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Coronavirus mask dispute in NJ leads to arrest after woman with cane, 54, attacked: police

Police in New Jersey on Tuesday arrested a suspect who they say was captured on surveillance video violently throwing a customer to the floor inside a Staples store after the victim had asked the suspect to wear a mask properly.
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Lue koko artikkeli aiheesta: foxnews.com
White House Chief of Staff Seeks to Clarify Trump's Peaceful Transition of Power Comments
Asked whether he will commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election, Trump said earlier this week that he will "have to see what happens."
newsweek.com
Terror probe after 2 stabbed at former Charlie Hebdo office in Paris
"I saw a guy that was in his 30s or 40s with an axe in his hand who was walking behind a victim covered in blood," a witness said.
cbsnews.com
Appellate judges skeptical of Trump's argument to block subpoena for financial records
A lawyer for President Donald Trump told a federal appeals court Friday that there is no request for documents that could be made as part of the Manhattan district attorney's investigation concerning hush-money payments issued during the 2016 presidential election that he wouldn't consider overbroad.
edition.cnn.com
America's favorite actors in 2020, ranked
From Will Smith to Betty White to Danny DeVito, here are America's most beloved performers.
cbsnews.com
Late rapper Heavy D to be honored with sculpture in his New York hometown
The rapper, whose given name was Dwight Errington Myers, was a Jamaica-born recording artist who grew up in Mount Vernon. He died in 2011.       
usatoday.com
Trump's Plan to End Tax That Funds Social Security Is Extremely Unpopular, Even Among Republicans
"We will be, on the assumption I win, we are going to be terminating the payroll tax after the beginning of the new year," President Donald Trump said during a news conference last month.
newsweek.com
PG&E warns 21,000 customers of potential outages as heat, wind are expected to boost fire danger
PG&E may cut power to 21,000 customers in parts of Butte, Plumas and Yuba counties to reduce fire danger amid dryness, heat and strong winds.
latimes.com
'I cherish you': Drew Barrymore and Tom Green reunite for first time in 15 years since divorce
Drew Barrymore welcomed a special guest on Friday, one she hasn't talked to in 15 years: her ex-husband, Tom Green.        
usatoday.com
Hunter killed by grizzly in Alaska died during ‘surprise attack’
An investigation found Austin Pfeiffer died during the “surprise attack” and didn’t have a firearm or bear spray with him at the time, according to Thursday’s statement.
nypost.com
Jamie Foxx tells Garcelle Beauvais: ‘Me and you should have been together’
Foxx still fiends for Fancy.
nypost.com
Battle over Florida Amendment on felon vote
As many as 1.4 million Floridians who committed felonies had their voting rights restored by Amendment 4, but legal issues over the amendment mean hundreds of thousands won't get to cast their ballot in the Presidential election. 60 Minutes reports, Sunday.
cbsnews.com
The force behind Florida's amendment to restore voting rights to felons
Desmond Meade, who has past felony convictions himself, is the mind behind Florida's Amendment 4. Lesley Stahl reports on the legislation, Sunday.
cbsnews.com
Groups decry proposal to roll back Alaska forest protections
JUNEAU, Alaska — The U.S. Forest Service is proposing to exempt the country’s largest national forest from a ban on timber harvests and road building in roadless areas, a move conservation groups denounced Thursday. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, under which the Forest Service falls, announced Thursday the upcoming release of a final environmental review...
nypost.com
Justice Department seeks immediate ban on WeChat in US
The Justice Department is seeking an immediate ban on downloads of WeChat in Apple and Google app stores, saying the Chinese-owned messaging service is a threat to the security of the United States. Last week the US Commerce Department moved to ban WeChat from US app stores but on Saturday, Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler in...
nypost.com
Former GOP Congressmen Endorse 'Not Perfect' Joe Biden Over 'Reckless Trumpian Chaos and Division'
"Joe Biden is not a perfect man, but he is a man of humble decency," Charles Djou and Mickey Edwards wrote in an op-ed Friday.
newsweek.com
Why moment between Hayden Hurst and Dak Prescott was so important
SportsPulse: Hayden Hurst expounds on his pivotal moment with Dak Prescott. Trigger warning: This story explores suicide and details of self-harm. If you are at risk, please stop here and contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for support at 800-273-8255 .        
