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Fighting Trump on Climate, California Becomes a Global Force

LOS ANGELES — The environmental ministers of Canada and Mexico went to San Francisco last month to sign a global pact — drafted largely by California — to lower planet-warming greenhouse pollution. Gov. Jerry Brown flies to China next month to meet with climate leaders there on a campaign to curb global warming. And a battery of state lawyers is preparing to battle any attempt by Washington to weaken California’s automobile pollution emission standards.

As President Trump moves to reverse the Obama administration’s policies on climate change, California is emerging as the nation’s de facto negotiator with the world on the environment. The state is pushing back on everything from White House efforts to roll back pollution rules on tailpipes and smokestacks, to plans to withdraw or weaken the United States’ commitments under the Paris climate change accord.

In the process, California is not only fighting to protect its legacy of sweeping environmental protection, but also holding itself out as a model to other states — and to nations — on how to fight climate change.

“I want to do everything we can to keep America on track, keep the world on track, and lead in all the ways California has,” said Mr. Brown, who has embraced this fight as he enters what is likely to be the final stretch of a 40-year career in California government. “We’re looking to do everything we can to advance our program, regardless of whatever happens in Washington.”

Since the election, California has stood as the leading edge of the Democratic resistance to the Trump administration, on a range of issues including immigration and health care. Mr. Trump lost to Hillary Clinton here by nearly four million votes. Every statewide elected official is a Democrat, and the party controls both houses of the Legislature by a two-thirds margin. Soon after Mr. Trump was elected, Democratic legislative leaders hired Eric H. Holder Jr., the former attorney general, to represent California in legal fights with the administration.

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But of all the battles it is waging with Washington, none have the global implications of the one over climate change.

The aggressive posture on the environment has set the stage for a confrontation between the Trump administration and the largest state in the nation. California has 39 million people, making it more populous than Canada and many other countries. And with an annual economic output of $2.4 trillion, the state is an economic powerhouse and has the sixth-largest economy in the world.

California’s efforts cross party lines. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who served as governor from 2003 to 2011, and led the state in developing the most aggressive pollution-control programs in the nation, has emerged as one of Mr. Trump’s biggest Republican critics.

Mr. Trump and his advisers appear ready for the fight.

Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency chief, whom Mr. Trump has charged with rolling back Obama-era environmental policies, speaks often of his belief in the importance of federalism and states’ rights, describing Mr. Trump’s proposals as a way to lift the oppressive yoke of federal regulations and return authority to the states. But of Mr. Brown’s push to expand California’s environmental policies to the country and the world, Mr. Pruitt said, “That’s not federalism — that’s a political agenda hiding behind federalism.”

“Is it federalism to impose your policy on other states?” Mr. Pruitt asked in a recent interview in his office. “It seems to me that Mr. Brown is being the aggressor here,” he said. “But we expect the law will show this.”

In one of his earliest strikes, Mr. Trump signed an executive order in March aimed at dismantling the Clean Power Plan, President Barack Obama’s signature climate policy change. Much of the plan, which Mr. Trump denounced as a “job killer,” was drawn from environmental policies pioneered in California.

Mr. Brown has long been an environmental advocate, including when he first served as governor in the 1970s. He has made this a central focus as he enters his final 18 months in office. In an interview, he said the president’s action was “a colossal mistake and defies science.”

“Erasing climate change may take place in Donald Trump’s mind, but nowhere else,” Mr. Brown said.

The leadership role being embraced by California goes to the heart of what has long been a central part of this state’s identity. For more than three decades, California has been at the vanguard of environmental policy, passing ambitious, first-in-the-nation legislation on pollution control and conservation that have often served as models for national and even international environmental law.

“With Trump indicating that he will withdraw from climate change leadership, the rest of the global community is looking to California, as one of the world’s largest economies, to take the lead,” said Mario Molina, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist from Mexico who advises nations on climate change policy. “California demonstrates to the world that you can have a strong climate policy without hurting your economy.”

The Senate leader, Kevin de Leon, introduced legislation this month that would accelerate, rather than retrench, California’s drive to reduce emissions, requiring that 100 percent of retail electricity in the state come from renewable sources by 2045. Mr. de Leon said it was “important that we send a signal to the rest of the world” at a time of what he described as “blowback” from Washington.

Mr. Schwarzenegger, who tangled with Mr. Trump after the president mocked him for receiving low ratings as his replacement on “The Apprentice,” described Mr. Trump’s environmental policies as a threat to the planet.

“Saying you’ll bring coal plants back is the past,” Mr. Schwarzenegger said. “It’s like saying you’ll bring Blockbuster back, which is the past. Horses and buggies, which is the past. Pagers back, which is the past.”

He said California had shown it was possible to adopt aggressive environmental policies without hurting the economy. “We’re outdoing the rest of the country on G.D.P.,” Mr. Schwarzenegger said.

Even before Mr. Trump took office, California’s tough regulatory rules had stirred concern among business leaders, who said it had increased their costs. They warned that the situation would become worse if California stood by its regulatory rules while Washington moved in the other direction.

“We’re very concerned about that,” said Robert C. Lapsley, the president of the California Business Roundtable. “If we are 1 percent of the problem, and we have the most far-reaching climate policies on the planet while all the other states are slowing down because Washington is slowing down, that is going to create an absolute imbalance.”

“Washington will create a less competitive environment for California businesses here because businesses in other states will not have to meet the same mandates,” he added. “There is no question that businesses are going to move out.”

The precise contours of this battle will become clear in the months ahead, as Mr. Trump’s environmental policies take shape. For now, the critical questions are whether the United States will withdraw from the Paris agreement, an international compact to reduce greenhouse pollution, and whether the Environmental Protection Agency will revoke a waiver issued by President Richard M. Nixon that permits California to set fuel economy standards exceeding federal requirements.

