World roundup: December 6 2023
Stories from Israel-Palestine, Sudan, Guyana, and elsewhere
My apologies but we will need to forego our usual Wednesday voiceover this week.
TODAY IN HISTORY
December 6, 1240: The Mongols sack Kyiv
December 6, 1904: In his State of the Union message to Congress, US President Teddy Roosevelt issues his “corollary” to the Monroe Doctrine. The Roosevelt Corollary took the mostly defensive (at least on paper) Monroe Doctrine, which warned against European intervention in the Western Hemisphere, and made it offensive, stipulating that while European nations should butt out, the United States was entitled “to the exercise of an international police power” in the Americas. This remained US policy until Franklin Roosevelt introduced his “Good Neighbor Policy,” and then once that brief interlude was over the Corollary became the basis of US policy toward Latin America during much of the Cold War.
The United Nations COP28 summit may have gotten off to a productive start last week with the institution of a long-discussed climate loss and damage fund, but the chances of it ending next week on a similarly positive note appear to be slipping away amid an increasingly heated dispute over the future of fossil fuels. The draft summit statement includes a call for the phase out of fossil fuels, which is being pushed by the European Union, the US, and a number of African and island nations. But that language is strongly opposed by a group of other states, chiefly Saudi Arabia. To be clear, there’s no pathway to mitigating the most serious effects of climate change that doesn’t involve moving on from fossil fuels, unless you’re a fan of unproven industry woo-woo like “carbon capture.”
While the debate over the text of COP28’s unenforceable statement continues, a new scientific report says that humanity is close to triggering at least five climate tipping points, including the melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets and the melting of Arctic permafrost. These “tipping points” are meant to mark points at which the impacts of climate change on a particular phenomenon or environmental process become irreversible.