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High expectations for Paris Climate Conference

The Kyoto Protocol expires in 2020. A follow-up agreement is to be worked out in Paris by December 11. (© picture-alliance/dpa)


The UN Climate Change Conference begins in Paris on Monday. Given that more than 170 states have already tabled their climate protection objectives, some commentators are already calling the summit a success. Others criticise that agricultural reform and sweeping global investment in new energies are still not on the agenda.

Tages-Anzeiger - Switzerland

Promising start to climate summit

The World Climate Summit will be a success, the centre-left daily Tages-Anzeiger is convinced: "Paris is not Copenhagen, where six years ago the negotiations for a new climate agreement for post-2020 failed miserably. But the Copenhagen failure was a blessing for international climate policy. It marked the start of a paradigmatic change. Since then the view has gained ground among the international community that binding global greenhouse gas reduction targets are not the solution if all UN member states, rich or poor, industrialised, emerging or developing, are to do their bit for climate protection. In Paris, independent national climate programmes put together by the individual states according to their economic and political possibilities are to be bundled into a package. The pledges of 177 states are on the table. That covers over 90 percent of global emissions. That alone is already a success." (27/11/2015)

Dennik N - Slovakia

Breakthrough not on the cards

The world must form an alliance against climate change, the liberal daily Dennik N demands: "Copenhagen ended in a fiasco in 2009. ... Since then not much has changed. For a short time it seemed as if global warning had stopped. But the last two years were the warmest since records began. ... We know that many poor countries can't really afford to fight harmful emissions without the help of richer ones. But notwithstanding all the problems, we must not lose sight of the scientific consensus that our planet is facing a man-made catastrophe. There are also opposing views, but we must not ignore the majority opinion. The search for an end to man-made global warming must continue. Paris will show whether we can learn from our mistakes. But a real breakthrough is not on the cards." (27/11/2015)

La Repubblica - Italy

Farming must be reformed from the ground up

Like other climate summits the Climate Change Conference in Paris also fails to acknowledge that farming plays a decisive role in global warming, criticises Carlo Petrini, founder of the slow food movement, in the centre-left daily La Repubblica: "The cattle breeding sector alone is responsible for 14 percent of greenhouse gases. ... Nevertheless terms like farming, biodiversity and cash cropping don't appear anywhere in the 54-page document that forms the basis for negotiations at the Paris conference. Instead the focus is on energy supplies, heavy industry and transportation. Although mention is made of soil conservation and food security, the concrete correlation between the climate, farming and food is not explicitly formulated. ... To effectively tackle the problem of global warming we need an economic, cultural and social paradigm change. We must support types of farming based on ecological methods, and we must fundamentally change the system of production, sales and access to food." (27/11/2015)

The Economist - United Kingdom

Develop energy technologies of tomorrow today

Now is the time to increase spending on developing new technologies for climate protection, the liberal business weekly The Economist stresses: "Generous subsidies perpetuate today's low-carbon technologies; the goal should be to usher in tomorrow's. Unfortunately, energy companies (unlike, say, drug firms or car companies) see investment in radical new technologies as a poor prospect, and governments have been feeble in taking up the slack. A broad commitment to quickly raise and diversify R&D spending on energy technologies would be more welcome than more or less anything else Paris could offer." (26/11/2015)


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Al Jazeera - Qatar

Global perspectives: Turkey hurt its own interests by downing fighter jet

The shooting down of the Russian fighter jet on Tuesday has weakened Turkey's position in the Syrian conflict, political scientist Akın Ünver concludes on the website of Qatari news broadcaster Al Jazeera: "With a more aggressive Russian aerial presence eager to settle the score, and with the Russian navy dominating the Black Sea and patrolling the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean, Turkey may have to sacrifice its support for the Turkmen, and abandon its involvement in the Aleppo battle along with the rest of its operational priorities in Syria, in order not to provoke Russia and escalate the crisis to an unmanageable extent. In turn, Russia may exert substantial support on Syrian-Kurdish groups such as PYD and YPG, which Turkey defines as 'terrorist organizations'." (25/11/2015)