Revoking the waiver, which was central to a policy that has resulted in noticeably cleaner air in places like Los Angeles, would force the state to lower its tough fuel economy standards, which are also intended to promote the rapid spread of electric cars. As they stand, the rules would force automakers to build fleets of cars that would reach mileage of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

California is preparing for a legal challenge.

“You have to be concerned when anybody talks about going backward,” said Xavier Becerra, the state attorney general. “In this case we think we have a strong case to be made based on the facts and the history.”

Mr. Trump is already moving to weaken federal auto emission standards that were influenced by California’s tougher standards. Automakers, who met with the president in the Oval Office days after he assumed the presidency, have long complained that the standards forced them to build expensive electric vehicles that consumers may not want.

And the companies have lobbied for years to stop the federal government from allowing California to set cleaner tailpipe regulations than the rest of the nation, arguing that the double standard necessitates building two types of cars. In Detroit, those companies see President Trump as their best chance for finally ending onerous California car requirements. But in the meantime, over a dozen other states have adopted California’s auto emissions standards — and Mr. Brown is betting that the sheer size of that market will be enough to make the Trump administration reconsider any effort to roll back the California waiver.

“Because we’re such a big part of the car market, and places like New York and Massachusetts are tied in with the U.S., our standard will prevail,” he said.

Beyond pushing to maintain its state climate laws, California has tried to forge international climate pacts. In particular, Mr. Brown’s government helped draft and gather signatures for a memorandum of understanding whose signers, including heads of state and mayors from around the world, pledged to take actions to lower emissions enough to keep global temperatures from rising over two degrees Celsius. That is the point at which scientists say the planet will tip into a future of irreversible rising seas and melting ice sheets.

That pact is voluntary, but California, Canada and Mexico are starting to carry out a joint climate policy with some teeth.

California’s signature climate change law is the cap-and-trade program. It places a statewide cap on planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions, and then allows companies to buy and sell pollution credits. The California measure was the model for a national climate law that Mr. Obama tried unsuccessfully to have passed in 2010.

Given the setbacks in Washington, California environmental officials are working with Mexico and Canada to create what is informally called the “Nafta” of climate change — a carbon-cutting program that spans the region.

“Canada’s all in when it comes to climate action, and we’ll partner with anyone who wants to move forward,” said Catherine McKenna, Canada’s environment minister.

Already, California’s cap-and-trade market is connected to a similar one in Quebec, now valued at about $8 billion, and the Province of Ontario is linking with the joint California-Quebec market this year. Climate policy experts in Sacramento and Mexico City are in the early stages of drafting a plan to link Mexico with that joint market.

In April, a delegation from California traveled to Beijing to meet with Chinese counterparts to help them craft a cap-and-trade plan. “We have people working in China, in their regulatory agencies, consulting with them, speaking fluent Mandarin, working with the Chinese government — giving them advice on cap and trade,” Mr. Brown said.

The Clean Power Plan was central to the United States’ pledge under the 2015 Paris agreement, which commits the nation to cut its emissions about 26 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. Now that Mr. Trump has moved to roll back the plan, it will be almost impossible for the United States to meet its Paris commitments.

That has resonated powerfully in China. The heart of the Paris agreement was a 2014 deal forged by Mr. Obama and President Xi Jinping of China in which the world’s two largest economies and largest greenhouse polluters agreed to act jointly to reduce their emissions.

“China is committed to establishing a cap-and-trade this year, and we are looking for expertise across the world as we design our program — and we are looking closely at the California experience,” said Donquan He, a vice president of Energy Foundation China, an organization that works with the Chinese government on climate change issues.

Mr. Brown recently met with the prime minister of Fiji, who will serve as chairman of this fall’s United Nations climate change meeting in Bonn, Germany, which aims to put the Paris agreement in force, with or without the United States. The governor said he planned to attend as a representative of his state.

“We may not represent Washington, but we will represent the wide swath of American people who will keep the faith on this,” he said.

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Finding My Florida

Long before hanging chads and headlines like “Lakeland Woman Treats 6-Foot Gator Like a Baby,” my splintered family shared a unifying dream: Florida, where true happiness was to be found among palm trees and miles of beaches. It was where everything would be O.K. It was our promised land.

That may sound surprising. In an increasingly confused country, the Sunshine State is the place the rest of America always feels it can laugh at, because really, inside, it feels bad about itself.

Florida represents so much that’s good, bad and bizarre about the United States, all rolled into one long state. It’s where all of our sins go to be washed away by the ocean: drugs, shady real estate developers, and the Palm Beach County man who, in 2012, ate so many cockroaches and worms in a bug-eating contest (the prize was an ivory-ball python) that he vomited, collapsed and died.

It’s filled with beauty and contradictions. Legend tells us Ponce de León ended up sailing to somewhere near Melbourne Beach in his search for the Fountain of Youth, and grandparents go there to live out their golden years. It’s the setting for movies like “Moonlight,” and fiction by Elmore Leonard and Karen Russell and Laura van den Berg. It’s mysterious and beautiful, spooky and exciting. And yes, it’s weird.

One by one, my entire family moved there — first the grandparents, then the aunts and uncles. They loaded up cars and moving trucks with what they wanted to keep from their old lives and headed south. My parents followed, but I didn’t go. My father and I hadn’t talked since I was 12, my mother made the move from Chicago when I was 16. Estranged from both, I dealt with the Chicago cold as best I could. Not the most ideal situation for a teenager, trying to figure out how to make it on my own, but it sure beat living in Florida, I reasoned. The dream came true for them; I stayed back.

