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US Carbon Credits Scheme Get Cold Reception at COP27 Climate Summit

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The Biden government has yet to do much to help poor nations deal with climate change, and now it hopes big business will pay. The Biden government has yet to convince Congress or the public to spend more on climate aid through carbon credits.

Now they’re trying to make it easier for private corporations to send money to the developing world in exchange for looking green at home.

John Kerry announced the plan at the Wednesday COP27 climate summit in Egypt. It involves tapping private funds to finance developing nations’ transition to clean energy by selling “high quality” carbon credits to companies trying to make their carbon emissions “net zero.”

Kerry said at a launch event, “We want to put the carbon market to work, deploy otherwise idle capital, and speed the transition from dirty to clean power.”

carbon credits

Environmental groups and climate experts opposed the idea, saying it would encourage polluters to continue. It came a day after the U.N. warned businesses about shady carbon credits.

An activist heckled Kerry as he announced the plan, accusing him of “promoting false solutions” before security guards removed him. Poorer nations criticized wealthier nations at this year’s COP summit for not funding their “green transition.”

The developed world needs hundreds of billions of dollars to ditch coal, oil, and gas, but Congress is reluctant to help.

Kerry said that without more money, climate change could not be stopped.

Kerry’s Energy Transition Accelerator proposal is backed by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bezos Earth Fund. They hope it will unlock $100 billion for green projects by 2030. Kerry wants it operational by next year’s COP.

Under the plan, verified greenhouse gas emission reductions could be sold as carbon credits. Kerry said PepsiCo and Microsoft are interested in buying them.

Kerry said the credits would have “strong safeguards” Buyers, “not including fossil fuel companies,” need a net-zero CO2 emissions goal and a science-based interim target.

The credits can’t replace deep cuts to their emissions, and they only boost them.

Kerry said these carbon credits would only be allowed to phase out coal power plants in developing nations and create more renewable power. He called that “abuse-proofing.”

Companies, governments, and individuals who want to reduce their carbon footprint buy carbon credits. Environmental and climate activists say they’re problematic because they can’t guarantee reducing emissions.

Emissions from polluting human activities can be offset by farming practices that store carbon, planting trees, or capturing climate-changing gases from smokestacks and other equipment.

These activities are monetized and sold as offsets in net-zero plans.

A U.N. expert panel warned on Tuesday that tougher standards are needed to fight greenwash by companies and investors making net-zero pledges, including a ban on businesses and local governments buying cheap carbon credits instead of cutting their emissions.

Wednesday’s proposal drew skepticism.

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Mohamed Adow, director of a climate and energy think tank, called carbon offsets an “accounting trick” that allows big polluters to continue polluting.

Big cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in both wealthy Northern nations and developing countries in the global South are needed, Adow said, “not rich polluting companies in the north paying to destroy the planet.”

“John Kerry knows the science on climate and what’s at stake for people, but his offsets threaten global efforts to cut emissions,” Adow said.

Climate scientist Bill Hare of Climate Analytics said the proposal shocked the climate summit and many governments.

“Because everyone must reduce emissions at this point in history.” John Kerry’s proposal means companies don’t have to reduce emissions if they buy offsets.

A senior European official questioned the U.S. launch proposal.

The official spoke anonymously due to the sensitivity of the topic.

Micah Carpenter-Lott, the heckler, wanted to call attention to big polluters, wealthy nations’ inaction, and Kerry’s “false solutions.”

“We don’t need to partner with polluters,” Carpenter-Lott said after being kicked out of the U.S. pavilion. “Polluters shouldn’t be here and shouldn’t be allowed to partner with governments because that won’t solve the climate crisis.”

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Google Is Close To Making Its Biggest Acquisition Ever

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Google's Latest Spam Update Met with Widespread Criticism Amidst a Year of Turbulent Changes

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is in advanced talks to buy fast-growing cybersecurity startup Wiz for around $23 billion, a person familiar with the situation confirmed to CNN.

A takeover of Wiz, which provides cybersecurity software for cloud computing, would be Google’s largest cybersecurity acquisition to date.

According to the source, the talks between Google and Wiz began after the business raised $1 billion from venture capital investors earlier this year.

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Google | CNN

Google Is Close To Making Its Biggest Acquisition Ever

According to the source, the terms of a potential deal have not been completed, and negotiations may fail.

The Wall Street Journal was the first to report on the Wiz talks.

Neither Google nor Wiz responded to CNN’s requests for comment.

The transaction would likely beat Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola almost a decade ago, the company’s largest buyout in history. Only two years later, Google sold Motorola for a huge loss.

Wiz’s $23 billion price tag roughly quadruples the startup’s $12 billion valuation from its most recent fundraising round.

In March 2022, Alphabet paid $5.4 billion to acquire cybersecurity firm Mandiant as part of its attempts to help businesses better confront cyber risks and grow its cloud computing business.

Cloud is critical to the company’s efforts to diversify revenue streams beyond its main search advertising business. Despite increased cloud revenues, it has yet to compete with similar services like Microsoft and Amazon.

Buying Wiz would be a “shot across the bow” at Microsoft and Amazon, demonstrating Google’s “major bet on the cyber security space to complement its flagship offering in the cloud,” Dan Ives, managing director and senior equity research analyst at Wedbush, wrote in a note to clients on Monday.

Cloud security has grown increasingly critical recently as businesses have extensively moved data to cloud systems. Last week, AT&T disclosed that virtually all of its wireless customers’ call and text records were compromised in a huge breach caused by an “illegal download” on a third-party cloud platform.

The Wiz acquisition talks came despite intensified antitrust investigation of internet titans by the Biden administration.

However, if Trump retakes the White House, that antitrust vigilance might be turned back slightly, Ives said, making the Federal Trade Commission “much weaker” and sparking an “accelerated merger and acquisition environment to take place for Big Tech.”

