Capitol probe, China’s emissions, Yardi Gras

Capitol probe, China’s emissions, Yardi Gras

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

Democrats push for an independent probe of the Capitol riot. US House speaker Nancy Pelosi announced plans for a panel modeled on the 9/11 commission.

Texas is frozen. A huge icy storm hit southern states in the US, causing major power outages and treacherous conditions for people more used to sun and heat.

Bitcoin is close to $50,000. The cryptocurrency hit a record high today (Feb. 16), and has gained about 70% this year.

Jaguar cars will be all-electric from 2025. It’s a major shift for the struggling British luxury automaker, now owned by Indian conglomerate Tata.

China is reportedly considering rare earths restrictions on the US. The materials are crucial components in military hardware and their unavailability could hurt US defense, the Financial Times says.

Parler is back online, just about. But the far-right social media platform is still shunned by the major app stores  and its former host Amazon Web Services.

What to watch for

Investors will get a peek into the state of the oil, restaurant, and big-data industries when these companies report their financials today:

🖥️  Palantir will share its earnings for the second time since the AI specialist went public last year. The Silicon Valley firm’s shares jumped this month on news of its partnership with IBM.

🛢️ Occidental will give us a snapshot into the rebound in energy prices. The company, which cut jobs and production last year as oil swooned, set a target for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.

💊 CVS Health is under pressure from Amazon’s pharmacy ambitions. But it could see a boost in foot traffic thanks to Covid-19 vaccinations.

🍳 Denny’s will provide a window into the hard-hit hospitality sector. Shares in the 68-year-old restaurant chain—known for its Grand Slam pancake and egg breakfast—are down about 25% from a year ago.

Charting global emissions

China, the world’s top greenhouse gas emitter, boasts one of the world’s most ambitious long-term climate goals—net-zero emissions by 2060. While its carbon emissions dropped off during the height of lockdowns in early 2020 like most countries, by May, China was already back to pre-pandemic levels.

A chart showing China as the only country whose emission actually increased between 2019 and 2020.

The country already consumes half the world’s coal, and now has plans to add 250 GW of new coal power capacity, more than the entire installed coal capacity of the US. With an economy that heavily relies on coal power, writes Tim McDonnell, China is running out of time to alter course.

One and done

We should all be concerned about Indians not taking their second doses. On Jan. 16, India administered preliminary doses to nearly 200,000 healthcare workers. When their second-shot date rolled around, fewer than 4% returned.

This is a problem that goes beyond just India, writes Samanth Subramanian. If people skip their second doses, or even if they delay the doses beyond the recommended time frame, it gives the coronavirus more chances to mutate in a way that could lend it high resistance to the vaccines we have.

If that mutant, resistant form spreads, a year’s worth of vaccine research could be overwhelmed by a fierce new wave of disease. It’s happened before—India has become a cradle for strains of antibiotic-resistant TB bacteria that have spread far beyond India’s borders.

✦ Don’t throw away your shot at a Quartz membership. Try it free for a week, and you’ll be back for seconds.

Surprising discoveries

A Spanish town is producing dolls with Down’s syndrome. The toymakers wanted to help children see different realities.

Rio de Janeiro’s Sambadrome is now a vaccine center… For the first time in over a century, the stadium will not be hosting Carnival.

…while New Orleans locals turned their houses into floats. It’s socially distant “Yardi Gras,” so do whatcha wanna.

Did Jupiter kill the dinosaurs? Researchers suspect the massive planet’s gravity pulled in an asteroid or comet, setting up a collision with Earth.

Techno is terrible for relaxing. They needed a study to figure that out?

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, inclusive dolls, and Mardi Gras beads to Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our iOS app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by the krewe: Hasit Shah, Mary Hui, Tripti Lahiri, John Detrixhe, and Susan Howson.