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Menopausal Mother Nature

News about Climate Change and our Planet

Your Thursday Briefing: The G7

Your Thursday Briefing: The G7

Also, hot years ahead as global temperatures rise.

President Biden walks with servicemen away from a green helicopter with a U.S. flag on it.
President Biden leaving for Japan.Kenny Holston/The New York Times

The annual Group of 7 summit opens tomorrow in Hiroshima, Japan, where the leaders of the seven major industrial democracies will discuss how to keep the global economy stable. They will also focus on shoring up diplomatic relations at a time of great global uncertainty.

“There will be two major issues on the agenda,” my colleague David Sanger said. “How to bring the Ukraine war to an end and how to deal with China.”

But the most pressing potential threat, at least to the global economy, may be turmoil in the U.S. The country is two weeks away from running out of money to pay its bills, and a default would jolt its economy and those of the other G7 countries.

To address the debt issue at home, President Biden, who is traveling to Japan to attend the summit, canceled the second part of his planned trip — skipping visits to Papua New Guinea and Australia. Fears of an unreliable and dysfunctional America will be revived in that region, analysts warn, where the U.S. has only recently started to rebuild trust and momentum.

Papua New Guinea: It scrambled to mobilize 1,000 security officers and 17 other world leaders agreed to visit for just a few hours with Biden. Now, those plans have been scrapped.

A hot day in Manhattan in 2016, which is currently the warmest year on record.Bryan Thomas for The New York Times

Global temperatures are likely to reach record highs over the next five years, a new analysis showed. Forecasters at the World Meteorological Organization said that human-caused warming and the climate pattern known as El Niño will almost certainly make 2023 to ’27 the warmest five-year period ever recorded.

The higher temperatures could exacerbate the dangers from heat waves, wildfires, drought and other calamities, scientists say. Every fraction of a degree increase brings new risks.

El Niño will very likely cause further turmoil by shifting precipitation patterns. The organization said it expected increased summer rainfall over the next five years in places like Northern Europe and the Sahel in sub-Saharan Africa and reduced rainfall in the Amazon and parts of Australia.

Context: Many world leaders have insisted on the aspirational goal, set out in the Paris climate agreement, of holding global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. But nations have delayed making the monumental changes necessary to achieve this goal, and now scientists think that the world will probably exceed that threshold around the early 2030s.

Jakarta, above, is sinking. So Joko Widodo, Indonesia’s president, is trying to build a new capital city, called Nusantara, from the ground up. It’s supposed to be a green and walkable beacon for other megacities in developing nations trying to confront climate change — and usher in a new national mood.

“This is not physically moving the buildings,” Joko told my colleague, Hannah Beech, leading her on a tour through the construction site. “We want a new work ethic, new mind-set, new green economy.”

The project is a daring attempt at what climate experts call a “managed retreat,” an engineered withdrawal of communities from vulnerable land. It’s also a test case for other similar megacities, which are struggling to negotiate rapid population growth and climate change.

Challenges: Nusantara faces political opposition. It also may be behind schedule: Joko wants to inaugurate it next August, but not a single showcase structure has been completed.

Why is Jakarta sinking? In part, deforestation and overcrowding. But also many residents have dug thousands of illegal wells to search for clean water, which has deflated the marshes under the city.

President Guillermo Lasso, center, faces impeachment proceedings over accusations of embezzlement. Jose Jacome/EPA, via Shutterstock

The writer Qian Julie Wang reviewed two memoirs that explore the many forms of hunger that come with being Asian in America: Fae Myenne Ng’s “Orphan Bachelors” and Jane Wong’s “Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City.”

The two books were written by second-generation Americans with ancestral roots in southern China. The authors have also known hungers of many kinds, inheriting their ancestors’ “insatiable” appetites — for food and water, but also for connection.

For a long time, scientists argued that modern humans arose from one place in Africa during one period in time. But a new analysis, based on the genomes of 290 people, rejects that theory, revealing a surprisingly complex origin story.

The new research concludes that modern humans descended from at least two populations that coexisted in Africa for a million years. These groups later merged in several independent events.

“There is no single birthplace,” said an expert who was not involved in the study. “It really puts a nail in the coffin of that idea.”

Andrew Purcell for The New York Times

Drizzle honey or dust cinnamon on top of torrijas, a Spanish-style French toast.

Michael Lewis had a front-row seat to the implosion of FTX. His new book about it, “Going Infinite,” will be published in October.

I reported on a new trend in hydration, where the thirsty enthusiastically mix syrups and powders into tap water. But … is any of it even water?

Play the Mini Crossword, and a clue: Loaf around the kitchen (five letters).

Here are the Wordle and the Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Amelia

P.S. The Times is introducing a new audio journalism app, New York Times Audio. It has exclusive shows, including “The Headlines,” a quick take on the day’s biggest news.

The Daily” is on Turkish politics.

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