Osama joins climate change debate

Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, blamed the United States and developed countries for not halting climate change and said that the global economy should immediately abandon its reliance on the American dollar, according to an audio-tape released by the broadcaster Al Jazeera. “Talk about climate change is not an ideological luxury but a reality.” bin Laden was quoted as saying in a report on Al Jazeera’s English-language website. “All of the industrialized countries, especially the big ones, bear responsibility for the global warming crisis.”

The authenticity of the tape could not be immediately confirmed, and Al Jazeera, which is based in Qatar, did not say how it obtained the message. But if substantiated, it would be bin Laden’s second public message within a week. On Sunday, Al Jazeera broadcast a one-minute tape in which bin Laden hailed the December 25 attempt to bring down a plane bound for Detroit and warned of more attacks against the United States. Bin Laden, who is believed to be hiding in Pakistan near the Afghanistan border and has issued several other taped anti-West invectives, had not put one out in four months before the one about the attempted airline bombing.

In the message broadcast, bin Laden veered away from his traditional vows to inflict death and destruction on the US, and instead discussed climate change, globalization and monetary policy in a message that he said was directed to “the whole world.” He called for a worldwide boycott of American goods and the dollar. He faulted the United States for failing to sign the Kyoto Protocol, which sought to curb global warming by restricting greenhouse gas emissions. And he offered a word of praise for Noam Chomsky, the American linguist and liberal political activist.

“Noam Chomsky was correct when he compared the US policies to those of the Mafia,” Al Jazeera quoted bin Laden as saying. “They are the true terrorists, and therefore we should refrain from dealing in the US dollar and should try to get rid of this currency as early as possible.” Bank and government officials in China, Russia and elsewhere have previously floated the idea of abandoning the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, replacing it with a basket of other currencies and commodities like gold. But bin Laden’s aim in turning away from the dollar appears to be to inflict harm on the American economy. “I am certain such actions will grave repercussions and huge impact,” he was quoted as saying.

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