Instant Opinion

‘Cop26 leaders need to replicate the cooperation seen in space’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

1

Tim Peake in The Independent

We can collaborate in space, so why not save Earth together too? It’s our children’s future at stake

on a bigger perspective

“Waking up on the International Space Station gives you a different view of the world – in more ways than one,” says Tim Peake. Writing for The Independent, the astronaut describes how seeing the “blue oasis of life glowing 250 miles below” makes “you appreciate not only how special our planet is, but how fragile it is too”. He is joining 57m Scouts across the world in calling for world leaders to “urgently reduce greenhouse gases”. And key to achieving that goal is “international cooperation”, he says. Peake recalls his experiences on the ISS, where “you can rub shoulders with Russians, Europeans, Japanese, Canadians, Americans and many more nationalities besides”. We were able to “overcome language barriers, working side by side to solve problems and share what we learn”, he continues. “Replicate that kind of cooperation on a worldwide scale at Cop26, and we’ll see a great result. Only this time, the participants won’t be weightless. On the contrary – they’ll need to have their feet squarely on the ground.”

2

Patti Lynn and Geoffrey Supran in the Los Angeles Times

Will Congress expose Big Oil like it did Big Tobacco in the ’90s?

on a powerful reckoning

Executives from major oil and gas giants are testifying to Congress today about what Patti Lynn and Geoffrey Supran call “decades of climate denial and propaganda”. The outcome will show “whether the fossil fuel industry’s lobbying-fueled stranglehold on science-based decision-making can be loosened in time to meaningfully confront the climate crisis”, say Lynn, from non-profit organisation Corporate Accountability, and Supran, from the academic Climate Social Science Network, in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times. Nearly three decades ago, similar hearings were held with tobacco industry executives, leading to litigation by 52 US states and territories and industry restitution to the public. “The stakes this time are at least as high: trillions of dollars in predicted loss and destruction from climate change,” the duo write. “Big Oil is due its Big Tobacco moment.”

3

Andy Brennan in The Guardian

I long for a day when gay footballers like me and Josh Cavallo don’t need to be so ‘brave’

on paving the way

After Adelaide United player Josh Cavallo came out as gay in a social media post this week, Andy Brennan makes a case for why people need to announce their sexuality at all. Statistics and research highlight the need for visibility and representation within LGBTQ+ communities in sport, but it is “stories like Josh’s which can really resonate – stories that can ignite a motivation in people to go against the grain, and so too be brave and courageous”, says former Newcastle Jets player Brennan, who announced he was gay in May 2019. He argues that each and every person who reveals their sexuality “plays an important role in the fight for acceptance and equality within our society”. And with his announcement, Cavallo “has given hope that coming out as gay in such a masculine environment will some day cease to be a no-go”.

4

Iain Duncan Smith for The Telegraph

George Osborne’s anti-work legacy has finally been banished

on the change to universal credit

Iain Duncan Smith says that after becoming work and pensions secretary in 2010, he wanted to ensure working Universal Credit claimants had their benefits “removed gradually” to guarantee that “going out and earning money left them sufficiently better off as to make the effort and expense involved worthwhile”. Writing for The Telegraph, the Tory MP explains that he wanted a “taper rate” of 55% (meaning that for every pound a claimant earned, their benefits would be reduced by 55p), but then-chancellor George Osborne “wanted a rate of 70%”. Duncan Smith asks: “Would you do your job for the equivalent of only 30p in the pound?” So he was “delighted” to see Rishi Sunak cutting the rate to 55% in the newly unveiled Budget. Critics on the left “find it strange for a Conservative to celebrate a hike in benefits”, he writes, but “this is to misunderstand the fundamentally conservative nature of what Universal Credit achieves”. It exists to “reward grit, determination and hard work”.

5

Newton Emerson in The Irish Times

No hurry in London for Stormont stability

on tardiness

“Two interlocking threats to collapse Stormont came to a head this week and came to nothing, revealing how cynically and casually such threats are now deployed,” writes Newton Emerson in The Irish Times. The DUP had vowed to pull their ministers out of the region’s power-sharing executive if its demands on the Northern Ireland protocol were not met, while Sinn Fein made a similar threat over the delivery of the Irish language legislation. Meanwhile the UK has yet to pass laws designed to prevent an executive collapse altogether. “The obvious suspicion is the UK government finds Stormont’s fragility useful in negotiations with the European Union,” says Emerson. “‘Serious societal difficulties’ are a trigger to suspend the protocol under Article 16.” Either way, regardless of whether the British government “sees the instability of Stormont as a weapon”, passing its new laws on Northern Ireland “is taking far too long”.

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