The Daily Visionary: Friday, December 14, 2018

Photo Credit: University of California

Photo Credit: University of California

Climate scientists retract the results of a major ocean warming study due to false measurements


Scientists with San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Princeton University have withdrawn their findings published in the academic journal Nature that showed oceans have been heating up dramatically faster than previously thought as a result of climate change. According to the paper by Laure Resplandy et al, published October 31, the researchers claimed ocean temperatures had warmed 60 percent more than outlined by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).


However, the conclusion came under scrutiny after mathematician Nic Lewis, who has authored several peer-reviewed papers on the question of climate sensitivity and has worked with some of the world’s leading climate scientists, found that the warming trend in the Resplandy paper differs from that calculated from the underlying data included with the paper. “If you calculate the trend correctly, the warming rate is not worse than we thought – it’s very much in line with previous estimates,” says Lewis. He added, “Their claims about the effect of faster ocean warming on estimates of climate sensitivity (and hence future global warming) and carbon budgets are just incorrect anyway, but that’s a moot point now we know that about their calculation error”.


As the Global Warming Policy Forum reported, “Independent climate scientist Nicholas Lewis has uncovered a major error in a recent scientific paper that was given blanket coverage in the English-speaking media. The paper, written by a team led by Princeton oceanographer Laure Resplandy, claimed that the oceans have been warming faster than previously thought. It was announced, in news outlets including the BBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post and Scientific American that this meant that the Earth may warm even faster than currently estimated.


Co-author and climate scientist Ralph Keeling took full blame and thanked Mr. Lewis for alerting him to the mistake, saying, “When we were confronted with his insight it became immediately clear there was an issue there. We’re grateful to have it be pointed out quickly so that we could correct it quickly.”


Mr. Keeling said they have redone the calculations and submitted the correction to Nature, finding the ocean is still likely warmer than the estimate used by the IPCC. However, that increase in heat has a larger range of probability than initially thought, between 10 percent and 70 percent, as other studies have already found. “We really muffed the error margins … Our error margins are too big now to really weigh in on the precise amount of warming that’s going on in the ocean,” Mr. Keeling said. The central problem, according to Mr. Keeling, was in how the researchers dealt with the uncertainty in their measurements. As a result, the findings suffer from too much doubt to definitively support the paper’s conclusion about just how much heat the oceans have absorbed over time.


Increasingly, the peer-review system for scientific papers has become an arrangement whereby colleagues approve each other’s work for publication, increasing their chances for ongoing funding, in a climate where the more doomsday the result the more likely it is to get published and reported on by the mainstream media reliant on fear-driven news stories to gain revenue.


Five Rwandans will stand trial at the International Court of Justice for the 1994 genocide


According to federal prosecutors, five Rwandans will go on trial at the Hague in Belgium over their alleged role in war crimes and genocide in Rwanda in 1994, where pre-trial authorities last week ruled that the five appear in the criminal court "for acts committed in 1994 in Rwanda in connection with the genocide of Tutsis and the massacre of moderate Hutus." United Nations (U.N.) figures said 800,000 people were killed during the Rwandan genocide, most of them from the Tutsi minority.


The five accused were divided into two cases. In the first, one defendant is referred to the court for murders and rapes; another for murders, attempted murders and rape; and a third for murders and attempted murders. In the second case, one individual is referred for murders, and another for murders and attempted murders.


"This is the first time that a Belgian (criminal court) will have to deal with facts qualified as genocide crimes," the prosecutor's office said. Four trials linked to the massacres in Rwanda were held in Belgium between 2001 and 2009, although the defendants faced only charges of war crimes. However, the prosecutor's office said the criminal court in Brussels will "also have to rule on the crime of genocide" in the new cases.


