Paris climate agreement closer to reality –> In order for the global pact to become official, 55 nations, representing at least 55 percent of the world’s fossil fuel emissions, need to formally join. China and the US, respectively the world’s largest emitter and the world’s largest emitter per capita, already have done so, and on Wednesday 31 more countries, including Brazil, formally signed at the UN. “The pledges mean that a total of 60 countries, representing 47.7 percent of global emissions, have now formally joined the Paris agreement,” Oliver Milman reports for The Guardian.
“I’m ever more confident that the Paris agreement will enter into force this year,” United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said yesterday. “I appeal to all leaders to accelerate domestic arrangements to join this year. What once seemed impossible now seems inevitable. When this year ends, I hope we can all look back with pride knowing that we seized the opportunity to protect our common home.”
But don’t get comfortable: The agreement, once in force, is still not “Trump proof,” John Upton writes for Climate Central: “The vulnerability of the climate pact shows efforts to curb warming’s impacts remain beholden to the whims of elections and personalities. More than a year of campaigning has shown there are few personalities in politics larger and less predictable than Trump’s. As president, Trump couldn’t ‘cancel’ the Paris agreement, but he would have at least three options for walking America away from it.”
Good for business –> Kenneth P. Vogel and Isaac Arnsdorf for Politico: “Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has paid his family’s businesses more than $8.2 million, according to a Politico analysis of campaign finance filings, which reveals an integrated business and political operation without precedent in national politics. The GOP presidential nominee’s campaign has paid his various businesses for services including rent for his campaign offices ($1.3 million), food and facilities for events and meetings ($544,000) and payroll for Trump corporate staffers ($333,000) who helped with everything from his traveling security to his wife’s convention speech.”
State of emergency in Charlotte –> Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Lindsey Bever and William Wan report for The Washington Post from Charlotte, North Carolina: “After a second night of violent demonstrations here that left one man clinging to life and several businesses damaged, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency just before midnight Wednesday and sent the National Guard and state troopers to assist local police. A march of a few hundred people turned chaotic after dusk, after protesters attempted to follow police in riot gear into the lobby of an uptown hotel. Officers used tear gas, and then a reporter heard a gunshot and saw a man lying in the street near the hotel entrance. The man, who was not identified, was taken to a hospital with injuries that medics said were ‘life-threatening.'”
Kerry rips Russia –> At the UN, the secretary of state went after his Russian counterpart for his country’s attack on an aid convoy headed for Aleppo, Syria, squandering the country’s short-lived ceasefire. “How can people go sit at a table with a regime that bombs hospitals and drops chlorine gas again and again and again and again and again and acts with impunity?” Kerry asked. “You’re supposed to sit there and have happy talk in Geneva while the regime drops bombs?” (The Russians deny that it was their planes that attacked the convoy; the US says it has proof that it was. It also should be noted that a mistaken US attack that killed 60 Assad regime soldiers also played a role in ending the ceasefire.)
More on offshore tax havens –> A new document leak to the International Center for Investigative Journalism (ICIJ) reveals the names of more high-level European officials who hide assets in offshore shell companies, including some who, in their role as diplomats, act as advocates for the people and allege to be taking on corporations. “Today ICIJ, Süddeutsche Zeitung and other media partners are making this information available to the public,” the center announced. “This creates, for the first time, a free, online and publicly-searchable database of offshore companies set up in the Bahamas. This information has been combined with data from the Panama Papers and other leaked offshore documents to add additional heft to one of the largest public databases of offshore entities in history.”
Coal is not dead yet –> It’s rare that a company risks building a new coal mine anymore. Government efforts to address climate change, the natural gas boom and the plummeting price of renewable energy have made it hard to turn a profit on coal. But a few mining projects are moving forward, with coal executives playing the long game. Melissa Cronin reports for Grist on one that would threaten an Alaskan Native American tribe’s livelihood: “The $700 million project, commonly called the Chuitna mine, currently masquerades under the guise of a tiny Alaskan coal company called PacRim. If the project goes forward, it would all but obliterate Tyonek tribe’s fishing and hunting grounds.”
Dissing Wells Fargo is very popular –> Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s harsh words for the bank’s CEO earlier this week have generated the rare viral video for C-SPAN.
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