🌎 Democrats’ peachy result

Plus: A biodiversity credits market seeks to avoid carbon offsets' pitfalls
🌎 Democrats’ peachy result

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Here’s what you need to know

Incumbent Raphael Warnock retained his Senate seat. The Democratic candidate’s Georgia runoff win confirms a split Congress for the rest of Joe Biden’s presidency.

Two of Donald Trump’s businesses were found guilty of tax fraud. It’s the first-ever conviction for businesses owned by the former president.

Job cuts spread beyond Silicon Valley. Pepsi, BuzzFeed, and Morgan Stanley are among the companies that have reported job cuts so far this week.

TSMC is tripling its investment in chip manufacturing in the US. The Taiwanese company, whose Arizona factory Biden visited on Tuesday and that counts Apple as one of its customers, plans to build a second plant in the state.

Meta threatened to pull all news from its social media sites. The tech giant objects to a proposed US law that would make internet platforms pay publishers for news articles shared on their feeds. Meanwhile, the EU took aim at Meta’s targeted ad model.

Argentina’s Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was sentenced to six years in a $1 billion fraud case. The former president and current vice president also received a lifelong ban from holding public office, but is expected to appeal.

What to watch for

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Photo: Rewilding Argentina Foundation (Reuters)

Ahead of the COP15 summit on biodiversity conservation, which kicks off today (Dec. 7) in Montreal, policymakers are looking for creative methods to monetize the fight against species loss. One idea is the use of “biocredits,” a system where conservation groups can convert their efforts into tradable credits, which companies can then buy to fulfill sustainability requirements.

It’s a divisive proposal. Some environmental economists (pdf) argue that biocredits could attract private sector funding towards the prevention of further biodiversity loss, which could reach a required sum of nearly $1 trillion per year by 2030. However, more than 100 academics and environmental groups (pdf) have written in an open letter that replacing environmental regulations with free market incentives would “promote a meaningless monetary valuation of nature.”

The debate over whether nature is intrinsically valuable or needs a price tag is likely to be on the minds of COP15 delegates, throughout the conference and beyond.

Microsoft is going against big tech’s anti-union grain

Microsoft is an outlier among its tech peers in not quashing unionization efforts. Nearly 300 quality assurance workers for its gaming subsidiary ZeniMax Online Studios are voting to join the Communication Workers of America (CWA), the largest communications and media union in the country with over 700,000 members. So far, Microsoft has been playing nice, and seems to be coming out on top.

But it’s not entirely altruistic—the move is likely a bid to convince the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to greenlight its nearly $70 billion purchase of embattled video game firm Activision Blizzard.

Currying favor from a politically powerful union, one that was once among the vocal critics of the Microsoft-Activision deal, has yielded some benefits, with the CWA now advocating in favor of the acquisition. If the unionization vote passes, it’ll be a landmark win for more than one reason: It would create the largest video game industry union in the US, and the first official US union under Microsoft.

We’re obsessed with fake cakes

You’ve probably seen the viral video that made trompe l’oeil cakes famous: An unassuming red Croc sits atop a table, when, suddenly, a knife appears! Someone cuts into the Croc! And lo, it is not a Croc, but a cake.

The phrase trompe l’oeil, or “deceives the eye,” doesn’t just apply to cakes—it’s used widely in a variety of art forms, where the illusion of three-dimensional space is created on a two-dimensional object. But what is it about this era of internet misinformation and dubious content that has made videos of bakers slicing into corn cob-shaped cakes so tantalizing?

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The “Rosetta Stone” of dino fossils was unearthed. A 100 million-year-old plesiosaur skull was found in Queensland, Australia.

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Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, collectible beer mugs, and plesiosaur plushies to hi@qz.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Sofia Lotto Persio, Ananya Bhattacharya, Diego Lasarte, Tim McDonnell, Julia Malleck, and Morgan Haefner.