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Beyond climate change despair, Sympathy for the Iranian people amid fresh sanctions, Saudi Arabia’s odd response to a Canadian tweet, Australia and New Zealand wake up to China’s power play, Lula’s long-shot bid for a third term as Brazil’s president

A roundup of global commentary for the Aug. 20, 2018–Aug. 27, 2018 weekly magazine.

Jeff Chiu/AP/File
Students rally for clean energy in front of San Francisco City Hall. A US judge who held a hearing about climate change that received widespread attention has thrown out the underlying lawsuits that sought to hold big oil companies liable for the role of fossil fuels in the Earth's warming environment. Judge William Alsup in San Francisco said June 25, 2018, that Congress and the president, not a federal judge, were best suited to address fossil fuels' contribution to global warming.

The Guardian / London 

Beyond climate change despair, a way forward

“This is the summer when, for many, climate change got real...,” writes Simon Lewis. “[D]espair is in the air. Now a new scientific report makes the case that even fairly modest future carbon dioxide emissions could set off a cascade of catastrophe.... How do we deal with such news?... [T]aking a step back from the gloom, we face the same three choices...: reduce greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation), make changes to reduce the adverse impacts of the new conditions we create (adaptation), or suffer the consequences.... Solving climate change is about power, money, and political will.... Thinking about climate change as a practical political problem helps avoid despair because we know that huge political changes have happened in the past and continue to do so.” 

The Jerusalem Post / Jerusalem

Sympathy for the Iranian people as Trump reapplies US sanctions

“It is natural to feel sympathy with the Iranian people, who are struggling with an unprecedented
economic crisis due to the renewal, after three years, of the US sanctions on the Islamic Republic
[Aug. 6]...,” states an editorial. “The previous economic sanctions were lifted by president Barack Obama in 2015 following the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Three months after withdrawing from the nuclear deal, Trump snapped back restrictions on access to US currency as well as gold and other precious metals, among other things. Additional sanctions are scheduled to go into effect in November.... Just the threat of the sanctions has been enough to trigger financial mayhem and brave citizens throughout Iran have taken to the streets to protest.” 

Al Jazeera / Doha, Qatar

Saudi Arabia’s odd and outsize response to a Canadian tweet

“ ‘Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists in #SaudiArabia, including Samar Badawi. We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful #humanrights activists.’ As tweets go,” writes Bill Law, “this expression of concern from Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland ... didn’t seem particularly offensive.... In this case, however, the Saudis saw red.... [T]he Saudis recalled their ambassador, gave the Canadian ambassador 24 hours to get out and froze all new business and investment deals. It was ... an extraordinary response.... Picking on Canada ... is an odd thing to do when you are attempting to rebrand your country as moderate and open for business.” 

The Indian Express / New Delhi

India, Australia, and New Zealand wake up to China’s power play

“India is not the only one struggling to cope with China’s Silk Road ambitions,” writes C. Raja Mohan. “Down under, Australia and New Zealand are finding that China has begun to undermine their long-
standing dominance over the South Pacific.... Now, all three are scrambling to deal with China’s projection of economic and political power into their backyards.... The real problem [has been] the inability of Delhi, Canberra and Wellington to appreciate China’s entirely legitimate aspirations.... Shedding their complacency, Canberra and Wellington are now boosting their economic aid to [the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea]. Australia and New Zealand are also preparing to sign a wide-ranging security pact with South Pacific nations.... [They] are also upgrading their national surveillance capabilities in the South Pacific.” 

The Hindu / Chennai, India

Lula’s long-shot bid for a third term as Brazil’s president 

“Even by the standards of Latin America’s emotive politics, the nomination of Brazil’s convicted former President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, to contest for a third term in the October election is sensational,” states an editorial. “The charismatic leader from the left-wing Workers’ Party (PT) has been serving a 12-year jail sentence since April in a bribery and money-laundering case. Mr. Lula may still have his candidacy overruled by the electoral body. But there are many factors why that uncertainty has not deterred his party from daring to nominate him for the country’s top job.... [One] shot in the arm ... was an intervention from influential international quarters questioning the judicial process.... In addition, his poll ratings, at nearly 30%, are extraordinary for someone serving a prison term.” 

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