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The World

‘Code red for humanity’ in the findings of latest landmark analysis of climate change: Global warming is happening so fast that scientists now say we'll cross a crucial temperature threshold as early as 2030 — up to a decade sooner than previously thought. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations were higher in 2019 than at any time in at least 2 million years, and the past 50 years saw the fastest temperature increases in at least 2,000 years, according to the new assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report says that the connection between human emissions of greenhouse gases and global warming is “unequivocal.” It's the “strongest statement the IPCC has ever made,” Ko Barrett, the panel's vice chair and senior advisor on climate to the NOAA. (Financial Times, Axios, IPCC)

  • 5 takeaways from the report: 1) Human influence has unequivocally warmed the planet. 2) Climate science is getting better and more precise. 3) We are locked into 30 years of worsening climate impacts no matter what the world does. 4) Climate changes are happening rapidly. 5) There is still a window in which humans can alter the climate path. (New York Times)

  • The investment world is already taking steps on this front, albeit some later than others: Regulators like the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are currently considering potential new disclosures around climate change; lawmakers and the White House are working on what America can do on multiple levels of policy; even investors — from small seed-stage VCs to large private equity firms — are pooling cash to back everything from technologies, startups, and larger-scale projects that can help in the fight. (Axios)

Democrats formally began their push for the most significant expansion of the nation’s social safety net since the Great Society of the 1960s, unveiling a budget blueprint that would spend $3.5 trillion on health care, child and elder care, education and climate change. The budget resolution, which Senate Democrats hope to pass by the end of this week, would allow the caucus to piece together social policy legislation this fall, paid for by raising taxes on the wealthy, large inheritances and corporations. Democrats plan to take up the measure as soon as the Senate approves a separate $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill as early as this morning. The scope of the spending outlined by Democrats is vast, reflecting the party’s grand ambitions to grow the size and reach of the federal government to a level not seen in decades that coincides with promises Biden and his allies made during the 2020 election campaign. Together, the measures could secure virtually all of President Biden’s $4 trillion economic agenda, rebuilding the nation’s roads, bridges, rail lines, water systems and electricity grid while expanding public education, social welfare and health care — and remaking the federal tax code. (New York Times, Washington Post)

  • Senator Elizabeth Warren will propose a minimum tax on the profits of the nation’s richest companies, regardless of what they say they owe the government, as part of Democrats’ $3.5 trillion economic and social-policy package. The measure would require the most profitable companies to pay a 7% tax on the earnings they report to investors — known as their annual book value — above $100 million. By taxing the earnings reported to investors, not to the IRS, Democrats would be hitting earnings that companies like to maximize, not the earnings they try hard to diminish for tax purposes. (New York Times)

The U.S., UK and Canada tightened sanctions against the regime of Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus, exactly one year after he won re-election in a presidential ballot that he has been accused of rigging. Latvia said it was poised to declare a state of emergency on its frontier with Belarus and build a fence there to stem a flow of migrants. In Minsk, Lukashenko said the UK could “choke” on its sanctions, and called it a U.S. lapdog. (Financial Times)

Only eight intensive care unit beds were available on Monday in Arkansas. In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott asked hospitals to postpone elective surgeries. Nationwide, COVID-19 cases are up 35% over the past week. (Reuters)

  • Resistance is growing to Gov. Greg Abbott's May executive order that Texas schools can’t require masks: Dallas Independent School District officials will require students and teachers to wear masks on campus. Houston Independent School Districts superintendent, Millard House II, has said he wants to issue a mandate, too. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins asked a court to block Abbott’s ban on mask mandates. (Texas Tribune, Dallas Morning News)

  • Canada opened its border to fully vaccinated American tourists, raising hopes in border towns and tourist hot spots hit hard by the pandemic. (Wall Street Journal)

Shared office space giant WeWork and Cushman & Wakefield, one of the world’s largest commercial real-estate firms, are negotiating to form a $150 million partnership to navigate the new world of remote working and flexible workplaces. As part of the alliance, Cushman would make a $150 million investment in the planned merger between WeWork and a public company later this year. (Wall Street Journal)

  • UK minister hints office returnees are more likely to be promoted, while acknowledging that flexible working is “here to stay” and employers must decide arrangements. (Financial Times)


U.S. job openings jumped to a fresh record high in June and hiring also increased, an indication that the supply constraints that have held back the labor market remain elevated even as the pace of the economic recovery gathers momentum. Job openings shot up by 590,000 to 10.1 million on the last day of June. (Reuters)