usatoday.com
Breonna Taylor's mother: Grand jury decision shows why I have 'no faith in the legal system'
Breonna Taylor’s mother says the grand jury decision announced this week in the case of her daughter’s killing shows why she has “no faith in the legal system, in the police and the laws that are not made to protect us Black and Brown people.” 
foxnews.com
Arizona Republican governor, Dem state secretary joust over election law changes
Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey and some county election officials are clashing with the state's Democratic state secretary this week over an effort to introduce more ways for people to register or vote in certain limited circumstances.
foxnews.com
Church Sues D.C. over Virus Restrictions for Worship Services While Allowing Mass Protests
Capitol Hill Baptist Church is suing Washington, D.C., for restricting worship services over coronavirus concerns while allowing large groups to roam the city’s streets and camp on sidewalks and in parks.
breitbart.com
China or America: Who's Really 'Bossing the World?' | Opinion
China's conception of multilateralism puts the world at peril.
newsweek.com
1 video that shows exactly how much damage Trump is doing to the idea of truth
CNN's Donie O'Sullivan went to a Trump rally in Minnesota recently to ask attendees what was on their Facebook feeds, as a way to get a sense for the information -- and, more often, misinformation -- they were being fed by the social media giant.
edition.cnn.com
Mariah Carey opens up
Preview: The superstar singer-songwriter talks with "Sunday Morning" host Jane Pauley about her childhood struggles, her new book, and her devoted fan base
cbsnews.com
Democrats Prepare for Battle Beyond Election Day
As the late-summer turned to fall, Democratic groups were planning for all eventualities, including a contested election—and that was before President Donald Trump chilled his opposition across the country, refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power.
newsweek.com
Maureen Mackey: This key Joe Biden question needs to be asked early and often
No wonder some Democrats are worried about Biden’s “lower key” approach to campaigning as we head towards Election Day.
foxnews.com
Feedback: Appreciations of Justice Ginsburg and Mozart, takedown of Bob Woodward
Readers share their opinions on "Cuties" and LACMA's finally revealed design for its Zumthor-designed galleries.
latimes.com
John Legend, Chrissy Teigen Considered Leaving America Because of Trump
Singer and NBC's "The Voice" judge John Legend and wife Chrissy Teigen have considered leaving America because of Donald Trump and what Legend called the president's "embarrassing" leadership style. The Grammy-winning singer made the revelation in an interview with Cosmopolitan magazine, in which he also claimed that President Trump is "trying to destroy democracy."
breitbart.com
Cuomo: NY to 'review' coronavirus vaccine over fears of politicization, despite health officials' assurances
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York will "review" a potential COVID-19 vaccine over fears of a politicized process -- despite a number of assurances from the nation’s top health officials.
foxnews.com
Three railroad workers built a 'man cave' under New York's Grand Central Terminal
The room apparently was furnished with a wall-mounted TV connected to a streaming device, a futon couch, refrigerator, air mattress, and microwave.
edition.cnn.com
'Release the transcripts': Ben Crump slams decision in Breonna Taylor case, calls out systemic racism in the legal system
Breonna Taylor's family and attorneys demanded Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron release the transcripts of the grand jury proceedings.        
usatoday.com
RBG, minority rule, and our looming legitimacy crisis
A small group of demonstrators gathers outside the US Capitol to protest Republicans’ decision to hold a vote on a Supreme Court replacement. | Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images Political scientist Suzanne Mettler on why the threat to American democracy is perhaps greater now than ever before. The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, just weeks before a presidential election, leaves us in dangerous waters. It’s easy to imagine a scenario in which the election outcome is contested by one side and is ultimately determined by a Supreme Court with the deciding vote cast by Trump’s recent appointee. Indeed, both Sen. Ted Cruz and President Donald Trump have named this scenario as driving their urgency to replace Ginsburg. At that point, a legitimacy crisis looms. Suzanne Mettler is the John L. Senior Professor of American Institutions at Cornell University. Her work has focused on trust between citizens and their governments, but recently, she’s co-written a book with Robert Lieberman that is tailor-made for this moment: Four Threats: The Recurring Crisis of American Democracy. Its thesis is a dark one: America’s most dangerous political crises have been driven by four kinds of threat — political polarization, democratic exclusion, economic inequality, and executive power. But this is the first time all four threats are present simultaneously. “It may be tempting to think that we have weathered severe threats before and that the Constitution protected us,” they write. “But that would be a misreading of history, which instead reveals that democracy is indeed fragile, and that surviving threats to it is by no means guaranteed.” On this episode of The Ezra Klein Show, we discuss where Ginsburg’s passing leaves us, what 2020 election scenarios we should be most worried about, what the tumultuous election of 1800 can teach us about today, how this moment