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Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty
In recent decades, climate change has exacerbated civil unrest, led to war, and put migrants on the road out of their countries, according to the National Climate Assessment released last week.
Why it matters: Until now, most climate assessments have focused on the threat to human lifestyles — to where and how we live. But the recent cycle of catastrophic fire, drought and floods, combined with the spread of extremist politics, suggests a new scale of danger to the developed and developing world.
The big picture: The 1,656-page volume, released by the Trump administration although disavowed today by the president himself, says that extreme weather can trigger a cascade of crises, culminating in conflict, including revolution.
One danger: Some 13 million Americans — equivalent to the combined population of New York and Los Angeles — could be forced to migrate from where they live because of a forecast sea-level rise of 6 feet by 2100, the report says.
The report cites a history of examples:
As we have written earlier, migration has been a key factor in the shakeup of politics around the world. In Europe, it has resulted in the fall of governments, including most recently the retirement of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Opposition to migration is a pillar of Trump's politics.
The bottom line: The report says, "Whether migration in response to climate change will generally cause or exacerbate violent conflict is still uncertain." However, extreme weather and migration have occurred hand in hand around the world:
Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty
A lot of people have forecast an electric car revolution. But there is only a single data point showing they may be right — sales at Elon Musk's Tesla Motors. In September, Tesla was the fourth-biggest seller in the U.S. luxury car market — ahead of Audi. No other electric came close.
Much of that success lies with the mainstream-priced Tesla Model 3, which Musk has spent the year scaling up to something approaching mass-market numbers.
"Essentially, the company was bleeding money like crazy," Musk said. "And just if we didn't solve these problems in a very short period time, we would die. And it was extremely difficult to solve them."
Why it matters: Musk’s admission shows just how dire conditions became at a company that is synonymous with him, and that many regard as the key to any electric car revolution.
Is Musk exaggerating? We can't know. But his description of a near-death experience gibes with the talk all year among short-sellers and others on Wall Street, who were sure Musk was headed to bankruptcy.
Instead, a month ago, Tesla caught the critics off balance with a third-quarter profit. Its share price surged. Today too — even after the news of his disclosure to "Axios on HBO" — Tesla's shares closed up more than 6%.
Solemn Santa at the mall. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty
Malls have a certain romance during the weeks before Christmas: Sparkling green and red ornaments hang from ceilings and Mariah Carey chart toppers ring from speakers, while children line up to take pictures with Santa Claus.
Axios' Erica Pandey writes: While brick-and-mortar continues to dominate shopping numbers, the trend is decidedly online — foot traffic was down this year, reports CNBC. So to fend off Amazon, traditional retailers are surrendering at least in part to the inevitable — putting their in-store deals online.
By the numbers:
But, but, but: Smaller stores will find it difficult to compete with Amazon on speed and price. The tech giant is offering free shipping all holiday season, regardless of Prime membership.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Second-tier cities with first-rate job figures (Shayndi Raice — WSJ)
D.C. braces for affordable housing crunch (Kim Hart — Axios)
Iran's web of oil smuggling (Henry Foy, Nastassia Astrasheuskaya, David Sheppard — FT)
China's complete surveillance and social plan (Claire Che, David Ramli, Dandan Li — Bloomberg)
Meteorite death 3,700 years ago (Bruce Bower — RealClearScience)
Not driving: Dong Mingzhu, chairwoman of Gree Electric. Photo: VCG/Getty
The face of Dong Mingzhu, the high-profile chairwoman of Chinese appliance-maker Gree Electric, is everywhere in her country — on TV, in conferences and in outdoor ads. Last week, that ubiquity flustered an artificial intelligence system — a surveillance camera that thought it had caught Dong red-handed for running a red light.
What really happened: Last Wednesday, in the northeastern city of Ningbo, a facial recognition system detected Dong in a traffic violation. Only, it turned out not to be the live, breathing Dong, but an image of her plastered to the side of a bus, writes Tang Ziyi for Caixin Global.
The bottom line: "The police said they have upgraded their tech to avoid issues like this in the future," Tang writes.