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Vox Sentences: We’re finally learning about plans for Brexit — and the markets are freaking out

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what's happening in the world, curated by Dara Lind and Dylan Matthews. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions.

The Paris climate deal passes the threshold for ratification; Hurricane Matthew hits Haiti; as details about Brexit finally materialize, so could the long-anticipated UK economic slump.

Putting the "meh" in chamehpagne

Members of European Parliament Elyxandro Cegarra/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
  • The European Parliament voted today to ratify 2015's Paris climate agreement — crossing the threshold, in both number of countries and share of world emissions, for the agreement to become binding in 30 days. [NPR / Rebecca Hersher]
  • It's taken less than a year to ratify the Paris agreement. (For comparison, it took eight years to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, the first major international climate agreement.) That signifies that world governments are finally taking carbon emissions seriously, right? [BBC]
  • Well … not exactly. The specific actions that Paris signatories have pledged to take won't be nearly enough, on their own, to bring global warming below 2 degrees Celsius over the next century — as climate scientists agree it has to in order to avoid total climate disaster. [Climate Action Tracker]
  • At this point, pretty much any plan for avoiding catastrophe requires not just curbing carbon emissions but actually engaging in negative emissions — using technology to capture carbon out of the atmosphere while not emitting more into the air — for several years. [Washington Post / Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis]
  • For that to be realistic, in turn, the world would have to stop using fossil fuels. Immediately. Like, yesterday. [Vox / David Roberts]
  • In theory, most of the world has recognized since 2009 that 2 degrees is the doomsday threshold for climate change. And in the intervening seven years, no one's really come to terms with what that would entail. [Vox / Brad Plumer]
  • The American people, for their part, are pretty much crossing their fingers and hoping for technological magic. 55 percent of Americans think that new technology will "solve most" of the problems of climate change — more than agree that any particular policy would work to curb emissions. [Pew Research Center / Cary Funk and Brian Kennedy]
  • Bad news for them (and everything else on Earth): Technology doesn't look like it's going to proceed at the near-magical pace it has for the past 20 years. [Vox / Timothy B. Lee]

Lethally unready

Haitian woman walking down flooded street Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images
  • Hurricane Matthew has made landfall on the southern coast of Haiti, causing what UN officials are calling the country's largest humanitarian disaster since the 2010 earthquake there. [NYT / Azam Ahmed]
  • We still don't precisely know the scope of the damage. It's possible that it isn't epically bad. [Eric Holthaus via Twitter]
  • Nor do we know how badly Matthew will hit the East Coast of the US — though officials are already urging millions of people from the Carolinas to Florida to get out. [NBC 12 / Ashleigh Holland]
  • But that's something the US, with its superior road system, has the luxury to do. Haiti doesn't. Despite billions of dollars in aid money, the country simply wasn't hurricane-ready. [Aid.Works / Emily Troutman]
  • That's doubly true for the thousands of stateless people living in camps along the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, from which they were deported or "self-deported." (Some of them were Dominican citizens before the government stripped citizenship from people of Haitian descent in 2013.) [Human Rights Watch / Skye Wheeler]
  • The term "environmental racism" has been used lately with regards to the pollution crisis in Flint. But it's also, many argue, a fair characterization of what happens when climate change (which, to be clear, you can't directly blame for this specific hurricane but which does encourage extreme weather) brings more frequent disasters to the people the world neglects. [Chronicle of Higher Education / Rob Nixon]

Is the Brexit shoe finally about to drop?