Eventually, in my early 20s, I would spend some time there when things got particularly rough. I thought I could escape and collect myself, that the beaches and blue skies would help me figure out what I was doing wrong — but I didn’t stay long enough to call Florida home. Worried I would never leave, I said goodbye, taking a bus from Broward County to New York, figuring I would never return.

Yet I still find myself going there yearly, sometimes for work, other times because I feel a longing for something familiar. Nowhere in the world has pulled me back so much. There is something I can’t shake about the place where the saw grass meets the sky.

I also discovered that Florida isn’t a monolith; it’s many states in one, filled with different people and cultures. When I was drifting in my early 20s, I made the daylong solo drive from Chicago to Palm Beach County.

Now I fly into Jacksonville, the state’s largest city, and start my drive through a place I’ve never quite understood. A place that always felt like it was where people went and became lost to me. But I recently headed out on a road trip through Florida trying to figure it, and maybe myself, out.

The North

Geographically speaking, Florida is as south as it gets. Yet its northern reaches are its most Southern. Moss hangs from the trees, the pace is slow and there are Confederate Army tributes in places like the Jefferson County Courthouse in Monticello. This Florida barely resembles the state we’re culturally fixated on: no neon lights or pink flamingos. Once you hit the highway, it’s horses running in big fields, miles of native pine trees and a lot of trucks.

I spend a good chunk of my drive to Tallahassee with the 2002 Mountain Goats album named after the city playing on repeat. “What did I come down here for,” the singer John Darnielle wonders in the opening self-titled track, and I can’t help but ask myself the same question. It’s been over 15 years since I last visited this part of Florida; I was 19 and leaving behind a relationship.

For a place that’s home to three colleges, the state capital is surprisingly calm. As three locals in a row put it, Tallahassee is “chill.” Students make up close to 40 percent of the population, which usually means you can find a few good bars. So I do, stopping in at Waterworks, a tiki bar with waterfalls running over its windows. I order a Zombie and comment to the tattoo-covered bartender, Sierra — a city native who grew up walking past the bar and dreaming of working there one day — about how everything seems really close in the town. It isn’t small, just condensed.

“Everything in Tallahassee feels 15 minutes away,” she agrees.

Some parts of Florida feel as if time has passed them by. As I drive south, I pass old, rusted neon signs that once lured tired tourists 30, 40 or 50 years ago. Billboards on the side of the road proclaim, “When schools had prayers and Bibles they had no drugs,” above verses from Psalms and Matthew. Tourists can bypass these long stretches now, flying into the major cities instead.

I stop near Fanning Springs State Park and look out onto the Suwannee River for a few minutes. People talk about this part of the state as “landlocked Florida,” but the truth is that it’s hard to go anywhere and not find a body of water and just watch it for a little while.

My next stop is Gainesville, another town nationally known for college football, where the North and South slowly start to merge. I enjoy great grits and biscuits at the Flying Biscuit, and $3 Pabst Blue Ribbon tall boys and a game of NBA Jam at Arcade Bar. While the parts of Florida that brush up against the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico are notorious hot spots for spring breakers, in October, crowds descend on Gainesville to see countless bands play the punk rock festival known simply as the Fest (this year, Oct. 27 to 29).

Some punk attitude, however, sticks around all year. Gainesville has been called a “popular destination for homeless travelers,” and as I walk downtown, I find two men, no older than the legal drinking age — one with a shaved head, and another with a couple of nascent dreadlocks — hunched against a wall. I comment on a band patch one of them has sewn onto his pants. They ask if I can spare some change. I give them the three singles in my pocket.

They tell me Gainesville is great because it’s warm and the beer is cheap, “but the cops suck,” according to the one with the shaved head. I ask where they’re headed. “Somewhere in Georgia,” one says, but doesn’t specify where. The one with the dreadlocks tells me what he thinks of the local police; every other word is a profane one. The two men, like so many other people before them, thought they had found the perfect place. Like me, however, they are set to hit the road again.

The West

Nestled between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, St. Petersburg is “Florida’s Sunshine City.” From a distance, I see what looks like what could be a modern subject of a tropical Winslow Homer painting, sitting on a bucket, head down, sun-bleached cap covering his face, line in the water. I can’t tell if he is awake, but when he nods and says hello, I ask if he’s from around here. He says that he moved to Florida 30 years ago and that he hasn’t left the Gulf Coast since Sept. 11. He has everything he needs.

Here, the moss-covered Southern Gothic of the north turns to hand-planted palms. It’s the year-round home to the largest shuffleboard club in the world, which is just 15 minutes away from America’s oldest greyhound track and close to the first public jai alai fronton in America — remnants of an America that was fascinated by Florida’s possibilities after World War II. St. Petersburg, maybe more than any other part of the state, is a reminder of the Florida your grandparents dreamed of escaping to.

Nearby Tampa is the home of the Cuban sandwich; at least that’s what people from there will tell you. Although the exact creator and location of its origins are debatable, the Ybor City neighborhood’s claim seems solid: that its large Cuban population, which swelled toward the end of the 19th century, at least popularized the idea in the United States that combining ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese and pickles between bread is a fantastic idea. I eat one at the Columbia Restaurant. Opened by a Cuban immigrant in 1905, it takes only a few bites for me to admit that Tampa has a convincing argument.

I do more walking around Ybor City. Through headphones, I listen to the Hold Steady’s “Killer Parties” on repeat, Craig Finn singing about how the neighborhood “is très speedy, but they throw such killer parties.” I stop in at the Bricks, a cafe and bar, and drink a beer at one of its sidewalk tables. With one whiff I can tell why the place is called “Cigar City,” as people all around me are smoking hand-rolled stogies. I look around and, for the first time on my trip, feel as if I’m in a place where I could see myself living.

