October 24, 2021

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FirstFT: Global warming will hit 1.5C by 2040, IPCC warns

Coronavirus pandemic updates

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The world is likely to temporarily reach 1.5C of warming within 20 years even in a best-case scenario of deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, a leading report on climate change signed off by 234 scientists from more than 60 countries has concluded.

Even with rapid emissions cuts, temperatures would continue to rise until “at least” 2050, the scientists said, and lead to further extreme weather events.

Without “immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions” in emissions, curbing global warming to either 1.5C or even 2C above pre-industrial levels by 2100 would be “beyond reach”, they said.

The latest analysis of the science of global warming from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the sixth such report and the first since 2013.

John Kerry, US special presidential envoy for climate, said the findings underscored “the overwhelming urgency of this moment”. UN secretary-general António Guterres described the conclusions as “a code red for humanity”.

Small multiple column charts showing projected contribution to global surface temperature increase from different emissions, with a dominant role of CO2 emissions under five theoretical pathways

Five more stories in the news

1. US Senate set to pass infrastructure package The US Senate is set to pass a $1tn package to invest in America’s crumbling infrastructure with significant Republican support, a bipartisan vote that will be seen as a significant legislative achievement of Joe Biden’s presidency.

Related read: Industry bosses are predicting a worldwide construction “supercycle” that is set to fuel demand for building materials as governments pump billions of dollars into post-pandemic infrastructure projects.

2. China’s tech tycoons lose $87bn Beijing’s regulatory assault on the country’s technology industry has lopped $87bn off the net worth of the sector’s wealthiest tycoons since the start of July, hitting the fortunes of magnates such as Tencent’s Pony Ma and Pinduoduo’s Colin Huang.

3. Nations ratchet up pressure on Belarus The US, UK and Canada tightened sanctions against the regime of President Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus on the same day 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.

4. Samsung’s billionaire leader to be freed from jail Lee Jae-yong, the billionaire head of the Samsung tech empire, will be freed from jail on Friday, a decision that will refocus attention on the uneasy relationship between South Korea’s biggest companies and the government.

5. Alibaba fires manager accused of sexual assault In an internal letter dated “before dawn”, Alibaba’s chief executive Daniel Zhang pledged to change the company’s culture and announced the firing of a manager who allegedly sexually assaulted one of his workers. He added that two other executives who failed to act after the incident had resigned.

Coronavirus digest

Indonesia’s Covid crisis has exposed an acute challenge: whether to shutter a country if it jeopardises the livelihoods of large swaths of the population working in the informal economy.

The Pentagon plans to make Covid-19 vaccines mandatory for US troops by mid-September.

China’s most severe coronavirus outbreak since last year has added to concerns over an economic slowdown in the country.

BioNTech beat sales expectations for a second straight quarter as profits jumped to almost €2.8bn on soaring demand for its coronavirus vaccine.

Oil was hit with renewed selling pressure on Monday, falling below $70 a barrel on growing concerns about the Delta variant sapping demand in Asia.

Line chart of $ per barrel showing Oil prices slip from 2021 highs

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The day ahead

Earnings SoftBank will be in the spotlight when it reports first-quarter earnings today. Also reporting on Tuesday: Abrdn, Flutter Entertainment, HelloFresh and InterContinental Hotels. See the full list here.

Jacob Zuma’s trial resumes The former president of South Africa will be released from jail to attend his corruption trial in person when it resumes on Tuesday. It was postponed from July after Zuma’s lawyers successfully lobbied for the trial to be held in person rather than by video link. (Al Jazeera)

What else we’re reading

The failure of ‘maximum pressure’ on North Korea Despite some successes, Kim Jong Un’s regime is managing to find ways to get around US and UN sanctions, including cryptocurrency theft and lucrative cyber heists — while developing its weapons programme.

Ambition: necessary but corrosive Lucy Kellaway has been wondering how much ambition we need, how to turn it off when it’s no longer useful — and how to stop it from doing us in. What are your thoughts on ambition? Tell us in the comments.

“It is not that it turns you into a ruthless, driven version of Macbeth, but that the striving, by definition, makes you dissatisfied with your life at present.”

‘If Masa said yes, who am I to object?’ An internal row last year over whether SoftBank had overstepped insider dealing rules was just one of several incidents that have convinced executives that the highly competitive, instinct-driven culture of Masayoshi Son’s company is often in conflict with compliance procedures.

The discontents of Middle East democracy A decade ago, people across the Arab world were cheering the fall of despots. Now, they are cheering the fall of democracy, writes Gideon Rachman. Struggles for political freedom in the Arab world bode ill for the global fight against autocracy.

Europe’s Covid ‘hangover’ Europe’s economic and financial “hangover” from the coronavirus crisis will be much longer and more severe than the pain in the US, according to the head of a big US investment group specialising in corporate distress. “Europe is going to be a bit more centre stage for us than it has been over the past year,” Victor Khosla, Strategic Value Partners’ founder and chief investment officer, said.

Travel

After FT writers shared the holidays that have stayed with them to this day, we wanted to know what your favourite trips have been. From experiencing the wilderness of Yellowstone National Park to backpacking through Zimbabwe, here’s what FT readers shared about holidays that changed their lives.

“Backpacking through Zimbabwe. In its prime in the early 1990s, bristling with the optimism of independence but before the dreams all came crashing down in a torrent of hatred. What a place to be. Kariba, Victoria Falls, Nyanga, Matusadona. It is sad so few outsiders will ever get to experience it as I did.” — Eric Cartman

Travellers on a houseboat hotel on Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe in the 1990s © Alamy Stock Photo
Travellers on a houseboat hotel on Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe in the 1990s © Alamy Stock Photo

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