🌎 Elon Musk's scorn

Plus: EU carbon tariffs are coming to town
🌎 Elon Musk's scorn

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

Twitter has suspended more accounts over Elon Musk’s new doxxing rule. The ban affected several journalists who have covered the billionaire, as well as Twitter’s open source rival Mastodon.

China’s Lanvin Group’s faced volatile markets. The luxury company listed on the NYSE via SPAC for $10 a share, but while the stock initially surged to $22.81, it dropped as low as $4.63 in afternoon trading. 

The US Senate authorized a record $858 billion in defense spending. The budget is $45 billion larger than what president Joe Biden had planned, and includes a 4.6% pay raise for troops as well as lifting covid vaccine requirement.

China granted the US permission to audit publicly-traded Chinese companies. Opening access to the US accounting watchdog eases uncertainty over the delisting of major Chinese companies, such as Alibaba, from US stock exchanges.

The US placed trade restrictions on 36 Chinese companies and entities. The move targeted technologies that could be used for military purposes, including semiconductors, artificial intelligence, and microchips.

Amazon signed a deal to develop Warhammer 40,000 into films and TV series. Also known as Warhammer 40k, the sci-fi world is part of the popular figurines tabletop game franchise owned by UK company Games Workshop.

Harvard University has picked Claudine Gay as its 30th president. The scholar becomes the first Black person, and the second woman, to hold the role in the institution’s 386-year history.

What to watch for

Thousands more people are expected to cross into the US from Mexico as a covid-era rule that had become a key border enforcement policy is due to expire on Dec. 21.

The Trump administration invoked Title 42, a public health order enacted in 1944 that allows authorities to expel individuals who come from countries where a disease has spread, shortly after the covid-19 pandemic hit in March 2020. The policy effectively allowed border patrol officers to turn away people fleeing their countries without giving them a chance to seek asylum.

Immigration rights advocates hope Title 42’s expiration could create an alternative to a deterrence-focused border policy. The Department of Homeland Security secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas has recently recognized that the immigration system is “under strain” at all levels—federal, state, and local—and that congressional action is needed to reform the immigration and asylum systems.

EU carbon tariffs are coming to town

Carbon emissions will soon affect EU tariffs. Earlier this week, the bloc finalized a new import tariff scheme that will tax steel, cement, fertilizer, iron, aluminum, and electricity, based on the volume of carbon emissions generated during manufacture in the country of origin.

The “carbon border adjustment mechanism” (CBAM), designed to protect European manufacturers, will be implemented in phases, but is slated to fully kick in over a decade from now in 2035. That should give enough lead time for importers to figure out the emissions of specific products, buy corresponding permits, and buffer consumers and exporters from a price shock.

CBAM is expected to have a one-two punch: The EU will receive more low-emission versions of products, and it will incentivize investment in low-emissions manufacturing as exporters seek to avoid the tariff. An outstanding question is one of equity, as developing countries may not have the money to make the low-carbon shift.

The most unheralded people of the year

Do the names Lina Khan, Sherry Rehman, or Andrew Parker ring a bell to you? Even if they do, how much do you really know about these people, who were just a step outside of the spotlight at the biggest events of this year?

✦ The next issue of the Quartz Weekend Brief will profile these less-familiar but all-important faces. You’ll need a Quartz membership to read our list of the Unheralded People of 2022—and lucky for you, we’re offering 50% off if you sign up today.

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Surprising discoveries

The first ever fossilized cockroach sperm was found. File this under discoveries that we didn’t need.

We may be on the verge of a new epoch. But geologists are checking the rock record before the Anthropocene is made official.

Someone solved a 2,500-year-old puzzle for his PhD thesis. It involved Sanskrit, grammar, and an ancient proto-algorithm. No biggie.

A new supergroup of predators has been identified. But fear not! The water-dwelling Provara are single-celled and very rare.

Prosthetic hands got an airy upgrade. Researchers at Oxford created a model powered by breathing.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, Happy New Epoch shirts, and 2,500-year-old puzzles 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, Tim McDonnell, Diego Lasarte, Julia Malleck, and Morgan Haefner.