climate crisis, global warming, fossil fuels, COP28 summit, landmark deal, compromise
Photo credit: / Flickr (CC BY 2.0 DEED)

PICKS are stories from many sources, selected by our editors or recommended by our readers because they are important, surprising, troubling, enlightening, inspiring, or amusing. They appear on our site and in our daily newsletter. Please send suggested articles, videos, podcasts, etc. to

Listen To This Story
Voiced by Amazon Polly

COP28 Landmark Deal to ‘Transition Away’ From Fossil Fuels (Maria)

The authors write, “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 gaveled through by the COP28 president, Sultan Al Jaber, on Wednesday morning. … The agreement did not include an explicit commitment to phase out or even phase down fossil fuels. 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.’”

CDC Reports ‘Alarming’ Rise in Drug-Resistant Germs in Ukraine (Russ)

The author writes, “Hospitals in Ukraine are now battling an ‘alarming increase’ in germs with resistance to the last-ditch antibiotic medications used to treat the infections, a study published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported [last] Thursday. Officials are now calling for the ‘urgent crisis’ to be addressed, and warning that the drug-resistant germs are spreading beyond the war-torn country’s borders.”

Florida Says the Purpose of School Libraries Is to ‘Convey the Government’s Message’ (Reader Steve)

From Popular Information: “The lawsuit is ongoing, and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has intervened in the [state lawsuit concerning books banned in school libraries], arguing that it should be dismissed. In an extraordinary filing earlier this year, Moody argued that the First Amendment does not apply to public school libraries and that school boards can remove any book for any reason — even if the motive is discriminatory. In Moody’s filing, Florida argues that the purpose of public school libraries is to ‘convey the government’s message,’ and that can be accomplished through ‘the removal of speech that the government disapproves.’ The issue of what books are allowed to be carried by school libraries, Florida states, should be settled at the ‘ballot box.’ According to the state’s filing, public school libraries ‘are not a forum for free expression.’”

The EPA Is Aiming to Get Rid of Lead Pipes in 10 Years. But Not in Chicago. (Laura)

From Grist: “The announcement earlier this week — that the EPA wants to get rid of lead pipes that provide drinking water within the next decade — sounded like good news, especially in Chicago, which has the most lead water pipes of any city in the United States. But the fine print is disappointing: Because of a loophole or ‘carve-out’ in the proposed rule, some residents there could still end up waiting another 40 years for the lead pipes to be removed.” 

Nearly Everyone Gets A’s at Yale. Does That Cheapen the Grade? (Sean)

The author writes, “Nearly 80 percent of all grades given to undergraduates at Yale last academic year were A’s or A minuses, part of a sharp increase that began during the coronavirus pandemic and appears to have stuck, according to a new report. The mean grade point average was 3.7 out of 4.0, also an increase over prepandemic years. The findings have frustrated some students, alumni and professors. What does excellence mean at Yale, they wonder, if most students get the equivalent of “excellent” in almost every class?”

You Can Recreate the Iconic 1932 ‘Lunch Atop a Skyscraper’ Photo (Reader Jim)

From Smithsonian Magazine: “In 1932, an unknown photographer snapped a picture of 11 ironworkers eating lunch while sitting on a steel beam 850 feet above the ground in New York City. Called Lunch Atop a Skyscraper, the iconic image captured just some of the more than 40,000 men — many of them immigrants — hired to build Rockefeller Center during the Great Depression. Now, a new attraction allows visitors to recreate the 91-year-old photo themselves.”


Comments are closed.