The East

Maybe no part of the state takes the brunt of Florida-directed abuse quite like Orlando and its surroundings. A woman sitting next to me at Stardust Video and Cafe, a coffee shop/video store/library, laughs and states the obvious: “I blame Mickey Mouse.” Yes, living in and around the center of tourist hell is, as a number of locals told me, strange. Yet Orlando and its surrounding area, especially the city of Winter Park, can surprise you.

Take Wally’s on Mills Avenue in Orlando, a bar inside a liquor store that proudly states on its website: “It was here before Disney, it was here when Orlando was nothing more than a stop on your way from one coast to the other.” It’s slow when I’m in there, and I have to drive back to my hotel, so I have my drink and leave. I go to my hotel room and do something I haven’t done since high school: I pick up a copy of Jack Kerouac’s “The Dharma Bums.

Kerouac has Florida connections. He died in 1969 at 47 in St. Petersburg, but a decade earlier, in a little blue house, right before Walt Disney came scouting land for another theme park, Kerouac wrote “The Dharma Bums” in Orlando. I drive past the unsuspecting little house on Clouser Avenue and wonder what led Kerouac to this place. It’s a town that, at the time, didn’t really offer up much of anything. I can’t help but think that maybe if you spend enough time in Florida, something inspires you. Maybe that was my problem all along: All I ever wanted to do was leave.

The South

To get to Palm Beach, you can take either Interstate 95 or Florida’s Turnpike. There isn’t much to look at along either route, and as my phone’s connection drops out, I find myself fiddling with the radio. I hear preachers, then Spanish, then Haitian Creole, and more preachers as I inch closer toward Palm Beach, a stop I’ll be skipping because the president is in town, playing golf at his winter White House.

I head down 95 until I hit Boca Raton, which has some of the most expensive gated communities and homes in the country. My grandma moved to an underdeveloped part of the city in the late 1980s, then watched the strawberry fields she could see from her window uprooted to make room for more buildings. “Boca’s Boca” is all she would say.

Like countless others, my grandparents made their way down there, first as wintertime visitors, then as full-time residents. Both of my grandfathers, who were so happy for a short time after they traded the weather and problems of the North for their new home and their new lives, died within a decade of making the move. That thought crosses my mind as I pump my gas and decide that Boca doesn’t hold anything for me.

Farther south down the highway, Miami, on the other hand, does have plenty I want to experience. For all of the misconceptions people have about Florida, Miami tends to escape scrutiny. Sure, it has long been pegged as the cocaine capital, largely thanks to movies and television shows, but it also has a special international flair.

Before I go to my hotel, I drive downtown, past the old Freedom Tower building. Constructed in 1925, it got its name in the 1960s as the place where Cubans fleeing Castro were taken to be processed and documented. Today it houses an art museum (closed until next spring). Nearby they are building the One Thousand Museum, designed by Zaha Hadid, the future crown jewel of the neighborhood. Miami is in the middle of another building boom, despite rising sea levels.

But life goes on. For now, there are always neon lights flashing and Pitbull songs playing somewhere. Both, in fact, are happening as I sit down at the poolside bar of the retro-kitsch Vagabond Hotel in the MiMo district. In my first hour at the bar, I also hear Spanish, Arabic, French and plenty of Long Island accents, and talk with a young Japanese guy who tells me he moved to Miami because he’s a graffiti artist.

The Wynwood neighborhood was desolate when I stayed in Miami in my early 20s. Now it’s covered in art, spray-painted on the sides of galleries, restaurants and boutiques. I feel particularly at home at Gramps, with its pinball machines, large outdoor space and D.J.s spinning a blend of West African funk and Italo-disco.

The Keys

Key Largo was the setting for and the name of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall’s last film together. Bogey’s ghost retired here, perhaps drinking a beer at the Caribbean Club, the “poor man’s retreat” that opened in 1938 and was used as a location for the film. At midmorning, it’s a mix of bikers, leather-skinned fishermen and two guys who look as if they’re staying at the Yacht Club, their Vineyard Vines shirts a match for their pink skin.

Driving through the Keys, I pass island after island, as well as the famous Seven Mile Bridge. The ghostly Bahia Honda Rail Bridge comes into view in the distance. I think of the Keys travel book that Joy Williams wrote. She is best known for her fiction, but I picked up her 1987 history and guidebook and it set up my last leg of the trip nicely. Her words about the abandoned structure echo in my head — “it is said that Henry Flagler loved concrete with a passion,” and that the sheer size of the project proved too daunting for his young engineer at the turn of the century who “literally worked himself to death on the project,” a year into construction.

I make it to Key West and pull up to a bungalow. I’m greeted by Mark Straiton, whom I know as Cowboy Mark, a guy I met years ago somewhere on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He is an old friend, someone I made sure was the last person I’d get to spend time with on my trip.

We were both younger and drunker when we first met. He wasn’t an actual cowboy, as far as I knew (he is from Connecticut); that’s just always been his name. Mark’s New York City life saw him D.J.ing in bars that aren’t around anymore. He looks like a hoodlum from the 1950s, all tattooed up, dressed head to toe in vintage denim. After so many nights closing down bars, Mark made his way down to Key West. Like so many before and after him, he stayed.

“I told my boss I wanted a full-time job and he told me I had to live here a year first,” he tells me as we walk, beers in hand, past police officers who pay us no mind, by Books & Books, an independent store the author Judy Blume opened in 2016, and a vendor selling a dozen different Jimmy Buffett T-shirts.

