Morning Reads

Good Morning! Here’s your daily digest of news we’re following, compiled by’s John Light.

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Eyes on Paris –> Negotiators are meeting in Paris for the next two weeks to try to hammer out a climate deal. The goal is to keep global warming within 2 degrees Celsius — one that we’re still far from meeting, but are closer to, in terms of what countries say they’re willing to do, than we’ve been. Tim McDonnell reports for Mother Jones that, in his speech at the conference, Obama framed the meeting as a rebuke to terrorists, “an act of defiance that proves nothing will deter us from building the future we want for our children.” At The Washington Post, Chris Mooney digs into the science behind the 2 degree goal and asks, is it too late?

Protesters defy ban –> Around 10,000 linked arms Sunday in a human chain along the route that a march, cancelled in the wake of the Paris attack, would have taken. Police reportedly arrested more than 200 at separate demonstrations in Paris, and some activists were placed under house arrest, writes Lauren McCauley at Common Dreams. And around the world, protesters turned out for marches in the largest day of climate action ever. Via: Grist.

Meanwhile, back home –> Carl Hulse at the NYT reports that the House will vote this week on overturning Obama’s Clean Power Plan: “The legislation is unlikely to become law, but Republicans hope it shows the international climate negotiators that the nation is not united politically behind the president’s proposals.” Because of Republican opposition, any deal coming out of Paris can’t be too binding or else it will require a sure-to-fail vote in the Republican-controlled Senate, writes Jason Plautz for National Journal.

At a Paris press conference today, the AP reports, the president said, “Although the targets themselves may not have the force of treaties, the process, the procedures that ensure transparency and periodic reviews, that needs to be legally binding and that’s going to be critical in us having high ambitions and holding each other accountable.”

AND: A New York Times/CBS poll asked Americans “Do you think the United States should or should not join an international treaty requiring America to reduce emissions in an effort to fight global warming?” Two thirds said we should. According to a separate poll, nearly the same margin saw the problem as “serious.”

Now we know –> Former US Special Forces chief Mike Flynn said in an interview with Der Spiegel that the decision to invade Iraq was a “huge error,” leading to the creation of ISIS. He continued: “As brutal as Saddam Hussein was, it was a mistake to just eliminate him. The same is true for Moammar Gadhafi and for Libya, which is now a failed state. The historic lesson is that it was a strategic failure to go into Iraq. History will not be and should not be kind with that decision.”

More boots on that ground than we say –> “The US military denies any special operations forces involvement in combat on 11 September or in three other other incidents listed by the peshmerga. Yet in interviews with the Guardian, a dozen Kurdish fighters and commanders said that US special forces troops have been participating in operations against Isis for months,” Fazel Hawram, Shalaw Mohammad and David Smith report. “A western volunteer with the peshmerga, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘The joke going around here is there are no boots on the ground because they’re all wearing sneakers.'”

ALSO: Some Kurds have set up a secular, feminist democracy in Northern Syria. This longread by Wes Enzinna says that it seems to be working well.

Big step for homelessness advocates –> The Department of Justice is arguing that the homeless have the constitutional right to sleep outside: “Sleeping is a life-sustaining activity — i.e., it must occur at some time in some place. If a person literally has nowhere else to go, then enforcement of the anti-camping ordinance against that person criminalizes her for being homeless.” Emily Badger reports for The Washington Post.

How the governor stole Christmas –> Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has pushed a requirement that food stamp recipients have a job or search for one. The rule has forced tens of thousands off food stamps and is threatening to bankrupt food pantries, writes Charlie Pierce at Esquire.

Calling it like it is –> The leading newspaper in House Science Committee chair Lamar Smith’s hometown is calling the congressman out for his attempts to bully climate scientists. “His use of cumbersome, widespread records requests; threats of criminal charges if data isn’t released; allegations of political manipulation of data without any evidence; and attacks against well-respected scientists, such as Kathryn Sullivan, a former astronaut who now heads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, are Orwellian,” the editorial board at the San Antonio Express-News writes.

Still have questions about the Paris summit? –> Nature has an explainer in comic-book form.

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