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UN Secretary-General António Guterres delivered another speech critical of the failure to make progress on climate action. In the opening remarks for his Climate Ambition Summit, he said "humanity has opened the gates of hell" warning we are heading toward a "dangerous and unstable world."
"Our focus here is on climate solutions – and our task is urgent. Humanity has opened the gates of hell. Horrendous heat is having horrendous effects. Distraught farmers watching crops carried away by floods, sweltering temperatures spawning disease and thousands fleeing in fear as historic fires rage. Climate action is dwarfed by the scale of the challenge," Guterres said in his remarks.
"If nothing changes, we are heading towards a 2.8-degree temperature rise – towards a dangerous and unstable world."
How the dream of air conditioning turned into the dark future of climate change
The Washington Post
This summer, all across the torrid globe, air conditioning was a necessity for billions of people, though less than a third of households have it. In the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, it offered defense against not just the heat but also the eerie orange smoke from Canadian wildfires exacerbated by climate change. In Phoenix, where the temperature rose above 110 degrees for weeks on end, temporary cooling centers were a lifesaver for homeless people, though hundreds of heat-related deaths were confirmed or suspected throughout the metropolitan area. In Europe, where air conditioning is evolving from an eccentric, American-style indulgence to a standard amenity, AC offered a critical defense against a heat wave so powerful and persistent that the Europeans gave the high-pressure system causing it a name, “Cerberus,” after the mythological three-headed hellhound who guards the gates of Hades.
As temperature records were broken across the planet this summer, you could sense something shift in our relationship to air conditioning. Billions of people in the Global South and other hot zones still live without household air conditioning. And the cost of remedying that is staggering. But it isn’t just the financial challenge of manufacturing and distributing more cooling systems. The environmental costs are terrifying, too. Making internal spaces cooler for humans means making external environments hotter for all living things, with more industrial production, shipping and energy consumption, all of which contribute to the buildup of greenhouse gases. […]
Early engineers talked about air conditioning in terms that sound odd today. They didn’t just want to cool interior space but to engineer “man-made weather.” The ambition latent in that phrase connects the technology to the larger, modernist project, which conquered darkness, defied gravity, extended life and put humans on the moon and their proxies beyond. But in the end, the engineers were prescient. They did, indeed, manufacture human-made weather — with longer summers, hotter seas, more ferocious storms, and extremes of drought and flooding. Now we face a disconcerting future, as an indoor species. Mankind made his own weather, and now he must endure it.
Earth’s Hottest August on Record Followed a Record-Breaking June and July
The New York Times
Temperature records continue to topple. Last month was the planet’s warmest August in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s 174-year record, agency officials said on Thursday. The global surface temperature for the month was 2.25 degrees Fahrenheit, or 1.25 degrees Celsius, above the 20th century average.
“We certainly are setting records that are significantly larger,” Karin Gleason, a climatologist at NOAA said.
July and June were also the warmest on record globally, meaning the Northern Hemisphere saw its warmest summer on record and the Southern Hemisphere its warmest winter.
Global surface sea temperatures hit a record high for the fifth month in a row.
Humanity deep in the danger zone of planetary boundaries: Study
Human activity and appetites have weakened Earth's resilience, pushing it far beyond the "safe operating space" that keeps the world livable for most species, including our own, a landmark study said Wednesday.
Six of nine planetary boundaries—climate change, deforestation, biodiversity loss, synthetic chemicals including plastics, freshwater depletion, and nitrogen use—are already deep in the red zone, an international team of 29 scientists reported.
Two of the remaining three—ocean acidification along with the concentration of particle pollution and dust in the atmosphere—are borderline, with only ozone depletion comfortably within safe bounds.
The planetary boundaries identify "the important processes that keep the Earth within the kind of the living conditions that prevailed over the last 10,000 years, the period when humanity and modern civilization developed", said lead author Katherine Richardson, a professor at the University of Copenhagen's Globe Institute.
Antarctic sea-ice at 'mind-blowing' low alarms experts
The sea-ice surrounding Antarctica is well below any previous recorded winter level, satellite data shows, a worrying new benchmark for a region that once seemed resistant to global warming.
"It's so far outside anything we've seen, it's almost mind-blowing," says Walter Meier, who monitors sea-ice with the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
An unstable Antarctica could have far-reaching consequences, polar experts warn.
Antarctica's huge ice expanse regulates the planet's temperature, as the white surface reflects the Sun's energy back into the atmosphere and also cools the water beneath and near it.
