What's New(s)

What’s New(s) 12/11 – The COP, the last chance to find solutions?

What’s New(s) 12/11 – The COP, the last chance to find solutions?

What´s New(s)? La revue de presse anglophone – Erik Ruiz Martín & Nadine Vermeulen

Just after the UN panel on climate change published an alarming report on the latest trends in global warming, the now ongoing Conference on Climate in Glasgow seems the last chance to find solutions. Will the outcomes be enough to get climate change under control?

You'll find the script below:

What does the European press write about the most recent results?

Well, let's say that they are taking them with moderate optimism. In the case of the agreements reached, the absences are notable; such as in the agreement to reduce methane emissions by 30% in the next decade, in which, as Deutsche Welle points out, India, China and Russia will not participate. Perhaps the end of coal was the most celebrated agreement, signalled by Forbes as a surprise decision. More than 40 countries joined this agreement and many media claimed the end of coal…perhaps too soon, since according to Financial Times the United States’ decision not to sign it reduced the overall optimism. Moving on to the pact to end deforestation, Spanish newspaper El Diario highlights that it is a promising measure having been signed, ironically enough, in the same month in which the record of destruction of the Amazon has been reached. In the same line, POLITCO questions whether those pacts are iron-clad or simply wispy green promises.

Will this be enough to prevent looming climate disasters, according to the press?

“Between hope and suspicion" were the words chosen by the EFE news agency to describe how the COP is being perceived by many sectors of civil society. Similar to what The Guardian highlights in an opinion piece in which it underlines that ‘global leaders mouth good intentions, but they are woefully insufficient’. “Too many pledges not enough plans”, writes the EU observer quoting some MEPs present in Glasgow. Many experts claim in France 24 that there is actually a glaring disconnect between what some called "inflated, rehashed pledges" and genuine progress on reducing fossil fuel emissions.

And are European leaders putting enough effort in turning this COP into a success?

According to POLITICO, it is hard to overstate how keen negotiators in Glasgow are to land a final deal on the rulebook since many of them have been going over the same ground for six years. Also in POLITICO, Karl Mathiesen highlights that the global climate system does not impose any sanctions for missing emissions targets, rather it relies on moral persuasion. In other words, “The idea is that by saying the words, you start to believe.'' states Mathiesen. 

But then moving on to other events that grabbed the headlines across Europe this week, starting with Poland, where protests on anti-abortion laws broke out again. What happened there?

Indeed, the protests against Poland’s near total ban on abortions erupted again last weekend, when protesters claimed that the restrictive laws caused a pregnant woman’s death. According to the family of the 30-year-old woman, wrote Polskie Radio, she had been left waiting too long for an abortion. In the 22nd week of her pregnancy, she was brought to the hospital where she eventually died of a septic shock. Reuters reported that doctors refused to terminate the pregnancy while the foetus heart was still beating, even if scans had revealed numerous defects. According to Pieter Haeck in POLITICO, thousands of protesters gathered in the capital and smaller cities and villages, including the town where the 30-year-old victim lived. Polish private broadcaster TVN24 interviewed one of the protesters, who argued that the anti-abortion laws kill women. “It is cruel, it is terrifying,” she stated.

Then moving on to a small update on the situation at the Polish-Belarusian borderland, since more alarming news grabbed the headlines this week. 

Indeed, already a few weeks ago, we discussed this news event when migrants stranded between Poland and Belarus, suffering from the cold, were interviewed by various European news outlets. This week, this European borderland made the headlines again, when political accusations on both sides increased, as well as the number of migrants stuck in between. The Guardian headlined that the EU condemned Belarus for its “gangster style” tactics, citing a spokesperson of the European Commission, who described Lukashenko’s government strategy of sending refugees to the EU’s external border as a political punishment as “unacceptable.” According to the newspaper, around 3.000 to 4.000 people are settled in an improvised camp - while Poland sent around 11.000 soldiers to the border area; created a military zone and approved the construction of a wall. Deutsche Welle underlines that the EU accuses Belarus’ leader of attracting migrants from the Middle East and taking them to the border. Belarus’ leader Lukashenko denies orchestrating the issue, writes BBC. Meanwhile, a Lithuanian government official claimed that at least two dozen irregular migrants at the EU eastern border were identified as members of terrorist groups, stated POLITICO. 

Image par Kacper Pempel / REUTERS