Remembering (or Forgetting) Copenhagen
Three months after the Copenhagen Climate Conference’s failure to reach a legally binding global emissions-reduction deal, there hasn’t been much talk of what the next step will be. But the Europeans, for whom Copenhagen was the ultimate disappointment, are now trying to get back on track – with or without the rest of the world.
EU climate chief Connie Hedegaard addressed the European Parliament this week and urged the bloc to up the ante on their emissions-cutting goals, which have been set at 30 percent, contingent upon a similar commitment by other world powers. Hedegaard and a group EU states, primarily the UK, are ready to go forth alone and stop waiting around for other countries to make unlikely promises. If you want a job done right, you’ve got to do it yourself.
If the EU goes ahead with a pledge to cut emissions by 30 percent as opposed to 20, the bloc symbolically forgoes its faith in global climate change solidarity in favor of pragmatism and personal responsibility.
And it looks like Hedegaard wants that type of pragmatic game plan in the months leading up to December’s climate conference in Mexico. 'It's not going to be easy," she said. "Nobody should be naive." For the first time publicly, she and the European Commission have admitted that a strong global agreement is not likely to pan out this year –international emissions-reduction targets will be made at climate talks in South Africa next year at the earliest.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?
- During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
- The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
- Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.
- Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
- In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
- Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
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