Without its ice cooling the planet, Antarctica could transform from Earth's refrigerator to a radiator, experts say.
Mass Extinction: Entire Branches on Tree of Life Are Dying, Scientists Warn
Like the comet striking the dinosaurs – in slower motion, but just as deadly – human activity is hacking off entire branches from the tree of life, a new study confirms.
"It is changing the trajectory of evolution globally and destroying the conditions that make human life possible," ecologists warn in their new paper.
"It is an irreversible threat to the persistence of civilization and the livability of future environments for Homo sapiens." […]
Ecologist Gerardo Ceballos from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and Stanford University conservation biologist Paul Ehrlich assessed species extinctions since 1500 CE and compared those through the past 500 million years. They found we've driven 73 genera of back-boned animals to extinction during the last 500 years.
This rate is 35 times higher than previous genus-level extinctions. Without human influence, it would have taken 18,000 years for the same number of genera to have met their end. Other studies have also found similarly high extinction rates for plant, fungi, and invertebrate life as well.
UK migratory birds 'in freefall' over climate change
British bird lovers will see a very different pattern of species as the climate warms, according to scientists.
They say climate change is bad news for birds, but locally we will see "winners and losers".
Migrants seldom seen on British shores, such as black-winged stilts and bee-eaters, are delighting bird watchers.
But populations of cuckoos are "in freefall" as UK wildlife struggles to cope with multiple pressures.
In nature-depleted Britain, almost half of all bird species are in decline due to a host of pressures - from the loss of meadows, hedgerows and other natural land to climate change and the use of pesticides.
Rivers rapidly warming, losing oxygen; aquatic life may be at risk, study finds
Pennsylvania State University
Rivers are warming and losing oxygen faster than oceans, according to a Penn State-led study published today (Sept. 14) in the journal Nature Climate Change. The study shows that of nearly 800 rivers, warming occurred in 87% and oxygen loss occurred in 70%.
The study also projects that within the next 70 years, river systems, especially in the American South, are likely to experience periods with such low levels of oxygen that the rivers could “induce acute death” for certain species of fish and threaten aquatic diversity at large.
“This is a wake-up call,” said Li Li, Penn State’s Isett Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and corresponding author on the paper. “We know that a warming climate has led to warming and oxygen loss in oceans, but did not expect this to happen in flowing, shallow rivers. This is the first study to take a comprehensive look at temperature change and deoxygenation rates in rivers — and what we found has significant implications for water quality and the health of aquatic ecosystems worldwide.”
Water levels on the Mississippi River are plummeting for the second year in a row
Water levels along the Mississippi River are plummeting for the second year in a row after this summer’s blistering heat and low rainfall triggered extreme drought across parts of the Central US.
The low water levels have made a unique rock formation in the Mississippi River, usually surrounded by water, accessible by foot, and the Army Corps of Engineers is increasing the size of a levee in Louisiana to prevent saltwater from surging into drinking water in New Orleans.
The drought comes as a critical harvest season approaches and farmers across the Midwest are concerned about water supply and barge deliveries. Officials and residents along the river worry about the widespread impacts another decline could bring.
Every water level gauge along a nearly 400-mile stretch of the Mississippi from the Ohio River to Jackson, Mississippi, is at or below the low-water threshold, according data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and US Geological Survey.
A saltwater wedge climbing the Mississippi River threatens drinking water
The Washington Post
[…] The steady creep of that saltwater wedge — which could threaten drinking water supplies in multiple Louisiana communities, undermine agriculture and prove corrosive to infrastructure — has left officials to scramble in an effort to slow down the encroaching sea.
“Based off the current forecast and projections, if no action is taken, we potentially could see the saltwater wedge all the way up to the French Quarter,” Col. Cullen Jones, commander of the New Orleans District office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said at a recent news conference. “But we have no intention of not taking any action.”
The most immediate action includes expanding an underwater barrier, known as a sill, that the Corps initially constructed in July in an effort to slow the progression of saltwater from the Gulf.
A Sizzling, Record-Breaking Summer
The Texas Observer
The risks of an overheated planet are hard to ignore: a hellish streak of 31 days with temperatures above 110 degrees F in Phoenix; more than 200,000 people in Canada forced to evacuate during the country’s worst wildfire season on record; and marine heat waves struck the North Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and the waters off the coast of Florida, where spiking sea surface temperatures, above 100 degrees F, caused mass coral bleaching. […]
That this summer has broken so many heat records is “a clear consequence of the warming of the climate system,” according to Carlo Buontempo, director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service.
