Real ambition on global warming: what it would look like | Vox


The primary instrument of negative emissions is expected to be BECCS: bioenergy (burning plants to generate electricity) with carbon capture and sequestration. The idea is that plants absorb carbon as they grow; when we burn them, we can capture and bury that carbon. The result is electricity generated as carbon is removed from the cycle — net-negative carbon electricity.

Most current scenarios bank on a lot of BECCS later in the century to make up for the carbon sins of the near past and near future.

One small complication in all this: There is currently no commercial BECCS industry.

Source: Real ambition on global warming: what it would look like – Vox

Mueller’s team questions Russian oligarch about payments to Cohen | CNNPolitics


Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators have questioned a Russian oligarch about hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments his company’s US affiliate made to President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, after the election, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Viktor Vekselberg, chairman of asset manager Renova Group, is an oligarch close to Vladimir Putin, and last month the Trump administration placed him on a list of sanctioned Russians for activities including election interference.

Source: Mueller’s team questions Russian oligarch about payments to Cohen – CNNPolitics

Analysis: Trump pulled in 2 directions on Iran, North Korea


“Plans are being made, relationships are building, hopefully a deal will happen,” Trump said of his delicate rapprochement with North Korea. Speaking in the Diplomatic Room of the White House, he waxed optimistic that the U.S. could team up with allies and world powers so that “a future of great prosperity and security can be achieved for everyone.”

That was precisely the game plan when the United States in 2015 brokered the landmark accord with Tehran. With painstaking persistence, Trump’s predecessor brought U.S. partners Britain, Germany and France together with rivals Russia and China to strike a deal in which Iran agreed to vigorous inspections and strict nuclear limitations.

So what’s so different between the deal Trump walked away from Tuesday and the one he’s actively seeking with the North? The answer, by all appearances, can be summed up in two words: Barack Obama.

Source: Analysis: Trump pulled in 2 directions on Iran, North Korea

Senate Intel: Russia waged ‘unprecedented’ cyber campaign on U.S. voting systems


The report states that intelligence officials have “varying levels of confidence” that 21 states were targeted by Russia, including 18 that officials have definitive evidence showing targeting efforts. The lawmakers also found that other states witnessed “suspicious or malicious behavior” that the intelligence community could not trace back to Moscow.

Most of the attempts amounted to hackers scanning a state’s secretary of State website or voter registration infrastructure for vulnerabilities, and did not amount to successful breaches. However, in at least six states, Russia-linked hackers “conducted malicious access attempts on voting-related websites.”

Source: Senate Intel: Russia waged ‘unprecedented’ cyber campaign on U.S. voting systems

Sprint and T-Mobile: There is a better 5G solution than reducing competition


The problem with the 5G rationale is that both companies have previously promised to be competitive in 5G. Before the transaction was announced, T-Mobile had promised to roll out 5G in 30 American cities this year.

In comparison, AT&T has announced 12 cities and Verizon 11 cities. Sprint promised their 5G rollout would begin early next year.

Playing the China card with its national security implications may, however, backfire on Sprint and T-Mobile. The Trump administration has already weighed in on the national security issues of 5G when it blocked Broadcom’s acquisition of Qualcomm.

The administration has also explored solutions for “winning on 5G,” other than making consumers losers by taking away competition.

Source: Sprint and T-Mobile: There is a better 5G solution than reducing competition

NDAA draft would slash number of CIOs in DOD, boost cyber workforce | FCW


House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) would like to see the 2019 Defense authorization bill cut the number of DOD CIOs from 60 to “no more than five.”

Thornberry’s previous recommendations, such as the elimination of the Defense Information Systems Agency, also made it into the latest version. DISA’s information technology, senior leader communications and acquisition functions would be transferred to other parts of DOD by January 2021.

Source: NDAA draft would slash number of CIOs in DOD, boost cyber workforce — FCW

The U.S. Military Wants Giant Transformer Robot Subs | Nextgov


The Aquanaut unmanned underwater vehicle, or UUV, can chug beneath the ocean’s surface for hundreds of kilometers and then transform into a vaguely insect-like robot to perform delicate operations in the watery depths.

Its biggest backers are players in the oil and gas exploration like Transocean, which are looking to better maintain oil rigs, offshore equipment, and help with operations. Houston Mechatronics co-founder and chief technical officer Nicholas Radford said the robots might would travel from site to site, like a frog swimming from one lily pad to another without ever having to be pulled out of the water.

“We intend to blanket the Gulf of Mexico,” he said.

Source: The U.S. Military Wants Giant Transformer Robot Subs – Nextgov

U.S. fires trio of bullets at own foot over Iran | Reuters


The European and Asian states that import most Iranian crude could act as a buffer, if they defy Trump and keep buying.

Finally, it throws another spanner into the works of a global oil market in which steady demand and reduced spare capacity had already left prices at $75 a barrel.

Iranian disruption could push the price higher, though with U.S. oil producers pumping strong, it may not have as much influence as in the past. Saudi Arabia, as a major producer wants pricier oil – but Trump has implied he wants the opposite, and consumers of the fuel around the world will be inclined to agree.

For one day’s work, it’s an impressively large mess.

Source: Breakingviews – U.S. fires trio of bullets at own foot over Iran | Reuters

How bullying Iran could backfire for Trump | Reuters


Implicit in Trump’s approach is that he can bully and pressure Iran into meeting his demands.

However, the track record of U.S.-Iran relations since the 1979 Iranian revolution leaves little room to believe that Iran concedes to pressure. As a former Iranian diplomat who served as the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of Iran’s National Security and spokesman for Iran’s nuclear negotiating team, I know from firsthand experience that Tehran responds to pressure by doing everything it can to produce leverage for itself.

The modus operandi of Iranian leaders when it comes to addressing pressure is to become inflexible, steadfast and retaliatory. This was evident during the nuclear dispute from 2002 to 2015, when in reaction to the longstanding U.S. demand of zero uranium enrichment on Iranian soil, Iran greatly expanded its nuclear program.

Source: Commentary: How bullying Iran could backfire for Trump | Reuters

Iran deal collapse would endanger U.S. in Iraq | Reuters


Iran is seeking to create a pro-Iranian government in Iraq so Tehran is better placed to hit back at the United States should Trump re-impose sanctions.

The defeat of Islamic State in Iraq has been a major victory for U.S.-backed Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, but Iran is working towards shifting the political balance in its own favor – to force an early exit of U.S. forces, to end the strategic partnership between Iraq and the United States, and to secure Iraq’s support for its regional agenda.

Such an outcome would undermine stability in Iraq and would further strengthen Iran in the Middle East at the expense of the United States.

Source: Commentary: Iran deal collapse would endanger U.S. in Iraq | Reuters