Thursday. 28/3/2019

The Monocle Minute

Opinion / Josh Fehnert

Global warning

Pledges about cutting carbon emissions are usually uncontroversial in most corners but care should be taken to stop the global issue becoming a political football for local politicians. The idea is coming to a head in the Danish capital this week, where Copenhagen’s ambitious plans to be carbon neutral by 2025 are looking less and less likely. Detractors, political opportunists and those with vested interests in the energy industry are grumbling and asking a prescient question: what hope do sprawling cities such as New Delhi, Beijing or São Paulo stand if small, wealthy, walkable and liberal Copenhagen can’t swing neutrality – even in the timeframe it set itself?

To make such arguments at all misses a bigger point. Copenhagen has already slashed its emissions by 42 per cent since 2005 and bold targets such as the French government’s pledge to be carbon neutral by 2050 should be encouraged, even if they scrape in a year or two after this politician or that said they might. The challenges we face are increasingly similar whether we find ourselves in Singapore or San Francisco. We should be careful not to allow an important global ambition to become an open goal for self-serving local politicians to seize on then send off course.

Politics / UK

It ain’t over till it’s over

Some six million people have signed a record-breaking petition that calls for Brexit to be stopped. However, the UK government has rejected the appeal to revoke Article 50 – the process triggered when a country declares it wants out of the European Union. But can a member state simply change its mind once it has signalled its intention to leave the bloc? “Absolutely,” Article 50’s author – the crossbench peer Lord Kerr – tells The Globalist on Monocle 24. “The notification is your intention to leave. If your intention changes the Court of Justice [of the European Union] says, ‘That’s fine, you just stay in your chair and nobody can take anything away from you.’” So, where does this leave Brexit? “I don’t think the game is over,” he said. “I’m not sure that we’re actually leaving.”

Space / India

Masters of the universe

India’s efforts to become a key player in space research, travel and security ramped up yesterday. Prime minister Narendra Modi went on television to herald a historic moment for his nation: the fact that it has shot down one of its satellites. Rather than a case of friendly fire, however, India has been testing anti-satellite weaponry by practising on one of its own low-orbiting objects. Fresh from its skirmish with neighbour Pakistan – a fellow nuclear power – India has now joined China, Russia and the US among the list of nations capable of weaponising space. It’s in no one’s interest that others follow suit.

Culture / Tokyo

Back in the frame

The Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT) will reopen tomorrow after a three-year closure for extensive renovations. The city-run museum, which first opened in 1995, has a collection of 5,400 pieces, 2,400 acquired by MOT and the rest relocated from the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in Ueno. Following yesterday’s official opening ceremony – attended by Yuriko Koike, the governor of Tokyo – the museum will reopen with a large exhibition of Japanese art from 1910 to 2010 and another called Pleased to Meet You, the first of several shows displaying some of the 400 new pieces of art that the museum has acquired during its closure. At a time when it often feels that publicly-funded institutions are strapped for cash, it’s good to know that the MOT hasn’t stopped collecting.

Transport / New York

Road to riches

Congestion pricing is coming to New York, a first in the US. Faced with a crumbling subway system, state lawmakers agreed earlier this week that tolls are needed on some of Manhattan’s busiest roads. The billions in revenue will be used to get the Metropolitan Transportation Authority back on track. While the plan is also expected to curb pollution and gridlock, critics say it’s a regressive tax that unfairly targets those who can’t afford to live near accessible public transit. But governor Andrew Cuomo argues that without the pricing scheme, subway fares could climb by a third. While life is set to get even more expensive in NYC, an efficient subway system is a worthwhile cost.

M24 / The Entrepreneurs

Department of Coffee and Social Affairs

Stefan Allesch-Taylor CBE is chairman of Coffeesmiths Collective Inc, owner and operator of a number of standout brands in coffee, including The Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, Nordic Bakery and Baker & Spice. A serial entrepreneur and award-winning philanthropist, Allesch-Taylor has more than 25 years of experience in finance and growing start-ups and is also a professor of entrepreneurship at King’s College London.

FILM / London

King’s Cross: urban transformation

Regeneration on a human scale is at the heart of property developer Argent’s vision for London’s King’s Cross. Monocle Films explores the reality of its urban concept.

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