Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 1st 2015 Contents A21
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LE BOURGET---With dramatic vows to
save future generations from an overheat-
ed planet, the largest gathering ever of
world leaders began two weeks of talks
yesterday aimed at producing the most
far-reaching pact yet to reduce green-
house-gas emissions and avert environ-
"We should ask what will we say to our
grandchildren if we fail," British Prime Min-
ister David Cameron said as the UN climate
summit opened under heavy security on
the outskirts of Paris, two weeks after the
extremist attacks that left 130 people dead.
"Instead of making excuses tomorrow, let s
take action today."
Even before the gathering, more than
180 countries pledged to cut or curb their
emissions, but scientific analysis show that
much bigger reductions would be needed
to limit man-made warming of the Earth
to 2 degrees Centigrade (3.8 degrees Fahren-
heit) over pre-industrial times---the inter-
nationally agreed-upon goal.
The biggest issue facing the 151 heads of
state and government at the summit is who
should bear most of the burden of closing
that gap: wealthy Western nations that
have polluted the most historically, or devel-
oping countries like China and India that
are now the biggest and third-biggest emit-
ters of greenhouse gases.
The last major climate agreement, the
1997 Kyoto Protocol, required only rich
countries to cut emissions, and the US
never signed on. Since then, global tem-
peratures and sea levels have continued to
rise, and the Earth has seen an extraordinary
run of extreme weather, including severe
droughts and storms.
This new round of talks seeks to produce
an agreement that would require all coun-
tries, rich and poor, to take action.
While the specifics have yet to be worked
out, the pact is meant to chart a path toward
reduced reliance on coal, oil and gas and
expanded use of renewable energy such as
wind and solar power.
The negotiations will focus on whether
emissions targets should be binding or vol-
untary and how to verify that countries are
hitting their targets. Another big issue will
be how to provide the finance and tech-
nology that developing countries will need
to reduce their emissions and cope with
the effects of rising seas, intensifying heat
waves and floods.
China and India say they want the agree-
ment to clearly reflect that industrialised
nations bear the biggest responsibility for
President Barack Obama offered assur-
ances that the US isn t trying to shirk its
duty. "I ve come here personally, as the
leader of the world s largest economy and
the second-largest emitter, to say that the
United States of America not only recognises
our role in creating this problem, we
embrace our responsibility to do something
about it," Obama told the conference.
Statistics since 1959 from the US Depart-
ment of Energy show the United States has
been by far the biggest emitter of carbon
dioxide, the top man-made greenhouse
gas. It has released about 258 trillion tons
of carbon dioxide over the past half-century,
compared with China s 158 trillion tons,
the figures show.
Developing countries say they need finan-
cial support and technology to make the
transition to cleaner energy. On the bustling
first day of the conference, a number of
such initiatives were announced, including
one backed by 19 governments and 28 lead-
ing global investors, including Bill Gates
and Facebook s Mark Zuckerberg.
Many of the leaders said the world must
keep the average temperature within 1
degree C (1.8 degrees F) of current levels
and, if possible, to half that, to spare island
nations threatened by rising seas. The world
has already warmed nearly 1 degree Celsius
since the beginning of the industrial age.
PARIS---Russian President Vladimir Putin said
yesterday that he and President Barack Obama
have a shared understanding on how to move
toward a political settlement in Syria, but added
that incidents like the recent downing of a Russ-
ian warplane by a Turkish fighter jet stymie
broadens cooperation against extremism.
Putin and Obama had a half-hour meeting on
the sidelines of a climate summit near Paris and
the Russian leader told reporters they discussed
efforts to compile a list of extremist groups and
another one of members of legitimate political
Putin said, "We have an understanding how
we should proceed if we talk about a political
settlement. We need to work on a new (Syrian)
constitution, new elections and the control over
At the same time, he said, disputes such as last
Tuesday s shooting down of a Russian warplane
imperil cooperation on defeating extremists and
resolving Syria s turmoil.
Turkey said it downed the plane after it intruded
its airspace for 17 seconds despite repeated warn-
ings, while Russia insisted that the plane had
remained in Syria s airspace and denounced
Ankara s move as a treacherous stab in the back.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has
expressed regret over the incident but Putin has
made it clear that Russia wants a formal apology,
something Turkey has refused to do.
In Washington, State Department spokeswoman
Elizabeth Trudeau said the United States has cor-
roborated that the Russian plane violated Turkish
airspace, based on evidence from Turkey and
from our own sources.
Russia, on Monday, imposed sanctions including
a ban on Turkish food exports.
Putin said he was very sorry to see the break-
down of long-cultivated links with Turkey, but
added that problems in bilateral ties have started
building up long ago as Turkey has refused to
hand over Russian suspects accused of terror-
He also accused Turkey of downing the Russian
warplane in order to protect what he described
as massive illegal imports of Islamic State-pro-
duced oil, saying that Ankara s claim that it was
worried about Russian blows on the territory pop-
ulated by a Turkish ethnic group in Syria, was
just a pretext.
"We have every reason to believe that a decision
to shoot down our plane was prompted by a desire
to ensure security of that oil to the territory of
Turkey and on to sea ports for loading into tankers,"
Putin had presented fellow leaders at the Group
of 20 summit hosted by Turkey in Antalya earlier
this month with aerial pictures of what he
described as convoys of oil trucks carrying oil
from IS-controlled oilfields in Syria to the Turkish
World leaders gather
on climate change
US President Barack Obama, left, and Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite, front row third from right, applaud as they pose with
world leaders at the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, yesterday. AP PHOTO
ties said an online threat that
led the University of Chicago
to cancel classes yesterday tar-
geted whites and was moti-
vated by the police shooting
of a black teenager, video of
which was released last week
and led to protests.
Jabari R Dean, 21, of Chicago,
threatened to kill 16 white male
students or staff at the school
on Chicago s South Side,
according to the criminal com-
plaint. Dean, who is black, was
arrested yesterday morning. The
threat was posted Saturday, just
days after the city released a
video of Officer Jason Van Dyke,
who is white, shooting 17-year-
old Laquan McDonald, who was
black, 16 times. Van Dyke is
charged with first-degree mur-
der. His bond was set for $1.5
million earlier Monday, and
hours later, he paid the
$150,000 and was released.
Authorities said Dean posted
online from a phone that he
would "execute approximately...
16 white male students and or
staff, which is the same number
of times McDonald was killed
and will die killing any number
of white policemen that I can
in the process."
Threat against Chicago Police revealed
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