EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 02/12/2019

Financial Times – Daniel Dombey & Leslie Hook / Splits widen over global climate goals as UN summit gathers

  • As delegates from nearly 200 countries convene in Madrid for the annual UN climate summit, the gap between the countries willing to reduce emissions and those who are not has become ever more stark. Teresa Ribera, Spain’s environment minister, said her country’s last-minute decision to host the talks was essential to prevent the collapse in international climate efforts after the cancellation of Santiago de Chile. Ahead of the two-week COP25 summit, the European Parliament declared a “climate emergency”.
  • However, other actors are moving in the opposite direction, such as the US, the world’s biggest per-capita emitter, which has begun leaving the Paris climate accord entirely. Laurence Tubiana, an architect of the Paris pact, said that China, the world’s number one emitter, and Japan also appeared to be climate laggards.
  • Ms Ribera’s plan would commit Spain to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 21 per cent of their 1990 levels by 2030. To do this, the renewables proportion of the country’s electricity generation would rise from about 40 per cent today to 74 per cent in 2030. Under her proposals, Ms Ribera predicted an “explosion” in Spain’s solar capacity.
  • POLITICO – Kalina Oroschakoff & Zack Colman / 6 things to know about the COP25 climate summit
  • The Guardian – Fiona Harvey / COP25: youth ‘leadership’ contrasts with government inaction, says UN chief

The Washington Post – Ishaan Tharoor / Trump heads to NATO summit and Britain braces for impact

  • The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is marking its 70th anniversary this year, but Trump’s notoriously transactional worldview has deepened questions about its future. More broadly, his stated skepticism about US security commitments to Europe, curiously friendly disposition to Russia’s autocratic ruler, indifference to multilateral diplomacy and apathy about human rights and the rule of law abroad have all been widely interpreted as signs of the Western liberal order fraying under his watch.
  • However, he won’t be the only skeptical figure at the summit that will start this Tuesday. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may furrow the most brows after his government acquired and then tested an advanced Russian antiaircraft missile system. Moreover, there’s French President Emmanuel Macron, who provocatively declared in an interview last month that Europeans are experiencing “the brain death of NATO”.
  • The major news ahead of the summit was that the Trump administration is likely to cut US funding to NATO’s operating budget, bringing in line its contributions to that of Germany, while other member states will work to make up the shortfall.
  • Bloomberg – Marc Champion & Jonathan Stearns / It’s no longer just Donald Trump questioning what NATO does

The Guardian – Juliette Garside / Malta’s PM quits in crisis over Daphne Caruana Galizia murder

  • Malta’s embattled prime minister Joseph Muscat has resigned, driven from office by the constitutional and political crisis triggered by the murder of the investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Caruana Galizia was killed in October 2017 when a bomb planted under the driver’s seat of her rental car was detonated as she was travelling away from her home in the village of Bidnija. She had exposed corruption at the highest level in Muscat’s government. 
  • Muscat’s departure brings to an end his seven-year term as the leader of the European Union’s smallest member state, but it is unlikely to draw a line under the scandal engulfing his administration. On Saturday, Malta’s richest man, the property and gambling tycoon Yorgen Fenech, was charged with complicity in Caruana Galizia’s murder. Investigations by journalists and the authorities have uncovered links between Fenech and the man who until last week was Muscat’s chief of staff.
  • Reuters – Holger Hansen & Andreas Rinke / SPD leadership choice threatens Germany’s ruling coalition

The New York Times – Farnaz Fassihi & Rick Gladstone /  With brutal crackdown, Iran is convulsed by worst unrest in 40 years

  • The Iranian Republic is experiencing its deadliest political unrest since the Islamic Revolution happened 40 years ago, with at least 180 people killed — and possibly hundreds more — as angry protests have been smothered in a government crackdown of unbridled force. These protests began two weeks ago with an abrupt increase of at least 50 percent in gasoline prices. Within 72 hours, outraged demonstrators in cities large and small were calling for an end to the Islamic Republic’s government and the downfall of its leaders.
  • The latest outbursts  not only revealed staggering levels of frustration with Iran’s leaders, but also underscored the serious economic and political challenges facing them, from the Trump administration’s onerous sanctions on the country to the growing resentment toward Iran by neighbors in an increasingly unstable Middle East. 
  • Political analysts said the protests appeared to have delivered a severe blow to President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate in Iran’s political spectrum, all but guaranteeing that hard-liners would win upcoming parliamentary elections and the presidency in two years. The tough response to the protests also appeared to signal a hardening rift between Iran’s leaders and sizable segments of the population of 83 million.
  • Al-monitor – AFP / Iraq’s Adel Abdel Mahdi, consensus leader brought down by street fury

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and EsadeGeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces.

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