Climate change threatens national security
The Biden administration released several reports about the risk of climate change to national security, laying out in stark terms the ways in which the warming world is beginning to significantly challenge stability worldwide, through developments such as worsening international conflict and increased dislocation and migration as people flee climate-fueled instability.
The release of the documents is the first time that the nation’s security agencies have collectively communicated the climate risks they face. President Biden will soon attend a major U.N. climate conference in Glasgow known as COP26.
The national security warnings came on the same day that top financial regulators for the first time flagged climate change as “an emerging threat” to the American economy. More frequent and destructive natural disasters are resulting in property damage, lost income and business disruptions that threaten to change the way real estate and other assets are valued.
Examples: Climate change could work on numerous levels to sap the strength of a nation. Countries like Iraq and Algeria could be hit by lost revenue from fossil fuels, even as their region faces worsening heat and drought. Food shortages could in turn lead to unrest, along with fights between countries over water.
Background: The notion that climate change is a national security threat isn’t new — the Obama administration said as much and began pushing the Pentagon to consider climate risks. But taken together, the reports signal a new stage in U.S. policy, one that places climate change at the center of the country’s security planning.
Donald Trump’s new social media venture
Donald Trump announced yesterday that he had lined up the investment money to create his own publicly traded media company, an attempt to reinsert himself into the public online conversation from which he has largely been absent since Twitter and Facebook banned him after the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
If completed, the deal could give the new Trump company, called Trump Media and Technology, access to nearly $300 million in spending money. Trump’s yet-to-be-launched social network app is called Truth Social. Within hours of its announcement, hackers claimed to have created fake accounts on an unreleased test version in the names of Trump and others.
The former president has been able to raise the money thanks to one of Wall Street’s hottest fads — special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs. The reverse of initial public offerings, SPACs go public first and raise money from investors with the goal of finding a private company to merge with.
Details: Trump’s new company — incorporated in Delaware in February with little fanfare, and with no revenue or tested business plan — reached a deal to merge with a SPAC called Digital World Acquisition on Wednesday. Some of its investors had not known they would be financially backing his latest company.
England’s gamble on virus restrictions
Four months ago, England started a grand epidemiological experiment, lifting virtually all coronavirus restrictions at once, even in the face of a high daily rate of infections. Its leaders justified the approach on the grounds that the country’s rapid rollout of vaccines had weakened the link between infection and serious illness.
Now, with cases, hospital admissions and deaths all rising again, the effect of vaccines beginning to wear off and winter looming, the strategy of learning to live with the virus is coming under its stiffest test yet.
New cases exceeded 50,000 on Thursday, an 18 percent increase over the average number in the past week and the second time cases had broken that psychological barrier since July. The number of people admitted to hospitals rose 15.4 percent over the same period, reaching 959, while 115 people died of Covid-19, an increase of almost 11 percent.
A dog on TikTok serves as a kind of horoscope.
Every day, millions of people across the internet check in on Noodle, a 13-year-old pug, to see what kind of day they will have. A “bones day,” when Noodle rises, is a day to celebrate. And a “no bones day,” when he would rather stay in bed, is a day to take on the world just a little more carefully.
ARTS AND IDEAS
125 years of covering literary greats
From the archives: James Baldwin reviewed Alex Haley’s “Roots” in 1976, calling it an exploration of “how each generation helps to doom, or helps to liberate, the coming one.” James Joyce’s “Ulysses” was dubbed the “most important contribution that has been made to fictional literature in the 20th century.” And Reynolds Price saw in Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solomon” evidence for “the possibility of transcendence within human life.”
That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next week. — Natasha
P.S. “Call and Response: The Story of Black Lives Matter” is a visual book by Times journalists for young readers. Here’s how it came together.
The latest episode of “The Daily” is about police union practices.
Melina Delkic wrote today’s Arts and Ideas. You can reach Natasha and the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.