Daily Review: Climate Change and Health, Sri Lanka Bombings

Daily Review: Climate Change and Health, Sri Lanka Bombings
A thermometer outside a pharmacy reads 45 degrees C, or 113 degrees Fahrenheit, in Toulouse, France, Aug. 23, 2023 (photo for NurPhoto by Alain Pitton via AP Images).

Hello, everyone. Today at WPR, we’re covering the links between climate change and health, as well as new accusations related to the April 2019 Easter Bombings in Sri Lanka.

But first, here’s our take on today’s top story:

Mexico: The Supreme Court in Mexico struck down a federal law criminalizing abortion on Wednesday, ensuring that even in the 20 states where abortion remains illegal, women can legally seek abortions in federal hospitals and clinics. (New York Times)

Our Take: The ruling in Mexico comes on the heels of a series of advances in recent years on abortion rights throughout Latin America, a predominantly Catholic region that has historically imposed draconian restrictions on abortion. In 2021, after years of failed attempts, Argentina’s legislature voted to legalize abortion, and last year Colombia’s Constitutional Court struck down laws criminalizing it.

The region’s abortion rights movement has been dubbed the “green tide,” due to the green handkerchiefs that activists and demonstrators wear as a visible sign of their support for legalizing abortion. Its successes have largely been the result of grassroots feminist movements throughout Latin America that, while differing in legal strategies, shared some common framings to raise consciousness around the need for legal abortion. As Cora Fernández Anderson wrote last year, the lessons from Latin America’s green tide are instructive, especially for activists in the U.S., which is one of only four countries where abortion rights have regressed since 1994.

Still, despite a story of overall progress on abortion rights in Latin America and globally, there is also a growing backlash to those advances, leading many women’s rights advocates around the world to sound the alarm, as Saskia Brechenmacher and Caroline Crystal wrote last month.

Climate change has an impact on public health.

Good Climate Policy and Good Health Policy Go Hand in Hand

Most people understand intuitively that climate change hurts and that it can kill. That’s why so many care and worry about it. And yet, somewhere along the way, many started weighing the problem in terms of degrees Celsius, tons of CO2 and dollar values, rather than the lives it will cost.

As temperatures rise, it’s all too easy to see the policy worlds of climate and health as separate and even competing sectors, vying for attention and funding. But as Alice Bell writes, if we’re going to solve the problems ahead of us, we’re going to have to break through historical policy silos that see climate and the environment as one type of issue and health and wellbeing as another.

New Accusations Roil Sri Lanka Over the 2019 Easter Bombings

Almost immediately after the April 2019 Easter Bombings in Sri Lanka, rumors started swirling about a conspiracy behind the attacks, which killed 269 people. Those rumors continued to circulate even after the Islamic State took responsibility for the bombings.

A protest against the government response to the Easter Bombings in Sri Lanka.

Now, Frida Ghitis writes, a shocking documentary by Britain’s Channel 4 claiming that people close to Sri Lanka’s powerful Rajapaksa family worked with Islamic State elements in the country to orchestrate the attacks is turning up the temperature on the long-simmering accusations.

We want to hear your take on the issues we cover. We’ll select one person from those who answer the question below to receive a free month extension of their WPR subscription.

This week’s question: On Tuesday in the United States, the leader of a far-right, pro-Trump group was sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in organizing the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. In your opinion, was the Jan. 6 attack, and the events surrounding it, an attempted coup by Trump and his supporters?

Mexico’s governing Morena party chose Claudia Sheinbaum—the former mayor of Mexico City and protege of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, known as AMLO—as its candidate in next year’s presidential election. She will face off against the opposition’s top contender, Xochitl Galvez, guaranteeing that Mexico’s next president will be a woman.

The Morena primaries had been highly anticipated, since the party has become such a juggernaut under AMLO that there’s only a vanishing chance any opposition candidate will be able to defeat its standard-bearer. Assuming Sheinbaum wins the presidency, however, she will still contend with the long shadow cast by AMLO, as Frida Ghitis wrote before the primaries:

AMLO's successor and Morena's candidate in Mexico's presidential elections will be chosen soon.

AMLO’s Successor Will Be Anointed Long Before Mexico’s Elections

June 29, 2023 | AMLO’s Morena party is such a juggernaut that its primary this summer will likely choose Mexico’s next president. Read more.

African leaders called for debt relief in order for countries on the continent to focus on responding to the climate crisis. Their call came in a declaration published at the end of the first African climate summit, which focused largely on climate finance.

The call for debt relief, and the summit itself, follows the significant victory for African and Global South countries in securing a loss-and-damage financing agreement at last year’s United Nations COP27 Climate Change Summit. As Chris O. Ògúnmọ́dẹdé wrote after that summit, African governments and multilateral institutions are increasingly playing a leading role in climate diplomacy:

For Africa, ‘Loss and Damage’ Funding Is a Step Toward Climate Justice

Nov. 23, 2022 | Many in Africa hope the “loss and damage” fund agreement made at COP27 2022 is just the first step toward a fairer climate change transition. Read more.

A protestor in support of a "loss and damage" fund for the effects of climate change on the Global South, including Africa

That’s all for today’s Daily Review. Coming up, we’re taking a look at Ukraine’s counteroffensive and Nigerian President Bola Tinubu’s first 100 days in office.

Have a great day,

Jakob Cansler

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