There’s a war over carbon coming, and the battle lines are being drawn.
In Berlin, Angela Merkel’s government deliberated a plan to curb carbon through the night. The far-right AfD party that campaigns to “save diesel” says the prospect of paying more to drive a car or to fly will “ruin Germany.”
In Canada, October’s election could be decided on Justin Trudeau’s introduction of a carbon tax, a measure that has aligned conservative provinces against him and which his main challenger promises to cancel if he wins.
In revoking California’s right to regulate vehicle emissions, Donald Trump is taking the fight to a Democratic environmental heartland ahead of the 2020 contest.
Make no mistake: leaders will win or lose elections on the basis of their climate policies. Voters in Australia backed the coal-championing conservative government of Scott Morrison in a May ballot fought along lines of environmental concerns versus jobs.
The political fight moves next week to the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Expect Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s defense of the torching of the Amazon rain forest to arouse passions.
But change often begins in the streets. And today millions of people from Sydney to London will march for less talk and immediate action.
Dirty tactics | Even before bombshell pictures of Prime Minister Trudeau in blackface makeup surfaced this week, the election campaign in Canada has turned into one of its nastiest ever. As Theo Argitis reports, the governing Liberals and their main opposition Conservatives have foregone the usual niceties in favour of tactics more common in the hyper-partisan mud-slinging contests south of the border in the US.
Missed opportunity? | Democrats running for the US presidency have voiced support for striking General Motors employees. But with two exceptions, the 19 candidates haven’t visited the picket lines — even though the workers are the exact kind of voters they will need to defeat Trump in crucial swing states like Michigan next year.
- Democratic lawmakers are accusing intelligence officials of stonewalling on details of a whistle-blower’s complaint, even as Trump dismisses suggestions he said anything “inappropriate” in a conversation with a foreign leader the Washington Post cited as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
Famine threat | A dangerous cocktail of drought, cyclone-induced floods and a collapsing economy is threatening to spark Zimbabwe’s worst-ever famine. As Antony Sguazzin explains, the southern African nation that was once one of the continent’s biggest grain exporters will probably run out of corn — its staple food — by January, and 60% of its people won’t have enough food to eat.
Pound gyrations | No one can work out what is going on with Brexit, and so sterling is moving at every slight utterance as traders read the tea leaves of policymakers — no matter now cryptic. Outgoing European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker gave an interview to Sky where he said that he thought a deal could be made and more oddly, “I don’t have an erotic relation to the backship…to the backstop.” The pound rose.
Violent arrests | Amnesty International has accused the Hong Kong police of beating pro-democracy protesters in custody, saying some of these acts amounted to “torture.” In a new report, the rights group outlined a number of alleged abuses during the city’s long summer of unrest. Police have declined to comment on specific cases, but said they “respect the privacy, dignity and rights” of people they have detained.
What to watch
- Australian leader Morrison’s lavish visit to the White House today comes at a critical time as both nations seek to counter China’s growing influence in the South Pacific.
- Some inflation-weary Turks are stealing lids for glass jars as they hunker down for winter, a time of higher food prices.
- Brazil’s Bolsonaro is adamant about wanting to address the UN General Assembly and “clarify” his controversial environmental position. A doctor will determine today if he’s fit to travel.
- Merkel’s coalition is edging closer to a climate package worth billions, with an announcement due any time.
- And finally … As the developed world faces a future of aging and depopulation, Japan provides a cautionary tale. It now has two economies: an urban-industrial corridor stretching about 300 miles from Tokyo through Osaka that has cutting-edge businesses and world-class wealth, surrounded by a second with small cities and dying towns. Many of those will be completely deserted over time, while others become unlivable by today’s standards. The world is watching how Japan will cope.
© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.