First Thing: major sea-level rise from ice cap melting ‘now inevitable’ | US news

Good morning.

Research based on satellite measurements of ice losses from Greenland and the shape of the ice cap from 2000-19 has allowed scientists to calculate how the climate crisis has pushed the ice sheet from an equilibrium where snowfall matches the ice lost.

They found that a minimum 10.6in sea-level rise is inevitable regardless of action to limit carbon emissions after 110tn tonnes of the Greenland ice cap melted. A multi-metre sea-level rise also appears likely as the trajectory of environmental damage continues.

“The minimum of 27cm is the sea-level rise deficit that we have accrued to date and it’s going to get paid out, no matter what we do going forward,” said Dr William Colgan, from the National Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland ( Geus). “Whether it’s coming in 100 years or 150 years, it’s coming. And the sea-level rise we are committed to is growing at present, because of the climate trajectory we’re on.”

  • This figure could more than double within this century. The 27cm estimate is a minimum because it only accounts for global heating so far, writes Damien Carrington, but experts said “there is still a lot of room to minimize the damage”.

More than 40% of Americans think civil war is likely within a decade

Trump supporters clash with police and security on January 6, 2021 at the US Capitol. Photograph: Brent Stirton/Getty Images

Civil war in the US is at least somewhat likely in the next 10 years, according to more than two-fifths of respondents to a new survey. In the poll by YouGov and the Economist, participants were asked: “Looking ahead to the next 10 years, how likely do you think it is that there will be a civil war in this country?”

Among all US citizens, 43% said civil war was at least somewhat likely. Among strong Democrats and independents that figure was 40%. But among strong Republicans, 54% said civil war was at least somewhat likely.

Most experts believe a full-scale armed conflict, like the American civil war of 1861-65, remains unlikely. But many fear an increase of jagged political division and explicitly political violence.

  • Senator faces backlash over violence prediction if Trump is prosecuted. The senior Republican lawmaker Lindsey Graham forecast “riots in the streets” if the former president is prosecuted for mishandling classified information after Hillary Clinton was cleared for use of her personal email, and the FBI allegedly failed to investigate Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son.

Oregon shooting at grocery store leaves three dead, including gunman

Pleas from the public and local senators for government leaders to take more action against gun violence have been renewed after three people, including the suspected attacker, died in a shooting at a Safeway store on Sunday night in Bend, Oregon.

Local police said one of the victims, a Safeway employee who was identified as Donald Ray Surrett Jr, 66, fought off the shooter in the produce aisle, possibly preventing more deaths. The other victim was Glenn Edward Bennett, 84.

Police said they did not fire any shots at the scene, including at the gunman, but they stopped short of immediately saying whether the gunman had killed himself. They noted that he was near an assault-style rifle and a shotgun.

  • What have Oregon politicians said? A number of shootings this year have involved shooters who had legally obtained assault-style rifles, and one Oregon senator said: “Assault weapons and high-capacity magazines should never be on the street in the first place.” Another added: “America cannot just shrug its shoulders.”

Payout offered to US detainee who lost baby after jail staff ‘stopped for coffee’ on way to hospital

A pregnant woman described as homeless and mentally ill who was allegedly left in her jail cell for two hours after her waters broke in March 2016 and then the journey to hospital was delayed has been offered almost half a million dollars by southern California government officials after she lost the baby and took legal action.

Jail staff eventually took her in a patrol car to the local medical center but allegedly stopped to buy coffee at a Starbucks en route despite the woman, Sandra Quinones, then 28, being in a health emergency.

Quinones, who is no longer in the jail’s custody after a two-month sentence and had accused the staff of demonstrating “deliberate indifference”, must formally accept the settlement for the agreement to be considered final.

  • County officials had attempted to get the lawsuit thrown out. They had argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed because it had been filed after a statute of limitations passed. A district court judge ruled in favor of that argument from the county in October 2020. But an appellate court overturned the decision.

In other news…

Donald Scully walks among the cattle on his dairy farm in Ballyheyland.  He says government action is putting a way of life at stake.
Donald Scully walks among the cattle on his dairy farm in Ballyheyland. He says government action is putting a way of life at stake. Photograph: Patrick Bolger/The Guardian
  • In Ireland, where cattle substantially outnumber humans, a government plan dictating the agriculture industry must reduce emissions by 25% by 2030 is facing resistance from farmers who say this would drive many farms into bankruptcy and could force the culling of hundreds of thousands of cows, who produce large amounts of methane through belching.

