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Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

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As IPCC Pachauri Is Pushed to Disclose Deutsche Bank Payments, UK Libel Tourism Ignored

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 30 -- Faced with a recommendation that the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change finally institute financial disclosure of conflicts of interest, IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri belatedly told the Press on Monday that he now supports such disclosure, which he had resisted for months.

  The report of the InterAcademy Council, delivered Monday to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, notes Pachauri's “service as an adviser to, and board member for, for-profit energy companies.” Beyond those, Inner City Press had asked Pachauri and Ban Ki-moon about how much Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and others were paying for Pachauri's services, to whom and for what -- neither provided answers.

  On Monday, Inner City Press asked IAC chairman Harold Shapiro about the recommendation, why it alludes to “confidential” financial reports and discussions, and what benefit there could be to the IPCC for it chairman to be working part time for profit making companies. Video here, from Minute 26:21.

  Shapiro, saying it is a serious question not yet sufficiently thought through, noted that the first issue is who would administer the disclosures, and decide who to exclude on conflict grounds. He added that while not explicitly addressed in the report, the Council's thinking what that a strengthened Executive Director should be responsible.

  Pachauri himself, accompanied by the IPCC Secretary and others, immediately held a press conference to put their spin on the IAC report. Pachauri claimed to have already been moving to strengthen the IPCC Secretariat. Inner City Press asked about the IAC's proposal on disclosure of conflict of interests. Video here, from Minute 15:47.

  Pachauri said he agreed -- a bit strange, since he has been resisting disclosure for months. In fact, while Inner City Press asked him again Monday to describe the work he did for Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank and how much they paid, and to whom, Pachauri did not answer this. Video here, from Minute 22.

UN's Ban & Pachauri, disclosures on CS and Deutsche Bank still not shown

  Rather, he pointed at an apology by the UK Telegraph, for their statement that Pachauri personally made millions. Pachauri said that the reporting had been entirely “discredited.” Inner City Press pointed out that the reporter asserted the apology was giving in to the “blackmail” of litigation threats.

The legal system is something designed to give fair judgments,” Pachauri replied, arguing that the apology discredited all of the reporting.

  Ever heard of libel tourism to the UK?

The key here is not whether Pachauri directly took the money from the corporations, but why he resisted disclosure, and whether it serves the IPCC for the chair to have outside corporate work. Neither Shapiro nor Pachauri could articulate any benefit. Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky later on Monday, but he said Ban had not yet read the report. Watch this site.

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On Climate Change Finance, UN Dodges Air and Sea Tax, Ban Differs With Envoy, Rudd in Wings?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 13 -- The two co-chairs of the UN's High Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing, the prime ministers of Ethiopia and Norway, Tuesday vaguely summarized their Group's ideas to the press. To Norwegian PM Jens Stoltenberg, Inner City Press asked if taxes on aviation and shipping are being discussed.

  Stoltenberg replied that “We have not agreed, there is not conclusions yet, this is not the time for presenting any conclusion. But there are many different possible sources. And of course, some of the possible sources are related to international aviation, international shipping. whether that is going to be included in the final report or not, it is too early to say... that is all I can say today.”

  Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon about the comment by his new envoy on the issue, that a comprehensive agreement may not be reached in her lifetime. A subtext are rumblings in the U.S. State Department that they would have liked to put now deposed Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd in the post, or that the UN now create a new climate change envoy position for Rudd.

Ban and the co-chairs, answers on taxes and envoy not shown

Ban smiled and answered, as transcribed by the UN:

I speak on my behalf. I do not normally speak for a person whom I have nominated. I have not read exactly what she said, but I think that she might have been trying to explain that the process would be quite a difficult one. But just the reason that it is a difficult one does not give us any reason to be disappointed or deterred. We have a strong commitment to reach a globally binding agreement as soon as possible and I am sure that we can achieve that goal. As I said, the more we delay, the cost of inaction will be far, far greater than the cost of action today.

That is what I have been repeatedly saying and emphasizing. Therefore this High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing is a very good start and a very good initiative to make the comprehensive process of negotiation move. This is a very important element, aspect of complementing, reinforcing the negotiation process. And you have our commitment. You see the commitment of these distinguished Prime Ministers and world leaders.

    The last question allowed was directed to Mr. Ban, and concerned “occupied Kashmir.” Ban declined to answer it. Inner City Press would have wanted to ask Ethiopia's Meles Zenawi for this view of the bombings in Kampala. But he was gone.

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As UN's Ban Partners with Statoil Despite Oil Sands and Angola, Indigenous and Weaver Hit Brazil on Dams

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 28 -- The UN picked Statoil as its poster child to Wednesday launch the report of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change. Inner City Press asked Statoil CEO Helge Lund about his company's move to oil sands -- being criticized this week by the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues -- to drilling Marcellus shale, criticized for pollution, and financial criticism for projects in Angola, Libya and Nigeria. Video here, from Minute 30:13.

  Mr. Lund's response to these specifics was to claim that Statoil is "transparent, open," then to speak about carbon emissions. But the critique of oil sands is not only about emissions, but the destruction of the land and driving indigenous people off.

  Likewise, the criticism of Statoil in for example Angola was a lack of transparency and openness, working with local firms connected to government officials.

Mr. Ban left his press conference before any questions could be asked. But Inner City Press asked Achim Steiner, recently re-appointed by Mr. Ban to head UNEP, to explain what standards the UN applies and how it selects companies to be on its podium.

  Steiner replied that people are on the Advisory Committee in their personal capacities. But Lars Josefsson the CEO of Vattenfall, a company moving ever more into fossil fuel development, bragged that his membership on the UN Committee reflects on Vattenfall's practices. Inner City Press has raised this to a number of UN officials, including Ban's "global goods" aide Bob Orr, but nothing has been done.

Statoil's Lund, at right, looks down as UN's Ban smiles

  Steiner referred to the UN Global Compact, telling Inner City Press "you are more familiar with it than most." But that has been without the assistance or even consent of Compact leadership. Outside the most recent Compact board meeting in New York, Compact director Georg Kell told Inner City Press "you can't quote anyone here," or even ask them questions.

  Only because Ban's Group of Friends on Myanmar was meeting next door was Inner City Press able to ask if there would be a Compact press availability. No, was the answer. What was that, about openness and transparency?

Later on Wednesday, indigenous people and the actress Signourey Weaver protected outside Brazil's mission to the UN, against the Belo Monte dam. Fox News was there -- incongruous, some said, until they remembered that Lulu is thought to be a left leaning president -- as well as a slew of photographers and paparazzi waiting for Ms. Weaver.

She arrived an hour late, but then spoke with conviction, how after the film Avatar indigenous groups had contacted Avatar director James Cameron. On Saturday Cameron told the Press that in preparing the movie, he had "read books" on indigenous beliefs. Now, he and Ms. Weaver seem to be listening to the indigenous. Oh that this were true of Statoil. Or of the Executive Office of the Secretary General of the UN, at least on oil sands, for that matter.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

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