Mark waves at or shakes hands with about a dozen people. It feels as if I’m in the middle of a sitcom, all of these sun-kissed Floridians who escaped from somewhere else, only to end up in Key West. Some just wanted to live near the ocean; others, as Mark explains, were leaving behind addictions and bad relationships. Everybody here knows your story.

As Mark tells it, there are two kinds of Key West locals: the ones who will be gone in a few months, and the ones who end up there thinking they will be in that first group but get really comfortable and don’t leave. We stop into Mary Ellen’s, a neighborhood sports bar with a beautiful collection of vintage beer cans mounted on the wall like a museum exhibit and a menu that boasts the “best fries in town,” which I can’t really argue with.

It’s about 1 in the afternoon, and we’re joined by about five other people at the bar. When I ask them if they’ve been to my main destination, the Ernest Hemingway House, one of them takes a drag from her vape pen and tells me her boyfriend made her go — she was hesitant but was charmed by the cats.

After a visit to the cats at Hemingway’s house, where the 20-plus six-toed animals are truly just as much an attraction as the Nobel Prize winner’s home itself, we end up walking toward the water, to the beloved Chart Room, a dark and dirty little spot where Mark tells me the “real locals” hang out. We walk up, and it’s not open. “I honestly didn’t think this place was ever closed,” he says. “I don’t know where the regulars would go.”

We end up getting a beer at a place packed with tourists, and before I say goodbye to Mark, I consider asking him if he ever thinks he’s coming back to New York City, but I don’t. I miss him and our weird nights, but I also realize he seems as if he has found some peace, he’s happier. Why would he want to leave?

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W.H.O. Elects Ethiopia’s Tedros as First Director General From Africa

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia was voted director general of the World Health Organization on Tuesday, the first African ever to head the agency.

The election was the first conducted by the W.H.O. under more open and democratic rules. After nearly two years of public campaigning, originally by six candidates, the voting took place in a closed-door session in which the health ministers of 186 countries cast their ballots in secret.

Dr. Tedros — a malaria expert who campaigned under his first name — ultimately beat Dr. David Nabarro of Britain after three voting rounds. The final tally was 133 votes to 50, with three abstaining or not voting. Dr. Sania Nishtar, a Pakistani cardiologist and expert in noncommunicable diseases, was eliminated after receiving 38 votes in the first round.

Dr. Tedros, 52, replaces Dr. Margaret Chan of China, who has held the post for a decade.

He is best known for having drastically cut deaths from malaria, AIDS, tuberculosis and neonatal problems when he was Ethiopia’s health minister. He trained 40,000 female health workers, hired outbreak investigators, improved the national laboratory, organized an ambulance system and oversaw a tenfold increase in medical school graduates.

He promised as the head of W.H.O. to pursue health insurance in even the poorest nations, strengthen emergency responses and make the agency more accountable and transparent.

He backs greater access to birth control and preventive care for women and is committed to having more gender and ethnic diversity in the agency. He also has promised to fight the health effects of climate change.

Dr. Nabarro, 67, has led the campaigns of various United Nations agencies against avian and swine flu, cholera, Ebola, malaria, hunger and other crises.

“It’s a joy, the continent is celebrating at last,” said Janine Barde, a Rwandan delegate, flashing a victory sign to another African representative. “I feel stakeholders are now in charge, not bureaucrats.”

The race, which began in 2015, turned bitter in recent weeks as an adviser to Dr. Nabarro accused Dr. Tedros of having covered up repeated outbreaks of cholera in Ethiopia, which may have delayed the international response and, more recently, the use of a cholera vaccine there.

Dr. Tedros was also accused of complicity in his country’s dismal human rights record, which includes massacring protesters and jailing and torturing journalists and political opponents.

Dozens of Ethiopians opposed to his candidacy demonstrated outside the Palace of Nations in Geneva, where the vote took place, and one person who interrupted the proceedings was escorted out.

Dr. Tedros is from the Tigray tribe, which holds political power in Ethiopia; many protesters are from the rival Amhara and Oromo tribes.

Although the W.H.O. directorship is the pre-eminent health policy post in the world — one in which bold leadership can turn the tide against epidemics — the organization itself is in peril.

The agency was accused of fumbling the response to the 2014 Ebola epidemic, and it is seriously underfinanced.

Dues from member countries make up less than third of its $2.2 billion budget. The rest comes from large donors, including the United States, Britain, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary International and Norway.

Some of that money comes with strings attached, directing the organization to pursue specific projects, like polio eradication.

The United States is its largest donor. But President Trump has shown little interest in the United Nations and has strongly suggested that his administration will push for funding cuts.

Dr. Tom Price, the secretary of health and human services, issued a statement congratulating Dr. Tedros. He did not threaten any cuts, but focused heavily on the need for change at the W.H.O., saying all members “must commit to further enhancing the transparency and accountability” of the agency.

Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, who until recently led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and who came to Dr. Tedros’s defense last week in a letter to The New York Times, called him “an excellent choice.”

In Ethiopia, Dr. Frieden said an email, Dr. Tedros “rapidly reformed a sclerotic bureaucracy and implemented effective community-based services.”

“Precisely the same thing is needed to make W.H.O. effective,” he added.

The W.H.O. is accused of fostering a culture in which bureaucrats live comfortably on tax-free United Nations salaries in Switzerland while making constant appeals for money to fight epidemics.

On Sunday, The Associated Press released a scathing report, based on internal W.H.O. documents, on its travel spending.

The report said the $200 million the agency spent on travel each year was more than it devoted to AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Staff members, it said, routinely broke internal rules against flying business class and staying in luxury hotels.

