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🌍 Sichuan power crisis

Businesses in Sichuan will have power curtailed as the region faces a record drought

A person walks through a dried up river bed with a net.
Thomas Peter
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  • Morgan Haefner
By Morgan Haefner

Deputy email editor

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Good morning, Quartz readers!


Here’s what you need to know

China’s Sichuan region is facing severe power outages. Some businesses will have power curtailed until Aug. 25, five days longer than expected, as the province faces its worst drought in 60 years.

The daughter of Vladimir Putin’s spiritual aide was killed. Darya Dugin, whose father Alexander Dugin has been guiding the Russian president in his invasion of Ukraine, died in a car bombing on the outskirts of Moscow. Alexander is believed to have been the intended target.

Workers at the UK’s largest shipping container port walked off the job. About 2,000 employees at the Port of Felixstowe, which takes in more than half of the country’s freight, are striking for higher pay.

Another US lawmaker landed in Taiwan. The governor of Indiana arrived yesterday for an economic development trip to talk about semiconductor investments. China didn’t have any immediate response.

Singapore lifted a ban on gay sex. While the government is ending the colonial-era 377A law that criminalized sex between men, it doubled down on its same-sex marriage ban.

Fumio Kishida tested positive for covid yesterday. The Japanese prime minister will likely be isolated for 10 days and could miss a trip to Tunisia.



What to watch for

Raise a glass for World Plant Milk Day, which is today. It started as a way to bring awareness to the benefits of plant-based milks for the environment, but isn’t all vegan PR. Plant-based milks have grown into big businesses. The oat-milk market, for example, has become more saturated, and the milk option is such a hot commodity that numerous coffee shops are doing away with surcharges for it.

Here’s where the global plant-based milk market stands:

$17.7 billion: Global sales for milk alternatives in 2021, up 23% in five years

$277.9 million: Sales of oat milk in the US in 2021, up from less than half a million in 2017

65%: Share of the global population with some degree of lactose intolerance

1994: The year Swedish oat milk brand Oatly was founded

$10 billion: Valuation at the time Oatly went public


Carbon capture’s leap forward

The Inflation Reduction Act, that huge US climate bill everyone is talking about, is set to spark a boom in technologies that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Among the developments is carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), a technology that aims to absorb and store emissions from fossil fuel production before they reach the atmosphere.

Many climate scientists don’t love CCS as it’s seen as providing a loophole to move away from burning oil and gas as a source of energy. The technology has also yet to fulfill its promise of significantly reducing emissions from fossil fuel plants.

A bar graph showing US tax credits for carbon dioxide emissions capture. Under a new law, tax credits are much higher than they have been.
Image copyright: Quartz

But even in a world that sources its energy from renewables, CCS could prove its worth in industrial production of steel and cement for which few clean alternatives currently exist. The IRA significantly expands tax credits toward CCS projects, allowing less-controversial applications of the technology, which were previously unaffordable, to finally become competitive.


Does your pet need a pet?

During the pandemic, pet adoptions surged. But now that the humans are returning to the office, their animals have descended into despair. And that means even more adoptions. “People are getting their pets a pet,” said Dr. Cherice Roth, chief veterinary officer for Fuzzy, a pet telehealth startup. “It’s really common and it does actually increase the number of pets that have to be seen.”

Vets, dogwalkers, and pet-sitters are overbooked, and although certain pandemic trends have proven to be short lived, pet spending is unlikely to decrease. And employer-sponsored pet perks are on the rise, reports Tiffany Ap.

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Surprising discoveries

Two artists are fighting over who taped fruit to a wall first. The lawsuit is absolutely bananas.

A seal broke into a New Zealand home and terrorized a family’s cat. A marine biologist lives in the home, but wasn’t there for his time to shine.

Trees in the UK are losing leaves much earlier than usual. Put those pumpkin lattes and candles away, it’s way too early to be a seasonal thing.

The next British Invasion might just be the Chicken Big Mac. The McDonald’s sandwich was such a hit in the UK that it’s coming to the US.

New York museums have to publicly disclose if their art was stolen by Nazis. The new requirement is part of legislation that was signed to support Holocaust survivors.


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