UN on climate change, Labour debates Brexit, Afghan elections
The FT's Josh de la Mare on some of the top stories the FT will be watching this week, including a crunch UN summit on climate change in New York, Brexit debates at the Labour party conference and presidential elections in Afghanistan
Written by Leslie Hook, Gideon Rachman, Stephanie Findlay and Siona Jenkins. Produced by Josh de la Mare.
You can enable subtitles (captions) in the video player
Here are some of the stories the Financial Times will be watching this week - climate change and Iran, US tensions topped the agenda at the annual United Nations meeting of world leaders. The UK's opposition Labour party struggles over its position on Brexit at its annual conference. And difficult elections take place in Afghanistan after the recent collapse and peace talks between the US and the Taliban.
First, to New York where world leaders and diplomats from 193 countries gathered for meetings and speeches at the United Nations Annual General Assembly gathering. On the first day of the United Nations meetings, Secretary-General António Guterres has convened a climate change summit. That could be a crunch moment in moves globally to limit climate warming to a rise of two degrees centigrade or less.
The Summit, billed as the biggest climate event of the year, comes at a time of growing concern over climate impacts, which the UN secretary-general has called an emergency and a race for our lives. Several countries, including the UK and France will be touting pledges to cut emissions to net zero by 2050, which means eliminating virtually all fossil fuels.
However, the event is also notable for who will not be appearing - the US, Australia, Brazil, and Japan are among those who will not be making new pledges and will not appear at the Summit. The UN secretary-general is trying to get countries to fall in line with measures that will limit global warming to well below two degrees. He has asked for no new coal stations after 2020, reducing fossil fuel subsidies, and net zero emissions by 2050.
However, that will be very difficult for many countries to achieve. And we will find out on Monday how many will step up.
As well as climate change on the agenda, friends and foes on the global stage will have the chance to exchange views at a heated time in international relations.
Almost all of the world's most important leaders will show up and they will often use the occasion to make set-piece speeches in the general assembly. Last year, Donald Trump did that to a rather dramatic effect when he said that the United States, under his presidency, was going to reject the doctrine of globalism, as he called it, that the UN in a sense represents. This year again, Trump's address on Tuesday morning will be a significant moment because it will be interesting to see if he renews this rhetorical assault on the global governance structures.
But as well as climate and as well as the formal agenda that will be on television, one of the reasons the UNGA is terribly important is because it offers the opportunity for bilateral discussions. Some of them behind closed doors. And one thing that will be very important will be extremely delicate diplomacy of the Middle East.
In the UK, it's the opposition Labour party's turn to hold its annual conference, and all eyes will be on what it decides its position should be on Brexit, as well as discussions about its strategy at the next general election under leader Jeremy Corbyn whose standing in recent polls has been weak.
Now, while Labour has ambitious plans for the economy, the real story of the conference will be the showdown within the party over Brexit. The party, much like the country, is deeply divided over Brexit and has been criticised for failing to take a clear stance on the issue. While most of its members and many of its MP support remain, others, especially employees from the party's so-called heartland in the north where there is a lot of support for Brexit, fear they will alienate their constituents and lose their seats to Nigel Farage, whose Brexit party, if Labour throws its support wholeheartedly behind staying in the EU.
Jeremy Corbyn, the party leader, and many of his senior advisors are longstanding eurosceptics who have until now maintained an ambiguous stance on the issue, pledging to seek a better withdrawal deal from Brussels, which the party could then put to the country in a referendum. But with an election imminent, this attempt to steer a middle course on the issue, tearing the country apart, appears to satisfy nobody.
Finally, Afghanistan holds presidential elections on Saturday, and events that will be fraught with logistical difficulties across the mountainous country. It's been further complicated by US president Donald Trump's cancellation of peace negotiations with the Taliban after an attack by the Islamic insurgents left 12 dead in the capital Kabul, including one US soldier.
US president Donald Trump has been working to end America's longest running war. Over the past year, US and Taliban negotiators have been hammering out a peace deal. In August, it looked like this deal was close to being signed. It would have seen 5,000 US troops withdraw in exchange for Taliban assurances that they would not allow jihadist groups to launch attacks from Afghan soil.
But earlier this month in a shock announcement, Trump said that he had called and then cancelled a secret meeting at Camp David between the Taliban and Afghan negotiators, putting the peace talks on the back burner. In the meantime, the focus is on the Afghan election with incumbent and President Ashraf Ghani running against rival Abdullah Abdullah. The campaign has already been marked by bloody attacks.
Whoever wins the election, the focus will be on the resumption of the peace talks, and eventually, talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Those talks will be the toughest, but they will also be the most critical to ensuring peace for this war-weary country.
And that's what the week ahead looks like from the Financial Times in London.