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A Silver Lining in Canada’s Dark Cloud?

A Silver Lining in Canada’s Dark Cloud?

Canadian scientists issued a new report on climate change this week with some especially bleak news for Canadians: Canada's climate has warmed at about twice the rate of the rest of the world. In general, the country's north is warming even faster than the south. The effect is most severe in the Prairies and British Columbia.

What to do? According to the report, "Scenarios with limited warming will only occur if Canada and the rest of the world reduce carbon emissions to near zero early in the second half of the century." So all the Canadian government has to do is persuade the governments of the United States, China, and India to take steps that sharply reduce emissions inside their countries.

For Signal readers who may be cynical about Prime Minister Trudeau's ability to change the hearts and minds of President Trump, President Xi, and Prime Minister Modi on a question of shared sacrifice, there's a bit of hope—and it happens to have been made in Canada.

British Columbia-based Carbon Engineering has created a technology it says can remove carbon dioxide from the air in a cost-effective way. The development of "carbon dioxide removal" technologies in general is enthusiastically supported by much of the international scientific community, and this latest innovation has won some backing from major energy companies. How does the technology work? Here's a useful explainer.

The bottom line: There isn't nearly enough evidence to call this innovation a breakthrough in carbon capture, much less a "magic bullet." Some climate activists warn that it will simply encourage the world to keep pumping oil rather than switching to non-hydrocarbon alternatives. But history shows that small innovations inspire larger ones, particularly where technologies are shared.

And if you're concerned this new technology doesn't yet match the global scale of the problem, remember that the alternative depends on a particularly unlikely degree of international political cooperation.

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Not everyone celebrates the US holiday of Thanksgiving, but we've all got something to be grateful for in this awful year, right? So as Americans gather around the table — or the Zoom — to give thanks on Thursday, here's what a few world leaders are grateful for at the moment.

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Hong Kong pro-democracy activists plead guilty: The name Joshua Wong has become synonymous with Hong Kong's once-dynamic pro-democracy movement. But the democrats' momentum has all but fizzled since Beijing imposed a draconian national security law this summer, outlawing secessionist activity and criminalizing foreign influence in Hong Kong. Now Wong, who was instrumental in the 2014 pro-democracy "Umbrella Movement," is pleading guilty in a Hong Kong court to organizing and taking part in pro-democracy protests that gripped the semi-autonomous city for much of 2019. He and his two co defendants — all of them in their 20's — have been remanded until sentencing, scheduled for December 2, and are likely to face prison terms of various lengths. Wong, for his part, said he decided to switch his plea to "guilty" after consulting with his lawyer. (Knowing that the trial would mostly be a sham, the trio decided to plead guilty in order to speed up the process, according to reports.) This internationally watched court case comes as Beijing has increasingly cracked down on Hong Kong's pro-democracy camp in recent months, prompting the US to impose sanctions on Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam, and several Western governments to terminate special economic relationship with the city. To date, there have been more than 2,000 prosecutions linked to last year's protests.

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The person a US president taps to assume the coveted role of secretary of state, the nation's top diplomat, says a lot about that president's foreign policy ambitions and global vision.

Indeed, the selection of Henry Kissinger (Nixon and Ford), James Baker (George H.W. Bush), Hillary Clinton (Obama) and Rex Tillerson (Trump) to head the State Department, provided an early window into the foreign policy priorities — or lack thereof — of their respective bosses.

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Ian Bremmer discusses the World In (more than) 60 Seconds:

Why hasn't Putin congratulated Biden yet?

There's no really good reason at this point. Pretty much every leader around the world has given the nod. As you know, Trump has not in any way conceded at this point. He may never. I suppose, at some point Putin may decide that he doesn't need to formally congratulate Biden. I mean, it's not like we're friends, right? The United States and Russia has a directly confrontational relationship, unlike the US and China, where there is a lot of interdependence, particularly economically between the two countries. That's not true with the US and Russia. You have virtually no trust and very little engagement. I will say that the Biden administration will be interested in re-entering the Open Skies agreement that we just left with the Russians, even though we're now decommissioning the spy plane, so it may be hard for the Americans and selling them for scrap, so it may be difficult to get back in and the intermediate nuclear forces agreement and new start.

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The 2020 US Election

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