May 9, 2019

UN chief seeks to jolt climate ambition with warning of "catastrophe"

UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Photo: Parker Song - Pool/Getty Images

UNs Secretary-General António Guterres is trying to rev up global efforts to achieve climate goals that are slipping out of reach.

Driving the news: In a new interview with AP, he warns of a "catastrophic situation for the whole world" as he prepares to tour Pacific islands facing existential threats from rising seas.

The big picture: Guterres offers big goals ahead of the climate summit he's convening in September, including no new coal-fired power plants built after 2020 and ending fossil fuel subsidies.

  • He's not giving up on achieving net-zero global emissions by 2050 (that is, a mix of emissions cuts and systems that remove atmospheric CO2).

Between the lines: The coal target won't happen, and subsidies are a long-term project. They totaled over $300 billion in 2017 (and that doesn't even count production subsidies).

  • But by offering aggressive goals, it appears Guterres wants to reset the conversation around ambition to limit temperature rise to 1.5⁰C.
  • That Hail Mary target would require extraordinarily sharp cuts in years and decades ahead, yet emissions are still rising.

The bottom line: "It is achievable, but it needs a transformational approach," he tells AP, citing huge shifts needed in power, transport, industry, and agriculture.

Go deeper: UN details massive changes needed to slow global warming

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Scoop: New White House personnel chief tells Cabinet liaisons to target Never Trumpers

McEntee, shown with White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and White House senior adviser Stephen Miller, walks on the South Lawn of the White House Jan. 9. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Johnny McEntee called in White House liaisons from cabinet agencies for an introductory meeting Thursday, in which he asked them to identify political appointees across the U.S. government who are believed to be anti-Trump, three sources familiar with the meeting tell Axios.

Behind the scenes: McEntee, a 29-year-old former body man to Trump who was fired in 2018 by then-Chief of Staff John Kelly but recently rehired — and promoted to head the presidential personnel office — foreshadowed sweeping personnel changes across government.

How art can help us understand AI

Photo: Ina Fried/Axios

Activists and journalists have been telling us for years that we are handing too much of our human autonomy over to machines and algorithms. Now artists have a showcase in the heart of Silicon Valley to highlight concerns around facial recognition, algorithmic bias and automation.

Why it matters: Art and technology have been partners for millennia, as Steve Jobs liked to remind us. But the opening of "Uncanny Valley: Being Human in the Age of AI" tomorrow at the de Young Museum in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park puts art in the role of technology's questioner, challenger — and sometimes prosecutor.

The Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury fight is the rematch of the century

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The weekend's biggest sporting event is Wilder-Fury II, which despite its name is not an action movie sequel starring Jean-Claude Van Damme but, rather, a boxing match starring arguably the two best heavyweights in the world.

The backdrop: In their first meeting in December 2018, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury put on a memorable show at Staples Center, with Fury surviving a brutal right hand in the 12th round to earn a split-decision draw.

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