  • The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is suing the Idaho-based data broker Kochava for selling geolocation data from hundreds of millions of mobile devices that could be used to track people’s movements to and from sensitive locations including “reproductive health clinics, places of worship, homeless and domestic violence shelters, and addiction recovery facilities”.

  • A Chinese thinktank has issued a rare public disagreement with the ruling Communist party’s severe “zero-Covid” policy, advocating an end to Covid restrictions shutting down cities and disrupting trade, travel and industry to prevent an “economic stall” as the US, Europe and Japan recover economically after easing anti-disease curbs.

  • A Nebraska man has set a new world record after he paddled 38 miles down a river in a huge, hollowed-out pumpkin he grew himself. Officials said Duane Hansen, of Syracuse, set off down the Missouri river around 7.30am one day last week and completed his journey just after 6.30pm.

Stat of the day: drinking tea may be linked to lower death risk

The findings suggested the result was the same regardless of whether the person added milk or sugar to their tea, or what their preferred temperature was.
The findings suggested the result was the same regardless of whether the person added milk or sugar to their tea, or what their preferred temperature was. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA

When compared with those who do not have tea, people who consumed two or more cups each day had between a 9% and 13% lower risk of mortality, according to a study. However, the research did not definitively establish that tea was the cause of the lower mortality of tea drinkers, because it could not exclude that this was down to other health factors associated with tea consumption.

Fernando Rodriguez Artalejo, a professor of preventive medicine and public health at the Autonomous University of Madrid, said: “This article shows that regular consumption of black tea (the most widely consumed tea in Europe) is associated with a modest reduction in total and, especially, cardiovascular disease mortality over 10 years in a middle-aged, mostly white, adult general population.”

Don’t miss this: Britney Spears shares new conservatorship allegations

'They threw me away – that's what I felt like, my family threw me away,' said Britney Spears in a voice note published online.
‘They threw me away – that’s what I felt like, my family threw me away,’ said Britney Spears in a voice note published online. Photograph: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

In a later deleted 22-minute voice note, the singer has spoken about the 13 years she endured under an allegedly abusive conservatorship led by her father that spawned a successful movement to “Free Britney”. She claimed that what prompted the arrangement was that she merely spoke “in a British accent to a doctor to prescribe my medication … three days later there was a Swat team in my home, three helicopters”.

“There were no drugs in my system, no alcohol, nothing. It was pure abuse and I haven’t even really shared even half of it,” said Spears. The singer described the “extent of my madness” as “playing chase with paparazzi, which is still to this day one of the most fun things I did about being famous, so I don’t know what was so harmful about that”.

Climate check: fears for areas in Pakistan cut off by floods

Pakistan floods: drone footage shows scale of destruction – video

In Pakistan, where unusually strong monsoon rains have damaged more than 1m homes and killed more than 1,100 people, there are growing fears for people living in communities cut off by devastating flooding fueled by a climate crisis to which the south Asian country is particularly vulnerable since it has more glaciers than anywhere else outside the polar regions.

“We are facing a lack of financial resources, tents and other relief goods and connectivity as all major highways are badly damaged … hampering our relief efforts,” the chief minister of the southern province of Balochistan Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo, said, adding that his province had sustained more than 200bn rupees ($900m) of damage.

Last Thing: male dolphins form lifelong bonds that help them find mates

Researcher observed bottlenose dolphins off the coast of Australia for years, including in mating season, and then analyzed the animals' alliances.
Researcher observed bottlenose dolphins off the coast of Australia for years, including in mating season, and then analyzed the animals’ alliances.
Photograph: Imagebroker/Alamy

Research that confirms behavior not previously proven among animals has found dolphins forge long-term friendships and cooperate among and between cliques to find mates and fight off competitors. “Before our study, it had been thought that cooperative alliances between groups were unique to humans,” said Dr. Richard Connor, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and one of the lead authors of the paper.

Sofia Quaglia writes that the findings appear to support the “social brain” hypothesis: that mammals’ brains evolved to be larger in size for animals that keep track of their social interactions and networks. Humans and dolphins are the two animals with the largest brains relative to body size. “It’s not a coincidence,” Connor said. “I would say that dolphins and humans have converged in the evolution of between-group alliances – an incredibly complex social system … And it’s astonishing because we are so different from dolphins.”

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