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🌎 Pay up, polluters

UN chief António Guterres said polluters should pay more in taxes because of their effect on climate

Antonio Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, addresses the General Assembly.
Brendan McDermid / Reuters
This story was published on our Quartz Daily Brief newsletter, The concise, conversational rundown you need to start your day.

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    Here’s what you need to know

    UN chief António Guterres called for more taxes on the fossil fuel industry. “Polluters must pay,” he said in an address to the 77th UN General Assembly. Meanwhile, 200 NGOs sent an open letter to world leaders calling for action on the global hunger crisis. (Sign up to our UNGA newsletter to stay up-to-date.)

    Brazilian firms are drumming up finance to save the Amazon.  At a climate conference on the sidelines of the General Assembly, companies are hard-selling carbon credits. An area the size of Puerto Rico has been destroyed in the Amazon in the first half of this year—the most in 15 years.

    US bankers are headed to testify before Congress. Chief executives of Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and five other banks will answer questions over two days on financial scams and credit-card purchases of firearms.

    Germany will nationalize gas giant Uniper... A total of €8 billion ($8 billion) will be injected into the country’s largest buyer of Russian gas to prop up a struggling energy sector.

    ...even as Vladimir Putin escalated the war against Ukraine. After Russia ordered 300,000 reservists to mobilize, one-way flights out of the country sold out.

    Spotify launched its audiobooks business. The pay-per-download service has over 300,000 titles available.

    Nvidia has a new gaming chip that uses AI. The next generation “Ada Lovelace” graphic cards, named after the British mathematician, will be manufactured in Taiwan.

    What to watch for

    The US Federal Reserve is hell-bent on curbing inflation—even if it takes a jumbo interest rate hike to do it.

    After a two-day meeting concludes today (Sept. 21), the Fed is expected to raise the interest rate by at least 75 bps (0.75%)—like the last two times—if not a bigger 100 bps. The Fed is playing the numbers game to try and beat inflation, but there are a lot of other figures at play:

    8.3%: The US inflation rate in August, well above the Fed’s 2% inflation target

    315,000: The number of jobs added in the US last month, signaling a strong labor market and furthering the case for an high rate raise

    55%: The chance of a recession in the US within 12 months, according to CNBC’s July survey of 30 fund managers, analysts, and economists

    5.43%: The average interest rate in the US between 1971 and 2022

    Airbnb isn’t worried about a recession

    Getting inflation under control isn’t a huge concern for rental giant Airbnb. In fact, Nate Blecharczyk, the company’s co-founder and chief strategy officer, told Quartz he thinks a recession could even be a good thing for the company.

    Airbnb, after all, was founded at the dawn of the Great Recession in 2008—a time when many people were losing both their jobs and their homes. Renting out a spare room or an entire house or apartment proved to be an easy way for people to supplement their income when money was tight, and could come in handy this time around.

    And while it’s true some travelers may forgo their vacations as their cost of living rises, Airbnb’s bets on remote work and its expanded listings for digital nomads could offset that. Changes in work and lifestyle trends, according to Blecharczyk, are already impacting its business.

    What would a climate utopia look like?

    Imagine: it’s 2057, and no life has been untouched by the realities of a warming globe. Where are the millions of people who need new shelter going?

    There’s one place they may be heading: Leeside, USA. It’s the imagined climate utopia of our series Welcome to Green Haven, which looks at how governments and thinkers are anticipating mass migration’s effects on society. Should you first listen to what Leeside mayor Gabriella de León has to say about new migrants, or choose where you’d develop housing? Whatever you start with, do it soon. Climate migration is only going to become a more pressing issue as the hotter and hotter years go by.

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    Surprising discoveries

    Ants are… everywhere. There are 20 quadrillion of the creepy crawlers on Earth, or 20,000,000,000,000,000.

    Small town sewage systems might be big business. One utility giant paid $115 million for a Pennsylvania town’s wastewater system.

    Cinemas returned to Kashmir after a 23-year pause. Opening night at Srinagar’s new multiplex will feature the Bollywood film Laal Singh Chaddha.

    A farmer in Gaza discovered a Byzantine mosaic. Salman al-Nabahin unearthed the tiled flooring while working in his olive grove.

    A trip to the museum is just what the doctor ordered. Psychiatrists in Brussels may officially prescribe a visit as therapy if you’re feeling depressed or anxious.

    Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, ant repellant, and museum prescriptions to Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Ananya Bhattacharya, Sarah Todd, Julia Malleck, Morgan Haefner, and Samanth Subramanian.

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