United Nations Reports Record High Greenhouse Gas Levels Throughout World 

The United Nations announced this week that greenhouse gas concentrations in our atmosphere hit record levels in 2020, and the world is “way off track on capping rising temperatures.”

The UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released a report that showed carbon dioxide levels surged to 413.2 parts per million in 2020, which shows an exponential rise in the rate of emissions last year when compared to the rest of the decade. There was, however, a temporary decline in emissions during the initial phase of Covid-19 lockdowns. 

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said “the current rate of increase in heat-trapping gases would result in temperature rises far in excess of the 2015 Paris Agreement target of 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average this century.

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“We are way off track. We need to revisit our industrial, energy and transport systems and whole way of life. We need a dramatic increase in commitments from our world’s nations.”

Glasgow, Scotland hosted the climate talks where the UN met to discuss capping the global warming rates on Earth at the 1.5-2 degrees Celsius upper limit originally set out in the Paris Agreement. 

“It is going to be very, very tough this summit. I am very worried because it might go wrong and we might not get the agreements that we need and it is touch and go, it is very, very difficult, but I think it can be done,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said during a news conference.

The crown prince of Saudi Arabia claimed that the nation will be aiming to reach net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2060, adding that they also plan on doubling emission cuts within the next decade alone. 

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The nation of Ottawa offered an official plan where they would have developed nations donate up to $100 billion a year to poorer countries to tackle climate change by 2023. This plan calls on more developed nations to put in more effort when it comes to helping poorer nations. 

According to a poll performed by Reuters, economists found that hitting the Paris Agreement goal of net-zero carbon emissions will require more investments from richer countries. If the world continues on as it is, the average global temperature will increase by “1.6C, 2.4C and 4.4C by 2030, 2050 and 2100 respectively, which would also result in 2.4% lost output by 2030, 10% by 2050 and 18% by 2100,” according to the median replies to the poll.

In London, climate activists are taking action into their own hands by blockading major roads and disrupting traffic in the city’s financial district; similar protests are occuring all throughout Europe as well. 

“Greenhouse gas emissions are provoking climate catastrophes all over the planet. We don’t have time. It’s already late and if we don’t join the action against what’s happening, we won’t have time to save what is still left,” said Alberto, 27, a sociologist who took part in a sit-in protest in Madrid which blocked off one of the largest shopping streets in the city.

Video Game Controller

Kojima’s Unique “Death Stranding” Met with Polarized Reception

Death Stranding has become an almost-mythical title in the video gaming world, owing to the legacy of its director, Hideo Kojima, its impenetrably weird style, and the years-long gap between its confusing initial announcement and its release. The title is perhaps the most anxiously anticipated game on the PS4, as it promises to offer a gameplay experience that represents a radical departure from titles that came before it. The game is the first one created by Kojima, famed for his work on the Metal Gear Solid franchise, after he left Konami and formed his own studio, Kojima Productions. Taking place in a post-apocalyptic America comprised of small, isolated communities which the player is tasked with connecting, Death Stranding is advertised as a new type of action game with a heavy focus on exploration and interaction with other players, as well as a strange, dense, and dream-like narrative.

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Though the game is not out yet, reviews have appeared on the internet, and critics have confirmed that the title is as unusual as its extensive marketing has made it seem. At its core, the game mainly tasks players with making package deliveries across expansive landscapes, while managing resources and navigating obstacles. But along the way, the player character, portrayed by Norman Reedus, must do things like carry around an infant in a pod that alerts him to the presence of enemies, which the player character can kill by crafting weapons made from his own sweat and blood. The game’s narrative weirdness doesn’t stop there, and its long story, which critics have complained was often unsubtle and pretentious, is nevertheless unique.

“Death Stranding could receive a review calling it a revolution in gaming, another could call it the most boring and pointless trash ever, and yet another could call it a middle-of-the-road effort that ends up being completely average, and all of those opinions might be right.” — Mollie L. Patterson, EGM

Despite these complaints, critics have praised the game’s deep metaphorical resonance, as it serves as a commentary on everything from the human cost of social media to the implications of climate change to the gradual collapse of American political norms. Fundamentally, reviewers agree, the game enticingly explores the theme of human connections through its narrative as well as its gameplay. The game integrates a social-media-like system, where the player can deploy useful tools in the game environment which can be used by other players who stumble across them, and players can give “likes” to objects placed by other players that are particularly useful. And while the story may be at times overwrought, reviewers preferred it to the even lengthier and more complex dialogue scenes of Metal Gear Solid titles, claiming that Kojima has refined his unique brand of interactive storytelling. The acting, represented in-game through motion-capture technology, was also praised.

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What’s notable about the reviews for Death Stranding is how disparate they are. Some publications ranked the game as merely mediocre, while others described it as among the best video games ever made. Video Games Chronicle, for instance, gave the game 3/5 stars, calling its story “a bloated heap of half-baked twists, laboured morals, armchair philosophy and boneheaded sci-fantasy metaphors,” whereas Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu gave it a rare perfect score. USGamer described Death Stranding as simultaneously bold, interesting, and tedious, and its reviewer had a broadly positive opinion of the game while struggling to recommend it, awarding the title 3.5/5 stars. Similarly, Game Informer gave the title a 7/10, praising the project’s ambition but commenting that its repetitive gameplay left a lot to be desired. EGM, meanwhile, gave the game a perfect 5/5 and heralded the title as a profound technical and artistic achievement. Despite giving it a perfect score, though, EGM’s reviewer characterized the game by saying “Death Stranding could receive a review calling it a revolution in gaming, another could call it the most boring and pointless trash ever, and yet another could call it a middle-of-the-road effort that ends up being completely average, and all of those opinions might be right.” Ultimately, it seems as though Death Stranding will be enjoyed mostly by a very particular kind of audience of people who have the patience for at-times tedious and boring gameplay and who aren’t turned off by an arguably pretentious and obvious narrative.