Global benefits of green energy; legislatures role in climate change; Germany-Israel friendship; 'strong' leaders who talk tough; Bosnia's unsteady peace

A roundup of global commentary for the Dec. 28 & Jan. 4 weekly magazine

Ferdinand Ostrop/AP/File
Wind turbines produce green energy in Nauen near Berlin, Germany.

China Daily / Beijing
Green energy will halt global warming
“The best thing to come out of Paris was the announcement of the Bill Gates-led green energy innovation fund together with private individuals and governments...,” writes Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center. “Until there is a breakthrough that makes green energy competitive on its own merits, massive carbon cuts are extremely unlikely to happen. Claims that carbon cuts will be free or even generate economic growth don’t stack up given today’s technology. Every economic model shows real costs. If not, we wouldn’t need the Paris Treaty: every nation would stampede to voluntarily cut CO2 and get rich.”

The Korea Times / Seoul, South Korea
After Paris talks, legislatures must effect change
“Advancing domestic measures on global warming and experiencing the benefits of reducing emissions have been crucial building blocks creating the political ‘window of opportunity’ to enable [the Paris climate talks] agreement...,” write Lord Prescott, Europe’s chief negotiator at the Kyoto climate talks, and Andrew Hammond, an associate at the London School of Economics. “And all of this underlines why legislators must be at the centre of international negotiations and policy processes not just on climate change, but also on the full range of sustainable development issues. Along with governments, they can now help co-create, and follow-through to implement, what could be a foundation of global sustainable development in coming decades for billions across the world.”

Spiegel international / Berlin
The difficult friendship between Germany and Israel
“Friendships between nations are similar to those between two people. The first rule is that they have to be tended to. The second is that the affection must be mutual. The third: A true friendship thrives on the courage to give criticism – and on the ability to accept it...,” writes Christoph Schult. “Germany’s political elite remains faithful to Israel.... But the first cracks are already showing. During her last visit to Israel, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said to [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, and live on camera, that the two had agreed to disagree.... Netanyahu is demanding that people divide the world between good and evil. In his eyes, friends can only be real friends if they support his policies 100 percent.... There’s a danger that critical friends of Israel will eventually fall silent. We don’t want to be lumped together with the anti-Semites and Israel haters – particularly when our transgression is our concern for the country’s future.”

The Daily Star / Dhaka, Bangladesh
Be wary of ‘strong’ leaders who talk tough
In the analysis following the San Bernardino, Calif., massacre in which 14 people were killed, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump “interrupted such rational discourse by hijacking the conversation towards hate, the jet fuel that propels the misguided missile that is Trump...,” writes Fakhruddin Ahmed. “History has shown that fascists like Hitler, Mussolini and Franco came to power democratically. They were xenophobic fear mongers. They dehumanise a minority as the root cause of the majority’s suffering (German Jews in Hitler’s case). They are ‘strong’ leaders who talk tough. Once in power, they throw the constitution away and become dictators.”

Aljazeera America / New York
Bosnian peace that did not last
“Twenty years ago ..., the 1995 Dayton Accords were signed in Paris, bringing peace to Bosnia.... [T]he agreement stunned the world by ending a vicious civil war that the Europeans could not stop...,” writes Paul Hockenos, a journalist living in Berlin. “But for all its merits ... [the settlement] failed to design a multiethnic state for postwar Bosnia.... Instead, the agreement imposed structures that reinforced existing ethnic cleavages and ... [split] the country into ethnic statelets. Two decades later, Bosnia-Herzegovina remains impoverished, dysfunctional and churning with acrimony.”

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