could foster exactly the democratic reckoning this country needs, whether court packing and filibuster elimination will save American democracy or destroy it, when people know they’re benefiting from government programs and when they don’t, and more. An excerpt from our conversation follows. The full conversation can be heard on The Ezra Klein Show. Subscribe to The Ezra Klein Show wherever you listen to podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher. Ezra Klein As somebody who studies threats to democracy, how have you been thinking about the events and machinations following Ruth Bader Ginsburg death? Suzanne Mettler It’s really been overwhelming. If you contrast this to previous deaths of Supreme Court justices, it is pretty mind-blowing that Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday night and immediately Speaker McConnell came out and said we’re going to be installing a new Supreme Court justice. It feels awfully abrupt. And it highlights the very polarized moment that we’re at where the two parties are really locked into a kind of existential crisis — where every issue turns into a battle where you need to vanquish your enemies. So I think it’s very disturbing for this to happen right now when we are only just over a month out from Election Day and people in some states are already voting. It really heightens the drama in what was already a very dramatic election year. Ezra Klein I want to try to look at American politics here a little bit from the outside. If I told somebody from another country that the same party which refused to give the president an important Supreme Court appointment years earlier decided to confirm a justice when they had control over the relevant parts of government, I think that person would say that seems like how political systems work. Yet this feels like and is being treated as a crisis. So what’s different here? Why is this not just the normal functioning of a two party system in play? Suzanne Mettler We could talk about, first of all, the proximate circumstances: this is the death of a Supreme Court justice at a point in time when the two parties are at odds over key issues decided by the court. So there’s the real sense of a crisis — that whoever gets appointed is going to help to to shift the court more firmly toward one that is going to rule against all sorts of priorities of Democrats on all kinds of issues. But, then, if you zoom out the way the political system has been operating, we are at a point in time right now where we’re seeing the kinds of conditions that scholars who study democracies around the world identify as threatening to democracy. We’ve got four threats looming right now: polarization, conflict over who belongs as a member of the political community, rising and high economic inequality and strong executive power that’s become increasingly centralized. Those four threats threaten the pillars of democracy, which have been eroding in various ways. In the midst of that, you get this crisis over a Supreme Court justice right before a major election. So it’s making people on edge, wherever they stand politically. Ezra Klein Right after Ginsburg died, Ted Cruz released a statement saying that they needed to move fast on a replacement so the Supreme Court would have a full nine justices in the case of a contested election. I read that and thought: that’s exactly where the legitimacy crisis could come. Can you imagine a contested election in which the deciding vote is cast by this ninth justice that Donald Trump and the Senate Republicans rammed through in defiance of what they did and said they believed in 2016 over Merrick Garland? It also represents this way in which minoritarian power can continuously perpetuate itself: A president who lost the popular vote and a Senate majority that represents a minority of Americans gets to make sure that the Supreme Court is controlled by the party representing the minority. And then that Supreme Court makes hands the presidency back to the minority party. I wonder how long the American political system is stable under those conditions. How long do liberals say that’s fine? We’re going to put up with a political system that systematically underweights our interests because we had the gall to live in more populous places in states and cities? It doesn’t seem stable to me. It seems like a recipe for some kind of eventual collapse, crisis, or split. Suzanne Mettler I’m sorry to say this, but I agree with you. And I come to that not just from looking at these circumstances, but from looking at the history of the United States. In Four Threats we look at five earlier periods in American history when people were nervous — they felt that democracy as they knew it at that time was going to be subject to backsliding or deterioration rather than remaining stable. There were great fears about the instability of the country and the damage to the promises of democracy that had been insured up to that point. That’s happened again and again. We think of American democracy as being something very safe and secure — the Constitution’s been around longer than that of any other country in the world. And we think that, even if it wasn’t Democratic at the outset, that it’s become more so over time — that there’s been an arc that has been bending toward justice and toward increased democracy. But when you look at this history, what you see is that the United States has democracy has always been fragile. Time and again people have really been nervous about what could happen. Sometimes there has been real backsliding and damage that has lasted a long time. And those historical circumstances happened when only one, two or three of the threats that I mentioned