Facts, and Opinions, this week

A man holds a giant pencil as he takes part in a solidarity march in the streets of Paris after theCharlie Hebdo shootings, France January 11, 2015. Stephane Mahe: I covered the arrival of the heads of state at the start of the solidarity march. I then made my way through the streets, which were packed with people holding "Je suis Charlie" banners, to the Place de la Nation. It was the end of the day, the light was soft as I walked around the statue, "The Triumph of the Republic", lookingfor a picture with the French flag and a pencil. I was fortunate that everything fell into my frameand I was able to combine dramatic light, a dynamic gesture with the giant pencil, and an interesting group around the statue. People online have called it "The Pencil Guiding the People", in reference to the famous painting by Eugene Delacroix, "Liberty Guiding the People". I find the comparison really interesting and it was a historic march, but I am surprised that my photograph has become so symbolic of the day. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe SEARCH "STORY-YEAR" FOR ALL 14 PICTURES
Reuters Photos of the Year. A man holds a giant pencil as he takes part in a solidarity march in the streets of Paris after theCharlie Hebdo shootings, France January 11, 2015. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

“The Paris Agreement is adopted,” said French foreign minister Laurent Fabius late Saturday at the Paris climate summit. Weary delegates cheered and applauded the global agreement on tackling climate change, reached by 195 countries after years of preparation and two weeks of grinding negotiations.

“The most difficult part is over,” said Fabius, banging a green gavel to signal the deal. The negotiations are done, the deal is made. And  now the hard work begins.

F&O will provide context and commentary in the coming week. The massive agreement on climate change measures includes financial pledges to help developing nations; hold the temperature increase to “well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels” and seek to limit it to 1.5 degrees; reach peak greenhouse gas emissions “as soon as possible;” and take stock in 2023 of success in curbing greenhouse gases.   Read the agreement here on the site of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Inside F&O’s pages, our stories this week include:

Depiction of mass bomber raid on Cologne, by The National Archives, UK. via Wikimedia Commons
Warfare remains outside climate talks

Climate watch: the world cannot afford a war. By Penney Kome, Over Easy columnist

War, the most costly and damaging human activity, is outside the scope of Paris climate talks. “If the war was ranked as a country in terms of emissions, it would emit more CO2 each year than 139 of the world’s nations do annually, more than 60 percent of all countries, said one report.

Losing my religion. By Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda columnist

Why Christian religious extremists are just as dangerous as Islamic ones

Beijing in smog on Nov. 29. Photo by LWYang/Flickr/Creative Commons
Beijing smog

Vancouver’s housing bubble inflated by China’s air pollution. By Jonathan Manthorpe, International Affairs columnist

Vancouver’s grossly inflated housing market, the United Nations’ climate conference in Paris and China’s catastrophic environmental degradation are all linked in a circle of cause and effect.

Alaa Murabit: Libyan Women, identity, country and faith, by Christopher Majka, Looseleaf column

Alaa Murabita, a Canadian born-woman of Libyan heritage, and a physician and activist, founded the Voice of Libyan Women following the overthrow of the Gaddafi dictatorship.

Assemble portrait, © Assemble
© Assemble

Turner Prize must not restrict Assemble to ‘art’. By Emma Curtin

The collective Assemble, winner of the Turner Prize 2015, had a major role in a successful urban regeneration project. It’s a significant project worthy of recognition by a major national award –although an art prize may surprise.

Photos of the Year: Reuters

From the migration crisis in Europe to hippos on the loose in Tbilisi and rioters attacking a policewoman in Burundi, Reuters photographers tell the story behind some of the most iconic pictures of the year.


Reader-Supported Facts and Opinions survives with an honour system. Try one story at no charge. If you value no-spam, no-ads, non-partisan, evidence-based, independent journalism, help us continue. Details.