Morning Brief

Who Will Save the Paris Agreement?

With the United States withdrawing from the climate pact, other big carbon emitters may have to step up their emission pledges.

U.S. President Donald Trump talks to journalists while departing the White House on Nov. 4.
U.S. President Donald Trump talks to journalists while departing the White House on Nov. 4. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Here is today’s Foreign Policy brief: Trump withdraws from the Paris climate agreement, the U.S. House impeachment inquiry enters a new phase, and Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro faces skepticism as he pushes new austerity measures.

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United States Begins Climate Deal Withdrawal

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump formally notified the United Nations that it will begin the one-year process to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement on Monday, the first day that it was eligible to do so under the pact. The move, long promised by Trump, comes as part of a broader strategy to deregulate U.S. industry. But it threatens to undermine the global effort to combat the climate crisis.

Full withdrawal would make the United States—the world’s largest carbon emitter per capita—the only country outside of the deal. (In practice, it had already begun to roll back emissions limits.) Global diplomats now face the challenge of how to move forward without U.S. participation. Other big emitters, like China and India, may have to step up.

Can diplomacy save the deal? The Paris Agreement encourages, but does not require, countries to increase their pledges when they are able to do so—a sticking point for Trump. Now, major carbon emitters may face pressure to make bigger commitments. Speaking in Beijing today ahead of a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, French President Emmanuel Macron said both countries would have to update their emissions pledges, with “decisive” cooperation between China and the European Union.

What about 2020? Because exiting the climate pact takes one year, the United States will not fully withdraw until one day after the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Then, the United States would attend meetings as an observer. Even if a Democrat wins in 2020 and rejoins the accord, it might not be trusted as a stable partner, the New York Times reports.

What We’re Following Today

Impeachment inquiry enters new phase. On Monday, the U.S. House of Representatives released hundreds of pages of testimony from two former diplomats in the ongoing impeachment inquiry into Trump’s dealings in Ukraine: former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and Michael McKinley, a former advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The transcripts come as Democrats move into a more public phase of the inquiry, but they are facing a challenge as administration officials ignore subpoenas. Pompeo has remained silent—leaving career diplomats feeling betrayed, FP reports.

[Read FP’s five takeaways from Yovanovitch’s and McKinley’s published testimony.]

Mormon family massacred in Mexico. At least nine members of a family of Mormon U.S. citizens who have lived in Mexico for decades were murdered by gunmen in northern Mexico while driving between the states of Sonora and Chihuahua. Two of the victims were infants under one year old; several other children reportedly managed to escape alive. According to the New York Times, the family had “historically spoken out about the criminal groups that plague the northern border states,” and may have been targeted by organized crime groups.

Bolsonaro pushes for new economic reforms. Today, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Economy Minister Paulo Guedes will introduce new plans to shrink the country’s budget deficit, including cuts to public sector salaries and reduced tax breaks. The reforms—which come as austerity measures elsewhere in Latin America have prompted protest—have already been met with skepticism in Brazil’s Congress, which has just approved a landmark pension reform bill. Lawmakers tell Reuters that none of the proposed reforms are likely to move forward this year.

Beijing reaffirms backing for Hong Kong leader. Chinese President Xi Jinping declared that he has full confidence in Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam as the two held their first official meeting since protests broke out in Hong Kong five months ago. “The central government has high trust in you and fully affirms the work of you and the governance team of Hong Kong,” Xi was quoted as saying. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi, who is in charge of the national police force, also attended the meeting.

U.S. issues more sanctions against Iran. The Trump administration has placed new sanctions on nine officials in the inner circle of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The move coincided with the 40th anniversary of Iran seizing the U.S. embassy in Tehran, where it held 50 Americans hostage for 444 days. It also comes as Iran again increased its uranium enrichment capacity, this time by restarting advanced centrifuges. Khamenei has repeatedly rejected nuclear negotiations with the United States.

Keep an Eye On

Israel’s Arab minority. For the first time in Israel’s history, the country’s Arab minority could wield significant political power in the Knesset. Benny Gantz, seeking to form a coalition government, has held talks with the Joint List party. The move sets a precedent that could shape the future political participation of minority groups, Eetta Prince-Gibson reports for FP.

Erdogan’s trip to Washington. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may cancel his trip to the United States next week after Congress voted to recognize the mass killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide. Erdogan is scheduled to meet Trump in Washington on Nov. 13—a meeting called after Turkey began its offensive in northern Syria.

The countries cutting ties with Maduro. Guatemala’s president-elect, Alejandro Giammattei, said on Monday that when he takes office in January he will suspend diplomatic relations with the government of Nicolás Maduro. The announcement follows a dispute between Guatemala’s neighbor El Salvador and Venezuela, with each country recalling their diplomats.

A privacy lawsuit in China. A Chinese law professor has mounted a rare lawsuit against a wildlife park for violating his consumer rights with a new entrance system, which requires members to register using facial recognition technology. The suit could affect regulations around the technology, which is increasingly widespread in China.

2019 Diplomat of the YearForeign Policy will honor NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in an exclusive celebration on Nov. 12, convening over 200 senior leaders from the global diplomatic and defense community. To request an invitation, please fill out this form.

Odds and Ends

Authorities in Berlin have banned actors posing as U.S. soldiers at a famous border post where the Berlin Wall once stood, Checkpoint Charlie. The public order office has accused the actors, who don’t have a permit, of exploiting tourists by demanding 4 euros in exchange for photos. The practice has been going on for years, the Guardian reports.

That’s it for today.

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Audrey Wilson is an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @audreybwilson

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