was present. But right now, for the first time ever, all four of the threats present together in a confluence. So I think it’s a really dangerous time. Ezra Klein When you talk about the four threats to American democracy, three of your four — polarization, racial exclusion and economic inequality — in their most toxic forums are currently represented by the GOP much more so than by the Democratic Party. The fact that Democratic Party nominates Joe Biden for president and the Republican Party is Donald Trump tells you a lot about polarization. Do we have an American political system problem or do we have a Republican Party problem? And is there even a difference between the two? Suzanne Mettler That’s a great question. When we wrote the book, we did not from the outset think the Republican Party was the problem. If you look at political polarization, there are ways in which both parties have led to its escalation. But Republican leaders have taken much more initiative to try to drive their party in a way that has been polarizing. We also put a little bit more the blame on Republicans when it comes to what we call the conflict over who belongs — who is a member of society, what their status is. This is a kind of conflict that’s happened again and again in American history, very often involving the status of African Americans. But at certain moments, like the 1850s, it becomes organized along the lines of the party system where one party is saying our way of life is under threat and the other party is saying we want greater equality in this country — we want to expand the promises of the Declaration of Independence that all are created equal. In that sense, it is both a threat to democracy and there’s also the possibility that democracy becomes stronger and more robust. Then there’s rising economic inequality. Here again, it has been particularly the Republican Party that has been working for tax cuts to the affluent, deregulation etc. There are some ways in which the modern Democratic Party have help businesses and the affluent, but the Republican Party has done more. Executive aggrandizement, the fourth threat, is the one that has really been engaged in pretty equally by both parties since FDR. But what I would point out is that when the Republican Party gets the White House now in the contemporary period, they are using it to advance those goals of undermining efforts for greater racial equality and other kinds of equality. And they’re they’re using their power to do the bidding of the affluent. And so the parties do very different things with that executive power. Ezra Klein I want to pick up on something you said in there, which is that the irony of the American political system and American history is that it’s these moments of democratic crisis that often lead to the strength of democracy. I think that’s the case today. A few years ago, I would have told you that we were in a democratic crisis where the White House and the Senate and the House and the Supreme Court are often occupied by the party that won fewer votes. But because things felt stable enough to people, they weren’t paying as much attention to that. But I’ve been talking to Democratic senators for the past couple of days and what McConnell is doing here with Ginsburg, given what he did with Garland, has taken Democrats in the center of the caucus — people who would always push back on me when I said it was time to abolish the filibuster — and move them to that position. One of them told me that things that were radical a couple of years ago are becoming the mainstream position now. Clearly, this is a moment of danger. But at the same time, maybe there was no point we would reckon with the failings and inequities of our constitutional system without this confrontation. And that in that way, Mitch McConnell is playing the role that he needs to play by taking away the mythology and legend and high rhetoric that sometimes protect people from seeing what’s really going on here and what confrontations really need to be had. Suzanne Mettler I think all of that is is really well said. As Rob Lieberman and I wrote this book, we kept thinking we were going to learn some positive lessons about how people in the past got out of these crises and saved democracy. And the more we studied the past, the more we thought we are not really seeing positive lessons, with the one exception being Watergate. What was extremely disturbing to us was we began to realize that there was a settlement that came out of each period that had to do with restoring racial hierarchy or even just never even acknowledging a conflict around it and building on top of it. So the question is, Can now be different? Will you help keep Vox free for all? The United States is in the middle of one of the most consequential presidential elections of our lifetimes. It’s essential that all Americans are able to access clear, concise information on what the outcome of the election could mean for their lives, and the lives of their families and communities. That is our mission at Vox. But our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources. Even when the economy and the news advertising market recovers, your support will be a critical part of sustaining our resource-intensive work. If you have already contributed, thank you. If you haven’t, please consider helping everyone understand this presidential election: Contribute today from as little as $3.
vox.com
Indiana woman, friend allegedly poisoned husband with deadly mushrooms
Katrina Fouts, 54, and Terry Hopkins, 65, were charged with the murder of Fouts' husband, 50-year-old David Fouts.
nypost.com
Was the Identity of Q Really Just Revealed? Here’s Everything We Know.
