it is a confidential working document, the IPCC said it would not comment on the draft.

In a lengthy Twitter thread responding to the reporting, climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe called the draft's assessment rightly "blunt" though unsurprising given that it's a synthesis report.

Referring to scientists, she added: "We've realized that if we don't spell out the fact that it's our civilization we've put on the chopping block ourselves, in words that everyone can understand, emphasizing risks that matter to everyone on this planet, who will?"

"Climate change isn't just one more priority on our already over-crowded list," Hayhoe wrote. "It is a threat multiplier that affects every single other priority already on it, from the air we breathe to the food we eat."

Despite the draft's grim assessment, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg found reason for hope.

Speaking to AFP, she said the document "confirms what we already knew"—that "the situation is very dire and that we need to act right now."

"At least I find that it's very hopeful," she said, "that many people are becoming more and more ready to tell it like it is," because "we can of course not face this crisis unless we tell it like it is, unless we are adult enough to tell the truth and to face the reality."

She added that "this could be something that could... wake people up, which is very hopeful."

Third FDA adviser resigns over approval of Alzheimer's drug as Big Pharma stock soars

Backlash over the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's controversial approval of a new Alzheimer's drug grew Thursday with a third member of an agency advisory panel resigning in protest.

The latest resignation to hit the Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs Advisory Committee, as STAT first reported, came from Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, a Harvard Medical School professor.

His action followed FDA's "accelerated approval" announced Monday for aducanumab, on which drug maker Biogen put an annual price tag of $56,000. Administered as a monthly intravenous infusion, it's the first drug to treat Alzheimer's disease that's been approved in nearly two decades—approval that came despite the panel's recommendation against it in light of lack of data showing efficacy.

In his resignation letter, Kesselheim wrote that it "was probably the worst drug approval decision in recent U.S. history," CNBC reported.

"At the last minute," wrote Kesselheim, "the agency switched its review to the Accelerated Approval pathway based on the debatable premise that the drug's effect on brain amyloid was likely to help patients with Alzheimer's disease."

The FDA erred in its approval, Kesselheim added to the New York Times, "because of so many different factors, starting from the fact that there's no good evidence that the drug works."

In a June 7 tweet, the day of the FDA announcement, Kesselheim wrote that "Accelerated Approval is not supposed to be the backup that you use when your clinical trial data are not good enough for regular approval."

Monday's announcement was followed by a surge in Biogen shares.


Kesselheim's departure followed the resignation of two other members of the advisory panel this week.

They included Mayo Clinic neurologist David S. Knopman, who told the Washington Post that he didn't "wish to be part of a sham process."

"The whole saga of the approval of aducanumab," Knopman wrote in his resignation letter, "made a mockery of the [advisory] committee's consultative process. While I realize that the committee is advisory, the approval of aducanumab appears [to] have been foreordained."

Washington University neurologist Dr. Joel Perlmutter also resigned and told STAT its was "due to this ruling by the FDA without further discussion with our advisory committee."

Aducanumab is administered as a monthly intravenous infusion and is meant not to stop the disease but slow the rate of a patient's decline.

As CNN reported Thursday:

Initial trials of the treatment, meant to be given to people very early in the course of disease before they develop dementia, did not indicate it helped at all. But the drug's maker, Biogen, re-analyzed data and said there was an indication it might help some patients. [...]

Clinical trials of aducanumab were stopped in 2019 because they failed to show the drug was effective.
But the drug's maker, Biogen, re-analyzed the data and said it showed some patients who got high doses of the drug had not improved, but had shown a slower rate of decline than other patients.

When the committee met in November, it rejected the drug.

Perlmutter warned at the time of "a huge danger in approving something that turns out not to be effective," citing "a risk of delaying good treatments and effective treatments for more than a couple of years, for many years,"

Another panel member, Dr. Scott Emerson said, said at the November meeting, "I'm highly critical of the fact that the FDA presentation today was so heavily weighted to just giving the same conclusions that the sponsor did," referring to Biogen.


Beyond the average $56,000 price tag per patient, there "will probably be tens of thousands of dollars in additional costs for screening and monitoring patients," the Times reported Tuesday. From the newspaper:

The drug is all but certain to unleash a gusher of profits for Biogen—the drug is expected to become one of the best-selling pharmaceutical products in the world within a few years—as well as for the hundreds of clinics expected to administer the drug.

Those billions of dollars in anticipated costs are likely to be shouldered largely by Medicare.

The drug's approval could drive up insurance premiums, according to healthcare policy experts. And it could add new out-of-pocket costs for some families that are already facing years of staggering costs for caring for loved ones with Alzheimer's.

An analysis from Kaiser Family Foundation released Thursday said that Medicare recipients prescribed the drug could face co-payments of $11,500 for a year, "which represents nearly 40% of the $29,650 in median annual income per Medicare beneficiary in 2019."

