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Paradoxical climate summits, grounded private jets and liberation in Ukraine -this week in the world

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

Another Sunday, another crazy week.

In this week's Sunday Summary, we will touch upon the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) and also how some courageous protesters risk their freedom calling for concrete actions to fight climate change. We will also take a look at the chaos that ensued since Elon Musk took over the control of Twitter and see how the war in Ukraine is finally seeing some joyous events on the side of Ukraine.

Let us first start with news from the Internet and Big Tech: after the recent purchase of Twitter by Elon Musk there have been a few major changes to the website itself. Musk wanted to “allow free speech” again after purchasing the platform on the 27th of October which very quickly turned into a significant rise in antisemitic comments on the website. Most recently, he allowed people to get the “verification checkmark” by purchasing “Twitter Blue '', the pro subscription service of Twitter. It was usually only allowed for accounts attached to important personalities or organisms to be able to differentiate them from the rest of the masses. Of course, this backfired, with thousands of impersonation accounts buying the verification check mark and wreaking havoc while making fun of all kinds of institutions and persons, even in large numbers Elon Musk himself. A notable example is a person impersonating the American pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company by tweeting from a fake account that “[…] insulin is free now” which caused an outcry and the company losing 16 billion dollars in their valuation. So while this is a strong statement on the situation with Insulin in the USA, it also shows how much this subscription move backfired for Musk. And with mass firings of staff and advertisers fleeing from the platform, one might wonder where Twitter will be in the future and whether it was such a good move to allow Musk to buy the Internet giant.

In more international news, the 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) is currently happening in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, where emissaries from countries all over the world and other influential personalities in the field of climate change (and also weirdly oil company lobbyists) meet to discuss and establish common goals to fight climate change. But the fact that it has been happening annually for 27 years, since the 1992 UN Climate Agreement, and the fact that Coca-Cola was chosen as a sponsor for this year shows that all of this is not very efficient and mainly a facade so that world leaders look like they take the climate crisis seriously. The first Climate Agreement set out to limit the rise in global average temperatures by 1,5 degrees Celsius by 2050, an infamous number that some climate scientists now say is completely unattainable. Several important actors boycotted this event, some because of the sponsorship by Coca-Cola –that is, let us remind you, the biggest plastic polluter in the world – others because of the way the Egyptian State is handling crises while abusing the power bestowed on the state. With next year's summit scheduled to take place in Dubai, it seems as though this was only a precursor and that COP28 will be surrounded by even more controversy. Who will sponsor this event? Shell or Amazon?

On the other side of the world, in the Netherlands, the UK, and other countries, climate protesters from organisations such as Extinction Rebellion have continued their blockades of private jets and airports servicing them, calling for an end to private aviation. Last week already, scenes of protesters physically blocking jets to lift off, then leading police officers on with their bikes, made their way all over the internet. This has continued at several airports this week. Notable people like NASA climate scientist Peter Calms (@ClimateHuman on Twitter), who was a major figure in the “Scientist rebellion” protests a few months ago, have been arrested. But the will of protesters seems to only grow stronger as more and more people join in to protest for a liveable future and demand concrete actions from governments that until now mostly have done nothing concrete.

To finish off with happier news, the strategically important city of Kherson in Ukraine has been freed from Russian invaders. The city rejoiced in its liberation, and this landmark victory has spread hope across all currently occupied areas that soon may follow suit in this freedom. Yet the authorities remind everyone to still stay cautious and that it is “too early to relax”, an adviser to the Ukrainian defence minister told the BBC. “But of course, this is a very important moment, but… this war is far from over”.

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