U.S., Israel to pull out of UNESCO
More than two-thirds of those polled say weather disasters getting worse Countries allege U.N. agency has anti-Israel bias, needs `fundamental reform'
WASHINGTON — After hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria blitzed the nation, most Americans think weather disasters are getting more severe and see global warming's fingerprints.
A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 68 percent of Americans think weather disasters seem to be worsening, compared to 28 percent who think they are staying the same and only 4 percent who say they are less severe.
And 46 percent of those who think it's getting worse blame man-made climate change mostly or solely for the wild weather, while another 39 percent say it's a combination of global warming and natural variability.
“Just with all the hurricanes that are happening this year ... it just seems like things are kind of mixed up,” said Kathy Weber, a 46-year-old stay-athome mom from Menomonie, Wisconsin.
When Hurricane Nate washed ashore in the Gulf Coast earlier this month, it was one of the first storms that Greg Thompson did not evacuate for. Thompson, a retired pest control researcher in New Orleans, said “it's pretty irrational” that people and politicians can deny global warming when the Gulf of Mexico is so much hotter than decades ago and storms seem so much more powerful.
“When so many things are happening and so many of them (storms) are intense and so many of them are once-in500-year levels and they're all occurring, it's a pretty good sign global warming is having an effect,” Thompson said.
Even though she went down to help Hurricane Harvey victims in Texas as a missionary and midwife, Gwendolyn Posey of Oklahoma just doesn't see any increase in extreme weather.
“I don't think it's man-made climate change,” Posey said. “It's always changing one way or another. It's always in flux.
“Anytime the government starts ramming things down my throat, I immediately think it's wrong,” said Posey, a mother of 10, farmer and doctor of natural medicine.
PARIS — The United States announced Thursday it is pulling out of the U.N.'s educational, scientific and cultural agency because of what Washington sees as its anti-Israel bias and a need for “fundamental reform” in the agency.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel plans to follow suit.
While the Trump administration had been preparing for a likely withdrawal from UNESCO for months, the timing of the State Department's statement was unexpected. The Parisbased agency's executive board is in the midst of choosing a new chief — with Qatar's Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari leading the heated election heading into Friday's final vote.
Outgoing Director-General Irina Bokova expressed “profound regret” at the U.S. decision and tried to defend UNESCO's reputation. The organization is best known for its World Heritage program to protect cultural sites and traditions, but also works to improve education for girls, promote understanding of the Holocaust's horrors, and to defend media freedom.
The U.S. stopped funding UNESCO after it voted to include Palestine as a member state in 2011, but the State Department has maintained a UNESCO office and sought to weigh in on policy behind the scenes.