Your Monday Briefing
We’re covering expectations for the climate conference in Glasgow and Britain’s plan to slow the spread of Covid-19 in schools.
Protesters held a procession through Glasgow ahead of COP26 on Saturday.Credit…Andrew Testa for The New York Times
Leaders head to Glasgow to determine climate future
Presidents and prime ministers are gathering in Glasgow this week to discuss global climate policies, which are likely to determine the future of the planet.
Scientists agree that humanity must rapidly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to avert a catastrophe. Now, at a 12-day U.N. global warming conference, often referred to as COP26, world leaders will meet to press each other to cut emissions, and negotiate potential global agreements.
Tensions loom. Some poor countries hard hit by climate disasters are holding out for money promised. Rising nationalism and the coronavirus pandemic offer grim lessons on the prospects for collective action. Divisions pit advanced industrialized countries against developing ones and big polluters against small, vulnerable countries.
The U.S. climate envoy, John Kerry, tried to manage expectations. “Glasgow was never, ever going to get every country joining up in Glasgow or this year necessarily,” Kerry said. “It was going to galvanize the raising of ambition on a global basis.”
Target: Any deal may need to be much larger than past ones. Even if all countries achieve their 2015 Paris Agreement targets, average global temperatures are on track to rise by 2.7 degrees Celsius by the end of the century — 1.2 degrees over the goal.
Missing: Xi Jinping, China’s leader, is not planning to attend, just as he skipped the G20 summit over the weekend. His absence is a major blow — China remains the world’s biggest source of greenhouse gas pollution — and is a signal of the country’s inward turn.
Related: Chinese-made electric vehicles are gaining popularity in Europe.
A ‘boring’ candidate wins in Japan
Fumio Kishida, the recently selected leader of the governing Liberal Democrats in Japan, led his party to victory in the general elections on Sunday, in what appears to be the party’s worst result since it lost to the Democratic Party of Japan in 2009.
Kishida, 64, will assume the role of prime minister after a long career in politics and foreign affairs. But he is likely to face similar criticisms to his predecessor, the stodgy Yoshihide Suga, because of his “boring” reputation.
His lack of charisma may have cost the Liberal Democrats votes. But it was an intentional decision by party leaders who appreciate his milquetoast persona because they can project their agenda onto him. To lead the party, Kishida beat out a popular maverick and a far-right nationalist.
Quotable: “Even now, I sometimes think that he should learn how to say things in an interesting way,” said a friend of 30 years.
Britain moves to slow Covid spread in schools
Health care workers in Britain will begin a tour of more than 800 schools in an effort to inoculate 12- to 15-year-olds, amid a surge in cases driven primarily by high infection levels in school-age children.
More than a third of all recent reported cases were in children under 15. Experts warn that the challenges could continue or worsen in the winter.
While about 68 percent of the British public is fully vaccinated, and more than six million people have received a booster shot, case numbers and deaths have not fallen as in other Western European countries. Some researchers have blamed Britain’s delay to approve vaccines for adolescents.
Quotable: “We’ve had an extra 10 or 20 percent of kids infected when they didn’t need to be, and we’re dealing with the hospitalizations and deaths that came from that,” said the director of the Clinical Operational Research Unit at University College London.
Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.
In other developments:
Shanghai Disneyland will temporarily close as part of China’s no-holds-barred campaign to eliminate the virus.
President Xi Jinping of China and President Vladimir Putin of Russia called for broader global recognition of Covid-19 vaccines, including those developed in their countries.
THE LATEST NEWS
World leaders endorsed a landmark global agreement that seeks to block large corporations from shifting profits and jobs across borders to avoid taxes.
The U.S. announced on Saturday that it had reached a deal to roll back tariffs on European steel and aluminum, an agreement that could possibly lower costs on goods.
President Biden met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey on Sunday on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Rome, amid significant strains in relations between the NATO allies.
Other World News
Three people were killed and more than 100 were injured in Sudan as pro-democracy crowds flooded the streets over the weekend in defiance of the military coup.
The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait withdrew their diplomats from Beirut after Lebanon’s information minister called the Yemen war a Saudi and Emirati “aggression.”
Beyond public brinkmanship, the U.S. and Russia have held a series of beneath-the-surface meetings with each other.
A Morning Read
Around 2,000 British policing staff have been accused of sexual misconduct over the past four years, but in the vast majority of cases no criminal charges are filed. Now, women, rights groups and politicians across Britain are raising the alarm over police departments’ ability and willingness to investigate and discipline their own employees.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Rick Steves on the return of travel
The travel writer and TV personality Rick Steves is back in Europe, planning itineraries for next year and working on his “opus magnum.” He believes that by next year people will be ready to travel again.
Do you think Americans are ready to travel overseas again?
I would say it’s not for everybody, but if you don’t mind being well-organized and if you’re enthusiastic about following the regulations and rules, it’s not a big deal. And Europe is ahead of the United States, I believe, in fighting Covid. There’s a huge respect for masks. More museums are requiring reservations to get in because they want to make sure it’s not crowded. It’s kind of a blessing, actually.
You have long held that travel can do a lot of good in the world, but what about carbon emissions, overcrowding and other negative effects of travel?
Climate change is a serious problem and tourism contributes a lot to it, but I don’t want to be flight-shamed out of my travels, because I think travel is a powerful force for peace and stability on this planet. So my company has a self-imposed carbon tax of $30 per person we take to Europe. In 2019, we gave $1 million to a portfolio of organizations that are fighting climate change.
Do you think travel will ever feel normal again?
There were certain people who decided they didn’t want to travel after 9/11 because they didn’t want to deal with security. You know, those people have a pretty low bar for folding up their shop. I got used to the security after 9/11, and I’m getting used to Covid standards now. But I do think that, come next year, we’ll be back to traveling again — and I hope that we’ll all be better for it.
Read the full interview with Paige McClanahan.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
This winter squash and wild mushroom curry is comfort food, Indian-style.
What to Read
Memoirs from Ai Weiwei, Huma Abedin and Will Smith are among new books to look forward to in November.
What to Listen to
Alicia Keys’s hypnotic love jam, and tracks from Anaïs Mitchell, Hurray for the Riff Raff and others are featured on the latest playlist by our pop critics.
Now Time to Play
Here’s today’s Mini Crossword.
And here is today’s Spelling Bee.
You can find all our puzzles here.
That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. — Matthew
P.S. Jia Lynn Yang, editor of The Times’s National desk, talks about what she values in journalism.
The latest episode of “The Daily” is about Biden’s spending bill.
You can reach Matthew and the team at [email protected].