Because donors are skeptical, many tasks that might naturally belong to the W.H.O. have been shifted to other agencies.

For example, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is now the main conduit for fighting those diseases and raises about $5 billion a year. The Seattle-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which is funded by the Gates foundation, produces independent analyses of global death and disease rates.

Nonetheless, the W.H.O. remains essential during crises. Only it can declare a global public health emergency, which tends to stir member states to action.

And when hundreds of doctors and nurses, sometimes in military uniforms, must enter a small country to help defeat an outbreak — as happened during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014 — the W.H.O. provides the diplomatic cover necessary for those doctors to be seen by locals as medical peacekeepers, rather than invaders.

The agency also oversees cooperation among national laboratories, turning them into a vast surveillance network for fast-moving diseases like avian flu. It also sets global medical standards needed by poor countries, such as declaring which inexpensive generic drugs are safe and what are the best treatments for emerging diseases.

Lawrence O. Gostin, a professor of law and public health at Georgetown University Law School and the informal adviser to Dr. Nabarro’s campaign who accused Dr. Tedros of covering up cholera outbreaks, said he “really wanted him to succeed.”

He also hoped Dr. Tedros would “make a clear statement of the importance of human rights and rapid reporting of outbreaks.”

Amir Attaran, a University of Ottawa expert on law and global health, called Dr. Tedros “a good choice because he was very diligent on malaria,” but argued that geopolitics played a greater role than personalities in the election.

“Choosing an African to head W.H.O. was past time,” he said. “And Britain is in the doghouse for choosing Brexit and undermining global stability — it’s their Guantánamo, their Tiananmen.”

Correction: May 23, 2017

An earlier version of this article misspelled the surname of the new director general. He is Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, not Gheybreysus.

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On Pro Basketball: Spurs’ Manu Ginobili Gets Quite a Send-Off, but Will He Retire?

On Pro Basketball


SAN ANTONIO — The home crowd was chanting his name in the closing minutes on Monday night, so Manu Ginobili looked up from his seat on the bench and gave a little wave. The fans responded with a roar, a collective expression of appreciation, nostalgia and grief. Patty Mills, Ginobili’s teammate on the San Antonio Spurs, turned to him.

“I don’t know why these guys are giving you a standing ovation,” Mills recalled telling Ginobili. “He said, ‘Yeah, I’m coming back for another three years.’”

In truth, Ginobili will weigh retirement in the coming weeks after a season that felt, in so many ways, incomplete. Ravaged by injuries, the Spurs were robbed of a real chance to push the Golden State Warriors in the N.B.A.’s Western Conference finals. Ginobili, an old hand at postseason tussles, compared it to going “to war with a bat.” The disparity in talent was too great.

“You can swing, swing, swing, and maybe you’ll hit somebody,” said Ginobili, 39, “but it isn’t fair. They were so much better than us, so much stronger.”

The Warriors completed a four-game sweep of the Spurs on Monday with a 129-115 victory, advancing to their third consecutive N.B.A. finals. It was drama-free basketball. The Spurs never had a chance.

San Antonio’s roster was in such dire shape that Bryn Forbes, a first-year guard, was sent onto the court in the first quarter. Forbes, a regular with the Austin Spurs of the N.B.A. Development League, played sparingly for San Antonio this season. But there he was, supplying big minutes in a closeout game of the conference finals.

Kawhi Leonard, who missed the final three games of the series with a sprained left ankle, looked on from behind the bench with the forlorn expression of an undertaker. The Spurs also went the final weeks of the playoffs without Tony Parker, who went down in the conference semifinals with a ruptured quadriceps tendon.

On top of all that, LaMarcus Aldridge had a series to forget. A five-time All-Star, he settled for a steady diet of fall-away jumpers against the Warriors. The misses piled up. On Monday, he had another meek game, finishing with 8 points and 7 rebounds while shooting 4 for 11 from the field. He looked lost without the playmaking of Parker.

“A lot of unfortunate things happened,” Aldridge said. “We still tried to compete.”

In other words, the Spurs could see the sad end coming days ago. Everyone could. It was all so unavoidable. But it was also somehow unbecoming for a team synonymous with excellence. The Spurs, back when they were whole, had the second-best record in the league during the regular season. They deserved better than to have the Warriors turn them into roadkill.

“We had a tough break when you lose your point guard and your main scorer,” Ginobili said. “We did our best.”

Ginobili, of course, has been one of the Spurs’ standard-bearers for 15 seasons. He is a four-time N.B.A. champion. He influenced a generation of shooting guards with his versatility. And he helped change the way teams view the role of reserves thanks to his willingness to come off the bench.

“I’m sure other coaches have used it,” Mike Brown, the acting coach of the Warriors, said. “You can always look back and say, ‘Hey, remember that guy Manu Ginobili? He graciously did it, and they won umpteen titles because of it.’ That just embodies who that guy is.”

In the absence of Parker (and later Leonard), Coach Gregg Popovich leaned on Ginobili in the playoffs. He delivered against the Houston Rockets in the conference semifinals, with a game-saving block of James Harden. Against the Warriors, Ginobili summoned some of his old magic — 17 points in Game 1, 21 points in Game 3 — but the Spurs had lost too many bodies by then.

“I felt more energetic, more needed, more useful to the team,” Ginobili said. “I do feel like I can still play.”

On Monday, Popovich put Ginobili in the starting lineup. He scored the game’s first points with a floater along the baseline, and the crowd roared. He finished with 15 points in 32 minutes.

“I mean, this is a Hall of Fame player who allowed me to bring him off the bench for — I can’t even remember now — the last decade or something because it would make us a better team over all,” Popovich said. “He deserved to have that night of respect so that he really feels that we appreciate everything he’s done over the years.”

