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US climate deniers call Paris summit ‘a threat’ to the world

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The godfather of climate denial has warned that a United Nations deal on global warming would spell “economic suicide” for America and a disaster to the world, according to a leaked fundraising letter.

In the rambling 13-page letter, Fred Singer, a retired rocket scientist who rejects the science underlining climate change, appeals for at least $425,000 (£270,212) to stop what he called the “radical, economy-wrecking and sovereignty-destroying UN climate pact”.

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The letter, penned on behalf of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (Cfact), an ultra-conservative group that denies the existence of climate change, suggests growing desperation about the prospects of a climate change deal emerging from the Paris meeting. Cfact did not dispute authenticity of the document.

A leaked copy of the letter which was sent to Cfact supporters was obtained by the Guardian.

“This is a very dangerous treaty and it is something that we think should not be supported by the international community,” said Craig Rucker, the executive director of Cfact. “We wan’t to make sure it doesn’t happen.”

He went on: “It would be something that we would be very concerned about. Yes, it would not be a thing that we would relish.”

Other Cfact personalities, including Marc Morano, the group’s communications chief, have warned that climate deniers are on the verge of defeat in 2015.

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Those anxieties about the prospect of a global warming deal in Paris have increased with the intervention of the Pope, who made a strong appeal to phase out fossil fuels to help the poor earlier this month. Rucker, in a blog post, called the pastoral letter “ Rome’s greatest scientific blunder since Galileo ”.

The 8 June fundraising appeal, describes 2015 as a “make or break year” for climate, and asked for $425,000 to send a delegation of “climate truth tellers” to monitor the talks in Paris.

It sought unspecified additional funds to finance a spoiler film by Morano.

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Cfact has no formal relationship with Singer, according to Rucker. But he said Singer had written such fundraising appeals for the small Washington group in the past, and that they had tended to be lengthy letters.

Within the small fringe of climate denial, Singer, who is 90, enjoys special cachet for possessing genuine scientific credentials as a trained atmospheric scientist.

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The Vienna-born Singer, who was forced to flee the Nazis in 1938, has long-argued that environmental regulation is a pretext for global domination. The letter re-hashes many of those arguments, saying: “President Obama is pandering to zealots on the Far Left fringe posing as environmentalists.”

Elsewhere he accuses Obama of embarking on an “anti-energy regulatory jihad”.

He refused to comment on the letter, saying in an email that he was in the middle of a move.

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Cfact is little-known outside the fringe of climate denial. In 2012, the organisation was buoyed by an in infusion of $3.7m from a secretive funding network for corporations and ultra-conservative billionaires.

But that revenue stream – Cfact’s biggest source of cash – abruptly dried up the next year, when the thinktank got just $325,000 in dark money.

In a further blow to the world of climate denial, the Smithsonian said on Friday it was strengthening its policies on funding and conflict of interest following revelations that the researcher Willie Soon had refused to disclose grants from fossil fuel companies in published papers.

A spokesman said Soon would have to abide by the new policies. He remains the subject of a separate investigation.

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guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2015


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Melania Trump statue torched near her Slovenian hometown: report

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On Wednesday, The Daily Beast reported that a wooden statue of First Lady Melania Trump carved from a tree outside her hometown in Slovenia last year has been burned to the ground.

"The artist who had commissioned the sculpture, Brad Downey, had the statue removed on July 5," reported Madeline Charbonneau. "Downey, who is American but works out of Berlin, had hoped his statue of the first lady would create dialogue about American politics, given that Melania Trump is an immigrant married to a president who seeks to stem immigration. Though the investigation is still pending, Downey said he hopes to interview the perpetrators for an upcoming exhibition."

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FBI investigating Chinese businessman who bankrolled media company linked to Steve Bannon

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A Wall Street Journal expose revealed that a Chinese businessman is under investigation by the FBI after he used funds to bankroll a media company with ties to a former aide to President Donald Trump, Steve Bannon.

"Federal Bureau of Investigation national security agents in recent months have asked people who know both men for information on Mr. Guo’s activities, including the source of funds of a media company linked to him that hired Mr. Bannon in 2018 as a consultant, the people said," according to the Journal. "As recently as last week, the FBI met with one person familiar with the companies tied to Mr. Guo, the people said. The probe has been underway for more than six months, and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn have been involved.

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Mike Pompeo asks Egypt to stop harassing US citizens

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday welcomed Egypt's release of a US citizen but urged the ally to stop harassment of others.

Mohamed Amashah, 24, was freed Monday, nearly 16 months after he was arrested in Cairo's Tahrir Square for holding up a sign seeking the release of prisoners, according to human rights campaigners.

A dual US-Egyptian citizen who lives in New Jersey, he had gone on a hunger strike this year to protest his conditions.

"We thank Egypt for securing his release and his repatriation," Pompeo told a news conference.

"But at the same time, we urge Egyptian officials to stop unwarranted harassment of US citizens and their families who remain there," he said.

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