The Rundown: World leaders stress urgency of climate change

Joe Biden speaks infront of a blue screen
President Joe Biden speaks during the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit, Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. Evan Vucci, Pool / Associated Press
Joe Biden speaks infront of a blue screen
President Joe Biden speaks during the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit, Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. Evan Vucci, Pool / Associated Press

The Rundown: World leaders stress urgency of climate change

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1. World leaders issue “doomsday” warning to start climate change meetings

International leaders today stressed the apocalyptic implications of climate change during a meeting of more than 130 world leaders in Glasgow for the U.N.’s climate conference known as COP26. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called global warming “a doomsday device” strapped to humanity.

Goals for the meeting include getting the world’s richest governments to commit to curbing carbon emissions fast enough to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and provide poorer nations with $100 billion a year in aid. [AP]

President Joe Biden acknowledged the U.S.’s outsized responsibility in carbon emissions and said he’d release a long-term plan to bring the country to net-zero emissions by 2050. Yet Biden is still waiting on Democrats in Congress to pass his legislative proposals, which would funnel $555 billion toward addressing climate change. [New York Times]

And an analysis shows many countries’ climate policies are inconsistent with their public pledges. [Washington Post]

2. Jury selection begins in Kyle Rittenhouse’s homicide trial

The high profile trial of Kyle Rittenhouse started today in Kenosha, Wis. Rittenhouse, from Antioch, Ill., shot and killed two people and injured one last year during a protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

The case will focus on whether Rittenhouse defended law and order during violent unrest or was a vigilante responsible for needless deaths. Last week, Judge Bruce Schroeder ruled that prosecutors could not refer to the men Rittenhouse shot as victims, but the defense could refer to them as rioters, arsonists or looters.

Schroeder stressed to the 150 potential jurors the case should be decided solely on what’s presented in the courtroom, saying the case “has become very political.”

Rittenhouse, 18, faces life in prison If found guilty of first-degree homicide and reckless endangerment. [NPR]

3. A judge suspended Chicago’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for police

Today’s decision is a major victory for the police union representing rank-and-file officers, which said the requirement that all Chicago police be vaccinated by the end of the year violated collective bargaining agreements. The decision does not impact other city workers, who still have to be vaccinated by Dec. 31, 2021.

Police officers who have not been vaccinated still must report their status and get tested twice a week. Only 58% have reported they are vaccinated so far. [WBEZ]

In New York, thousands of municipal workers, including police officers, are taking unpaid leave instead of getting a COVID-19 vaccine. [NPR]

Meanwhile, COVID-19 has now killed at least 5 million people around the world. But the data released today from John Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker only tells of the confirmed toll, meaning numbers are likely higher. [NPR]

In good news, the first shots for 5- to 11-year-olds could go into arms this week. [AP]

4. The Fed will stop pandemic aid amid high inflation. Is the economy ready?

The Federal Reserve is expected to announce Wednesday that it will begin winding down the extraordinary stimulus it has given the economy during the pandemic.

The Fed has been making $120 billion in monthly bond purchases since a recession struck in March 2020. That step was intended to keep long-term loan rates low and encourage borrowing and spending.

As the Fed fades out its bond purchases by mid-2022, it will then need to decide when to raise the short-term rate from zero. That move, which will affect many consumer and business loans, runs the risk of undercutting the job market and economy before they’ve regained full health.

The news comes as inflation has remained consistently higher than many officials expected. Prices surged 4.4% in September from a year earlier — the fastest 12-month increase in 30 years — with the cost of cars, furniture, food and building materials skyrocketing. [AP]

5. Supreme Court justices appear inclined to side with Texas abortion providers

After more than three hours of oral arguments, Supreme Court justices seemed inclined to allow abortion providers to challenge a controversial Texas law that in effect bans all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, saying the law exploited a “loophole.”

But the court’s conservative majority were more skeptical of the Justice Department’s challenge to the law, with Justice Brett Kavanaugh calling their lawsuit “irregular and unusual.”

This is the second time the Texas law — which allows private civilians to sue anyone who aids and abets an abortion — has come before the court. Meanwhile, the law remains in place despite being challenged as unconstitutional. [NPR]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Anti-violence programs in Chicago have been successful, yet lack the structure and support to make a meaningful dent in the city’s gun violence. [WBEZ]

  • A CPS theater teacher was suspended after students complained about offensive scenes in a Shakespeare play. [Chicago Sun-Times]

  • “Vax” is Oxford English Dictionary’s 2021 Word of the Year. [NPR]

  • Is it time to cut daylight saving time for good? [NPR]

Oh, and one more thing …

Many Chicagoans are marking Día de los Muertos, a holiday with particular significance after a two-year pandemic that hit the Latino community especially hard.

To help her Pilsen neighbors celebrate the lives of friends and family, Isabel Hernandez built a 15-foot ofrenda in her front yard. That’s no small feat for someone who is roughly a third as tall, write WBEZ’s Madison Muller and Manuel Martinez, who visited her home along with other richly-decorated houses this weekend.

After posting a callout on Facebook, Hernandez received 250 photos of community members who have died in the past few years. She used 178 milk crates to make the seven-level altar, and says she will put enchiladas and stuffed peppers at the base.

“You don’t have to be Hispanic or Mexican to make an altar to celebrate your loved ones and remember them in not a sad way,” she said. [WBEZ]

Tell me something good …

It’s officially (checks calendar) November, a month when many people try to practice gratitude. That has me wondering, what are you thankful for?

Today, I’m grateful for the lovely weather over the weekend, which allowed me to sit outside and watch neighborhood kids go trick or treating again. I’m also thankful for my pup Atlas, whose afternoon snores remind me it’s OK to take it easy every once in a while.

What are you thankful for this week? Feel free to email or tweet us, and your response might show up here.

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