Popovich went so far as to compare Ginobili to the likes of Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.

“He’s got the same attitude and plays with that same fire,” Popovich said. “He always has.”

Ginobili said he wanted some distance before he made a decision about his future, and Popovich said he would give him the space to make that determination on his own. Ginobili said he appreciated how the crowd treated him during Monday’s game. He also said he was taken aback.

“It felt like they wanted me to retire, like they were giving me sort of a celebration night,” he said. “Whatever I decide to do, I’ll be a happy camper. I have to choose between two wonderful options. One is to keep playing in this league at this age, enjoying every day and playing the sport I love. The other one is to stay at home, be a dad, travel more and enjoy my whole family.”

If this was the end for Ginobili, remember his relentless drive and his scoring bursts. Remember the championship runs and the late-game dramatics. And remember Monday, too, if only for the way he competed when none of it mattered.

It still mattered to him.

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Google’s AlphaGo Defeats Chinese Go Master in Win for A.I.

HONG KONG — It isn’t looking good for humanity.

The world’s best player of what might be humankind’s most complicated board game was defeated on Tuesday by a Google computer program. Adding insult to potentially deep existential injury, he was defeated at Go — a game that claims centuries of play by humans — in China, where the game was invented.

The human contender, a 19-year-old Chinese national named Ke Jie, and the computer are only a third of the way through their three-game match this week. And the contest does little to prove that software can mollify an angry co-worker, write a decent poem, raise a well-adjusted child or perform any number of distinctly human tasks.

But the victory by software called AlphaGo showed yet another way that computers could be developed to perform better than humans in highly complex tasks, and it offered a glimpse of the promise of new technologies that mimic the way the brain functions. AlphaGo’s success comes at a time when researchers are exploring the potential of artificial intelligence to do everything from drive cars to draft legal documents — a trend that has some serious thinkers pondering what to do when computers routinely replace humans in the workplace.

Last year, it was still quite humanlike when it played,” Mr. Ke said after the game. “But this year, it became like a god of Go.”

Perhaps just as notably, the victory took place in China, a rising power in the field of artificial intelligence that is increasingly seen as a rival to the United States. Chinese officials perhaps unwittingly demonstrated their conflicted feelings at the victory by software backed by a company from the United States, as they cut off live streams of the contest within the mainland even as the official news media promoted the promise of artificial intelligence.

AlphaGo — which was developed by DeepMind, the artificial intelligence arm of Google’s parent, Alphabet Incorporated — has already pushed assumptions about just how creative a computer program can be. Since last year, when it defeated a highly ranked South Korean player at Go, it changed the way the top masters played the game. Players have praised the technology’s ability to make unorthodox moves and challenge assumptions core to a game that draws on thousands of years of tradition.

In the first game, Mr. Ke made several moves that commentators said were reminiscent of AlphaGo’s own style. Wearing a blue tie and thick-framed black glasses, the boyish Mr. Ke kept things close in the early going. By AlphaGo’s own assessment, it did not have a big statistical advantage until after the 50th move, according to a DeepMind co-founder, Demis Hassabis.

Mr. Ke, who smiled and shook his head as AlphaGo finished out the game, said afterward that his was a “bitter smile.” After he finishes this week’s match, he said, he would focus more on playing against human opponents, noting that the gap between humans and computers was becoming too great. He would treat the software more as a teacher, he said, to get inspiration and new ideas about moves.

“AlphaGo is improving too fast,” he said in a news conference after the game. “AlphaGo is like a different player this year compared to last year.”

Go, in which two players vie for control of a board using black and white pieces called stones, is considered complex because of the sheer number of possible moves. Even supercomputers cannot simply calculate all possible moves, presenting a big challenge for AlphaGo’s creators.

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AlphaGo instead relies on new techniques that help it learn from experience playing a large number of games. This time, Mr. Hassabis said, a new approach allowed AlphaGo to learn more by playing games against itself. In the future, computer scientists hope to use similar techniques to do many things, including improving fundamental scientific research and diagnosing illnesses.

AlphaGo’s victory represents a marketing success for Google and Alphabet. The Mountain View, Calif., software company pulled out of mainland China seven years ago rather than submit to the country’s censorship requirements. But it has continued to express interest in the vast market, which has the world’s largest population of internet users.

Notably, the Go match took place in the city of Wuzhen, where the Chinese internet authorities hold an annual conference on cyberspace regulation.

China has been drawn to AlphaGo since its victory last year over a South Korean Go master, Lee Se-dol. Officials responsible for technology development in China responded quickly by creating new artificial-intelligence programs and making more funding available to researchers, according to Chinese computer science professors, marking a sort of Sputnik moment for the country.

“AlphaGo truly had a big impact” in China, said Wang Shengjin, a professor at the department of electronic engineering at Tsinghua University in Beijing. “Before, we would be discussing how to apply the technology, but it was hard to be clear exactly how to do it, so AlphaGo gave us a vivid example of that.”

Still, China showed some skittishness at game time. Despite huge interest, many Chinese became consternated when it became apparent there was no obvious live video of the event online. A site that follows Chinese censorship orders, China Digital Times, posted a translated notice from the government calling for all websites to block the broadcast.

“Anything that demonstrates that something special about China has turned out to be just another artificial intelligence problem that Google is better solving than any other company is additionally problematic,” said Clay Shirky, a professor at New York University Shanghai, “because it threatens the specialness of the culture.”

The Cyberspace Administration of China, the country’s main digital censor, did not respond to a request for comment.