Hürriyet Daily News - Turkey

Ankara paying for provoking the Russian bear

The Kremlin began preparing economic sanctions against Turkey on Thursday in response to the shooting down of a Russian fighter jet, according to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. This harsh reaction is typical of the Russian mentality, the liberal English-language paper Hürriyet Daily News comments: "The economic card cuts both ways of course. Russia needs to sell its gas to earn money. But Russian preparedness to sacrifice, once nationalist sentiments are aroused in that country, is a historic fact. Looking at all of this, it is clear why President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is saying that Turkey has no interests in escalating the crisis with Russia. He has undoubtedly been made aware that poking the 'Russian Bear' comes at a cost." (26/11/2015)

Die Welt - Germany

Berlin poised to join air show over Syria

Germany join in France's fight against the IS with surveillance flights and a warship, the German government proposed on Thursday. The proposal has yet to be passed by parliament. Such a deployment would be symbolic and nothing else, the conservative daily Die Welt criticises: "According to all observers only a targeted deployment of ground forces against the leadership elite of the IS could defeat the jihadists. However, so far all the powers involved have shied away from such an initiative. ... Consequently Merkel's promise of 'any and all support' for Hollande's anti-IS coalition is purely symbolic. Both the will and the conceptual backing for an efficient deployment of ground troops, for example through an alliance of special forces coordinated by France and Germany, are lacking. So what Germany's offer really comes down to is participating in the ongoing international air show over Syria." (27/11/2015) - Spain

Syria operation won't solve real problems

When Spain faced the decision of whether to support the US in the Iraq war in 2003 there were massive demonstrations against the move. The leftist website explains why the country should oppose military action in Syria today: "In 2003 the threat was in Iraq. It was an imaginary threat and a lie (as far as the weapons of mass destruction were concerned), but if it had existed it would have been there, contained within the borders of a country. In 2015, however, the threat (not imaginary at all but very real) is diffuse, global and it comes from our own districts, from where the Paris attackers came. … Since it's unlikely that they're planning to bomb Molenbeek it seems more logical to use other measures rather than rushing into an uncertain military operation which will maintain the threat and no doubt even intensify it." (27/11/2015)

MediaPart - France

Shopping sprees allowed, climate protests banned

The French government decided not to authorise climate protests planned around the country for Sunday, citing security reasons. Yet at the same time hundreds of thousands of shoppers are being allowed to crowd together in shopping centres, MEP and environmentalist José Bové fumes in the left-leaning online paper Mediapart: "For two weeks the heads of state and government will gather in Paris with their ministers to search for solutions to a problem that concerns us all. Banning demonstrations during this time is scandalous - and pointless. The holiday season is approaching. Christmas markets, department stores and shopping centres will be open seven days a week so people can go on consuming and keep the economy running. Why is it that these consumer gatherings are not banned, while those aimed at defending our common future are? The protests were planned long in advance, and aim to alert our decision-makers to the pressing need to address climate issues. But now it seems they're less important than making Christmas a success." (26/11/2015)

Rzeczpospolita - Poland

Exodus to Europe: Defence of outer borders better than mini-Schengen

According to reports in the media the Dutch government is considering the creation of a "mini-Schengen" zone made up of the Benelux countries, Germany and Austria. The conservative daily Rzeczpospolita views such plans as highly reprehensible: "An almost devilish idea. That would mean that Poland, Italy, France and other EU states would effectively be turned into a first line of defence for the members of this zone. The borders of the member states within the mini zone would then form the second line of defence against illegal migrants. … Instead of forging such plans which hark back to the Cold War, the community should be reflecting on how it can effectively protect its outer borders. The EU doesn't need a mini-Schengen; what it needs is proper surveillance of its outer borders - and true diplomacy." (27/11/2015)


