Monday Sunrise Briefs: Climate summit's high hopes and few steps

Twitter @GretaThunberg via AP
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg on a train heading home after the U.N. climate summit in Madrid.

Resolute determination. That may be the most optimistic take on a marathon two-week U.N. climate summit that ended in Madrid Sunday. Most participants expressed disappointment. "Major players … did not live up to expectations, said Laurence Tubiana of the European Climate Foundation, “but thanks to a progressive alliance of small island states, European, African and Latin American countries, we obtained the best possible outcome, against the will of big polluters."

Global consensus on further reductions in greenhouse gases, a hallmark of the 2015 Paris accord, remained elusive. But nearly all nations agreed to establish new carbon emission pledges by the next major summit in Glasgow next year. Another key issue postponed was how to regulate carbon markets, which could speed up the shift to renewable energy sources.

In 2015, nearly 200 countries agreed to take steps to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. But current climate models suggest the world will warm by 3 to 4 degrees C. by the end of this century. 

Why We Wrote This

Good morning! Welcome to your Monday, Dec. 16, 2019, sunrise briefing.

Here are three news events from this past weekend (while you were watching "The Mandalorian," picking out a Christmas tree, and enjoying an offline life). Also, what to look for in the news this week.

China censors outside critics, again. Chinese television yanked coverage of Arsenal's Premier League match against Manchester City on Sunday after Mesut Ozil, a player for the London soccer club, criticized Beijing's brutal mass crackdown on ethnic Muslims.  Yes, this looks like a replay of the recent censorship-rebuke of the National Basketball Association by Beijing after the general manager of the Houston Rockets tweeted support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. 

3. Christmas TV values clash. The Hallmark Channel has been described as the antidote to The Walking Dead. The channel that has emerged as America’s cable comfort food, a purveyor of made-for-TV movies "full of white picket fences and wholesome family values," suddenly found itself in the culture war over same-sex marriage. In response to an online petition by a conservative group, One Million Moms, Hallmark removed ads for a wedding site showing a lesbian couple celebrating their marriage. But a social media-fueled boycott effort prompted the channel to backtrack Sunday. Pulling the ads was “the wrong decision,” wrote Hallmark Cards CEO Mike Perry. “We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused.”

AP Photo/Ajit Solanki
Protests against against India's Citizenship Amendment Act spread this past weekend (shown here in Ahmadabad, India). The new law grants citizenship to migrants based on religion and excludes Muslims.

Look Ahead

Wednesday, Dec. 18

Impeachment vote: The full House is expected to vote on charging President Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. But watch for a few Democrats to reject the charges. Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-N.J.), could make headlines the same day by voting against impeachment and switching to the Republican party. He’s a moderate freshman from a Trump district.

Thursday, Dec. 19

The Vladimir Putin Show: The Russian president holds court on live TV, usually for several hours, during this annual year-end event. Watch for his perspective on the Trump impeachment vote, Ukraine, Syria, and Turkey. 

North American Trade Deal: Expect a vote in the House this week to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. 

Seven on stage: Only seven Democratic candidates qualified for the latest 2020 presidential debate. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg did not qualify. 

Friday, Dec. 20

In a movie theater not very far, far away: “The Rise of the Skywalker” opens, the final in the “Star Wars” epic journey.  The movie version of the Andrew Lloyd Webber stage musical “Cats” also opens.  

Saturday, Dec. 21 

Winter/Summer solstice: The shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and the longest in the Southern Hemisphere. 

Generosity Watch

Breeze Hill Elementary School PTA/Facebook
Katelynn Hardee selling cocoa and cookies

Hot cocoa and cookies made with compassion. When 5-year-old Katelynn Hardee overheard another child’s mother talking about struggling to pay a school lunch debt, she had an idea.

 "She started asking me a bunch of questions and I tried to answer as best as I could without too much for a 5-year-old,” her mom Karina Hardee told Fox 5 in San Diego Friday. “[I] just explained to her that some people aren't as fortunate as us."

The kindergartener at the Breeze Hill Elementary School in Vista, Calif., had sold lemonade this past summer. She asked her mom if they could sell hot cocoa and Christmas sugar cookies to help.

Word of her generosity spread and for three hours she served cocoa and cookies. Her mom wouldn’t say how much they donated, but Katelynn raised enough to  pay off lunch debts of 123 fellow students

Hidden gem

Start your week with a recent story that inspired Monitor readers:

After Russian trolls target black Americans, one city fights back

Sneak preview

In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for our story about the role of nostalgia in the 2020 presidential campaign. 

Finally, the Monitor’s five best stories in last Friday’s subscription-only Daily Edition:

  1. Brexit is going to happen. What is a young Remainer to do?
  2. Experience matters. ‘Mayor Pete’ is banking on ideals mattering more.
  3. Should web surfing count as a human right? View from South Africa.
  4. ‘Thou shalt not steal’: Even someone else’s joy, says one educator
  5. How much can one person do to limit climate change? A graphic.

This is a beta test - an experiment with an early Monday morning news update. Please give us your feedback via the link below and let us know what you think. Thank you!

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