According to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore), "It's unconscionable to ask seniors and taxpayers to pay $56,000 a year for a drug that has yet to be proven effective."

"Medicare must be able to negotiate a fair price for prescription drugs," he tweeted Tuesday.

New UN climate report is a 'wake-up' call for a world on fire

Climate action advocates reiterated demands for urgent measures to rein in global heating after the World Meteorological Organization warned Thursday that there's a 40% chance the planet will temporarily hit 1.5°C of warming in the next five years.

The WMO, a United Nations agency, also said in its update that there's a 90% chance at least one year between 2021 and 2025 will be the hottest on the books—a record currently held by 2016.

"We can change course, but the window is closing," tweeted climate group 350 Canada. "It's now a race to phase out fossil fuels as fast as possible."

WMO also predicted for the next five years an increased chance of more tropical cyclones in the Atlantic and a drier Southwest.

"In 2021, the Arctic (north of 60°N) is likely to have warmed by more than twice as much as the global mean compared to the recent past," the agency added.

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas stressed that the predictions reflect "more than just statistics."

"Increasing temperatures mean more melting ice, higher sea levels, more heatwaves and other extreme weather, and greater impacts on food security, health, the environment, and sustainable development," he said in a statement.

"This study shows—with a high level of scientific skill—that we are getting measurably and inexorably closer to the lower target of the Paris agreement on climate change," Taalas added, calling it "yet another wake-up call that the world needs to fast-track commitments to slash greenhouse gas emissions and achieve carbon neutrality."

Climate scientists weighing in on the WMO's update suggested it is critical to focus on the broader trend of global warming rather than focusing on a single year breaking the 1.5°C threshold of warming, the more ambitious warming limit of the Paris climate accord.

"Once we get emissions to zero we are stuck with the warming that has occurred for many centuries to come, barring the use of planetary-scale negative emissions," tweeted Zeke Hausfather, director of climate and energy at the Breakthrough Institute.

"This long-term commitment—rather than any short-term global temperature tipping point—is what I find to be the most compelling reason for pursuing ambitious targets," he added.

And, according to Joeri Rogelj, director of research and a lecturer in climate change and the environment at the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, "A single year hitting 1.5° C doesn't mean the Paris limits are breached, but is nevertheless very bad news."

"It tells us once again that #ClimateAction to date is insufficient and emissions need to be reduced urgently to zero to halt #GlobalWarming," he said in a Twitter thread.

Human rights experts denounce Israeli attacks and confiscation of homes in East Jerusalem

Israeli forces are facing fresh condemnation from international human rights experts for their "excessive force" against Palestinian protesters in occupied East Jerusalem that left hundreds injured, and airstrikes into Gaza that killed dozens of people including nine children.

Also under scrutiny are Israel's attempted evictions in Sheikh Jarrah, which would amount to "war crimes," Amnesty International said Monday.

In a statement Tuesday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reiterated its plea for an end to the violence, and also addressed the retaliatory rockets fired by Hamas into Israel that injured 17 Israeli civilians. The body appealed to Israel and Palestinian armed groups to respect international humanitarian law.

Referring to Israel's strikes into densely populated Gaza, an area deemed by occupation critics an open-air prison, spokesperson for the High Commissioner Rupert Colville said, "Any attack, including airstrikes, should be directed solely at military objectives and all feasible precautions must be taken to avoid civilian deaths and injury and damage to civilian objects."

"Israel must also refrain from punitive measures, such as additional closures and restrictions, that punish the entire civilian population of Gaza," he said.

Israel launched a new round of airstrikes into Gaza on Tuesday, bringing the death toll up to 26, according to the Associated Press. Retaliatory rockets fired from Gaza into Israel resulted in the first Israeli causalities from the latest spate of violence—two people in the southern city of Ashkelon—after which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said military forces would "increase both the strength and rate of the strikes."

Ahead of the latest round of airstrikes into Gaza, Israeli security forces raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque for a third consecutive night, "firing rubber-coated steel rounds, stun grenades, and tear gas at Palestinian worshipers inside the mosque in the final days of the holy month of Ramadan," as Al Jazeera reported. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society, which says it's been targeted as it attempted to provide aid to wounded worshipers and protesters, said that over 900 Palestinians were injured between May 7 and May 10 in East Jerusalem.

The repression drew condemnation from United Nations human rights experts Michael Lynk and Balakrishnan Rajagopal.

"The recent scenes of Israeli police and security forces attacking large crowds of Palestinian residents and worshipers is only intensifying a deeply inflammatory atmosphere in the city. A militarized response to civilian protests against discriminatory practices only deepens social divisions. Respecting rights is the only path forward," Lynk, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, and Rajagopal, special rapporteur on adequate housing, said in a statement.