Another consequence is extreme weather — drought, floods, and wildfires. Dangerously dry conditions helped spark the deadly wildfires on Maui in August, where the historic town of Lahaina burned down and 115 people died. On the other side of the planet, in Greece, hundreds of firefighters have been battling blazes, but a freak storm just dumped two feet of rain in a few hours on Tuesday, causing historic flooding. In July, torrential rains led to a biblical deluge in Vermont, which previously had a reputation as a climate refuge.
Yet the extent of damage exacted by the summer of scorching heat and severe weather still hasn’t come into full view, in part because the U.S. gravely underestimates death and illness associated with extreme heat and climate change.
Working from home now has another powerful benefit
The Washington Post
Fully remote workers could produce less than half the climate-warming emissions of people who spend their days in offices, according to a new study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In an analysis of various work scenarios, people’s behaviors and sources of emissions, researchers found that switching from working onsite to working from home full time may reduce a person’s carbon footprint by more than 50 percent. Hybrid schedules where people work remotely for two to four days a week could also cut emissions by 11 to 29 percent, according to the study.
The Era of Climate Migration Is Here, Leaders of Vulnerable Nations Say
Inside Climate News
As world leaders gathered Wednesday at the United Nations in New York to rally for more aggressive climate action, the heads of some of the most vulnerable nations met on the sidelines to highlight the daunting challenges they face as extreme weather forces millions of people to flee their homes. The problem is here already, they said, and it will only get worse unless governments slash emissions and prepare for what will effectively be a new world map.
Speaking at the Climate Mobility Summit, leaders from nations such as Guatemala and Somalia, which are seeing tremendous population shifts driven by climate change, projected a message that wealthy countries must work with developing ones to better manage a swelling flow of global migration.
While the majority of the world’s migrants move within their own countries or regions, millions have also sought work and refuge in the United States and Europe in recent years, causing political upheaval and backlashes against immigration.
Amy Pope, director general-elect of the International Organization for Migration and a co-host of the summit, opened with a story about a recent trip to a refugee camp in Kenya, which she said had hosted more than 100,000 people who have fled Somalia, in large part because of a devastating drought there. Pope said she met people who had tried to return to Somalia, only to turn back after finding that the drought had made raising crops or livestock impossible.
“At the global level, we are seeing slowly the recognition that climate change is displacing people at record levels,” Pope said.
Parts of America are becoming uninsurable (alternative archived link)
While Americans were moving to risky places, climate change was making them riskier. Now private insurers are sounding alarm bells. Firms are writing fewer policies in vulnerable areas, and are pulling out of some states altogether. A new report from the First Street Foundation, a non-profit research group, suggests 6.8m people have seen increased rates—or… cancelled policies—due to rising flood, wind or wildfire risk. Another 39m, or about a quarter of all properties in the continental United States, have climate risks yet to be reflected in their premiums.
“We are marching steadily towards an uninsurable future in a number of places across the United States,” warns Dave Jones, a former insurance commissioner in California and director of the Climate Risk Initiative at the University of California in Berkeley. […]
Jesse Keenan, a professor of sustainable property at Tulane University in New Orleans, argues local governments need to start thinking seriously about managed retreat. “At the end of the day, people who live in super-high-risk zones are going to have to move,” he says. “And there’s going to be a lot of political bloodshed along the way.”
Study: Wildfire smoke is reversing years of US air quality progress
Smoke from wildfires across the continental U.S. is stalling — in some places, reversing — years of progress on air quality.
A new study published in Nature found that since 2016, wildfire smoke has undone 25 percent of air quality improvements achieved since 2000.
“We’re not back to 2000 levels. But in some parts of the country we’re headed in that direction,” said Marshall Burke, the study’s lead author and professor of environmental policy at Stanford University.
That’s concerning because previous studies found that wildfire smoke is bad for human health. It’s not just that it exacerbates respiratory illnesses like asthma; breathing in wildfire smoke is also associated with an increased risk of cancer, heart attacks, and preterm birth.
Revealed: top carbon offset projects may not cut planet-heating emissions
The vast majority of the environmental projects most frequently used to offset greenhouse gas emissions appear to have fundamental failings suggesting they cannot be relied upon to cut planet-heating emissions, according to a new analysis.
