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My New Polish Identity



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In 2009, my elder two daughters both had plans to move to western Europe, so they asked me to apply for Polish citizenship. This would allow them in turn to derive citizenship through me and acquire a European Union passport that allows them freely to live and work in 28 countries. Nothing loath, I began what turned into a four-year process of bureaucratic challenges to request the president of Poland to grant me citizenship.

While not easy nor routine, I had hopes for success based on the fact that both my parents, Richard and Irene, were born in Poland and lived there until their mid-teens, plus the fact that my father had had a major role while in the Reagan White House during the Polish crisis of 1981-82, my mother is the long-time president of the American Association for Polish-Jewish Studies, their both receiving medals from the Polish government, my own good relations with Radek Sikorski, the country’s foreign minister, and my mother having been granted Polish citizenship.

Then, partially through the process, the terms of application changed. According to a court decision, not only I but also my daughters had been born Polish. What had once required presidential authrorizaton became a routine bureaucratic process. Things moved quickly and, capped by a visit to Consul General Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka in New York City in September 2013, I received a Polish passport the next month.

At first, it was just a paper document. Then, on a recent trip to the European Union, my first with the new citizenship, I pulled out the Polish passport on arrival at customs. I also used it to register at hotels, as well as entering museums and government buildings. To my amusement, the passport prompted occasional questions whether I speak English.

More interestingly, for the first time since I left the United States at the age of three in 1953, I had full rights in another place – and not just any place but in a near-continent comprising a population of over 500 million. More profoundly, I felt a new connection to the land of my ancestors, Poland. I first visited there in 1976, have supported select non-profits there, have future plans to travel there, and even intend to study some Polish, a notoriously difficult language. The old country has become the new country.

In short, what began as convenience and formality has in a small way shifted my sense of identity. 

Tags: Poland , European Union

UN Climate Summit Goes into Overtime as Obama Rides to the Rescue



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As has become the usual practice at the UN climate summits, COP 19 in Warsaw has gone past its Friday closing time and is now in overtime.

This year’s talks became bogged down by a series of challenges.

Russia raised fundamental issues of procedural fairness — little things like the UN not recognizing nations seeking to speak or permitting them to vote.

Then 132 poor nations walked out to pressure industrialized nations to accept legal liability for “loss and damage” they suffer as a result of natural disasters, though science cannot show a meaningful causal relationship between natural disasters and global warming. 

In a truly bizarre twist, hundreds of members of far-left enviro NGOs walked out of the talks to express their frustration when the UNFCCC did not immediately cave in to their demands to fund loss and damage and a host of other redistributive schemes.  They also found sponsorship of the COP by charitable gifts from industry and the presence of business representatives in the proceedings to be intolerable — that they themselves are tolerated in the proceedings under the same rules is quite conveniently beyond their ken.

All that Sturm und Drang left the climate talks way behind schedule.

Negotiators did emerge from behind closed doors to announce that they had an agreement in hand to finalize the UN’s REDD scheme.  If you’ve been dreaming of becoming a billionaire by selling carbon offsets from third world forests that will have no meaningful effect on world temperatures, your moment has come.

With most negotiating tracks way behind schedule, the Obama administration tried to ride to the rescue. U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern announced that for the first time the U.S. now supports all nations declaring their targets for reducing CO2 emissions before 2015. This would clear the path for the UN to adopt a full climate treaty and successor to the Kyoto Protocol in Paris in 2015, while Obama is still in office. 

E.U. climate chief Connie Hedegaard has been trying to get the U.S. on board for years. Stern’s announcement gave her something with which to encourage the delegates that their climate treaty of Paris remains in sight. However, major stumbling blocks remain. Developing nations remain simultaneously reluctant to reduce their own emissions and adamant that they want immediate funding for both the Green Climate Fund and Loss and Damage.  

As the talks enter their final hours, how big a bribe can Hedegaard and the industrial world come up with to get developing nations to agree to a COP 19 outcome? Alternatively, will developing nations defer their global warming distribution dreams to at last have the U.S. on board?

Whose money after all do you think it is that they are so eager to redistribute?

Tags: COP 19 , CFACT , Global Warming , Climate Change , Waraw , Poland , UN , UNFCCC

Climate Conference Collapsing



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The global warming crowd just experienced a double whammy.

COP 19 was shocked when China led a block of 132 nations in a walkout over “loss and damage.”

Loss and damage is an entirely bogus concept which would assign legal liability to prosperous nations for natural disasters and other problems experienced by developing nations.

The hunger strike by Philippine negotiator Yeb Sano over Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda has been the most dramatic moment of these negotiations. Climate campaigners have seized upon the Philippines typhoon as a rationale for supporting the proposed UN global warming treaty.

