Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 15th 2014 Contents A36
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, December 15, 2014
LIMA---After late-night wran-
gling at UN talks in Peru, nego-
tiators early yesterday reached a
watered-down deal that sets the
stage for a global climate pact in
Paris next year.
The Lima agreement was adopted
hours after a previous draft was
rejected by developing countries
who accused rich nations of shirking
their responsibilities to fight global
warming and pay for its impacts.
Peru s environment minister pre-
sented a new, fourth draft just before
midnight and said he hoped it would
satisfy all parties, giving a sharply
reduced body of remaining delegates
an hour to review it.
"As a text it s not perfect, but it
includes the positions of the parties,"
said the minister, Manuel Pulgar-
Vidal, who was the conference chair
and had spent all afternoon and
evening meeting separately with
The main goal for the two-week
session in Lima was relatively mod-
est: Reach agreement on what infor-
mation should go into the pledges
that countries submit for a global
climate pact expected to be adopted
next year in Paris.
But even that became compli-
cated as several developing nations
rebelled against a draft decision they
said blurred the distinction between
what rich and poor countries can
be expected to do.
The final draft apparently alle-
viated those concerns with language
saying countries have "common but
differentiated responsibilities" to
deal with global warming.
It also restored language demand-
ed by small island states at risk of
being flooded by rising seas, men-
tioning a "loss and damage" mech-
anism agreed upon in last year s
talks in Poland.
"We need a permanent arrange-
ment to help the poorest of the
world," Ian Fry, negotiator for the
Pacific Island nation of Tuvalu, said
at a midday session.
However, it weakened language
on the content of the pledges, saying
they "may" instead of "shall"
include quantifiable information
showing how countries intend to
meet their emissions targets.
Also, top carbon polluter China
and other major developing coun-
tries opposed plans for a review
process that would allow the pledges
to be compared against one another
The new draft mentioned only
that all pledges would be reviewed
a month ahead Paris to assess their
combined effect on climate change.
Though negotiating tactics always
play a role, virtually all disputes in
the UN talks reflect a wider issue
of how to divide the burden of fixing
the planetary warming that scien-
tists say results from human activity,
primarily the burning of oil, coal
and natural gas.
The momentum from last
month s joint US-China deal on
emissions targets faded quickly in
Lima as rifts reopened over who
should do what to fight the prob-
Historically, Western nations are
the biggest emitters. Currently, most
CO2 emissions are coming from
developing countries as they grow
their economies and lift millions of
people out of poverty.
During a brief stop in Lima on
Thursday, US Secretary of State
John Kerry said fixing the problem
was "everyone s responsibility,
because it s the net amount of car-
bon that matters, not each country s
According to the UN s scientific
panel on climate change, the world
can pump out no more than about
1 trillion tons of carbon to have a
likely chance of avoiding dangerous
levels of warming. It already has
spent more than half of that carbon
budget as emissions continue to
rise, driven by growth in China and
other emerging economies.
Scientific reports say climate
impacts are already happening and
include rising sea levels, intensifying
heat waves and shifts in weather
patterns causing floods in some
areas and droughts in others.
The UN weather agency said last
week that 2014 could become the
hottest year on record. (AP)
Deal reached at UN climate talks in Peru
Conference of the Parties (COP) 20
President and Peru's Environment
Minister Manuel Pulgar Vidal at the
UN Climate Change Conference in
CIA report revives legal
debate on interrogation
WASHINGTON---When the CIA
sought permission to use harsh inter-
rogation methods on a captured al-
Qaida operative, the response from
Bush administration lawyers was
encouraging, even clinical.
In one of several memos that would
form the legal underpinnings for brutal
interrogation techniques, the CIA was
told that Abu Zubaydah could lawfully
be placed in a box with an insect, kept
awake for days at a time and repeatedly
slapped in the face.
Waterboarding, too, was acceptable
because it did not cause the lengthy
mental anguish needed to meet the
legal standard of torture, the 2002 Jus-
tice Department memo says.
The release last week of a Senate
report cataloging years of such inter-
rogation tactics has revived debate about
legal opinions since discredited and
withdrawn and about the decision to
not prosecute the program s architects
or officers who used the methods. Civil
liberties groups in the United States
and abroad are renewing calls to pros-
ecute those who relied on techniques
that President Barack Obama has called
"How can we seriously use the phrase
rule of law if crimes of this magnitude
go uninvestigated and unprosecuted?"
said American Civil Liberties Union
deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer.
The Justice Department, which spent
years looking into the matter, says it
lacks sufficient evidence to convict
anyone and found no new information
in the report. It also is far from clear
that any international case could be
Department officials said they will
not revisit their 2012 decision to close
the investigation, citing among other
challenges the passage of time and the
difficulty of proving beyond a reasonable
doubt that crimes were committed,
especially in light of government memos
that gave interrogators extraordinary
"Our inquiry was limited to a deter-
mination of whether prosecutable
offenses were committed. Importantly,
our investigation was not intended to
answer the broader questions regarding
the propriety of the examined conduct,"
the department said in a statement
after the Senate report was released.
That conclusion followed a criminal
investigation led by special prosecutor
John Durham that begun in 2009 as
an outgrowth of a probe into the
destruction of videotapes of CIA inter-
The criminal inquiry came after the
release of an internal CIA inspector
general s report that said CIA inter-
rogators once threatened to kill the chil-
dren of a September 11 suspect and
suggested that another suspected ter-
rorist would be forced to watch his
mother being sexually assaulted.
Durham s mandate was expanded to
look for potential crimes in the deaths
of two detainees, including one who
was shackled to a cold concrete wall
in a secret CIA prison, while in custody
in Iraq and Afghanistan. In closing the
investigation, the department said it
had examined the cases of roughly 100
detainees alleged to have been in U.
custody, but did not find enough evi-
dence to convict anyone.
The investigation focused on
instances in which interrogators went
beyond what was approved in memos
from the Justice Department s Office
of Legal Counsel.
The Obama administration had stip-
ulated that interrogators would not face
charges if they followed legal guidelines
set forth in the memos, which have
been rescinded. (AP)
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