The global, multibillion-dollar voluntary carbon trading industry has been embraced by governments, organisations and corporations including oil and gas companies, airlines, fast-food brands, fashion houses, tech firms, art galleries and universities as a way of claiming to reduce their greenhouse gas footprint. […]
But there is mounting evidence suggesting that many of these offset schemes exaggerate climate benefits and underestimate potential harms. […]
“The ramifications of this analysis are huge, as it points to systemic failings of the voluntary market, providing additional evidence that junk carbon credits pervade the market,” said Anuradha Mittal, director of the Oakland Institute thinktank. “We cannot afford to waste any more time on false solutions. The issues are far-reaching and pervasive, extending well beyond specific verifiers. The VCM is actively exacerbating the climate emergency.”
Range of pesticides, including neonicotinoids, found in pollen of different bee species
Trinity College Dublin
New research paints a worrying picture for the different species of bees that provide multi-million-euro pollination services in Ireland each year.
The work raises concerns about the potential wide-spread exposure to multiple chemicals from two pesticide categories (fungicides and neonicotinoid insecticides) and indicates that different bee species may be exposed differently to pesticides – meaning that assessments of pesticide risk to honey bees may not be easily extrapolated to other bees.
The scientists behind the study, from Trinity College Dublin and Dublin City University, evaluated pesticide residues in crop pollen at 12 sites in Ireland, and in pollen collected from honey bees and bumble bees from the same sites. They have just published their findings in the journal Science of the Total Environment.
Democrats pledge to protect, expand Biden’s climate corps
Congressional Democrats are vowing to defend President Joe Biden’s new federal green jobs program from future Republican attacks.
Biden took executive action Wednesday to create the American Climate Corps after Congress failed to include such a program in the Inflation Reduction Act. It’s a step for which many Democrats — particularly progressives — have been clamoring for years.
But the executive order is also one that a GOP administration down the line could easily dismantle. Indeed, Republican lawmakers who have long railed against the concept will now likely look to deny the effort funding.
“Our mission from here on out is that, when we take back the majority in the House of Representatives, that this represents just a down payment on the program,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday.
Biden’s plan relies on cobbling together already-appropriated funds for more than 20,000 young people to be trained and placed in clean energy, conservation and restoration jobs.
Coalition of governors announces goal of 20 million heat pump installations
A coalition of 25 governors across the U.S. on Thursday announced new commitments to install a total of 20 million heat pumps in their states by the end of the decade.
The organization — the U.S. Climate Alliance — and Biden administration officials made the announcement Thursday morning at a Climate Week event in New York. The installation goal would more than quadruple the roughly 4.7 million heat pumps installed in the U.S.
Emissions from buildings, both direct and indirect, comprise more than 30 percent of America’s greenhouse gas emissions. Climate advocates have hailed heat pumps as an opportunity to reduce these emissions because the devices cool and heat buildings while using less electricity than air conditioning and can be used in lieu of emissions-producing technology like gas furnaces.
“Transitioning to heat pumps in Maine is creating good-paying jobs, curbing our carbon emissions, cutting costs for families, and making people more comfortable in their homes,” Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D), co-chairwoman of the alliance, said in a statement.
White House Directs Agencies to Account for Climate Change in Budgets
The New York Times
A directive issued on Thursday by the Biden administration would, for the first time, have federal agencies consider the economic damage caused by climate change when deciding what kinds of vehicles, equipment and goods to buy.
The new guidance from President Biden could affect purchasing decisions across the government, from agriculture to defense to health care. The idea is to take into account the greenhouse gases generated by goods and projects, how they contribute to global warming, and the cost of that to the economy.
The potential impact is significant. […]
Critics said they feared the new step would end up harming the fossil fuel industry.
California Is Suing Big Oil Over Climate Change
Officials have filed a suit against five major oil companies in the state for damages related to climate change.
Governor Gavin Newsom announced the suit on September 16, the same day it was filed by California Attorney General Rob Bonta at the San Francisco County Superior Court. The suit accuses five of the largest oil companies in the world of knowingly suppressing and spreading disinformation about the effects of climate change for decades. It also points out that the companies recent initiatives to “go green” are complete bullshit.
The suit also claims that Exxon, Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and BP — as well as the American Petroleum Institute industry trade group — have continued their deception to today, promoting themselves as “green” with small investments in alternative fuels, while primarily investing in fossil fuel products.
