👋 Away Message: It's infrastructure week at WTF HQ! This will be the last edition of WTFJHT until May 31. WTF is taking a much needed break to retool ahead of what is shaping up to be a very consequential midterm cycle (we've also had a few unresolvable scheduling snafus/conflicts here, so I'm just going to take a mulligan on this one). In the mean time, we've built a little news aggregator tool – currentstatus.io – to keep you up-to-date on the daily shock and awe. Thanks for understanding! I'm going to miss you. You'll hear from us again on Tuesday, May 31. Thanks for being here.
Send your thoughts, suggestions, or complaints to:
1/ The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warned that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will likely be irrevocably out of reach within eight years. Holding global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels would require emissions from coal, oil, and natural gas to peak before 2025, and for nations to collectively reduce their emissions by roughly 43% by 2030. “It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C,” the report’s co-chair, James Skea, said. “Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible.” At the same time, the report finds that the world still has time to avoid the most extreme dangers of climate change. Doing so would require a “substantial reduction” in the use of fossil fuel coupled with a rapid adoption of renewable energy sources like wind and solar – economically viable replacements for fossil fuels that are becoming cheaper by the day. In 2021, the world generated a record-setting 10% of its energy from wind and solar. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the report revealed “a litany of broken climate promises” by governments and corporations, calling it a “a file of shame, cataloguing the empty pledges that put us firmly on track toward an unlivable world.” The World Health Organization, meanwhile, reports that 99% of the global population breathes air that doesn’t meet its standards for air quality. (New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / NPR / CNN / CNBC / NBC News)
2/ Biden called for a war crimes trial against Putin following reports of indiscriminate killings of civilians and mass graves in Bucha, Ukraine. “This guy is brutal, and what’s happening in Bucha is outrageous, and everyone’s seen it,” Biden said, adding: “I think it’s a war crime.” After Russian soldiers withdrew over the weekend from Bucha, a city on the outskirts of Kyiv, images emerged of dead civilians lying in the streets with bound hands, close-range gunshot wounds to the head, and signs of torture. “You may remember I got criticized for calling Putin a war criminal,” Biden said. “Well, the truth of the matter — we saw it happen in Bucha — this warrants him — he is a war criminal.” Biden added that he is seeking additional sanctions on Russia and will continue to supply weapons to Ukraine. The Biden administration also said it would work with allies to transfer Soviet-made tanks to Ukraine. (New York Times / Associated Press / Washington Post / Politico / Bloomberg / NPR / NBC News / CNBC)
3/ The Senate Judiciary Committee deadlocked on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court. The 11-11 tie forces Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to set up an additional floor vote for the Senate, where a simple majority (51 votes) is needed to move Jackson’s nomination forward. That vote is expected to succeed, setting up a final vote to confirm Jackson as the Supreme Court’s 116th justice – and its first Black woman – by the end of the week. (Wall Street Journal / Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / ABC News / CNN / CNBC / NPR)
4/ A New York judge blocked the state’s new congressional map, which would have given Democrats the advantage in 22 of the state’s 26 congressional seats. State Supreme Court Judge Patrick McAllister ruled that the map by the Democratic-controlled legislature “was unconstitutionally drawn with political bias.” McAllister ordered Democrats to come up with new “bipartisanly supported maps” by April 11. (Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / CNN)
5/ The Biden administration will end the Trump-era policy that limited asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The CDC said the order, known as Title 42, will end on May 23 to give the Department of Homeland Security time to setup up a vaccination program for migrants crossing U.S. borders. Human rights groups have denounced Title 42 as a blanket deportation policy that violates U.S. and international asylum law. Immigration advocates, meanwhile, sued the Biden administration to lift the order, arguing Title 42 was being used as an immigration enforcement tool rather than a legitimate public health measure. (NBC News / Associated Press / CNBC / NPR)
poll/ 55% of Americans disapprove of the job Biden is doing as president – the lowest mark of his presidency. 40% approve. 51% of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of the coronavirus, while 63% disapprove of his handling of the economy and 51% disapprove of his handling of foreign policy. 46% of registered voters, meanwhile, said they preferred a Republican-controlled Congress after the 2022 midterm elections, compared to 44% who said they want Democrats in charge. The 2-point GOP lead, however, is within the poll’s margin of error (3.49%). It’s the first time that Republicans have lead on this question since 2014. (NBC News)
Become a member.
Help keep WTF Just Happened Today going with a small contribution.