Reports of Palestinian civilian casualties during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge are known to lack objectivity because they are provided by Palestinian sources, which have incentives to exaggerate total numbers and misclassify combatants as civilians. Reports from the BBC and New York Times utilize simple statistical methods to show that misclassification is almost certain to be endemic, rendering these reports both meaningless and deceptive.
Category Archives: International Organizations
According to Bloomberg’s Sangwon Yoon, the executive secretary of of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change believes it is.
The EU Parliament recently considered, and apparently abandoned, a proposal that would have destroyed the economic credibility its Emission Trading System for greenhouse gases. The proposal would have withheld from the market permits for 2013-14 permits for 900 millions metric tons of carbon. Contrary to popular reporting, this does not leave the ETS “in tatters” (Wall Street Journal) or “crumbling” (Click Green). Rather, it means that, at least for now, the credibility of the ETS as an economic incentive has survived another crisis.
The summer G8 meeting is over, and the press is reporting that leaders were unable to reach agreement on climate change. For example:
- Reuters: “G8 leaders failed to persuade India and China to join a push to cut greenhouse emissions by 50 percent by 2050,” and “a G8 deal to reduce its greenhouse gas emission by 80 percent by 2050 was thrown into doubt within hours of being announced.”
- Wall Street Journal: “The world’s richest and its largest developing economies made a little progress in bridging the gaps that divide them Thursday, agreeing on the ultimate goal for climate change negotiations, and a relaunch of stop-start trade talks that have dragged on for eight years.”
- New York Times: “The world’s biggest developing nations, led by China and India, refused Wednesday to commit to specific goals for slashing heat-trapping gases by 2050, undercutting the drive to build a global consensus by the end of this year to reverse the threat of climate change.”
However, the G8 leaders were able to reach an agreement that scientists are in charge of climate change policy-making and that the benefits of mitigation far outweigh the costs.
On June 11 the World Health Organization decreed that the recent outbreak of (A)H1N1 influenza (“swine flue”) qualified as a “pandemic.” According to reporters for the Washington Post, WHO delayed making this decision long after it technically met its established definition. The reason for delay is that policy officials no longer liked the definition and were concerned that a declaration of a pandemic could lead to panic.
The Wall Street Journal‘s Betsy McKay yesterday, followed by dozens of other news outlets today, are reporting that the World Health Organization is abandoning its long-standing aversion to the use of DDT to prevent malaria infection. The story provides unique insights about the contest between science and benefit-cost analysis on the one hand, and implacable opposition to pesticides nominally based on the Precautionary Principle on the other.