  • Jefferies raises junior pay to match Goldman Sachs at the top of Wall Street. The bank’s first-year analysts in the U.S. will now make $110,000, up from $85,000. (Wall Street Journal)

AMC Entertainment Holdings’s revenue tripled in 2Q21 from 1Q21, as moviegoers returned to theaters in the spring amid increased vaccinations and subsiding pandemic restrictions. The movie-theater company generated $444.7 million in revenue in 2Q21, compared with $148.3 million in 1Q21. (Wall Street Journal)

  • AMC says it will accept bitcoin as payment for movie tickets by year-end, while also reaching a deal with Warner Bros. for 45 days theatrical exclusivity in 2022. (CNBC)

For the ninth consecutive week, the price that sawmills charge distributors is down. On Friday, that "cash" market price fell to $479 per thousand board feet. That means the price is down 68% since its $1,515 all-time high in late May and is lower now than its peak 2018 price. (Fortune)

3,000+ angel investors are expected to make their first deal in 2021, up from 2,725 in 2020; angels have invested $2.1B in H1 2021 vs. $2.6B in 2020. (New York Times)

Philip Morris International raised its bid against Carlyle to acquire Vectura, a U.K.-based drug manufacturer specializing in inhaled medicines, to 1.02 billion pounds ($1.41 billion). The Swiss spinoff from the Big Tobacco company is on a quest to remake its image, and its investments range from cigarette alternatives to treatments for respiratory illnesses. The tobacco firm's determination to outmaneuver Carlyle highlights CEO Jacek Olczak's belief that Vectura offers a unique opportunity to reinvent his company. He's argued that developing new products in the inhaled-therapies space without the expertise of the U.K. company would take far longer. (Axios, Bloomberg)


Apple said that iPhone users' entire photo libraries will be checked for known child abuse images if they are stored in the online iCloud service. The disclosure came in a series of media briefings in which Apple is seeking to dispel alarm over its announcement last week that it will scan users' phones, tablets and computers for millions of illegal pictures. (Reuters, Apple FAQ)

  • Ben Thompson: Apple’s Mistake. Instead of adding CSAM-scanning to iCloud Photos in the cloud that they own and operate, Apple is compromising the phone that you and I own-and-operate, without any of us having a say in the matter. Yes, you can turn off iCloud Photos to disable Apple’s scanning, but that is a policy decision; the capability to reach into a user’s phone now exists, and there is nothing an iPhone user can do to get rid of it. The proper point of comparison is not the iPhone and Facebook, but rather Facebook and iCloud. One’s device ought be one’s property, with all of the expectations of ownership and privacy that entails; cloud services, meanwhile, are the property of their owners as well, with all of the expectations of societal responsibility and law-abiding which that entails. It’s truly disappointing that Apple got so hung up on its particular vision of privacy that it ended up betraying the fulcrum of user control: being able to trust that your device is truly yours. (Stratechery)

The New York Times only added 142,000 new digital subscribers in 2Q21 — the lowest since 2018. In addition, nearly half of those subscribers came from non-news products like Cooking and Games. (Ad Week)

All the ways Spotify tracks you — and how to stop it: Whether you're listening to workout music or a "cooking dinner" playlist, the app can show you ads based on your mood and what you're doing right now. (Wired)

Google is planning yet another Silicon Valley campus, which will sit adjacent to a new center partly devoted to hardware, according to preliminary plans obtained by CNBC. Beginning in 2018, Google spent more than $389 million on land in north San Jose, Calif., and the company has since filed detailed preliminary proposals showing a sneak peak of its plans for the space. The plans, which are filed as an “R&D” facility, show a center for hardware operations and a separate new tech campus that would be accessible to the public, sitting between its current headquarters in Mountain View and its recently approved mega mixed-use campus in San Jose. (CNBC)

Smart Links

Oil slides as Delta worries dent outlook for Asia demand. (Financial Times)

NBC draws its lowest Summer Olympics ratings ever, down 42% from 2016. (Wall Street Journal)

MLB, Barstool Sports in talks to create national broadcast with focus on in-game gambling. (New York Post)

Clorox’s sales fell 10% last quarter. (Bloomberg)

Auto loans are getting easier to come by. (Axios)

Attracting ambitious architects from around the world, Dubai’s star is on the rise. (Mansion Global)



Tuesday, August 10, 2021