Counter-Economics: The Real Reason Why Many On The Right Fear Clean Technologies & Energy Efficiency
In the United States, oil companies overwhelmingly give money to Republicans with the amount of money going to them spiking during the late 2000s. Conservative media outlets are also known to receive big money from oil and fracking companies, so it should be no surprise that they toe the line…
Even if none of these entities could provide money to politicians, it would be a violation of the First Amendment to prohibit media outlets, social media influencers, and others with great power over public opinion from taking advertising money or donations from the oil industry… So, oil companies and other moneyed entities aren’t afraid of campaign finance reform.
But, there’s something that frightens them all to the bones: not having the money in the bank to corrupt the country with. If they start making less money selling fossil fuels, renting out expensive real estate, and running monopolies, they’ll start to lose their ability to influence the government policies that allow them to continue to do what they do. The recipients of this dirty money likewise fear losing it, because legitimate political donations, advertising, and other forms of support aren’t happy with the idea of having their name associated with the worst conservative policies.
A structure dating back almost half a million years discovered in Zambia
Africa News / AP
This is the remains of a simple structure from the Stone Age that may be the oldest evidence yet of early humans building with wood. It was uncovered in Zambia by a team of archaeologists.
The construction is basic: a pair of overlapping logs, fitted together with a notch. It's nearly half a million years old and provides a rare look at how ancient human relatives were working with wood and changing their environments, authors wrote in a study published Wednesday in Nature. […]
"You could see the individual chop marks really clearly. It's extraordinary. Everything just looks so fresh you think 'it can not be this old'. And when Geoff's dates came through, 477,000 (years old), I thought wow! It's just amazing. We were lucky," says Larry Barham, Professor of African Archaeology at University of Liverpool and one of the report authors.
Rupert Murdoch steps down as Fox and News Corp. chairman
Rupert Murdoch, the powerful right-wing media mogul who built and oversaw one of the world’s most influential news empires, announced Thursday that he will step down as chairman of his companies, Fox Corporation and News Corporation.
“For my entire professional life, I have been engaged daily with news and ideas, and that will not change,” Murdoch, 92, wrote in a memo to employees. “But the time is right for me to take on different roles, knowing that we have truly talented teams.”
As the leader of Fox and News Corporation, which publishes influential broadsheets such as The Wall Street Journal and tabloid New York Post, Murdoch has for decades commanded considerable influence in the Republican Party, matched by only a select few.
Government shutdown risk spikes as House Republicans leave town in disarray amid revolting hard-right
With House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s latest funding plan in ruins and lawmakers leaving town for the weekend, there’s no endgame in sight as hard-right Republicans push dangerously closer to a disruptive federal shutdown.
The White House will tell federal agencies on Friday to prepare for a shutdown, according to an official with the Office of Management and Budget who insisted on anonymity to discuss the upcoming instructions. That’s standard seven days out from a federal disruption.
The Republican McCarthy has repeatedly tried to appease his hard-right flank by agreeing to the steep spending cuts they are demanding to keep government open. But cheered on by Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner for president in 2024, the conservatives have all but seized control in dramatic fashion.
In Washington, Zelenskiy courts Congress, Biden on military aid
President Joe Biden assured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Thursday that strong U.S. support for his war to repel Russian invaders will be maintained despite opposition from some Republican lawmakers to sending billions more in aid.
Biden and Zelenskiy held a war council in the White House East Room as part of a blizzard of appearances the Ukraine leader made looking to bolster U.S. support for a war that began in February 2022 and has no end in sight.
"Mr. President, we're with you, we're staying with you," Biden told Zelenskiy before reaching across the table and shaking his hand after two hours of talks.
Zelenskiy thanked Biden for a new $325 million military aid package of weaponry and air defenses, saying "it has exactly what our soldiers need now."
Ukrainians aghast as Poland stops sending weapons to fight Russia
“I can’t believe the friendship is over.”
That is what Maryna Vasilevskaya, a Ukrainian woman of Polish origin, told Al Jazeera with a heavy sigh on Thursday after learning that Warsaw halted arms supply to Kyiv – and may cut aid to a million Ukrainian refugees it hosts.
Poland has supplied hundreds of Soviet-era tanks and 14 Mig-29 fighter jets to Ukraine in its time of need amid Russia’s invasion, served as a major transit hub for weapons from other Western nations, and provided its military bases for training Ukrainian servicemen.
It has also spent billions of euros on other forms of aid from the construction of temporary houses for refugees to donating medical supplies and power generators. […]
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Wednesday that Warsaw is “no longer transferring weapons to Ukraine because we are now arming Poland with more modern weapons”.
