NEW YORK – Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair and top leaders from around the world warned at the start of the Climate Week conference in New York that man-made climate change is a 95 percent certainty, calling for serious and urgent action to address the devastating disasters that have impacted the planet in recent times.
"This year is perhaps more critical than ever before," Blair said at the opening ceremony of the 5th annual Climate Week on Monday. "Here in the U.S., people's lives and livelihoods have been disturbed by extreme weather. The devastating floods of Colorado are a one in a thousand year event – and at the same time, 60 percent of the country is gripped in a severe drought."
Blair added that he is not pessimistic about the world's response to climate change, but is worried about the speed of progress. more >>
Christian advocacy groups are at odds over whether a 10 year, $39 billion cut to food stamps that the House of Representatives passed earlier this week would improve the livelihood of America's poor.
Rev. Gary Cook, the Director of Church Relations at Christian anti-hunger advocacy group, Bread for the World, has told The Christian Post that he is worried that the latest cuts could further marginalize the most vulnerable, rather than mobilize people back to work.
Cook explained that the cuts would cut off able-bodied adult Americans without dependents who had been receiving food stamps, even though they were not working. more >>
The world's top donors are as much as $2.7 billion short in aid money for Syrians affected by the ongoing civil war crisis, a report by international aid agency Oxfam has revealed.
"Too many donor countries are not delivering the level of funds that is expected of them," said Colette Fearon, head of Oxfam Syria program. "While economic times are tough, we are facing the largest man-made humanitarian disaster in two decades and we have to seriously address it. The scale of this crisis is unprecedented and some countries must start to show their concerns to the crisis in Syria by putting their hands in their pockets."
The two-and-a-half year civil war in Syria between President Bashar al-Assad's forces and rebel fighters has been called "the great tragedy" of the 21st century by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in which over 100,000 people have lost their lives and over 2 million have fled as refugees. more >>
Climate Week NYC 2013, taking placing from September 23-30, is pushing for a "clean revolution" and gathering together world leaders to discuss how innovations in clean technology can create jobs and boost the economy, and will also look at why Christians should be engaged in pressing matters affecting the planet.
Leading organizations such as The Climate Group and The Weather Company are partnering in Climate Week efforts, bringing together a major global forum taking a look at climate change and how a low carbon economy could prove to be successful in today's world.
"We are delighted to be partnering with The Weather Company for the fifth Climate Week NYC. Their commitment to analyzing the topical issues of climate change and low carbon leadership, and the consequential impacts on America's economic opportunities and energy security is to be admired," Amy Davidsen, The Climate Group Executive Director said in a press release. more >>
The President Barack Obama administration's education reform initiative, Race to the Top, is harming efforts to close the achievement gap between poor and non-poor students, a new report by Broader, Bolder Approach to Education finds, because it has shifted resources away from targeted programs for poor students and toward testing and assessment programs. Critics of the report call it "junk science."
The achievement gap between students from low-income families and other students, the reports says, mostly has to do with factors outside the schools themselves. And, the programs that show the most promise at closing the gap are good pre-kindergarten programs, after-school programs, summer programs, and health and nutrition programs. Efforts to implement RTTT, though, have led to a scaling back of these programs as resources have shifted to implementing RTTT and the associated Common Core State Standards Initiative.
The "competitive nature" of RTTT "raises important concerns about how federal funding of education is most effective and the intersection between resources and policy," the report concludes. Federal dollars are small part, eight to 10 percent of all K-12 education spending, but those dollars play a "critical role" in helping to "level the educational playing field." more >>
Income inequality has been expanding, with almost all, 95 percent, of the income gains going to the top one percent in income during President Barack Obama's first term, 2009 to 2012, according to a new report by University of California at Berkeley researcher Emmanuel Saez.
Average income grew 6 percent, with most of those gains, 4.6 percent, in the last two years, 2011 to 2012. Those gains, though, "were very uneven," wrote Saez, professor of economics and director of the Center for Equitable Growth. The top one percent in income grew 31.4 percent while the bottom 99 percent grew only 0.4 percent. "Hence, the top 1% captured 95% of the income gains in the first three years of the recovery."
For comparison, Saez says that income inequality is at it highest level since the 1920's, just before the Great Depression. more >>