Sunday Reads

UN Climate Change Summit Begins Today With Rallies
Beginning on Sunday, activists will make sound the alarm about the state of the global environment at rallies to be held across New York City ahead of the United Nations Summit on Climate Change.

While protest organizers expect more than 2,600 events in more than 150 countries, observers note the summit may not achieve much considering India and China – two of the world’s biggest polluters – will not be attending.

“Both nations are so pivotal for any global agreement because they are such influential players in the global environment,” said Amina J. Mohammed, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning, tells Thomson Reuters.

The one-day event in New York, called by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, is intended to mobilize political will for a global climate deal due to be agreed in Paris in December 2015.

Steven Koonin says in a Wall Street Journal essay that the claim of many who will be rallying in New York that the debate on climate change is settled is “misguided” and has both distorted the debate on “issues related to energy, greenhouse-gas emissions and the environment,” but also “inhibited the scientific and policy discussions that we need to have about our climate future.”

Afghanistan’s Parties Agree On Power-Sharing Deal
On Sunday, Afghanistan’s rival presidential candidates cemented a power-sharing deal after months of turmoil over a disputed election that destabilized the nation at a crucial time as most foreign troops prepare to leave.

Both candidates have agreed to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement with the U.S., which is crucial to fighting Taliban insurgents and assuaging businesses seeking to tap mineral resources estimated at $3 trillion, reports Bloomberg.

Der Spiegel Sits Down With Iraq’s Ahmad Chalabi
Dieter Bednarz of Der Spiegel interviewed Iraqi politician Ahmad Chalabi about the rise of Islamic State, how the West misjudged the jihadists and whether it is time to cooperate with Syria’s Bashir Assad.

[Chalabi holds a controversial position in Iraqs’s history because he was a major force behind the false data the US used to support its contention Iraq had chemical weapons.]

He says that foreign members of ISIS may be sociopaths, but denies the leaders of the terror group are.

“That may apply to the fighters from the West who feel excluded in Europe and come here for that reason. But the leaders are former officers in the Iraqi army or professors. They are not psychopaths, they know exactly what they are doing, are very well organized and have a strict hierarchy,” he says.

War Is Not The Primary Source Of Violence
Bjorn Lomborg, an adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School, makes the argument in the Daily Star that war is not the biggest source of violence.

Rather, Lomberg asserts the violence against women in the home is the number one reason and carries a welfare cost of $4.4 trillion, or 5.2 percent of global GDP. Second is violence against children.

“Considerable amounts of aid are directed toward “fragile states” to help stop or prevent civil war, but only 0.27 percent of international aid goes to projects with a “crime prevention” component. Other programs may help in indirect ways, but there obviously is much room for improvement,” he writes.

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