Tuesday 8 November 2022 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Tuesday. 8/11/2022

The Monocle Minute

Image: Alamy

Opinion / Carlota Rebelo

Good Cop, bad Cop

The United Nations’ Cop27 climate-change conference only kicked off two days ago but it has already demonstrated how important it is for the event to be a nomadic affair. While there’s plenty about this global gathering that might give you a sense of déjà vu – the same people meeting to talk about what are largely the same issues – it has underscored the advantages of regularly changing the summit’s location.

This year’s iteration, held in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheikh, has been dubbed “Africa’s Cop”. Participants from across the continent are taking the opportunity to put the region’s interests first. The pavilions of neighbouring nations have prominent positions in the exhibition hall; African voices are front and centre in the side events. Crucially, world leaders have acknowledged that the continent’s emerging economies are often the ones that pay the price of inaction. “Those who contributed least to the climate crisis are reaping the whirlwind sown by others,” said the UN’s secretary-general, António Guterres (pictured), in his opening speech yesterday.

The choice of Sharm El-Sheikh as the event’s location has worked well in terms of spotlighting African issues but, in other respects, it has proved problematic. In this Red Sea resort town, tourists mostly travel in private vehicles and, with high temperatures all year round, air conditioning is ubiquitous. Cop27 is doing its best to set a good example: most of the pavilions in the hall are solar-powered and its 40,000 or so attendees – the highest-ever number for a climate summit on the continent – move around via a network of hydrogen- and electric-powered buses. Still, being a good guest at Cop27 isn’t just about receiving hospitality gratefully – it’s about recognising the host’s shortcomings too.

Carlota Rebelo is Monocle 24’s senior producer and presenter. Hear her dispatches from Cop27 throughout the week on Monocle 24.

Image: Getty Images

Politics / USA

Where next?

With today’s midterm elections, Americans will decide who will control Congress in the last two years of Joe Biden’s first term. “Biden losing seats would be predictable,” Julie Norman, co-director of UCL’s Centre on US Politics, tells The Monocle Minute. “The midterms are a time for voters to show dissatisfaction with their president. He already had a slim majority so the House will probably go to the Republicans but the Senate could go either way.” Against the backdrop of high inflation and a cost-of-living crisis, Democratic incumbents have watched their polling advantages fade over the past month. States such as Arizona and Pennsylvania, where more early ballots than usual have been cast, might prove decisive in determining whether the president’s party can retain the Senate. However, early projections might be skewed by the fact that Democrats tend to vote earlier than Republicans. In both the 2016 and 2020 elections, data and polling underestimated support for Donald Trump (pictured here during a rally for senator Marco Rubio). If something similar happens this time, it could be another tough day for the Democrats.

For live coverage and analysis of the US midterms, tune in to Monocle 24 this week and next.

Image: Reuters

Diplomacy / Turkey

Barrier to entry

Sweden’s new prime minister, Ulf Kristersson, is expected to visit Ankara today for talks with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The trip is part of the Swedish government’s charm offensive to persuade Turkey to approve the Nordic nation’s application to join Nato. Erdogan has so far held up Sweden’s (and by extension Finland’s) bids, citing as a reason Stockholm’s support of a Syria-based Kurdish militia, the Yekineyen Parastina Gel (YPG) – which Ankara deems to be a branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and therefore a terrorist organisation.

As a result, Sweden’s centre-right coalition is now explicitly distancing itself from the YPG (pictured). “The new government is only saying out loud what the previous government was already doing,” Elisabeth Braw, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, tells The Monocle Minute. In this case, words might speak louder than actions.

Image: Getty Images

Sport / Brazil

Guilt by association

World Cup fever is rising in Brazil but not everyone will feel comfortable wearing the iconic yellow shirt to show their support. Over the past four years, the Brazilian flag and its colours have become associated with defeated far-right president Jair Bolsonaro and his supporters. The Seleção is keen to avoid politicisation; its head coach, Tite, has already announced that if Brazil wins the tournament, celebrations will not be held in the political capital, Brasília, as in the past.

In a country that remains bitterly divided, a powerful public gesture might be needed to reset the score: Brazilian newspaper O Globo has suggested that president-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva should wear the shirt and rescue it for all Brazilians. That would be a smart play that everyone could cheer for.

Image: Alex Maguire

Tourism / London

Flight plans

Tourism trade fair World Travel Market opened at Excel London convention centre yesterday. Representatives from countries with recently reopened borders, such as Japan and Taiwan, are particularly glad to be back among the exhibitors, which include ambitious stalls from countries in the Arab Gulf, complete with replica monuments and harp players. But there are also quieter contenders in attendance that have made smart decisions to encourage travel in the wake of coronavirus.

Among them is Portugal. The country’s laid-back lifestyle has long attracted both holidaymakers and those seeking to put down roots. The country’s secretary of state for tourism, Rita Marques, tells The Monocle Minute that the public-private partnerships that kept her country’s tourism sector afloat at the height of the pandemic won’t be going away any time soon. “After coronavirus, travelling and tourism have become priorities for us all,” she says. “Looking ahead, we are very optimistic about the numbers that we’ll have this year and next.”

Image: Shutterstock

Monocle 24 / The Foreign Desk

Historical series: Easter Rising

In part two of our historical series, we look back to 1916 to chart the Easter Rebellion. What was happening in Ireland and how did the British authorities not see it coming? Andrew Mueller speaks to Bríona Nic Dhiarmada, Quentin Peel and John Dorney.

Monocle Films / Global

Monocle preview: November issue

Looking to kit out your home, office or hotel for the colder months ahead? Look no further than our Design Top 20, with furniture finds, inspiring interiors and insights from key industry leaders. Plus: who will be keeping the lights on this winter, the rail industry gets back on track and a hotel special featuring openings from Manhattan to Hakone.


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