How bad could the Canada-India dispute get? (alternative archive link)
The Toronto Star
Expelling foreign diplomats from a host country is a first and serious step in expressing a government’s displeasure with another, but the impacts of escalating tension could eventually trickle down to their people, experts say.
U.S. offers nearly half-a-million Venezuelan migrants legal status and work permits following demands from strained cities
The Biden administration on Wednesday offered nearly half-a-million Venezuelan migrants in the U.S. the ability to live and work in the country legally, approving a longstanding request from cities struggling to house asylum-seekers.
The Department of Homeland Security expanded, or redesignated, the Temporary Protected Status program for Venezuelan migrants, allowing recent arrivals to apply for the deportation protections and work permits offered by the policy. CBS News first reported the move earlier Wednesday. […]
By redesignating Venezuela's TPS program, the U.S. is rendering the record number of Venezuelans who have reached the U.S. over the past two years eligible for the status. An estimated 472,000 additional Venezuelans are expected to qualify for TPS, which has already allowed about 242,000 migrants from that country to obtain the status, according to DHS figures. Venezuelans who reached the U.S. after the end of July will not qualify for TPS.
We cut child poverty to historic lows, then let it rebound faster than ever before
During the past two years, child poverty in America set new records — one for the better and one for the worse.
In 2021, the child poverty rate — as measured by the supplemental poverty measure that incorporates the value of government benefits — took a sharp drop to its lowest point on record: 5.2 percent, so that 3.8 million American children were living below the federal poverty line. Then, as a report just released by the Census Bureau found, it experienced the steepest rise in its history in 2022: a hike of 139 percent, or more than double, to 12.4 percent. Five million kids fell back into poverty, pushing the number of kids whose parents were struggling to meet their basic needs up to 9 million.
To anyone following the politics of poverty in America, the jagged rebound was entirely unsurprising. […]
What makes this frustrating: policymakers saw this coming, watched it happen, and were able to do nothing about it. It wasn’t for lack of effort: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) was the swing vote that blocked the rest of the Democratic Party’s effort to make the program permanent, on the empirically refuted idea that unconditional cash to low-income families will get spent on drugs. The data shows that for the year the program was in effect, parents spent most of the money on food, clothes, utilities, rent, and education costs.
Nikki Haley and Tim Scott Are Here to Remind You Republicans Hate Unions
This weekend, Neil Cavuto of Fox News asked former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley what should have been an easy question about the ongoing UAW strike. Donald Trump had already made it clear how to respond from the right: Say something vaguely supportive about autoworkers, then pivot to claiming the Biden administration will send all their jobs to China by pushing electric vehicles. Instead, Haley portrayed workers in the largest industry in Michigan—a key battleground state that Trump won in 2016—as greedy and ungrateful.
“It tells you that when you have the most pro-union president and he touts that he is emboldening the unions, this is what you get,” Haley replied. “The union is asking for a 40 percent raise; the companies have come back with a 20 percent raise. I think any of the taxpayers would love to have a 20 percent raise and think that’s great.”
Ford, GM, and Stellantis’ offer to increase pay by about 20 percent is less impressive after taking into account that it would happen over four years. The proposal comes after the Big Three made roughly $250 billion in profits over the past decade, increased CEO pay by 40 percent, and booked an additional $21 billion of profit in the first half of this year. Inflation has eroded wage gains UAW members made in their last contract, but the companies have refused to restore the cost-of-living adjustments that workers gave up to help the Big Three survive bankruptcy and the Great Recession. The taxpayers who make Ford’s vehicles would likely envy the 1 percent effective federal income tax rate the company paid in 2021.
US to again offer free COVID tests ahead of respiratory virus season
Americans will again have an opportunity to receive free at-home COVID-19 rapid tests from the US government, with orders beginning next Monday, September 25, the Biden administration announced Wednesday.
Households will be eligible to receive four free rapid tests that will "detect the currently circulating COVID-19 variant," the Department of Health and Human Services said in an announcement. The tests, available next week via COVIDTests.gov and expected to start shipping on October 2, are meant to help Americans detect COVID-19 and keep from spreading it for the rest of the year—especially during holiday gatherings. […]
The reopening of covid.gov/tests is coupled with an announcement of a $600 million total investment in 12 domestic COVID-19 test manufacturers. The investment deals require the companies to maintain rapid test manufacturing capacity in the event of future surges. It also stipulates that the government will get about 200 million rapid tests in the near future to replenish the stockpile.