The story behind QAnon is becoming as weird and winding as the conspiracy theory itself. (It doesn’t have satanists, though.)
slate.com
U.K. reports record number of new virus cases as cities lock down
London, home to almost 9 million people, is being labelled an "area of concern."
cbsnews.com
Trump says debating with Biden will be like a UFC match
President Trump on Friday told a group of Hispanic supporters in Miami that his upcoming debates against Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will be like UFC cage matches. Trump — who famously faux-tackled WWE’s Vince McMahon in 2007 — forecast a brutal takedown of Biden after pointing out UFC champion Jorge Masvidal in the audience....
nypost.com
‘Family Guy’ casts YouTube star Arif Zahir as new Cleveland Brown
Mike Henry, who is white, has voiced Brown since the Seth MacFarlane-helmed show began in 1999.
nypost.com
Coffee shops have had successful rewards programs for years. Now restaurants want in
Coffee shops have used loyalty programs to learn more about their customers and keep them coming back for years. Now, as consumers embrace digital payments during the pandemic, the trend is spreading to restaurant chains who want the same benefits.
edition.cnn.com
Lionel Messi’s fight with Barcelona escalates over Luis Suarez exit
Things are only getting Messi-er with Barcelona. Lionel Messi decided to stay with the team and not bring them to court over his wish to leave on a free transfer in August, but Barcelona didn’t help its cause this week when it transferred his best friend in the room, Luis Suarez, to Atletico Madrid. “It...
nypost.com
Virginia counties see multiple absentee ballots sent to more than 1,000 voters
More than 1,000 Virginia voters who applied for absentee ballots have received an extra one in the mail, state Republican Party officials said Thursday.
foxnews.com
Woman tased after refusing to wear mask at football game
Video shows a woman, identified as Alecia Kitts, struggling with an officer on the metal bleachers as he tries to handcuff her. That's when he uses a taser on her, shocking onlookers.
cbsnews.com
Teen in Kenosha shootings fights extradition
A 17-year-old in Illinois accused of killing two protesters days after Jacob Blake was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is fighting his return to Wisconsin to face homicide charges that could put him in prison for life. (Sept. 25)       
usatoday.com
China’s commitment to become carbon neutral by 2060, explained
President Xi Jinping addresses the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 22. | Mary Altaffer/AP China just stepped up its climate goals. Is it enough to avert climate chaos? Imagine China — the world’s top emitter of carbon, which in 2019 released nearly double the emissions of the US — with almost zero coal power plants. Imagine it with zero gasoline-powered cars, and with more than four times the 1,200 gigawatts of solar and wind power capacity installed across the world today. This could become reality by mid-century if China follows through on President Xi Jinping’s latest commitment to addressing the climate emergency. At the United Nations General Assembly on September 22, Xi Jinping announced that China will strive to be “carbon neutral” by 2060. “Humankind can no longer afford to ignore the repeated warnings of Nature and go down the beaten path of extracting resources without investing in conservation,” Xi said. Going carbon neutral means that China would remove the same amount of carbon it’s emitting into the atmosphere to achieve net-zero carbon emissions. So, by 2060, China would theoretically only use clean energy sources and capture or offset any remaining emissions. But Chinese officials have yet to define exactly what that would look like. Still, the target puts China more closely in alignment with the European Union, the UK, and other countries that have committed to carbon neutrality by 2050, which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said is required to prevent over 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming. In the US, some states and cities have moved in this direction, too. For instance, former governor Jerry Brown signed an executive order in 2018 for California to be carbon neutral by 2045. And Michigan’s governor made the same commitment Wednesday. Along with the pledge to be carbon neutral by 2060, Xi Jinping also announced that China would submit a stronger set of goals under the Paris agreement and that China would aim to peak carbon emissions before 2030, upping the commitment from “around” 2030. Meanwhile, in his UNGA remarks, President Trump defended his decision to withdraw the US from the “one-sided” Paris agreement while criticizing China for “rampant pollution.” Increasingly, China is demonstrating it will use climate as a way to upstage the US, with Xi repeatedly committing to incremental climate action on the international stage in recent years. Xi Jinping’s climate pledge at the UNGA, minutes after Trump’s speech, is clearly a bold and well calculated move. It demonstrates Xi’s consistent interest in leveraging the climate agenda for geopolitical purposes.