Monday 15 November 2021 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Monday. 15/11/2021

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images

Opinion / Carlota Rebelo

How Cop26 failed

After 13 days, at least 336 hours and about 250,000 cups of coffee, the UN Climate Change Conference, Cop26, has finally drawn to a close. Banners have been taken down in Glasgow, the free electric buses across the city are back in their depot and most of the nearly 30,000 attendees have returned to their home countries. This gathering had been described by experts as the “summit of our time”, the last chance for world leaders to come together and implement the policies needed to keep global warming within the 1.5C target. But despite getting off to a good start, with passionate speeches and even some significant pledges announced, Cop26 failed to deliver.

One of the main threads across the entire summit – and a sticking point that remained during the final hours of negotiations – was financing for climate adaptation. Developing nations, most of which are already dealing with the consequences of rising temperatures, were asking richer nations to step up and take responsibility rather than haggling over the language in the agreement. Hours before negotiations were due to end on Friday, the People’s Summit for Climate Justice, composed of activists and campaigners, took to the stage to voice their frustration with the lack of results. Hundreds of delegates, including members of trade unions, environmental organisations and campaigners, walked out of Cop26 in protest.

Just two weeks ago the international community was buzzing with hope. Now, the air is heavy with a sense of acquiescence to the fact that the thorniest questions will have to be left to Cop27 in Egypt next year. Following the shortcomings of this edition, the words of Mia Mottley, prime minister of Barbados (pictured), ring truer than ever. “The goal of 1.5C is what we need to survive,” she told the conference. “Two degrees is a death sentence.”

For more from Carlota Rebelo on the way forward after Cop26, tune in to today’s edition of ‘The Globalist’ on Monocle 24.

Image: Getty Images

Politics / Sweden

Prime directive

Sweden’s long-serving finance chief, Magdalena Andersson, is on the brink of making history by becoming the nation’s first female prime minister. Andersson was elected to lead the ruling Social Democrats following the recent resignation of Stefan Löfven and she could take the country’s top job as early as this week. The 54-year-old, who studied at both Harvard and Stockholm School of Economics, will be hoping to build on the recent successes of the centre-left in Norway and Germany by adopting a broad platform that attracts voters from across the political spectrum. The party’s interior minister, Mikael Damberg, told Swedish national broadcaster SVT that Andersson “gives us a chance for a fresh start”. Damberg added that his new boss “now has the chance to set a clear direction for the party, to show where we are going”. A clear strategy just might help the Social Democrats reverse their slide in the polls ahead of next year’s general election.

Image: Getty Images

Diplomacy / North America

Gathering momentum

The North American Leaders’ Summit, known colloquially as The Three Amigos, was established in 2005 but has been dormant since 2016 when Donald Trump took office. This week it returns as Joe Biden hosts Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador at the White House on Thursday.

There will be plenty to discuss: migration, the lingering effects of the pandemic and co-operation on combatting climate change are likely to be top of the agenda. For Trudeau, the effect of Biden’s “Build Back Better” investment programme on Canada’s automotive industry is likely to be a key issue: there are concerns that Biden’s focus on “Made in America” could be to the detriment of production sectors north of the border. For Biden and López Obrador, the US-Mexico land border will be an important focus. Even so, it’s likely to be a largely cordial affair and an affirmation of the importance of working together as friends – as the summit’s nickname suggests.

Image: Getty Images

Defence / Spain

Thanks a bunch

Many countries call on the military to help out during natural disasters but few engagements are as specific as the Spanish Navy being asked to help banana farmers reach their plantations on the island of La Palma. The military assistance is required as a result of the volcano eruption on the Cumbre Vieja ridge, which began on 19 September and has now covered more than 1,000 hectares of the island’s surface with lava, destroying or severing many roads and leaving farmers with no option but to take long, circuitous trips to reach their plantations. The volcano has already cost La Palma’s banana industry about €100m. But last week barges from Spain’s amphibious assault ship Castilla (pictured) began making trips down the west coast of the island, ferrying farmers to their trees. Although this solution will only help the island’s producers in the short term, the boost to the image of Spain’s military will be longer lasting.

Image: Tomma Bloom/ICFF

Design / New York

Furniture fest

It’s a busy week for design fans in New York. Wanted Design Manhattan, a two-day affair bringing together architects and interior designers, kicked off yesterday and features emerging talents such as product designer Echo Zhan and Boston-based studio Tomma Bloom (whose tiles are pictured). Founded in 2011, the show is produced in conjunction with the larger International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), North America’s leading event for contemporary furnishing design. Among the ICFF highlights is a series of collaborations unveiled by furniture company Bernhardt design, including work by Venetian designer Luca Nichetto and Italian brand Plank. Both fairs are part of the wider NYC X Design, New York’s annual design showcase, which wraps up on Thursday. If all that is not enough then several showrooms, including design gallery Colony, which brings together 12 people to explore the theme of “togetherness”, will remain open to visitors until mid-December. With transatlantic travel reopened, it’s a good time for designers to check out the Big Apple.

Image: Getty Images

M24 / The Global Countdown


For this edition of The Global Countdown, Monocle’s Fernando Augusto Pacheco looks at the top songs in Egypt this week.

Monocle Films / Lebanon

Rebuilding Beirut

After the devastating port explosion of 4 August 2020, Beirut’s creative community is battling to rebuild amid power-cuts and petrol shortages. A year on from the blast, Monocle joins its designers and architects on the streets of the city to see how they hope to make the city anew.


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