A few years ago, I had commented on the fact that in 2010 the United Nations (in perhaps yet another of its many endeavours to deflect attention from its abysmal failure in meeting its original mandate) took the progressive (and “precautionary”, no doubt) step of appointing a “space ambassador to greet alien visitors”.
Contemporaneous news reports had indicated that, Mazlan Othman, the ambassador was the head of “UN’s little known Office for Outer Space Affairs” [UNOOSA].
At the time, it did not occur to me that there would be any connection between UNOOSA and climate change. How wrong I was – as I learned today! Evidently, according to Discovery.com [Edit: h/t Anne Bayefsky via twitter]:
The U.N. is currently in the early stages of setting up an “International Asteroid Warning Group” so that member nations can share data about hazardous space rocks and coordinate an interception plan should a scary space rock be identified, according to Scientific American. The U.N.’s Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space will coordinate the mission, in an effort to prevent the asteroid from putting a dent in our planet.
Don’t have time at the moment to see if UNOOSA has a seat at the table of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – or whether ambassador Othman is or has been a participant in the deliberations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); but someone in the organization certainly has a firm grasp of at least some of the requisite jargon <word-salad alert>:
Taking into consideration the consequences of deforestation, desertification, land degradation, depletion of the ozone layer, acid rain, and a reduction in biodiversity on climate change, UNISPACE III recognized the role of international space law, as developed by COPUOS, in providing the framework for international cooperation in targeting environmental monitoring and disaster management.
And here are some examples of their forward-thinking agenda:
UNOOSA undertakes steps to enhance cooperation with UNFCCC, GCOS, and other United Nations agencies involved to identify elements where the Office could provide substantive leadership or support taking into consideration its strengths and current mandates and efforts.
- Participate in the development of adoption of international standards concerning the measurement of the Essential Climate Variables (ECV) when using space-based instruments and promoting the establishment and operation of a global repository of satellite-based data to ensure access to such data by all Parties.
- Facilitating capacity-building activities in the collection of, access to, and use of satellite-based data and information to support sustainable development in the context of climate change. [emphasis added -hro]
Who will be the first to declare that climate change could increase the severity and incidence of asteroids landing on our fragile planet, so we “must have a carbon tax, now”?! WWF? Greenpeace? UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon? UNFCCC head honcho, Christiana <I am committed to climate change> Figueres? IPCC chair, Rajendra <Hell no, I won’t go> Pachauri? Or … someone else .. a mystery “climate modeller” perhaps?!
Hey, let’s have a poll, eh?;-)