— Li Shuo_Greenpeace (@LiShuo_GP) September 22, 2020 And the latest climate announcements are also in keeping with China’s more assertive role in global governance under Xi’s rule — the country has become more active in international institutions long dominated by Western countries and created its own, such as the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank. Xi’s 2060 pledge “reflects China’s resolution to take international responsibility for addressing climate change,” said Li Zheng, executive vice president of Tsinghua University’s Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development. Besides the geopolitical motivations, China also has a lot to lose from unmitigated climate change, from catastrophic floods like those this summer in the central Yangtze River Basin to worsening heat waves and sea-level rise, which will have a huge impact on coastal cities like Shanghai by 2050. But transforming such a carbon-intensive economy in the next 40 years is a gargantuan task. “China is still in the process of developing its economy, energy consumption will continue to rise, and China’s energy consumption relies heavily on coal. Achieving carbon neutrality under these circumstances is very difficult,” said Li Zheng. China has yet to publish an official plan for how it would achieve carbon neutrality, but climate researchers have mapped out pathways. The good news: Researchers say it is possible. Some of the key shifts are already underway — toward electric vehicles and renewable energy, for example. But China will be entering uncharted territory when it comes to cleaning up its behemoth steel and cement industries. Let’s break down the biggest steps China will have to take to get to a carbon neutral 2060 and assess whether it is currently heading in the right direction. What it will take for China to get to net-zero carbon The Energy Transitions Commission — a global coalition of energy experts and industry members committed to achieving the Paris Agreement targets — published a report in collaboration with the Rocky Mountain Institute last year modeling how China could get to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. They found that “it is technically and economically possible for China to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 at a very small economic cost to growth and consumer living standards, and China is well placed to gain technological competitive advantage from the transition to net-zero emissions.” This rosy assessment might leave you wondering why China didn’t embrace carbon neutrality sooner. Some real concerns include the massive social transition as Rust Belt regions move away from coal and steel, the implications for international competitiveness if other countries don’t decarbonize at the same pace, and how the local and national governments will pay for new infrastructure. The study’s scenario doesn’t get into all of these details, and it is just one possible route, but it shows the magnitude of changes that China will have to make in the coming years and the challenges involved. Let’s start with the power sector. In keeping with the expert consensus on decarbonization, the crux of China’s odyssey is electrifying its economy as much as possible, from switching to electric vehicles to using electricity instead of coal for some industrial production. To get to carbon neutral, China’s current electricity generation will have to more than double to 15,000 terawatt-hours by 2050, RMI projects (all figures in this section are from the report unless otherwise noted). Rocky Mountain Insitute In 2019, almost 70 percent of China’s electricity generation came from thermal sources (90 percent of which is coal power). In the RMI scenario, by 2050 that will drop to just 7 percent, which will be natural gas coupled with carbon capture technology. To replace fossil fuels, China will make wind and solar the center of its power grid — combined they will supply 70 percent of electricity. China already leads the world in wind and solar, but capacity would have to increase nearly 15 fold, and investment would have to double for solar and triple or quadruple for wind. “The difficulty of decarbonizing the power sector is improving the flexibility of the system,” said Chen Ji, a principal at the Rocky Mountain Institute in Beijing who co-authored the report. To back up this renewable energy grid when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing, the country would rely on a vast system of batteries and pumped-hydro storage, as well as the remaining thermal capacity, expanded nuclear power, hydropower, and biomass, according to the scenario. Decarbonizing the power grid is just the first step. The country’s main consumers of fossil fuel — transportation, buildings, and industry — would also have to be fully transformed, tapping into the new, clean grid. For example, in the scenario, all passenger vehicles and all trains would run on electricity. China already has the world’s largest high-speed rail network (which uses electricity); under the scenario, it will increase by 50 percent to 45,000 kilometers of track. China is also the world leader in electric vehicle production, but electric cars only made up 2.5 percent of total sales in 2018 so production will have to scale up dramatically. These changes are monumental alone, but the greatest challenge is decarbonizing heavy-duty transportation and heavy industry, according to Chen. Aviation, shipping, and trucking are very hard to electrify in part because most electric vehicle batteries are currently not designed to supply power over such long distances. Similarly, it is hard to electrify industrial production, as Vox’s David Roberts explained earlier this year. To reach the high temperatures required to produce steel and cement, coke — processed high-grade coal — is typically used. Steel production alone is responsible for 15 percent of China’s carbon dioxide emissions, so finding alternatives to coal is critical. But there is another solution for these sectors: hydrogen. “Electrification plus a hydrogen economy will be the technological solution for the energy transition for zero carbon China,” said Chen. Hydrogen is a leading contender to replace coke for steel and other industrial production, but it is not cheap, and green hydrogen production is even more expensive, as Roberts explained. To make steel in 2050, the RMI scenario proposes a combination of recycling