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De Telegraaf - Netherlands

Clean coal energy better than nuclear imports

The majority in the Dutch parliament voted for the country's coal-fired power plants to be decommissioned quickly in the effort to reduce CO2 emissions. The conservative-liberal ruling party VVD, however, is against the move. It would be a short-sighted measure, the conservative-liberal daily De Telegraaf concurs: "This is a resolution that is politically correct rather than sensible. In Europe, which is aiming for a common energy market, there are hundreds of coal power plants. The Dutch ones are among the cleanest. So to put it mildly it doesn't make sense to close down these power plants as quickly as possible. In fact if we shut down the coal plants here, the likelihood increases that the Netherlands will have to import electricity from nuclear power plants in other countries or from the highly polluting coal power plants that continue to operate unhindered elsewhere." (27/11/2015)

i - Portugal

Portugal's PM will stick to austerity policy

Portuguese President Aníbal Cavaco Silva on Thursday warned the new socialist government against relaxing fiscal policy too much. As the new cabinet was sworn in the head of state pledged to do everything in his power to guarantee that the country doesn't budge from the course of budget consolidation agreed with the EU. The austerity policy will continue under the new government, the centre-left daily i believes: "The whole world is living in uncertain times, our economy remains weak and is therefore very vulnerable to external shocks. Portugal is subject to the EU budget agreement. There will be no 'end to the austerity policy' simply because the 'European obligations' Prime Minister António Costa undertook to fulfil forbid it. For that reason it's also hard to gauge how long the agreement with the Left Bloc (BE) and the Communist Party (PCP) will last." (25/11/2015)


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Adevârul - Romania

Romania needs smoking ban

The parliament in Romania was to vote on Wednesday on a smoking ban for restaurants and public buildings. However owing to pressure from the social democratic PSD, the draft legislation which has been under discussion for four years was taken off the agenda. Psychologist Eugen Hriscu expresses bitter disappointment in his blog with the conservative-liberal daily Adevărul: "They say of Vladimir Komarov, who died in a space mission and knew the capsule he was flying in would crash, that he had asked to be buried in an open coffin and that those who were responsible would be obliged to come to the funeral. By the same token those who are responsible for blocking the smoking ban should be obliged to go to the hospitals for patients with respiratory disease where the more than 50,000 Romanians who die from smoking each year cough their lungs out. … For many, this law which would have forbidden smoking in closed public places, was to be the proof that a system of rules is being created in Romania. But now we will have to go on waiting and fighting for that." (26/11/2015)

Kansan Uutiset - Finland

Syria war also destroying the environment

The ongoing war in Syria is also having a disastrous impact on the environment and public health, according to a report put out by the Dutch peace organisation Pax. The online edition of the left-leaning weekly paper Kansan Uutiset is alarmed: "Already by the end of 2014, 1.3 million buildings had been destroyed, releasing toxic substances like metals, plastics and asbestos into the atmosphere. ... The destruction of petroleum facilities has resulted in long-term air, soil and water pollution. By September 196 oil plants had been damaged by airstrikes carried out by the US-led allies. Attacks by ground troops have caused damage to refineries. The war has disrupted the waste disposal system, resulting in widespread pollution and threatening people's health. Since all of these repercussions are long-term, their ill effects will be felt not only by those left in Syria but also by those who return in the future." (27/11/2015)


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T24 - Turkey

Erdoğan won't stop true journalists

The editor-in-chief of the Kemalist daily Cumhuriyet, Can Dündar, and the paper's Ankara representative Erdem Gül were arrested on charges of 'espionage' and 'membership of a terrorist organisation' on Thursday. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan brought the charges against the two accused personally because they had published photos of weapons allegedly being supplied to Syria in the summer. Erdoğan wants to subjugate the entire state, writes the liberal online paper T24: "In this way there is neither an independent justice nor separation of powers. Papa President now has all the strings in his hands! … A judiciary that interprets the sultan's words as commands is no longer an instrument of the constitutional state, but that of a despot. But we will not give up. We won't bow to the despot. We are journalists, not court jesters. They won't be able to take away our journalism, our freedom. Dear Can, dear Erdem, you are not alone." (27/11/2015)

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