EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 05/12/2019

The New York Times – Henry Fountain / Climate change is accelerating, bringing world ‘dangerously close’ to irreversible change

  • Petteri Taalas, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization, stated that “Things are getting worse”, after the publication of its annual  state of the global climate report, concluding a decade of what it called exceptional global heat. In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, drastic measures will be required. Dr. Taalas added that: “The only solution is to get rid of fossil fuels in power production, industry and transportation”.
  • In a recent commentary in the journal Nature, scientists warned that the acceleration of ice loss and other effects of climate change have brought the world “dangerously close” to abrupt and irreversible changes. The societal toll is accelerating, too, UN SG António Guterres said in Madrid before the opening of the UN’s annual climate conference: “Climate-related natural disasters are becoming more frequent, more deadly, more destructive, with growing human and financial costs”.
  • The WMO’s state of the global climate report, released at the Madrid talks, said that this decade will almost certainly be the warmest one on record. And the second half of the decade was much warmer than the first, with global temperatures averaged over the second half about 0.2 degree Celsius. But how fast temperatures will continue to increase, and how much worse things may get, depends in large part on whether the world reins in greenhouse gas emissions, and by how much.
  • EURACTIV – Pavol Szalai / EEA chief: ‘We need systemic-type environmental policies’

The Atlantic – Nicholas Burns / Trump violates diplomacy’s golden rule

  • If  the North Atlantic Treaty Organization had reached its 70th birthday under any of the previous 12 presidents, the celebration would have occurred in Washington rather than in London. The USA has always been the most powerful NATO member, and every American president until Trump has been the alliance’s natural leader. Instead, Trump has been NATO’s loudest critic. He has cast America’s military allies primarily as a drain on the US Treasury, and he has aggressively criticized USA allies in Europe.  
  • Stung by Trump’s overt criticism, US allies have begun to reciprocate. Macron caused a real stir in NATO when he stated that the alliance was effectively “brain dead.” Rather than try to mend fences, Trump announced new trade sanctions against France on the eve of the summit. Trump’s most egregious mistake, though, was his failure to support clearly and unequivocally the key provision of the NATO treaty, Article V.  
  • In any case, Trump appears indifferent to the advantage over Russia and China that the USA enjoys because of the European ties. The US has 28 allies in NATO, as well as treaty allies in Japan, South Korea, and Australia, who will defend the country when its backs are against the wall. This is the great power differential the US enjoys with Moscow and Beijing.
  • The Washington Post – Michael Birnbaum, Philip Rucker & Ashley Parker / NATO summit ends with Trump calling Trudeau ‘two-faced’ after video of world leaders apparently mocking the president
  • Project Syndicate – Joschka Fischer / The day after NATO

Financial Times – George Parker, Helen Warrell & Nic Fildes / Boris Johnson toughens stance on Huawei after Trump lobbying

  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed not to involve Huawei in Britain’s 5G telecommunications networks if it compromised the country’s ability to work with close security allies, including the US, after he was lobbied on the issue by Donald Trump. In spite of assurances from UK intelligence chiefs that they can manage the risk from Huawei, US security and intelligence officials remain anxious about the threat posed by the Huawei.
  • Mr Johnson defended that the “key criterion” would be whether the use of Huawei technology would compromise Britain’s ability to co-operate with its so-called “five eyes” security partners: the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. He said this was “paramount”.
  • Different networks such as Vodafone, have argued that a move to ban the Chinese company’s 5G equipment would significantly slow down the upgrade to 5G services across the country since the old equipment would need to be stripped out and replaced to work with the new wireless technology.
  • Financial Times – Kiran Stacey & Kadhim Shubber / Huawei appeals US ruling on federal broadband subsidies

South China Morning Post – Robert Delaney / China’s man in Washington says US building ‘Berlin Wall’ against Beijing

  • China’s top envoy to the US has struck out at Washington’s hardline measures against Beijing, accusing US officials of building a “Berlin Wall” between the two sides. Speaking at the US-China Business Council’s annual gala in Washington on Wednesday, ambassador Cui Tiankai said that “obstinate prejudice” was behind criticism directed at the Chinese government for its policies on trade and investment, Hong Kong and the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
  • Along with the approval of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, the US House of Representatives voted 407 to one to approve the Uygur Intervention and Global Humanitarian Unified Response Act of 2019, which commands the US administration to identify and sanction officials deemed responsible for their involvement in the mass internment of members of ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang.
  • Pressure on Beijing to allow international monitors into the internment camps has escalated since news outlets in November published reports based on the so-called China cables – a leak of classified documents that indicate the camps were set up as forced indoctrination centres. Meanwhile, the UN Human Rights Council in July released a statement calling for an end to what it called “arbitrary detention” of Uygurs and other Muslim groups in the region.
  • Al Jazeera / Anger in China as US House passes Uighur crackdown bill
  • Foreign Policy – James Palmer / Chinese diplomacy takes an aggressive turn

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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