steel and using hydrogen or coal with carbon capture to produce new steel (the model calls for a 50/50 split between the two methods). The problem is, China is just beginning to explore the use of hydrogen for steel and cement. China has to “start from scratch,” according to Chen. There is strong interest in hydrogen, but it is coming from coal companies that want to use their coal to produce hydrogen rather than using renewables to produce the “green hydrogen” needed, he explained. “In these ‘harder-to-abate’ sectors, hydrogen is a solution, but there are still major challenges to make hydrogen production green,” Chen said. It is dizzying to consider the scale of change required to jumpstart the hydrogen industry to supply China’s industrial giants and long-haul trucks — and this is just a snapshot of the full transition that getting to net-zero carbon will require. And even though the scenario may be technically and economically feasible, the seismic shifts in Chinese society also have to be taken into account. For instance, millions of workers in the coal and steel industries would have to transition to new roles. Chen said “the transition is very, very difficult,” adding that local governments in coal-rich provinces have been focused on this issue for a while. While tackling carbon emissions alone is a herculean task, Xi’s 2060 goal does not mention non-CO2 greenhouse gases, which accounted for 16 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions in 2014 and also need to be addressed. Is China on track to reach net-zero carbon by 2060? How China intends to achieve carbon neutrality will be fleshed out once it lays out an official roadmap, but the immediate need is clear: setting short-term climate goals that align with this new long-term vision. The news over the last few months has provided cause for concern and hope about China’s emissions trajectory in the coming years. Even as Xi Jinping announced the 2060 target and called on countries to “achieve a green recovery of the world economy in the post-Covid era,” China’s emissions over the summer jumped compared to last year, driven by Covid-19 stimulus investment in carbon-intensive infrastructure projects, and an analysis published in Carbon Brief found that key provinces are pouring more investment into fossil fuel projects compared to low-carbon energy projects. Meanwhile, China also raised its renewable energy targets in June after exceeding them, but provinces have approved new coal power projects at their fastest clip since 2015. In his UNGA speech, Xi Jinping did also commit to stronger short-term action, saying China would enhance its targets under the Paris Agreement and strive to peak emissions before 2030, rather than “around 2030,” the country’s initial commitment. (China’s carbon emissions grew 2 percent last year.) Todd Stern, Obama’s lead climate negotiator, said on Twitter that a stronger commitment was needed: President Xi's statement that China aims to hit net zero carbon before 2060 is big news - the closer to 2050 the better. But peak emissions before 2030 not good enough and new coal plants not good at all. This decade crucial for net zero 2050-60. Great step; actions must follow.— Todd Stern (@tsterndc) September 23, 2020 The next few months will reveal how serious China is about accelerating its decarbonization. Countries were expected to submit their new round of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) by the end of the year to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The process may be delayed for some nations due to the pandemic, but China may still publish its enhanced NDC in the coming months. In March, China will also publish its next five-year plan, which will set targets for the economy as well as energy and climate change. “Current policies would not indicate that China is on track to meeting this goal,” said Angel Hsu, an expert on Chinese climate policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, referring to the 2060 pledge, “so it will be interesting to see the energy 14th Five-Year Plan and what targets and policies are included there that could give us an indication for how China may plan to reach this target in the long-term.” Hsu said China’s announcement may also have ripple effects on other countries as they choose whether to more aggressively tackle climate change, in the absence of US leadership, approaching the next major UN negotiations on climate change (COP 26), which will be held in November 2021. “For China, who is experiencing economic ramifications of Covid like every other country, to come out and make this kind of bold statement on carbon neutrality could potentially sway the balance of countries who have been taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to their enhanced ambition climate pledges ahead of COP-26,” Hsu said. Here’s hoping it does. Lili Pike is a science, health, and environmental reporting (SHERP) master’s student at NYU and a freelance journalist with a focus on China. Help keep Vox free for all Millions turn to Vox each month to understand what’s happening in the news, from the coronavirus crisis to a racial reckoning to what is, quite possibly, the most consequential presidential election of our lifetimes. Our mission has never been more vital than it is in this moment: to empower you through understanding. But our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources. Even when the economy and the news advertising market recovers, your support will be a critical part of sustaining our resource-intensive work. If you have already contributed, thank you. If you haven’t, please consider helping everyone make sense of an increasingly chaotic world: Contribute today from as little as $3.
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