Man walking by IMF building Zach Gibson/AFP/Getty Images
  • Good news for the UK: The International Monetary Fund says it's the fastest-growing economy of any of the G7 countries. Bad news: The IMF thinks that won't last if the country continues on the path of Brexit. [The Guardian / Larry Elliott]
  • In fairness to the UK, experts have been predicting an economic crash ever since the Brexit vote in June. It hasn't happened yet. [BBC]
  • But until now, Brexit has been a hypothetical possibility. It's now getting real. Prime Minister Theresa May has set out a timeline: By next spring, the UK will invoke Article 50 of the EU charter, setting a two-year clock for negotiations over a Brexit deal. [FT / Kate Allen, George Parker, and Alex Barker]
  • And May has made it clear that the "soft Brexit" many were hoping for, in which the UK caved on immigration to preserve access to the common trade market, won't happen. If she needs to leave the common market to curb immigration, that's what she'll do. [Forbes / Tim Worstall]
  • That news was certainly enough to trigger a drop in the pound Tuesday. [WSJ / Mike Bird and Saumya Vaishampayan]
  • Just how bad the post-Brexit reality looks for business will depend on what exactly the UK does to restrict immigration. Immigration status checks for, say, taxi drivers, like the ones the UK is planning to put in place by December, may not hurt business much (though they may hurt taxi drivers). [The Guardian / Alan Travis and Sally Weale]
  • But the May government is planning to go hard against companies that hire immigrant workers as well. They're going to create a more difficult "test" for companies to take if they wish to hire immigrant workers. And one proposal being floated would publish a list of companies that hired immigrant workers, with the proportion of their employees that are foreign-born — which goes beyond anything in the US. [The Telegraph / Michael Wilkinson]


  • Why a California-based offshoot of the Straussian movement is backing Donald Trump. [New Republic / Jeet Heer]
  • Henry Molaison, a man who lost the ability to form new memories after a brain surgery in 1953, was one of the most important subjects in the history of medical science, and for 41 years his life was largely governed by an MIT neuroscientist named Suzanne Corkin. A new book says she abused that control, and hurt science in the process. [Undark / Seth Mnookin]
  • In March, Rachel Brewson wrote a viral essay for XOJane about breaking up with her boyfriend because he supported Donald Trump. Only Rachel Brewson didn't exist. She was an elaborate scam by internet marketers. [Jezebel / Anna Merlan]
  • A new study in the British Medical Journal suggests that someone who drinks as much as James Bond would almost certainly be impotent, liver-damaged, and hurtling toward an early death. [BBC / James Gallagher]
  • Psychosis is a horrifying thing. But many people struggling with it find it hard to give up the grandiose reality it lets them live in. [NYT / Irene Hurford]


  • "I sometimes wonder if I'm the only person in the world who hasn't learned a deep life lesson from having cancer. I haven't battled it. I've just done the stuff my doctor has told me to do. I haven't become more aware of the fragility of life. I always knew about that." [Mother Jones / Kevin Drum]
  • "The Birth of a Nation is not worth the efforts of its defenders. It’s hard even to call it a successful attempt at propaganda." [New Yorker / Vinson Cunningham]
  • "Teased for his forebears’ having come over on the Mayflower, Weld once replied, 'Actually, they weren't on the Mayflower. They sent the servants over first to get the cottage ready.'" [The Atlantic / Molly Ball]
  • "The Boston Herald quickly labeled his politically electric comments 'Silber Shockers,' but despite the criticism that ensued, the combative candidate declared there would be more to come. And there were. He had contemplated converting to Judaism before discovering that 'the racism of Jews is quite phenomenal.' … To preserve Medicaid for younger recipients, the state should curtail spending on expensive procedures for the elderly, he said, declaring that 'when you’ve had a long life and you’re ripe, then it’s time to go.'" [Boston Globe / Scot Lehigh]
  • "Just a few days ago, a woman who came to see us play in Washington, DC, told me she followed our Twitter for my jokes before learning we were a band — and we’ve had 'fans' on Instagram who were surprised to learn we were more than just a bot that posted pictures of Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice every four hours." [The Talkhouse / Hutch Harris]

Watch this: Why truffles can cost $2,500 per pound

Truffles are the most expensive fungi you can eat. [YouTube / Gina Barton]