First Thing: Cop28 agrees landmark deal to transition away from fossil fuels | US news #Cop28 #agrees #landmark #deal #transition #fossil #fuels #news

Good morning.

Nearly 200 countries at the Cop28 climate summit have agreed to a deal that, for the first time, calls on all nations to transition away from fossil fuels to avert the worst effects of climate change.

After two weeks of at-times fractious negotiations in the United Arab Emirates, the agreement was quickly gavelled through by the Cop28 president, Sultan Al Jaber, on Wednesday morning. He received an ovation from delegates and a hug from the UN climate chief, Simon Stiell.

The agreement did not include an explicit commitment to phase out or phase down fossil fuels, as many countries, civil society groups and scientists had urged.

Instead, it reached a compromise that called on countries to contribute to global efforts to transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems “in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade, so as to achieve net zero by 2050 in keeping with the science”.

  • What did Al Jaber say about the deal? “We have delivered a robust action plan to keep 1.5C (2.7F) [of global heating above preindustrial levels] in reach,” he said. “It is a plan that is led by the science. It is an enhanced, balanced, but make no mistake, a historic package to accelerate climate action. It is the UAE consensus. We have language on fossil fuel in our final agreement for the first time ever.”

  • What’s the reaction been like? The EU has welcomed the text. Wopke Hoekstra, the EU climate chief, said: “Humanity has finally done what is long overdue. Thirty years we’ve spent to arrive at the beginning of the end of fossil fuels.” However, Samoa’s lead negotiator, Anne Rasmussen, said as the chair of the Alliance of Small Island States: “This process has failed us”.

US increasingly alone in Israel support as 153 countries vote for ceasefire at UN

A general view of the United Nations General Assembly
UN general assembly adopts resolution demanding immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Photograph: Anadolu/Getty Images

The United States was looking isolated on the world stage yesterday after a resounding vote at the UN general assembly calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.

Cheers and clapping echoed around the chamber in New York as the emergency vote was announced. A thumping 153 member states out of the 193 total membership backed the resolution, with only 10 including the US, Israel and Austria voting against, and 23 – including the UK and Germany – abstaining.

The Palestinians had been hoping for an emphatic result as a demonstration of the unequivocal global desire for an end to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza – and they got it. By contrast, the previous UN resolution calling for a “humanitarian truce” on 27 October attracted 120 votes in favor, 14 against, with 45 abstentions.

The vote highlighted the stiffening consensus around the world for the need for a stop to Israel’s relentless assault on Gaza which has left more than 18,000 Palestinians dead. Reports indicate that up to 70% of those killed have been women and children.

  • What has Joe Biden said about support for Israel? There were signs before the vote was called that Biden might be tentatively moving towards a more critical posture towards Israel. At a 2024 re-election campaign fundraiser in Washington he warned the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that he was losing international support for the war on Hamas – a danger that paradoxically now equally applies to Biden himself.

Republicans helping Russia by denying Ukraine aid, Biden says

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and the US president, Joe Biden, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington DC
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and the US president, Joe Biden, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington DC. Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters

Meanwhile, Biden has given his starkest warning yet that Republicans are playing directly into Russian president Vladimir Putin’s hands by threatening to end military aid to Ukraine.

“Russian loyalists in Moscow celebrated when Republicans voted to block Ukraine’s aid last week,” the US president said at a joint press conference with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in Washington on Tuesday. “The host of a Kremlin-run show said: ‘Well done Republicans, that’s good for us.’”

Biden added: “If you’re being celebrated by Russian propagandists, it might be time to rethink what you are doing. History will judge harshly those who turned their back on freedom’s cause.”

It was the Ukrainian president’s warmest welcome of the day. Earlier, on Capitol Hill, he had struggled to persuade Republicans to support a $61bn military aid package, with objectors insisting on White House concessions on border security as a condition for a deal.

  • What else happened? Zelenskiy addressed members of the Senate in a closed 90-minute meeting on Tuesday morning, but afterwards, key Republicans repeated that they wanted to see a crackdown on immigration between the US and Mexico in return for supporting the package.

