Facts, opinions, and more

An international group of jurists recently launched the Oslo Principles on Global Climate Change Obligations. The jurists, from Brazil, China, India, the United States and the Netherlands, propose a set of principles based on human rights laws to force governments to act on climate change. The Netherlands was one of the first test sites for the concept: hearings were held last week at the Hague into a case against the Dutch government, by nearly 900 citizens organized by the Urgenda Foundation. A decision is expected within six months.

F&O Natural Security columnist Chris Wood explains why the issue matters: it concerns both the essential purpose of the state, and the role of the courts. Click here for Wood’s essay,  The Dutch Prescription:  take the future to court, or take it outside. (by donation)

Nearly 900 people in the Netherlands have taken their government to court. Their case claims exposing their government as complicit in this widening destruction and human injury. Further: they are pointing out that the same climate disruption exposes them to injury, to violations of their personal integrity, to loss of property and a future for their families.  , to force it to prevent those violations  in practical terms, to step up the Netherlands’ carbon-reduction efforts and pressure the EU to follow suit. Above, a canal in Amsterdam, one of the cities most at risk from rising sea levels. © Deborah Jones 2015
Netherlands residents claim their government is complicit in destruction and injury caused by climate change. Above, a canal in Amsterdam, one of the cities most at risk from rising sea levels. © Deborah Jones 2015

In case you missed them, other new pieces on F&O include:

BRIAN BRENNAN’s  latest Brief Encounter: Giving a Canadian Accent to the Stratford Festival: John Hirsch. In Commentary, read  TOM REGAN  on the unbearable lightness of US presidential campaignsJONATHAN MANTHORPE  on how generals in mufti still control Burma, and JIM MCNIVEN on economics: Now for Another Debt Crisis. And you’ll never look at a seal the same way again after reading GREG LOCKE’S piece, How to make seal flipper pie

Recommended elsewhere:

Eritrea and North Korea top the list of the 10 most censored countries in the world, released this week by the Committee to Protect Journalists. The list is part of the CPJ’s annual report, scheduled for release April 27. Censorship is most extreme in the following countries, some of which are also the most dangerous, and top jailers of journalists. The CPJ report on the 10 worst countries for censorship can be read here. The countries include:

  1. Eritrea
  2. North Korea
  3. Saudi Arabia
  4. Ethiopia
  5. Azerbaijan
  6. Vietnam
  7. Iran
  8. China
  9. Myanmar
  10. Cuba

Also in the world of journalism, ProPublica this week updated its comprehensive chart on the scandals surrounding Rupert Murdoch’s International News company. Click here to read Murdoch’s Circle: The News International Scandal. At the least, it might make readers think twice about trusting information sources concentrated in the hands of corporations tainted by scandal.

Finally, The Machines Are Coming, by Zeynep Tufekci, New York Times, can not be wished away as science fiction. Tufekci, a contributing opinion NYT writer and assistant professor, School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina, has an issue with technology. Excerpt:

Optimists insist that we’ve been here before, during the Industrial Revolution, when machinery replaced manual labor, and all we need is a little more education and better skills. But that is not a sufficient answer ….  It’s easy to imagine an alternate future where advanced machine capabilities are used to empower more of us, rather than control most of us. There will potentially be more time, resources and freedom to share, but only if we change how we do things. We don’t need to reject or blame technology. This problem is not us versus the machines, but between us, as humans, and how we value one another.


Facts and Opinions is an online journal of select and first-rate reporting and analysis, in words and images: a boutique for select journalism, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O performs journalism for citizens, funded entirely by readers. We do not carry advertising or solicit donations from foundations or causes. Help sustain us by telling others about us, and purchasing a $1 day pass or subscription, from $2.95/month to $19.95/year. To receive F&O’s free blog emails fill in the form on the FRONTLINES page.