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1. Global temperatures soared to a new record in September by a huge margin, stunning scientists and leading one to describe it as “absolutely gobsmackingly bananas”. The hottest September on record follows the hottest August and hottest July, with the latter being the hottest month ever recorded. The high temperatures have driven heatwaves and wildfires across the world. September 2023 beat the previous record for that month by 0.5C, the largest jump in temperature ever seen. September was about 1.8C warmer than pre-industrial levels. Datasets from European and Japanese scientists confirm the leap. (Sources: noaa.gov, theguardian.com)
2. Carbon emissions from the global electricity sector may peak this year, after plateauing in the first half of 2023, because of a surge in wind and solar power, according to a climate thinktank. A new report on global electricity generation found that the growth of renewables was so rapid that it was close to the incredibly fast rate required if the world is to hit the tripling of capacity by the end of the decade that experts believe is necessary to stay on the 1.5C pathway. It also noted that there had been only a slight increase in emissions in the first six months of the year, compared with the same period a year before. (Sources: ember-climate.org, theguardian.com)
3. Russia has withdrawn the bulk of its Black Sea Fleet from its main base in occupied Crimea, a potent acknowledgment of how Ukrainian missile and drone strikes are challenging Moscow’s hold on the peninsula. Russia has moved powerful vessels including three attack submarines and two frigates from Sevastopol to other ports in Russia and Crimea that offer better protection, according to Western officials and satellite images verified by naval experts. The Russian Defense Ministry didn’t respond to a request for comment. The move represents a remarkable setback for Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose military seizure of Crimea in 2014 marked the opening shots in his attempt to take control of Ukraine. His full-scale invasion of last year has now boomeranged, forcing the removal of ships from a port that was first claimed by Russia in 1783 under Catherine the Great. (Source: wsj.com)
4. A great military purge is underway in China. The absence of key military figures at a dinner reception to celebrate the founding of modern China last week made that fact clear and left Beijing's political circles pondering what President Xi Jinping's intentions are. One of the most notable absentees was Li Shangfu, 65, the state councilor and minister of national defense who had not been seen for weeks. His fall from grace was made obvious to the Chinese public on the night of Sept. 28 as they watched the televised party at the banquet room of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Li Shangfu is a prominent military officer who oversaw the launch of China's Chang'e moon exploration project, named after the Chinese moon goddess. The absence of the general, so connected to the moon through one of his biggest assignments, on the eve of the Moon Festival shows just how harsh China's politics have become. (Source: asia.nikkei.com)
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