While we continue to encourage donations and humanitarian assistance to the Philippines and others in need, “loss and damage” is nothing more than a bid by developing nations to reap a tremendous redistribution windfall.

As Marc Morano of Climate Depot said at CFACT’s UN press briefing yesterday, “Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda was not the most powerful typhoon to hit the Philippines in recent history… it was the seventh worst.”

While climate pressure groups continue to attribute the typhoon to man-made global warming, there is no scientific or historical basis for that claim. Neither pro-warming scientists nor those who question warming accept the connection. However, campaigners and delegates from developing nations at COP 19 are asserting the typhoon-warming link as fact.

The Guardian attributes the walkout in part to the Australian delegation which wanted to table funding loss and damage until after a full treaty is signed in 2015. The Australian delegation is apparently fearlessly following the national mandate they received in their recent election and are openly speaking out against the most egregious elements of the climate process.

As UN delegates were waiting to find out whether China’s coalition would be able to successfully pressure prosperous nations into agreeing that the weather in the developing world is their fault, they learned of a second stunner.

Poland fired its environment minister, who is also president of the UN climate summit, just two days before the end of the COP. Why? Because Polish prime minister Donald Tusk wanted someone with a deeper commitment to fracking.

Poland has been bullied for decades and they are not about to cede their energy independence to Russia, the UN, or anyone. (Nor, should they.)

Reuters frets that “the president of the talks has the power to wield the gavel, fighting off any last-minute objections and therefore forcing through some sort of agreement . . . but if the president does not have the authority of his government, then his power in the eyes of other countries is reduced.”

Poland is the host country for COP 19. With Australia blocking treasured warming-left initiatives, Russia formally calling into question the fairness of the entire UN process and Poland scheduling a coal conference and firing its environment minister in the middle of the COP, it is clear that many major countries no longer feel a need to go along with the global warming agenda.

Add all that to a 132-nation walkout, and one must ask: Can COP 19 recover and keep the global warming treaty on schedule for signing in Paris in 2015? Let us hope not.

Meanwhile: Bravo, Poland! Bravo, Australia! (And, dare we say?) Bravo, Russia!

Tags: UN , COP 19 , Warsaw , Global Warming , climate , CFACT , Poland , China , Russia , Australia

50,000+ Poles Cheer CFACT Speech Against UN Global-Warming Treaty



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As the UN kicked off COP 19 a few kilometers away, more than 50,000 enthusiastic Poles gathered in downtown Warsaw on Monday to celebrate National Independence Day while millions more watched on television. CFACT president David Rothbard delivered an impassioned address which celebrated freedom and warned Poland against the dangers a UN global warming treaty holds for their nation and the world. The speech was carried live on national television and covered by a large number of international media outlets.

David Rothbard and I co-founded CFACT over 25 years ago. When David took the stage, he was speaking before perhaps the largest audience ever to hear a speech directly challenging the UN global warming policy. Rothbard said he was honored to stand with the Poles in a “new battle for freedom against those who would use environmental and climate alarmism to steal away our liberties and give international bureaucrats control over our energy sources, our daily lives, our prosperity, and our national sovereignty.”

Rothbard stood beside a large CFACT banner which read, “No to UN climate hype!” in Polish red and white. “Last year, he told the world, “UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said that what the UN was undertaking is “a complete economic transformation of the world. This is not good news for those who love freedom, and it is not good news for Poland… The Book of Proverbs tells us that ‘the wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion’… the environmentalists and the bureaucrats don’t want to debate these issues because they know they are deceiving the world… There hasn’t been any global warming in more than 15 years and this is simply an excuse for more government oppression”

We stand for freedom. We stand for opportunity. We stand for our families. And we stand for a strong and prosperous future. Together let us be bold as a lion,” he concluded.

The rally took place one day after CFACT keynoted a climate-policy conference in Warsaw co-sponsored by Solidarity, the Institute for Globalization, and other Polish and European NGOs. There, members of the European Parliament, along with representatives from the U.S., Italy, Sweden, Hungary, and Poland formally signed the “Warsaw Declaration” calling on the UN to discontinue work on a new treaty until a genuine “scientific consensus is reached on the phenomenon of so-called global warming.”

The UN made a big mistake choosing Poland to host its global warming treaty summit.  The Poles see right through warming propaganda. Enduring generations of socialism has left them with a deep distaste for propaganda and bureaucratic control. Polish prosperity was blocked first by war and then by ideology. Poland deserves freedom and prosperity and knows it can’t move forward without energy. The brave Poles are not about to cede their sovereignty to UN control.

Polish feelings about the UN climate treaty echo what Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher told the Soviet Union. “Let Poland be Poland!”

 

Tags: COP 19 , Poland , CFACT , Global Warming , climate , UN

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