Instant Opinion: ‘Darkness where the future should be’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Friday 24 January

 A total solar eclipse plunges northern Australia into darkness for just over two minutes

The Week’s daily round-up highlights the five best opinion pieces from across the British and international media, with excerpts from each.

1. Michelle Goldberg in the New York Times

on pessimism

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The darkness where the future should be

“Writing about the future is usually just a way of writing about the present, and were it not for climate change, one might see widespread anxiety about what’s coming as just an expression of despair about what’s here. It’s still possible, of course, that someday people will look back on the dawn of the 2020s as a menacing moment after which the world’s potential opened up once again. But that would seem to require political and scientific leaps that are hard to envision right now, much less stake one’s faith in.”

2. Hagai El-Ad in Haaretz

on the misuse of memory

Netanyahu exploits the Holocaust to brutalize the Palestinians

“For Palestinians, quite literally, the International Criminal Court is their court of last resort. Yet Netanyahu, backed by Israel’s entire political leadership, is trying to quash even this faint hope. How dehumanizing, to insist on denying a people’s last recourse to even an uncertain, belated, modicum of justice. How degrading to do so while standing on the shoulders of Holocaust survivors, insisting that this is somehow being carried out in their name. What a lack of historical memory and moral compass it must take to ignore the key lesson the world gleaned from the ashes of the 1940s: that no person should ever, under any circumstance, be left bare of rights, precisely because – as the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights tells us – ‘disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind’.”

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3. Marcus Lawniczak in The Eastern Echo

on boring ballots

American elections suck

“At the same time, long election seasons cause burnout and exhaustion. The Iowa primary is less than two weeks away, but after multiple debates, constant ‘scandals’ and the continuous hype for more than a year, it is easy for even the biggest political junkies to stop paying attention. Campaign season seems perpetual, exhausting those involved in the process and keeping those not politically involved on the periphery.”

4. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in The Telegraph

on unforgiving climate strategies

Davos's green colonialism decried by poorer countries – but the West will crush them anyway

“What is clear is that poorer countries in Asia and Africa are stuck with a legacy of coal plants built in good faith over the last 20 years that meet their power needs and still have decades to run. They cannot afford to write them off. Nor is that a reasonable demand. The rich West has failed to come up with the money to clear the debt on these plants, write them off (or retrofit them with carbon capture), and replace them with zero-carbon alternatives. This could be done at a relatively trivial cost, slashing emissions on a large scale very quickly.”

5. Michael Bociurkiw in CNN

on baked goods backfiring

Trudeau's $4 doughnuts cost him dearly

“It didn't help that he committed this sin at a Liberal cabinet retreat in Winnipeg, a predominantly working-class, central Canadian prairie city. Winnipeggers pride themselves on being thrifty and resilient - especially during long, bone-chilling cold winters. And it also didn't help that his NATO ‘hot mic’ scandal (in which Trudeau appeared to mock US President Donald Trump at a Buckingham Palace reception) - was still ringing in the ears of Canadians as they watched him carting out his fancy doughnuts with his fancy new beard.”

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