While AlphaGo had already racked up an impressive record against humans over the past year, the match against Mr. Ke offered a final showdown. Like AlphaGo, Mr. Ke had beaten South Korea’s Mr. Lee in several recent major competitions.

After Mr. Lee’s loss, Mr. Ke had said publicly on Chinese social media that the program “can’t beat me.”

Mr. Ke’s tone changed earlier this year, after he lost three online speed games to the program. At that point, he said on Chinese social media that computers seemed to be showing that some of what humanity thought about the game was incorrect.

Mr. Ke will have two more chances to get the better of AlphaGo with games on Thursday and Saturday. Most experts do not give him much of a chance. But last year, his rival Mr. Lee surprised, winning one game against AlphaGo out of five after a brilliant and unconventional move stumped the software.

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Trump Budget Proposes Deep Cuts in Energy Innovation Programs

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s budget proposal for 2018 envisions a flurry of changes to domestic energy policy, reaping billions of dollars in one-time revenue from oil and gas resources while cutting research into future energy technologies that could pay long-term dividends.

Mr. Trump’s budget, released Tuesday, says it will raise about $36 billion over the next 10 years by selling off major American energy resources and infrastructure, opening up vast new areas of public land for oil and gas drilling, and redirecting state revenues from oil and gas royalties back to Washington.

At the same time, the budget would cut $3.1 billion from energy research programs at the Energy Department, an 18 percent reduction from last year’s spending. These programs are aimed at developing innovative technologies like better batteries for electric vehicles or carbon capture for coal and gas plants — all of which could one day help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat global warming.

Critics say these cuts could imperil American leadership in cutting-edge clean energy industries.

“It is incredibly shortsighted to slash funding for energy R&D and let other countries take the lead in developing new technologies and markets that are going to grow quickly in the years to come,” said Jason Bordoff, the director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University.

The cuts and program changes represent a modest portion of Mr. Trump’s $4.1 trillion budget. Nearly all of them would require approval from Congress, which appears highly unlikely. Still, the document lays down a detailed marker of the administration’s energy philosophy.

The budget would significantly scale back public financing for federal energy research. The Energy Department focuses on the next generation of energy technologies — from advanced nuclear reactors to algae biofuels — conducting basic research in its network of 17 national laboratories, and aiding private companies struggling to bring risky new technologies to market. Yet Mr. Trump’s proposal envisions sweeping cuts that would neuter most of the agency’s critical energy programs.

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The agency’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which has helped nudge down the cost of solar power, faces a 69 percent cut. The Office of Fossil Energy, which invests in methods for capturing carbon dioxide from coal plants and burying it underground, faces a 54 percent cut. The Office of Nuclear Energy, which is pursuing technology to help extend the life of the United States’ existing nuclear reactors, faces a 31 percent cut.

The Trump administration’s plan was heavily influenced by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that argues that the federal government should fund only very basic scientific research and get out of the business of helping companies commercialize new energy technologies.

Accordingly, Mr. Trump’s plan would provide no funds for initiatives like the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program, which in 2010 provided Tesla with a crucial $465 million loan six months before the electric car manufacturer went public.

In the natural resources sections of the budget, the administration proposes opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling, estimating that royalties and fees from exploring for fossil fuels in the protected area could generate $1.8 billion in new federal revenue by 2027. But drilling in the Arctic refuge is an intensely contentious proposal that has failed repeatedly in Congress.

Mr. Trump also proposes repealing part of a 2006 law that diverted about 37 percent of the revenues from oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico to Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama from the federal government.

The White House estimates that repealing the law and redirecting the state oil revenue back to Washington could yield $3.5 billion over 10 years. Those states, and the oil lobby, are expected to push back fiercely.

The budget also proposes selling off half of the oil in the federal government’s 700,000-barrel Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which was established after the oil crises of the 1970s to provide a cushion against unexpected shortages. Mr. Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, told reporters on Tuesday that it was “no longer necessary” to hold so much crude in reserve, thanks to the boom in domestic oil and gas drilling over the last decade.

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The administration estimates that selling the oil will generate a profit of $16.5 billion over 10 years. While the Energy Department has the authority to sell some oil in the reserve, such a major reduction would almost certainly need action from Congress, and the prospects of success for such a move are unclear.

“There are credible arguments that the optimal size of the S.P.R. should be smaller than it is,” Mr. Bordoff said. “But if we’re selling off a big chunk of a national security asset that we’ve held for 40 years, that should be rooted in a detailed analysis of the country’s energy needs, not short-term budget considerations.”

In the meantime, Congress will probably resist major changes to federal research spending. Last week, a group of six Republican senators, led by Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, wrote a letter to the White House warning against major reductions at the agency. “Federally funded research is imperative to ensuring we meet our energy, science and national security needs for generations to come,” they wrote.

Mr. Trump’s budget also proposes a drastic restructuring of the way electricity is bought and sold in Western states, which rely heavily on cheap hydroelectric power generated by government structures like the Hoover Dam in Nevada. Mr. Trump proposes selling off thousands of miles of government-owned transmission lines that move this electricity to homes across nearly 20 Western states, from Arizona to Wyoming, creating estimated revenue of about $10 billion over a decade.

Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington, the top Democrat on the Senate Energy Committee, said the plan had no chance.

“Selling government-owned transmission lines to the highest bidder will just have the effect of jacking up power rates, and no one in that region is going to be in favor of this,” she said.

The proposal would also restart the Nuclear Waste Fund fee program, which charges electricity users money to be funneled toward construction of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump in Nevada, with estimated revenues of about $3 billion over 10 years. But that money would be specifically earmarked for construction of the nuclear waste repository, which has been mired in delays and disputes for decades.

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