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‘Our house is still on fire,’ Greta Thunberg tells Davos

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Greta Thunberg, climate activist, pauses during a panel session on the opening day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020.

Jason Alden | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Teen-age activist Greta Thunberg told world political and business leaders in Davo, Switzerland, on Tuesday that their inaction on the climate crisis was “fueling the flames by the hour.”

The 17-year-old exhorted the World Economic Forum audience to “act as if you loved your children above all else.”

Thunberg said she had been warned that telling people to panic, as she had done last year at the same event, was dangerous but quipped “don’t worry it’s fine I’ve done this before and I can assure you it doesn’t lead to anything.”

And by panic, Thunberg said this did not mean relying on technologies that don’t yet, or may never, exist on scale, or by talking about reaching carbon neutrality by “cheating and fiddling” around with numbers.

In fact, the climate activist said it was not a case of simply lowering carbon emissions or promising net zero but “real zero” emissions.

She said panic also did not mean offsetting emissions by just paying someone else to plant trees in other countries, like Africa.

Thunberg said if high emissions continued, the remaining carbon budget, something she spoke of during a panel earlier on Tuesday, would soon be “completely used up.”

And while Thunberg agreed people were right to feel “outrage and worry” at the news the U.S. was to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, she pointed out that the leaders of the other countries in the accord did not seem bothered that they were about to fail on their commitments.

But she stated that this problem was not about political parties on the right, left or center but that everyone across the spectrum had failed at tackling the environmental emergency.

‘All cards on the table’

Thunberg acknowledged that all the solutions did not exist to tackle the climate crisis and that the transition to cutting emissions would be “hard,” but said it needed to be faced “now, together, with all cards on the table.”

She, along with other climate activists, have demanded all participants in the World Economic Forum to immediately end investment in fossil fuel exploration, extraction and subsidies for the sector.

Thunberg said that companies and governments would have to comply or be forced to explain to their children why they were giving up on the global warming target, of 1.5 degrees Celsius, “without even trying.”

She added that “unlike you, my generation will not give up without a fight.”

“I wonder what will you tell your children was the reason to fail and leave them facing a climate chaos that you knowingly brought upon them,” she said.

The 17-year-old activist shot to fame in 2018 for skipping school every Friday to hold a vigil outside the Swedish Parliament to call for action against climate change. 

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Airbus defense division plans to cut more than 2,300 jobs

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JetBlue’s new Airbus A321neo at New York’s Kennedy Airport.

Leslie Josephs | CNBC

The defense business of Airbus on Wednesday laid out plans to cut more than 2,300 jobs, citing a flat space market and postponed defense contracts.

The aircraft maker said its Airbus Defense and Space division had entered consultation with the company’s European works council on the planned cutbacks.

The plan foresees the reduction of 2,362 positions until the end of 2021, of which 829 would be in Germany, 357 in Britain, 630 in Spain, 404 in France and 141 in other countries, according to a statement.

The head of the defense business said on Saturday that talks were about to start with labor representatives as the German-based group retrenches following setbacks with its A400M military transporter.

Recurring technical problems with the A400M led the German air force to refuse delivery of two of the aircraft last autumn.

The group has also taken a $1.3 billion charge on the worsening sales outlook, with a German ban on defense exports to Saudi Arabia causing Airbus Defense and Space to lose a promising potential customer, Dirk Hoke said.

Airbus Defense and Space, formed in 2014 as part of a broader restructuring, employs 34,000 staff – 13,000 of them in Germany – and contributes around a fifth of revenues to parent group Airbus.

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Two Iranians die after testing positive for coronavirus

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A worker at a factory in Nanjing sorting face masks being produced to satisfy increased demand during China’s COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, in China’s Jiangsu province.

Stringer | AFP | Getty Images

Two Iranians have died in hospital after testing positive for the new coronavirus in the holy Shi’ite city of Qom, the head of the city’s University of Medical Sciences told Mehr news agency on Wednesday.

“Two Iranians, who tested positive earlier today for new coronavirus, died of respiratory illness,” the official told Mehr.

Iran’s health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur confirmed their death on Twitter.

Iran confirmed earlier on Wednesday its first two cases of the virus, government spokesman Ali Rabiei said, shortly after reports that preliminary tests on the two had come back positive.

The health ministry said earlier that the patients had been put in isolation.

Rabiei did not give the nationality of the two people infected, but some reports suggested that they were Iranian nationals.

The death toll from the new coronavirus in mainland China passed 2,000 on Wednesday although the number of new cases fell for a second straight day, as authorities tightened already severe containment measures in the worst-hit city of Wuhan.

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Burger King is removing artificial additives from the Whopper

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Burger King announced Wednesday it is removing artificial colors, flavors and preservatives from its signature Whopper sandwich in the United States.

The Restaurant Brands International chain plans to highlight the change with a global advertising campaign that shows a photo of a moldy Whopper, supposedly 28 days old, with text that reads “the beauty of no artificial preservatives.”

The campaign comes as consumers demand more transparency about the ingredients in their food. In 2018, McDonald’s removed artificial additives from seven classic burgers, a change that included tweaking its iconic Big Mac sauce. The Chicago-based company also rolled out fresh beef Quarter Pounders, a change that saw it regain burger market share.

More than 400 U.S. restaurants are already selling Whoppers without artificial additives. The chain expects all Whoppers sold in the U.S. to follow suit by the end of the year. Most European countries are already selling their Whoppers without the artificial additives.

Burger King said more than 90% of all food ingredients at U.S. restaurants do not contain artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. No food items contain MSG or high-fructose corn syrup, both of which are common additives in the fast-food industry.

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