Their statement also references the threatened evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, which have elicited ongoing protests.

"An occupying power is prohibited from confiscating private property belonging to the protected population, and it must respect the body of existing laws which had governed the territory, unless it is absolutely necessary to alter them," said Lynk and Rajagopal.

"The forced transfer of the population under occupation is a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which contribute[s] to the coercive environment now prevailing in East Jerusalem. As well," they continued, "these evictions breach the right to adequate housing—a core human right in international law."

Saleh Higazi, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, similarly condemned Israel's recent actions.

"The latest violence brings into sharp focus Israel's sustained campaign to expand illegal Israeli settlements and step up forced evictions of Palestinian residents—such as those in Sheikh Jarrah—to make way for Israeli settlers. These forced evictions are part of a continuing pattern in Sheikh Jarrah, they flagrantly violate international law, and would amount to war crimes," said Higazi.

Nabil el-Kurd, one of the residents of Sheikh Jarrah who's facing possible eviction, told Amnesty International that Israel's actions must prompt urgent action from the international community.

"Sheikh Jarrah is sending a message to the whole world, including the U.S. Congress, the U.K. Parliament, the French Parliament, the E.U. Parliament, the International Criminal Court, that what is happening to us is a war crime," said el-Kurd. "It is not just an eviction, but a war crime. Remember that."

"I do not know why the entire world is watching what is happening and letting Israel get away with it," said el-Kurd. "It is time they stopped spoiling Israel."

In the U.S. , some Democratic members of Congress are calling for a shift in ongoing policies and practices in which the U.S. continues to supply Israel unconditional miliaty aid and defends Israel's lethal military actions as "self-defense" while rejecting direct criticism of Israeli forces' deadly attacks on Palestinians and the ongoing illegal occupation.

Those voices include Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), and André Carson (D-Ind.).

In a joint statement Monday condemning the Gaza strikes and attacks on worshipers at Al Aqsa, the lawmakers said the threatened evictions are a "direct violation of international law, the Geneva Convention, and basic human rights."

"We condemn all violence in this conflict—these acts only serve to advance the political goals of the powerful at the expense of the suffering of the people," they said.

The lawmakers also denounced the lack of "accountability for Israel's wanton human rights abuses and continuing illegal seizures of Palestinian land" in the face of mere "lip service to a Palestinian state."

"It is long past time we finally take action to protect Palestinian human rights and save lives," the trio said.

US climate envoy John Kerry says 'we just have to end' fossil fuel subsidies

John Kerry, President Joe Biden's Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, said Tuesday that "we just have to end the subsides" for fossil fuels to tackle the climate emergency.

Kerry made the remarks during a virtual panel—entitled "aising the Bar on Climate Ambition: Road to COP 26"—which was part of the Asian Development Bank's annual meeting.

"It's illogical," Kerry said of the subsidies, "at a moment we all know we have to incentive alternative, renewable, sustainable" energy.

He added that "technology necessary for about 50% of the [emissions] reductions is not yet available. It's going to come from future technology," he said. "How do we do that? We need incentives."

"You must create incentives for the right behavior, not the wrong behavior, and we have still have [fossil fuel subsidies] in the United States. We're going to try to end them," Kerry said. "They've got to be ended everywhere around the world."

The pledge to no longer prop up the dirty industry—long a demand of the climate movement—follows the White House's proposed repeal of fossil fuel subsidies.

The Made in America Tax Plan "would end long-entrenched subsidies to fossil fuels, promote nascent green technologies through targeted tax incentives, encourage the adoption of electric vehicles, and support further deployment of alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power," the document states. Cutting off the subsidies "would increase government tax receipts by over $35 billion in the coming decade."

But, according to Greenpeace USA senior climate campaigner John Noël, that's not enough.

"Fossil fuel corporations receive $15 billion in direct subsidies from the federal government every year. Not a dime of our tax dollars should go towards corporations that poison our communities and wreck our climate," Noël said last month.

He pointed to proposed End Polluter Welfare Act, "which would save taxpayers $150 billion over the next decade and allow us to invest in the clean energy economy of the future."

350.org U.S. policy director Natalie Mebane also lamented what she said was Biden's planned "investment in carbon capture projects that will only keep dirty power plants running."

"We want 100% renewable energy by 2030 that creates millions of jobs," she said. "The best way to decrease carbon emissions is to ensure a just transition and keep fossil fuels in the ground."

During Tuesday's panel, AFP reported, Kerry also criticized what he sees as lack of adequate climate action worldwide.

"Emissions are going up, we are on the wrong track—people are building back from Covid as if there were no reason to be thinking differently," said Kerry.

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