In other news …

Andre Braugher as Raymond Holt in Brooklyn Nine-Nine,
Andre Braugher as Raymond Holt in Brooklyn Nine-Nine. He has died aged 61 after a brief illness, his publicist has confirmed. Photograph: NBC/John P. Fleenor
  • Andre Braugher, who starred as Captain Raymond Holt in the hit comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine and as Detective Frank Pembleton in Homicide: Life on the Street, has died aged 61. The actor died on Monday after a brief illness, his publicist confirmed.

  • Shaye Moss gave haunting testimony yesterday about how her world was upended after the fateful day when she became aware Rudy Giuliani was falsely accusing her of fraudulently counting mail-in ballots. It would wind up being the day everything in her life turned “upside down”.

  • Argentina has devalued its currency, the peso, by more than 50% as part of a package of large-scale spending cuts intended to address the country’s worst economic crisis in decades. The plans, introduced under the newly inaugurated administration of Javier Milei, include cancelling tenders for public works.

  • US auto-safety regulators said yesterday they have begun the process that will eventually force carmakers to adopt new technology to prevent intoxicated drivers from starting vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration must be assured the technology works before it can require it, and then give automakers at least three years to implement it once it finalizes rules.

Stat of the day: Killer kitties – cats are eating 2,000 species, including hundreds that are at risk

cat with dead bird
Cats eat 981 species of bird, 463 reptiles and 431 mammals globally. Photograph: Liz Bomford/Getty Images/Photolibrary RM

Cats may be adored human companions, but they are also highly effective killers, according to a study that shows they eat more than 2,000 species globally – including hundreds that are of conservation concern. Birds, mammals, insects, and reptiles are all on the menu, 17% of which are of conservation concern according to the research, which is the first to quantify their diet on a global scale. In total, cats eat 981 species of bird, 463 reptiles and 431 mammals – comprising about 90% of species consumed. They were also found to feed on 119 species of insects and 57 amphibians.

“Our study sheds light on the predatory habits of one of the world’s most successful and widely distributed invasive predators,” the researchers, led by Christopher Lepczyk from Auburn University in the US, wrote in the paper.

Don’t miss this: This year, women said ‘enough’ to modern marriage

Illustration of a man in a bin with a sad face emoji over his own next to an illustration of a diamond ring.
It’s too early to say heterosexual marriage is dead – but 2023 seemed to mark the beginning of the end of Marriage 3.0. Illustration: Carmen Casado/The Guardian

“While it’s too early to decide definitively that heterosexual marriage is dead – the post-pandemic wedding boom was just last year, and the anti-brides of 2023 are brides nonetheless – 2023 seemed to mark the beginning of the end of Marriage 3.0,” writes Scaachi Koul. “Every few decades, women reconsider the value of heterosexual marriage. And though the world remains built for couples, we’re at those crossroads yet again.

“Gen Xers and millennials started their relationships using big words like ‘equal partnership’ and ‘co-parenting’. The men we married promised they were more emotionally mature than our fathers, more willing to change diapers and cooperate with our work schedules. But these marriages too have been disappointments, as younger gen Xers all the way down to elder gen Zs are finding out.”

… Or this: The silent treatment – ‘One woman was ostracised by her husband for 40 years’

Composite of women on their own.
The silent treatment can leave you feeling rejected, confused and lonely. Composite: GNM design/Getty Images

To be frozen out by family, friends or online can feel as bad as physical pain. Kip Williams, professor of psychological sciences at Purdue University, Indiana, has studied the effects of using the silent treatment for the past 40 years. Williams believes that being on the receiving end of silence is so distressing because it threatens all our human needs after the basics of food, shelter and safety have been met. This concept of a pyramid of needs was introduced in the 1950s by the psychologist Abraham Maslow, who said the higher needs included the need to belong and have social connections, the need to feel good about yourself, and the need to feel that your existence is meaningful. Hear from those on the receiving end – and those who mete it out.

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