A Warming World – The New York Times
A Warming World – The New York Times
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Good morning. New York’s attorney general is suing to dissolve the N.R.A. And President Trump announced restrictions on TikTok and WeChat. Let’s start with the ways climate change is already making life harder around the world.
In the past 60 years, every decade has been hotter than the last, and 2020 is on track to be among the hottest years yet. But the burden of extreme heat is not shared equally — it’s significantly worse for people at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder.
Extreme heat can exacerbate poor health, ravage crops and make it dangerous to work outside. And in many parts of the world, simple ways to alleviate those effects — like water, or electricity for fans and air-conditioners — are a luxury.
Somini Sengupta, The Times’s international climate reporter, and a team of photographers have a new story that documents how rising temperatures are affecting people across multiple continents.
In Athens, heat waves have increased fivefold over the last century. Diminished rains and longer dry seasons are destroying Guatemala’s farmlands, where Indigenous farmers could see crop yields fall sharply. In Nigeria, hotter nights make it easier for mosquitoes to breed, increasing the risk of mosquito-borne diseases. And in the United States, heat kills older people more than any other extreme weather event, including hurricanes.
We spoke with Somini about what she described as “one of the most profound inequities of the modern age.”
“I have seen over the last couple of years the impact of what is truly a global problem,” she said. “We know that high heat and humidity is a dangerous combination for health, agriculture and economies of whole regions — nearly everywhere around the world, heat waves are more frequent and longer lasting than they were 70 years ago.”
What do experts recommend to combat rising temperatures?
“Draw down the combustion of fossil fuels,” Somini said. “The world is capable of getting off coal in many instances, capable of vastly reducing the burning of oil and gas.”
But the world also has to adjust to the extreme heat we’re seeing already, she said. That includes making water, air-conditioners and fans more accessible, and planting trees to bring down temperatures in cities.
“It could also mean adjusting things you might not immediately think of, like labor laws so people don’t have to work for hours under the blistering sun, agricultural changes in farming methods or what is grown in what place to adapt to higher temperatures,” she said.
“In short, it requires doing everything pretty differently.”
In other climate news:
FOUR MORE BIG STORIES
1. How the virus endangers at-risk children
Despite their life-or-death duties, most of California’s child welfare workers are now working from home because of the coronavirus. There have been consequences: Many abused children whom the child welfare agency for Los Angeles County deemed to be living under “high” or “very high” risk of renewed abuse were not visited for months, The Times has found.
Caseworkers, meanwhile, say they have not been provided with the protective gear that would allow them to safely visit homes. “We are in completely uncharted territory, and it concerns me greatly,” said Bobby Cagle, the agency’s director.
In other virus developments:
2. The challenges of rural police shootings
People in rural parts of the U.S. are killed in police shootings at about the same rate as in cities. But in many small towns, where residents and officials have abiding support for law enforcement, victims’ families and activists say they have struggled to get justice.
The Times’s Jack Healy reported on a case in Sedalia, Mo., where an unarmed woman, Hannah Fizer, was shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop in June. The deputy has not been charged or disciplined, and Fizer’s parents say they have not received any updates about the investigation — the sheriff even declined to tell them the deputy’s name.
3. New York sues the N.R.A.
The New York attorney general, Letitia James, filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking to dissolve the National Rifle Association. She said that years of corruption and misspending had irreparably undermined its ability to operate as a nonprofit, and accused its chief executive, Wayne LaPierre, of raiding N.R.A. funds to bankroll an extravagant lifestyle that included frequent trips to the Bahamas.
The attorney general of Washington, D.C., filed suit against the N.R.A. shortly after, alleging that the gun rights lobby had misused its charitable foundation’s funds. In response, the N.R.A. filed its own suit against James’s office and called the inquiry “a power grab by a political opportunist.”
4. A century after suffrage
One hundred years ago this month, women in America won the right to vote, using tactics of protest and persuasion that would look familiar to activists today. The Times spoke to descendants of Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other suffragists about the movement’s legacy among Americans of all races, faiths and genders.
Here’s what else is happening
President Trump signed executive orders barring transactions with TikTok and WeChat, two popular Chinese social media networks. The orders, which cited national security concerns, take effect in 45 days.
The U.S. government sent text messages to cellphones in Russia and Iran yesterday offering up to $10 million for information about people trying to attack American voting systems.
The authorities charged 24 pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong with taking part in a June vigil for victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.
A former top Saudi official now living in exile claimed that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent operatives to Canada to kill him in 2018, shortly after Saudi agents murdered the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Bill Hagerty, Trump’s former ambassador to Japan, won a bitterly divisive Republican Senate primary in Tennessee. The race pitted Trump, who endorsed Hagerty, against prominent conservatives like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, who endorsed his chief opponent.
Lives Lived: Diana Russell, a leading feminist activist and scholar, was one of the earliest researchers to focus on sexual violence against women. She popularized the term “femicide” to highlight the killing of women “because they are women.” Gloria Steinem said Dr. Russell had “a giant influence” on the women’s movement worldwide. She died at 81.
IDEA OF THE DAY: Get ready for Election Week
A surge of mail-in voting during the pandemic has turned elections into multiday — and sometimes multiweek — events. On Tuesday, New York certified the winners of two congressional primary races six weeks after the last votes were cast.
The delays aren’t surprising; many states lack the infrastructure to quickly process large numbers of mail ballots. But the likelihood that it will take longer than usual to know the outcome of November’s presidential election has some political observers worried.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT, FARM
Not your usual sourdough
You’ve likely seen them all over your social feeds: crusty, rustic-looking sourdough loaves many people have grown fond of baking with all that extra time at home. But sourdough starters can lend themselves to so much more, as evidenced in this recipe for Honduran pan de coco by the baker Bryan Ford.
Traditionally made with coconut milk and whole-wheat flour, these buns incorporate a sourdough starter to add a delicious depth to the bread’s flavors. Tear off a piece and dip it into your coffee for an afternoon treat.
Farming influencers are here
For years, many small farmers have tried to find new ways to make a living beyond selling crops alone. “The sleigh rides, the alpacas, the therapy ponies, the pick-your-own hemp,” writes Ellen Barry, The Times’s New England bureau chief. “It is a new thing, though, to make farm life into reality TV.”
Enter the “farmer-influencer.” Whether it’s uploading drone footage of sun-dappled farmland (“land porn for wistful cubicle dwellers”) or slow-motion videos of geese, some farmers have found they can earn more by streaming snippets of rural life to a growing online audience.
Watch something … timely
Our weekly suggestion from Gilbert Cruz, The Times’s Culture editor:
Normally I’m not inclined to recommend a movie or TV show if it requires doing some homework beforehand. But HBO’s “Watchmen” requires just a little bit of essential pre-reading. (Try this piece to start.) And it’s worth it. “Watchmen” was one of my favorite shows of 2019 and, last week, received more Emmy nominations than any other show.
Set in Tulsa, Okla., where the police fight against white supremacists, the series exists in a world in which superheroes (well, one superhero) exist but are largely absent. “Watchmen” has many of the things I like in great TV — superb performances, striking visuals and a comfort with not explaining everything all at once. Our chief TV critic wrote that it was “arguably the show of the season well before the George Floyd protests underlined its relevance.”
Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Francis is the first one from the Americas (four letters).