Nov 24, 2018

Catastrophic climate scenarios come true

Firefighter Jose Corona sprays water as flames from the Camp Fire consume a home in Magalia, Calif., this month. (Noah Berger/AP)

In three increasingly strident reports — two in the past two months — scientists reach the dire, unified conclusion that global warming is already costing lives and inflicting a mounting economic toll.

Why it matters: It will take unprecedented global action to avert potentially catastrophic scenarios in many of our lifetimes.

The latest report, with the release buried by the Trump administration on Black Friday, warns under the present course of emissions, "It is very likely that some physical and ecological impacts will be irreversible for thousands of years, while others will be permanent." 

The report, written by scientists at 13 federal agencies and extensively peer reviewed, concludes that the impact of global warming is outpacing previous projections.

The takeaway: The pace and extent of economic growth will be increasingly curtailed by a sweltering, flooded and more hostile planet. 

  • Call it Mother Nature's recession, if you will, except it will be an extended downturn.
  • The only way to avoid that would be significant steps to adapt to global warming while sharply curtailing emissions — which isn't the course we're on now.

The Black Friday climate report, formally known as the National Climate Assessment, follows a landmark U.N. science report in October, and Volume I of yesterday's report, published a year ago.

The bottom line: The decisions made in the next few years will set the course of the planet's climate far into the future.

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Pelosi warns U.S. allies against working with China's Huawei

Nancy Pelosi on Feb. 16. Photo: Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday cautioned U.S. allies against allowing Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to develop their 5G networks, arguing at the Munich Security Conference that doing so is akin to “choosing autocracy over democracy," CNBC reports.

Why it matters: Pelosi's hawkish stance marks a rare area of agreement with the Trump administration, which believes Huawei is a national security threat because the Chinese government may be capable of accessing its equipment for espionage.

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Judge sets "scheduling" conference call ahead of Roger Stone sentencing

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has requested a Feb. 18 "scheduling" conference call in the Roger Stone case, two days before the former Trump associate is set to be sentenced.

Why it matters: Stone's defense team on Friday filed a sealed motion for a new trial — the second time they've done so — amid allegations of juror bias and a growing controversy over Attorney General Bill Barr's intervention in the case.

Biden says Bloomberg's money can't "erase" his record

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Former Vice President Joe Biden said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that Michael Bloomberg's vast fortune cannot "erase" his record, and that scrutiny of Bloomberg's positions on things like race and policing will ramp up now that he's in the national spotlight.

Why it matters: Biden's polling free fall in the wake of poor performances in Iowa and New Hampshire has coincided with a surge for Bloomberg, who appeals to a similar moderate bloc of the Democratic Party. The billionaire's limitless spending capacity poses an especially stark threat to Biden, who has struggled with fundraising.