The New York Times - Your Monday Briefing: COP27 begins

Plus India could make peace in Ukraine and renewed outrage over China’s zero Covid policy.
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By Amelia Nierenberg

Writer, Briefings

Good morning. Leaders at COP27 will spar over who will pay for climate change. And India could be the key to peace in Ukraine.

Only a few people risked outdoor exercise in New Delhi on Thursday.Rajat Gupta/EPA, via Shutterstock

COP27 begins

The 27th annual U.N. climate talks, known as COP27, began yesterday. At the top of the agenda for developing countries is financing for loss and damage: Who will pay for the costs of a warming world?

For them, loss and damage is a matter of justice. They face irreversible destruction and want rich nations — which have emitted half of all heat-trapping gases since 1850 — to compensate them.

Wealthy nations blanch at accepting blame. The U.S. and the E.U. fear that such compensation could become an unlimited liability. Last year, wealthy nations vowed to provide $40 billion per year by 2025 to help poorer countries with adaptation, but a U.N. report estimates that this amount is less than one-fifth of what developing nations need.

In fact, one frequently cited study estimated that developing countries could suffer between $290 billion to $580 billion in annual climate damages by 2030, even after efforts to adapt. Those costs could rise to $1.7 trillion by 2050.

Context: Egypt, the host, and Pakistan, which leads the group of 77 developing nations and is trying to recover from devastating floods, got the issue on the formal agenda for the first time.

India: Hundreds of millions of people in the north are suffering from some of the worst air pollution in years. Last week, toxic air prompted school closures and traffic restrictions in New Delhi and beyond.

Africa: Gabon, known as Africa’s Eden, is one of the continent’s major oil producers. But it recognizes that fossil fuels won’t last forever. So officials have turned to the rainforest for revenue, while also taking strict measures to preserve it.

Russia: World leaders friendly with Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, have bought Russia’s coal, oil and gas, helping to finance his war and stalling climate progress.

S. Jaishankar, India’s foreign minister, is traveling to Russia this week for meetings with Russian officials.Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Could India end Russia’s war?

India is trying to take a more muscular role in geopolitics. The country has maintained good relations with both Russia and the West and played a critical role in resolving the grain blockade and in asking Russia to stop shelling Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, two major crises.

Now, diplomats and foreign policy experts are wondering if India could use its unique leverage to broker peace. The country’s foreign minister is traveling to Moscow for meetings with Russian officials on economic and political issues this week. But Ukrainians and Russians don’t yet want to talk.

And escalating tensions are testing India’s tightrope act. The country continues to buy Russian oil, angering Ukraine and the West, and has refused to support U.N. resolutions condemning Russia. However, at a September summit, Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, told Vladimir Putin that “today’s era is not of war.”

What’s next: Peacemaking could bring India closer to a long-sought prize — a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.

Lanzhou, a city of more than three million, had recorded 51 new infections on the day that a 3-year-old resident died.Yang Zhibin/Visual China Group, via Getty Images

Covid restrictions blamed for a child’s death in China

A 3-year-old boy in China died of carbon monoxide poisoning after Covid restrictions kept him from being taken promptly to a hospital. The case has renewed public scrutiny of the country’s “zero Covid” policy.

When the boy’s father got through to the emergency hotline after four tries, the dispatcher told him that because he lived in a “high-risk” area, he could seek only online medical counseling. He was reprimanded by officials for not wearing a mask when he sought help.

Carrying his son, he tore down some of the fencing that had been put up around his neighborhood and hailed a cab. Nearly two hours after first calling for help, he got his son to a hospital — less than a 10-minute drive from their home. The boy died soon after they arrived.

Reaction: A video of the boy receiving CPR circulated on social media and provoked a widespread outcry.

Censorship: Tuo’s blog post demanding an official explanation for his son’s death was deleted after going viral.

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“Every day is dangerous for me,” she said. “I cannot walk on the street as a normal person.”

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THE AUSTRALIA LETTER

Who wants a job in paradise?

Haast, a township in New Zealand, has fewer than 100 people. It’s isolated, even by New Zealand’s standards: The nearest hospital is four hours away, and the school has just eight students.

When the country’s Department of Conservation first posted a “biodiversity supervisor” job there only three people applied. None were qualified, so the deadline was extended. Stuff, a New Zealand news outlet, picked up the story — the job in paradise that no one wanted — and it went viral. Applications were sent from 1,383 people in 24 countries.

“It’s a funny story, but one that, to me, says something about how the world sees New Zealand: as an opportunity to escape,” my colleague Natasha Frost writes.

The superrich see it as a “bolt-hole,” insulated from the perils of nuclear war or the pandemic. But New Zealanders, Natasha writes, are quick to acknowledge their home in all its complexity: A place of stunning natural beauty and strong Indigenous heritage, but rife with deep inequality, housing issues and poverty.

Read her full reflection on New Zealand’s split identity: the “meme country” and the reality.

If you’re in Australia or New Zealand, you might enjoy “The Australia Letter,” our sister newsletter. Here’s a link to subscribe.

PLAY, WATCH, EAT

What to Cook
Chris Simpson for The New York Times. Food stylist: Maggie Ruggiero. Prop stylist: Sophia Pappas.

Pecan tarts are bite sized and as pleasing as pie.

What to Watch

In “Utama,” Bolivia’s submission to the Oscars, an old Quechua couple struggles to find water.

What to Read

Eight books about the decline of democracy.

Now Time to Play

Play the Mini Crossword, and a clue: River sediment (four letters).

Here are the Wordle and the Spelling Bee.

Best wishes for the week. Tomorrow, we’re looking at the U.S. midterms. — Amelia

P.S. The Times will interview Boris Johnson, Britain’s former prime minister, at the global climate summit today at 7:45 p.m. in Sydney; 2:15 p.m. in New Delhi. R.S.V.P. to watch.

Start your week with this narrated long read about babies stolen in Franco’s Spain. And here’s Friday’s edition of “The Daily,” on abortion in the U.S.

You can always reach me, and my colleagues, at briefing@nytimes.com.

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