In 1993, a law was adopted that allows courts in Belgium, the former colonial power in Rwanda, to try Belgian residents, whatever their nationality, for crimes allegedly committed abroad. In 2001, four Rwandans, including two nuns, were convicted by a Brussels court. In 2005, a Brussels court sentenced two Rwandan businessmen to ten-to-twelve years in prison after they were found guilty of war crimes and murder linked to the genocide. In 2007, a former Rwandan army commander, ex-major, Bernard Ntuyahaga, was also convicted. In 2009, a Brussels court sentenced Rwandan Ephrem Nkezabera, dubbed the "genocide banker", to thirty years in prison for war crimes including murders and rapes during the bloodbath.


Trials have also been held in other European countries like Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Canada, and Rwanda itself. Cases have also been heard in Tanzania, whose northern city of Arusha hosts the UN-backed International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.


Migrant murder suspect allowed to remain in Austria due to criminal charges in Afghanistan


Austria does not deport people facing a death sentence in another country, which has put its law at odds with the consequences of the European migrant crisis. The rising European crime rate is increasingly linked to the drastic influx of migrants, particularly in Germany, France, Belgium, and Austria, and now a 17-year-old migrant from Afghanistan is accused of murdering his 16-year-old Austrian girlfriend.


Saber Akhondzad was brought into Austria in the spring of 2016 by human traffickers and subsequently denied asylum. However, despite admitting to stabbing his girlfriend to death he has been allowed to stay in the country because he is wanted on murder charges in his home country Afghanistan.


Thomas Stelzer, of the governing Austrian People's Party, stressed in a statement that the country is witnessing “rising crime amongst young asylum seekers", especially among Afghans. According to the Crime and Safety report by the United States Department of State, Austria is targeted by largely foreign criminals, with 64 percent of drug-related offences being carried out by criminals who are born abroad.

Photo Credit: Gavi

Photo Credit: Gavi


Gavi the Vaccine Alliance succeeds with immunizations despite conflict, instability, and epidemics


Since its launch in 2000, Gavi the Vaccine Alliance has helped save the lives of 10 million children and immunized 700 million children with new and generic vaccines against everything from measles to diarrhea to cervical cancer. More children worldwide are now immunized against killer diseases, but the task has become harder due to conflicts, epidemics, urbanization and migration, the head of a global vaccine group said. Gavi is funded by private philanthropies and government donors to negotiate down vaccine prices for poorer nations, buying them in bulk to supply countries most in need.


Chief Executive of Gavi Seth Berkley said the agency is now focusing on how to get vaccines to people in rural areas, those isolated by war and refugees. “Ninety percent of children in the world are now reached by routine immunizations, but there are 10 percent that aren’t. And there are more and more (disease) outbreaks around the world - partly because of climate change, partly because of instability - and we have the largest number of refugees in history,” he said, citing United Nations (U.N.) data showing there were now almost 70 million displaced people worldwide.


Gavi has traditionally worked with governments to raise routine vaccine coverage rates in poor countries and more recently has also worked on emergency projects, including getting oral cholera shots to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, stockpiling an experimental Ebola vaccine for use in an epidemic in Democratic Republic of Congo, and trying to help prevent infectious disease flare-ups in Syria. In Uganda, it is working with the delivery firms UPS and Freight in Time Ltd, and with Parsyl, a data start-up, to use customized apps, data and wireless temperature monitoring to overcome vaccine supply chain issues.


Central American caravan migrants demand USD $50k each to go home


Migrants in the caravan from Honduras are reportedly demanding entry to the United States (U.S.) or USD $50,000 each to return home and the removal of American military bases in Honduras.


Two hundred members of the caravan departed El Barretal camp in southeast Tijuana, Mexico headed to the offices of the National Institute of Migration (INM), and later the U.S. Consulate General, to hand deliver a letter outlining their demands. The letter reportedly states that the migrants' demands be met within the next 72 hours and blames U.S. economic and military interests in Honduras for the nation's current poor conditions.


The migrants, who also carried signs printed on bed sheets, some of which appeared to admit that they were not asylum seekers but rather were economic migrants, additionally demanded that U.S. immigration officials speed up the number of asylum seekers allowed in the U.S. each day to 300.


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