The Boston Globe - 08.08.2019

(Joyce) #1

A6 TheWorld The Boston Globe THURSDAY, AUGUST 8, 2019


By Christopher Flavelle
NEW YORK TIMES
The world’s land and water
resources are being exploited at
“unprecedented rates,” a new
United Nations report warns,
which combined with climate
change is putting dire pressure
on the ability of humanity to
feed itself.
The report, prepared by more
than 100 experts from 52 coun-


tries and released in summary
form in Geneva Thursday, found
that the window to address the
threat is closing rapidly. A half-
billion people already live in
places turning into desert, and
soil is being lost between 10 and
100 times faster than it is form-
ing, the report said.
Climate change will make
those threats even worse, as
floods, drought, storms, and
other types of extreme weather
threaten to disrupt, and over
time shrink, the global food
supply. More than 10 percent of
the world’s population remains
undernourished, and some au-
thors of the report warned in
interviews that food shortages
could lead to an increase in
cross-border migration.
A particular danger is that
food crises could develop on
several continents at once, said
Cynthia Rosenzweig, a senior
research scientist at the NASA
Goddard Institute for Space
Studies and one of the lead au-
thors of the report. “The poten-
tial risk of multi-breadbasket
failure is increasing,” she said.
“All of these things are happen-
ing at the same time.”
The report also offered a
measure of hope, laying out
pathways to addressing the
looming food crisis, though

they would require a major re-
evaluation of land use and agri-
culture worldwide as well as
consumer behavior. Proposals
include increasing the produc-
tivity of land, wasting less food,
and persuading more people to
shift their diets away from cat-
tle and other types of meat.
“One of the important find-
ings of our work is that there
are a lot of actions that we can
take now. They’re available to
us,” Rosenzweig said. “But what
some of these solutions do re-
quire is attention, financial sup-
port, enabling environments.”
The summary was released
by the Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change, a group of
scientists convened by the Unit-
ed Nations that pulls together a
wide range of existing research
to help governments under-
stand climate change and make
policy decisions.
Some authors also suggested
food shortages are likely to af-
fect poorer parts of the world
far more than richer ones. That
could increase a flow of immi-
gration that is already redefin-
ing politics in North America
and Europe.
“People’s lives will be affect-
ed by a massive pressure for mi-
gration,” said Pete Smith, a pro-
fessor of plant and soil science
at the University of Aberdeen
and one of the report’s lead au-
thors. “People don’t stay and
die where they are. People mi-
grate.”
Between 2010 and 2015 the
number of migrants from El
Salvador, Guatemala, and Hon-
duras showing up at the United
States’ border with Mexico in-
creased fivefold, coinciding
with a dry period that left many
with not enough food and was
so unusual that scientists sug-
gested it bears the signal of cli-
mate change.
Barring action on a sweep-
ing scale, the report said, cli-
mate change will accelerate the
danger of severe food shortag-
es. As a warming atmosphere
intensifies the world’s
droughts, flooding, heat waves,
wildfires, and other weather
patterns, it is speeding up the
rate of soil loss and land degra-
dation, the report concludes.

By Austin Ramzy
and Tiffany May
NEW YORK TIMES
HONG KONG — A top Chi-
nese official overseeing Hong
Kong affairs said Wednesday
that the city was experiencing
its worst crisis since the former
British colony returned to Chi-
na in 1997, as near-daily anti-
government protests continued
with little sign of easing.
The “turmoil” in Hong Kong
“has been going on for 60 days
straight, getting bigger and big-
ger,” said the official, Zhang Xi-
aoming, director of the Hong
Kong and Macao Affairs Office.
“The violence is getting more
and more intense, impacting an
increasingly wide part of the so-
ciety. It can be said that Hong
Kong is facing the most serious
situation since its return.”
Zhang spoke at the opening
of a forum in Shenzhen, a main-
land city next to Hong Kong, to
an audience of about 500 mem-
bers of the Hong Kong estab-
lishment, including representa-
tives to China’s congress and a
national consultative body.
Weeks of demonstrations

