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Survey of newspaper editorials on COP21 and terrorism

  • 2015-12-09 15:00:00
  • , Sankei
  • Translation

(Sankei: December 9, 2015 – p. 6)


 By Tsugumasa Uchihata


 The 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) attended by the leaders of some 150 nations opened as scheduled soon after the terrorist attacks in Paris. Global warming and terrorism are issues that the international community needs to unite and tackle together, and they are not unrelated. This was a notion shared by Japanese newspapers in their editorials.


 Mainichi Shimbun commented that, “The gathering of so many leaders in Paris despite the terrorist attacks 17 days ago is a sign that the international community is united in dealing with global warming. It also symbolizes international solidarity in refusing to be daunted by despicable terrorism.”


 Sankei Shimbun paid respect to France, which raided and suppressed terrorist strongholds and reinforced security by extending the state of emergency. It observed that, “The French government’s response was supported by the French people, who are now enduring anxiety over terrorism and the inconvenience resulting from the state of emergency. This gathering of world leaders is the fruit of efforts made by people fighting against terrorism.”


 Yomiuri Shimbun noted that this rise in the momentum for counterterrorism “must be used to enhance cooperation among the relevant nations in their efforts to defeat the Islamic State (IS).”


 The involved nations can hardly claim to be cooperating closely in the campaign against the IS due to their differences over the situation in Syria. Sankei and Yomiuri expressed concern about the deterioration of relations between Turkey and Russia after a Russian military plane was shot down near the Syria-Turkey border.


 In his opening remarks to COP21, French President Francois Hollande stated: “The fight against terrorism and the fight against global warming are inseparable. They are two major global issues that we have to stand up to.” Sankei, Asahi Shimbun, Yomiuri, and Nikkei all quoted this remark and expounded on how these two issues are related.


 Sankei said: “If abnormal weather caused by global warming results in food shortages, which lead to poverty, this will expand hotbeds of terrorism.” Asahi pointed out that “several international reports indicate that global warming breeds terrorism and conflict.” Nikkei also warned that, “Global warming is expected to bring about frequent droughts and floods, which will aggravate poverty in the developing countries and produce more refugees.”


 Asahi wrote that both terrorism and global warming are “common threats to the world that no one country can possibly deal with singlehandedly,” pointing out that they are both “tough issues with no ready solutions, so each country should give full play to their strengths, divide their roles, and persevere in unswerving efforts to deal with these issues.”


 COP21 is aiming at agreeing on a new framework of global warming prevention measures to replace the Kyoto Protocol after 2020. While only the advanced nations are required to cut emissions of greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Protocol, this time, all countries, including the developing states, will set voluntary emission reduction targets. During this conference, there have been demands on China and India, both major emitters of greenhouse gases, and other developing countries to do their part.


 Asahi and Sankei both made demands on the Japanese government, albeit from different perspectives.


 Asahi complained that “Japan’s emission reduction target, which is criticized by environmental groups, compares poorly with the other advanced nations.” It argued that reaching an agreement that will lead to an increase in national targets in the future is necessary, urging Japan to “adopt a positive attitude in this debate in order to contribute to the success of COP21.” Sankei asserted that “the world has not given due credit to Japan’s pioneering efforts (in the prevention of global warming) so far,” arguing that “what is needed is international negotiations to win respect without undermining national interests.”


 COP21 is scheduled to close on Dec. 10. We hope to see the fruits of the solidarity of the international community in Paris.

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