Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 24th 2014 Contents A29
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SURUC---Refugees streaming into
Turkey from Syria say their home city,
once bustling with 400,000 citizens,
has become a ghost town, emptied of
all people but a few thousand fighters
trying to hold off an onslaught by
The masses are fleeing the brutal
offensive by the Islamic State group
on the city of Kobani, looming just
across the border from Turkey.
Arriving weary in Turkey yesterday---
some walking, some limping, some on
stretchers---the refugees brought with
them stories explaining why so few
remain behind in the besieged city.
Osman Nawaf, 59, said that he saw
about fifty dead bodies hanging
headless in a village called Boras that
he passed on his three-day walk from
a village on the outskirts of Kobani.
Kurdish forces trying to fend off the
Islamic State on Tuesday expressed
hopes that the airstrikes carried out by
the United States and five Arab
countries against the militants might
provide yet provide relief. (AP)
Syrian refugees in Turkey reach 150,000
UNITED NATIONS---In a forceful
appeal for international co-oper-
ation on limiting carbon pollu-
tion, President Barack Obama
warned starkly yesterday that the
globe s climate is changing faster
than efforts to address it.
"Nobody gets a pass," he declared.
"We have to raise our collective
Speaking at a United Nations
summit, Obama said the United
States is doing its part and that it
will meet its goal to cut carbon
pollution 17 per cent from 2005
levels by 2020. He also announced
modest new US commitments to
address climate change overseas.
The summit aims to galvanise sup-
port for a global climate treaty to
be finalised next year.
But Obama s strongest com-
ments came as he sought to unify
the international conclave behind
actions to reduce global warm-
"The alarm bells keep ringing,
our citizens keep marching," he
said. "We can t pretend we can t
hear them. We need to answer the
call. We need to cut carbon emis-
sion in our countries to prevent
worse effects, adapt and work
together as global community to
tackle this global threat before it
is too late."
He said the US and China as
the largest polluters have a respon-
sibility to lead. But, Obama added,
"No nation can meet this global
Obama s goals at the summit:
to convince other nations that the
US is doing its part to curb green-
house gases, and make the case
that other major polluters should
step up, too.
The one-day climate summit
isn t formally part of the ongoing
negotiations toward the climate
treaty, which leaders hope will be
more muscular than a lackluster
agreement reached in Copenhagen
The idea is that by involving
heads of state early, rather than
leaving it to negotiators until the
very end, prospects will improve
for reaching a strong deal.
In another attempt to increase
political pressure on leaders to take
action, tens of thousands of
activists, including prominent
actors and former Vice President
Al Gore, demonstrated in New
York on Sunday. (AP)
'free pass' on
A man dressed as a polar bear climbs a barricade as protesters take part in the Flood Wall Street
demonstrations ahead of the United Nations climate summit in New York, yesterday. BBC PHOTO
UNITED NATIONS---More than 30
countries set the first-ever deadline
yesterday to end deforestation by
2030, but the feasibility of such a goal
was eroded when a key player, Brazil,
said it would not join.
The United States, Canada and the
entire European Union signed on to a
declaration to halve forest loss by 2020
and eliminate deforestation entirely by
"This is the family photo we have
been looking for decades," said Charles
McNeill, a senior environmental policy
adviser for the UN Development Pro-
gram said. "The forest issue is where
everyone comes together."
But, like in any family, there were
signs of dysfunction before the agree-
ment was formally unveiled yesterday.
Brazil said it would not endorse the
pledge, complaining it was not included
in the preparation process.
Brazil s position also highlighted the
divisions between countries as they
prepare to continue formal negotiations
later this year in Peru in the hopes of
meeting a late 2015 deadline for a new
"Unfortunately, we were not con-
sulted. But I think that it s impossible
to think that you can have a global
forest initiative without Brazil on board.
It doesn t make sense," Brazilian Envi-
ronment Minister Izabella Teixeira said.
If the goal is met, the UN says it
would be the equivalent of taking every
car in the world off the road. The group
also pledged to restore more than one
million square miles of forest worldwide
by 2030. Norway vowed to spend $350
million to protect forests in Peru and
another $100 million in Liberia. Dozens
of companies, environmental groups
and indigenous groups signed on.
But without Brazil, a halt to defor-
estation would nearly be impossible.
"A deforestation agreement without
Brazil is like a carbon reduction plan
without the United States," said Paul
Wapner, professor of international envi-
ronmental policy at American Univer-
McNeill said "there were efforts to
reach out to Brazilian government peo-
ple but there wasn t a response."
"There was no desire to exclude
Brazil," McNeill said. "They are the
most important country in this area.
An effort that involves Brazil is much
more powerful and impactful than one
that doesn t."
Teixeira says her government had
concerns that the text could clash with
Brazil s national laws, which allow for
managed felling of the Amazon and
other forests. (AP)
Pledge to end
deforestation by 2030
...Brazil says no
Demonstrators stage a sit-in on Broadway during a march protesting for action
on climate change and Wall Street greed, Monday, a day after a huge climate
march in New York City. AP PHOTO
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