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On Climate Change, ICP Asks Pasztor of 3 Degrecs C, Murky Climate Finance

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 18, more here -- In the run up the climate change events during UN General Assembly week, Inner City Press on September 17 asked UN's Assistant Secretary-General on Climate Change Janos Pasztor whether INDCs to date would raised temperatures by 3 degrees Celsuis, as Christiana Figueres has said, or 2.5 degree as the Guardian has an unnamed UK official saying. Video here.

  Pasztor's answer to Inner City Press included "3.5 degrees;" Figueres' spokesperson chimes in this is the difference between frying and cooking. But who was the Guardian's anonymous "merely warming" source?

  Amina Mohammed, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning, spoke about financing issues, on which Inner City Press asked about how to count if the $100 billion goal is reached by 2020.

Back on August 11 after the climate change announcement of Australia, Inner City Press on August 11 asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about it, video here, transcript here:

Inner City Press: in the statement about the countries coming out with their climate change targets, Australia came out with one.  It's sort of become a touchstone, many people are saying there's no way it would lead to 2C

Spokesman Dujarric:  First of all, we very much welcome countries that issue their INDC.  It's an important step, and we very much hope that all Member States will do so.  They really need to be seen as a floor and not a ceiling.  They're a starting point.  There will be discussions prior to Paris.  There will, obviously, be discussions in Paris.  People are free to, obviously, express their opinion on certain countries' INDCs, but for our part, we're glad we have them, and we do see them as a starting point in the discussions.

Back on June 18 when the UN gave a climate change briefing by UNDP's Cassie Flynn, and Jo Scheuer, on June 18 Inner City Press asked about the under-funding of the Least Development Countries Fund, and if South Korea is backsliding in its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. Video here.

  The answers, on film, were to promote other funding vehicles, and to say that South Korea has still yet to file its INDC.

Back on June 4 the UN's Assistant Secretary-General on Climate Change Janos Pasztor held a press conference and Inner City Press asked him about unspent funds at the Clean Development Mechanism in Bonn, and about reported backsliding by South Korea on its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions on greenhouse gas reduction.

  Pasztor said that the CDM is still needed; he said country have committed not to backslide. Video here. (South Korea had yet to submit its INDCs, it seems). Inner City Press asked Pasztor to provide a comment, if he has one, once South Korea's filing is made.

Back on May 5, Inner City Press asked him about criticism of the Green Climate Fund, including at the recent Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Video here and embedded below.

  Specifically, why will the "Green" Climate Fund provide financial for coal-powered plants? Pasztor replied that some felt that an exclusion for coal would have been divisive. On statements at the PFII that the UN is helping to "monetize" nature, Pasztor replied that most states feel differently. But what about the indigenous?
  
  Pasztor in his opening statement had praised the UN Pension Fund for now investing in "green equities" and "green bonds." Since the UN has responded to Press questions about irregularities alleged at the Pension Fund by emphasizing how separate and independent it is, Inner City Press asked Pazstor if the UN Secretariat had brought about this Pension Fund decision.

 Pazstor replied that the Pension Fund answers to the Secretary General and that "she" - Carolyn Boykin, presumably - had made this decision. We'll have more on this, after noting Pasztor by no means the least responsive UN official...

 When last September 21 the People's Climate March assembled at Manhattan's Columbus Circle, there were anti-corporate puppets in front of the Trump International Hotel and Tower, speeches by coal miners and from the Marshall Islands.

   Many called on the UN to do better. But UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon joined the march mid-way, at Radio City Musical Hall with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. Senator Chuck Schumer was on hand, walking by a Bronx contingent chanting how Fresh Direct has broken its promises.

  Inner City Press' 90 second video of the march is here.

  The UN's or "BKM" (Ban Ki-moon) Climate Summit will feature Cargill and Walmart, Credit Agricole and Bank of America. The last of these is the first, in terms of funding mountain top coal removal. These are the contradiction. Inner City Press tweeted photos on @InnerCityPress. More to follow.

  The night before the People's Climate March, the UN buildings on First Avenue lit up with photos and footage of trees and fish and written messages. It is called "illUmiNations." Inner City Press video here.

   Inner City Press late on September 19, after covering the Ukraine, Iraq, Ebola and Iran nuclear meetings inside the UN, went out and found a sort of trial run for the screening taking place on First Avenue, already lined with NYPD cement blocks. Photo here.

   Looking back at the UN's press release for the upcoming "VIP Press Screening" -- hard to know how they could exclude non-VIPs from it, or why they would want to -- there were laudatory quotes about UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and:

Obscura Digital has staged similar large-scale architectural mapping projection events on the Sydney Opera House, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. For examples of previous work, please visit the following link http://wdrv.it/1tx7Emd.

 In that video compilation, well worth watching, there are also corporate projects for Coca-Cola and YouTube owned by Google, with history at the UN.

  A message Inner City Press photographed on September 19, here,  was "In nature's economy, the currency is not money but life." Is this true of Coca-Cola?

   There are questions about the UN's UNcritical approach to corporations and corporate "partnerships."

   In the run up to the UN's September 23 Climate Summit, the UN put out a media advisory promoting the participation of 14 corporations ranging from Saudi Aramco through Cargill, McDonald's and Walmart to Bank of America and Credit Agricole.

  Inner City Press on September 16 asked Summit promoter Robert Orr how these 14 were selected for listing in the media advisory, and if the UN had reviewed their wider record. For example, the recent court decision involving Cargill and child slavery in Cote d'Ivoire, or Saudi Aramco not allowing employees in Saudi Arabia to protest.

   Orr mentioned a luncheon during the summit about carbon pricing and the UN Global Compact, a branch of the UN which repeatedly says it does not enforce substantive standards, only encourages reporting and dialogue.  Well, Saudi Aramco did not respond to the complaint about employees allegedly dismissed after being detained for participation in civil rights protests in Saudi Arabia.

   And what of the environment? Bank of America has been the number one funder of mountain-top removal coal mining, but Ban Ki-moon made it chairman the chief of his Sustainable Energy for All initiative.

  On behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access, Inner City Press asked that those making commitments, like the 14 corporations named, hold question and answer sessions during the summit. We'll see.




 

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