reached a high point with a
general strike Monday, when
protesters blocked trains and
roadways. Union officials esti-
mate 350,000 people stayed
home, including aviation work-
ers, leading to more than 200
canceled flights at the airport.
The day ended with mass
protests across the city. Police
fired 800 canisters of tear gas,
approaching the total of 1,
canisters fired over the previ-
ous eight weeks.
On Tuesday, a spokesman
from Zhang’s office issued the
central government’s sternest
condemnation to date on Hong
Kong, saying that the protesters
“are extremely rampant and de-
ranged,”andthata“blowfrom
the sword of law is waiting for
them in the future.”
Zhang struck a more mea-
sured tone in his comments
Wednesday, describing the
meetings as an opportunity to
hear from the people of the city
so“thecentralgovernmentcan
make decisions that are closer
to Hong Kong society.” After his
introduction, reporters were
asked to leave and the meetings
continued behind closed doors.
The event was the first such
joint meeting of the Hong Kong
andMacaoAffairsOffice,a
mainland agency, and the Chi-
nese government’s representa-

tive office in Hong Kong since
the 2014 Umbrella Movement,
when prodemocracy protesters
occupied parts of the city for
nearly three months.
Michael Tien, an establish-
ment lawmaker, said he used
the session to propose an inde-
pendent probe into the crisis
and a full withdrawal of the ex-
tradition bill that set off the
protests earlier this year, two
key demands from protesters.
“We need to be concerned
about the future generations if
we do not handle this particu-
lar incident carefully,” he said.
“By that I mean a high-level
committee of inquiry to look at
all the background of this, not
just the police but also the pro-
testers, the allegations about
foreign government involve-
ment, and where the money
comes from. There are many as-
pects to it.”
The legislation, which the
government suspended in June,
would allow the extradition of
suspects to mainland China.
Many people feared it would ex-
pose Hong Kong residents to a
judicial system controlled by
the Communist Party, and was
anotherstepintheerosionof
civil liberties in Hong Kong.
Tien was the first pro-Bei-
jing politician to suggest a sus-
pension of the bill.

By Carlotta Gall
NEW YORK TIMES
GAZIANTEP, Turkey — The
United States and Turkey
agreed on Wednesday to create
a safe zone in northeastern Syr-
ia that would allow Turkey to
protect its borders from Syri-
an-Kurdish forces that it re-
gards as a terrorist threat and
provide Syrian refugees in Tur-
key a safe space to return
home.
Defense officials from both
countries issued separate but
similar statements after three
days of talks in Ankara, the
Turkish capital. The state-

ments gave no details on the
size of the zone or how it will
be policed, which may still be
undecided, but the agreement
was presented by Turkey as a
meeting of its demands.
Turkey’s defense minister,
Hulusi Akar, told Turkish me-
dia outlets on Wednesday
morning that the discussions
were “fairly positive.”
“We gladly observed our in-
terlocutors coming closer to
our views,” the NTV television
channel quoted him as saying.
President Recep Tayyip Er-
dogan of Turkey had threat-
ened a military incursion into

northeastern Syria to secure
the border region from Syrian-
Kurdish forces. Turkey regards
those forces as a threat because
of their links to the PKK, which
is waging an insurgency in Tur-
key. Turkey and the United
States have labeled the PKK a
terrorist organization.
Erdogan had also proposed
a safe zone under Turkish con-
trol to allow many of the Syrian
refugees in Turkey an area
within Syria that would be free
of Syrian government control.
The United States, which
has military forces in the area
and cooperates with the Syri-

an-Kurdish forces, or SDF, in
operations combating the Is-
lamic State, has warned Turkey
against taking any unilateral
action in the region.
Discussions have been fo-
cused on the SDF pulling its
forces and weaponry away
from the border area and on
the size of the safe zone. The
United States has preferred a
zone that is just a few miles
wide, whereas Turkey has
sought a corridor along its bor-
der as deep as 20 miles.
The agreement announced
on Wednesday appeared to be
aimed only at ensuring that
Turkish and American forces,
who are NATO allies, do not
come into conflict.
The delegations agreed on
“the rapid implementation of
initial measures to address
Turkey’s security concerns,”
and to create a joint operations
center in Turkey “to coordinate
and manage the establishment
of the safe zone,” according to a
statement by the US Embassy
in Ankara.

Turkey and US agree on Syria peace corridor


Climatechangethreatens


world’sfoodsupply,UNsays


Degradedsoil,


droughtswould


increasemigrants


BILLY H.C. KWOK/GETTY IMAGES
Protesters in Hong Kong used laser beams for effect during a demonstration Wednesday.

Chinese official calls turmoil


worst since colony’s handover


Littleletupseen


inHongKongas


protestscontinue


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