Monday Sunrise Briefing: US-China find common cause on climate

Good morning! Welcome to your Monday, April 19, 2021, sunrise briefing.

Here are two news events - on climate change and gun laws - from this past weekend (while you may have been reading "The Midnight Library," building a sandcastle, and enjoying an offline life). Also, what to look for in the news this week.

REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo
The U.S. and China agreed on April 17, 2021 to work together on tackling climate change. Above, Joe Biden walks past solar panels while touring the Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative in Plymouth, New Hampshire, June 4, 2019.

In a rare example of collaboration between the world’s two largest carbon-gas emitters, China and the U.S. proclaimed their intent to work together to address climate change. The agreement announced Saturday was reached by U.S. special envoy for climate John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua after talks in Shanghai. Mr. Kerry called the deal's language “strong” but cautioned: “We all need to see what happens.” 

The two countries produce nearly half of the fossil fuel fumes that are warming the planet’s atmosphere, so their cooperation is seen as key to the success of global efforts to curb climate change. But clashes over human rights, trade, and China’s territorial claims, have threatened to undermine such efforts. The agreement comes as Biden has invited 40 world leaders to an online climate summit this week. China’s president has not yet agreed to attend.

2. Guns and mental health. Indiana's red flag law is under scrutiny as the investigation into the April 15 Indianapolis FedEx shooting continues. Police revealed Saturday that the former FedEx employee, Brandon Scott Hole, legally bought two rifles last year after having a shotgun taken away by police. Currently, 19 states have “extreme risk protection orders” or red flag laws, whereby guns may be temporarily removed by police. In March 2020, Mr. Hole’s mother called police to warn he might commit “suicide by cop.” But the fact that the 19-year-old was able to later legally purchase two guns raises questions about whether law enforcement followed the state's red flag law or if there's a loophole. 

Jonathan Brady/Pool via AP
Photos of Queen Elizabeth II sitting alone - due to social distancing rules - Saturday at Prince Philip’s funeral prompted comments worldwide of empathy and admiration for her courage and strength.

Look Ahead

MONDAY, April 19

Justice watch. Closing arguments are expected to begin in the murder and manslaughter trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. 

TUESDAY, April 20

Climate lessons. An online global youth climate summit is scheduled to include panels, speeches, discussions, and special messages with today’s young climate activists including Greta Thunberg, Alexandria Villaseñor, and Licypriya Kangujam.


Earth Day Eve concert. A virtual celebration with performances by artists such as Angélique Kidjo, Willie Nelson, Yo-Yo Ma, and Ziggy Marley, and appearances by environmental activists, including Dr. Jane Goodall. All on the National Geographic channel and website at 8:30 p.m ET

THURSDAY, April 22

Global stewardship. President Joe Biden is scheduled to host a two-day virtual summit on climate with 40 world leaders to discuss the economic benefits of stronger climate action. Those invited include the leaders of 17 countries responsible for 80% of global carbon emissions.  

Recycled rocket service. SpaceX is scheduled to launch a third crew - astronauts from the U.S., Japan and France - to the International Space Station. This is SpaceX’s first crew flight to use a recycled Falcon rocket and Dragon crew capsule.

Excessive force, again. Daunte Wright, whose shooting death by a police officer in Minnesota has sparked days of protests, will be laid to rest in Minneapolis. The Rev. Al Sharpton is scheduled to deliver the eulogy. 

SATURDAY, April 24

Peer pressure for peace? ASEAN leaders are expected to hold an emergency summit on Myanmar. Indonesia has taken the lead in calling for the special meeting to discuss the crisis in Myanmar.

SUNDAY, April 25

Oscars night. The 93rd Academy Awards ceremony is scheduled to honor the best films of 2020 and early 2021.

Good Samaritan Watch

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department released this photo from missing hiker Rene Compean on April 13, 2021 in hopes of finding his location. It worked.

It’s not unusual for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to call for community help in finding a missing person. But last Tuesday was a little different.

They tweeted a photo of a missing hiker’s soot-covered legs dangling over a ravine. Rene Compean was reported missing Monday evening, April 12,  after he texted a friend that he was lost and his cell phone battery was dying. His last selfie might hold a clue to his location. 

The photo was part of a call for community assistance from anyone familiar with the mountains of the Angeles National Forest in California. A satellite-mapping enthusiast and caring citizen, Benjamin Kuo, let the sheriff's department know that he was pretty sure he’d found the spot. "I was hoping I didn’t send them on a wild goose chase, and then they’d get mad at me," Mr. Kuo told KCBS-TV in Los Angeles. 

Rescuers found Mr. Compean around 3:45 p.m on April 13 - within three-quarters of a mile of Mr. Kuo's GPS coordinates. 

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
Missing hiker Rene Compean (in dark sweatshirt in middle) after being rescued by the search and rescue team of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

Hidden Gem

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

In Maine, a small secondhand bookstore soldiers on

Sneak preview

In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for our story about local communities that are successful at peacebuilding.

Finally, check out the Monitor’s selected stories from Friday's subscription-only Daily Edition:

  1. US renews Palestinian ties with a tight focus: helping people
  2. Donald who? Lower-profile Trump still has grip on GOP.
  3. ‘Humbling’: Canada’s self-image slides in pandemic as US rebounds
  4. How Biden is boosting cyber defenses against Russia and China
  5. Put a spring in your step with the 10 best books of April

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