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Google | Wiki Image

Google Is Close To Making Its Biggest Acquisition Ever

If the acquisition is confirmed and completed, it will be a big departure for Wiz and its founders, Assaf Rappaport, Ami Luttwak, Yinon Costica, and Roy Reznik. The four executives first met when enlisted into Unit 8200, the Israel Defense Forces’ cyber intelligence branch.

In New York City, Wiz has experienced rapid development since its inception in March 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Today, the organization claims that 40% of Fortune 100 corporations are its clientele.

Notable customers include BMW, Slack, and Salesforce, and it collaborates with major cloud providers such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.

SOURCE | CNN

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2024 | Hacker Group Claims It Leaked Internal Disney Slack Messages Over AI Concerns

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An activist hacker group claimed to have exposed hundreds of Disney’s internal message channels, including details on unreleased projects, raw photos, computer codes, and even logins.

Nullbulge, a “hacktivist group,” claimed responsibility for the breach and stated they exposed approximately 1.2 gigabytes of data from Slack, a communications platform. In an email to CNN on Monday, the group said it got access from “a man with Slack access who had cookies.” The email further stated the group was based in Russia.

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Disney | CNN Image

Hacker Group Claims It Leaked Internal Disney Slack Messages Over AI Concerns

According to the mail, “The user was aware we had them. He tried to kick us out once but let us walk right back in before the second time.”

CNN could not independently verify the claims.

In a statement issued Monday, Disney stated it “is investigating this matter.” the entertainment empire encompasses various divisions and enterprises, from ESPN to Hulu, Disney+ to ABC News.

The group also declared that it wishes to defend artists’ rights and pay for their work, particularly in the age of artificial intelligence.

“Disney was our target due to how it handles artist contracts, its approach to AI, and its pretty blatant disregard for the consumer,” the hacking group stated via email.

Nullbulge had hinted at the massive release on social media for several weeks. For example, in June, the organization released visitation, booking, and income data from Disneyland Paris on X.

Artificial intelligence was a major stumbling block in negotiations during the Screen Actors Guild and Writers Guild of America strikes. Writers are anxious that ChatGPT can produce screenplays in their place, while performers are concerned that computer-generated imagery, or CGI, would completely replace them.

The hackers claimed they leaked the material because making demands on Disney would be pointless.

disney

Disney | Wired Image

Hacker Group Claims It Leaked Internal Slack Messages Over AI Concerns

“If we announced, ‘Hello, we have all your Slack data,’ they would immediately shut down and attempt to take us out. “In a duel, you better fire first,” the email read.

In 2014, a massive cyberattack at Sony Pictures attributed to North Korea sparked an international crisis by disclosing emails from corporate officials, celebrity aliases, social security information, and full movie scripts.

SOURCE | AP

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Amazon Prime Day Is A Big Event For Scammers, Experts Warn

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NEW YORK — Amazon Prime Day is approaching, and experts warn customers to be aware of scammers.

Deceptions like fraudulent emails from people mimicking internet shops like Amazon are not new. However, the Better Business Bureau reports that phishing attempts rise around major sales periods such as Black Friday and Prime Day.

“This is a huge moment on the retail calendar,” Josh Planos, vice president of communications and public relations for the Better Business Bureau, told The Associated Press. “And because of that, it represents an enormous opportunity for a scammer, con artist or even just an unethical business or organization to capitalize on the moment and separate folks from their hard-earned money.”

Prime Day, a two-day discount event for Amazon Prime subscribers, begins on Tuesday and continues through Wednesday. The Better Business Bureau issued a revised caution last week, reminding customers to be wary of lookalike websites, too-good-to-be-true social media ads, and unwanted emails or calls during this month’s sales events.

Amazon Prime Day Is A Big Event For Scammers, Experts Warn

Consumers may need to be more attentive this year than any before. In June, the Better Business Bureau released a study stating that it received a record amount of phishing reports in 2023. Reports have also been rising upward this year, according to the organization.

Meanwhile, Check Point Software Technologies, an Israeli cybersecurity company, said this month that more than 1,230 new Amazon-related websites appeared in June. Check Point reported that most of them were malicious or appeared suspicious.

Scott Knapp, Amazon’s director of worldwide buyer risk prevention, notes two areas where the company has witnessed hoaxes during Prime Day in recent years: Prime membership and order confirmations.

According to Knapp’s emailed statement, more than two-thirds of scams reported by Amazon customers last year claimed to be connected to purchase or account concerns. Knapp explained that people reported receiving unsolicited calls or emails claiming there was a problem with their Prime subscription and requesting bank account or other payment details to reinstate the accounts.

He said that urging customers to confirm an order they did not place is another prevalent approach at this time of year. Scammers may use a costly item, such as a smartphone, to attract attention and request payment details or send a harmful link. They may also attempt to entice customers with promises of a gift or by employing language that generates a false feeling of urgency.

Amazon is working “to ensure scammers are not using our brand to take advantage of people who trust us,” Knapp wrote. The company’s app or website allows customers to authenticate their purchases and verify messages.

Additional scams are out there, but predicting what form they’ll take before this year’s Prime Day is difficult. However, experts observe that the same shopping frauds reemerge year after year.

“Typically, the bones remain the same,” Planos added, citing fake delivery scams, email phishing, and other common approaches. “It’s always a ploy to separate consumers from (their) personal and payment information.”

However, Planos and others caution that online hoaxes are continually changing and becoming more sophisticated. This implies that photographs appear more authentic, text messages sound more convincing, and fraudulent websites resemble reputable shopping places.

According to Amazon’s Knapp, with artificial intelligence “starting to leak in,” frauds targeting e-commerce buyers take the same strategy, but with a machine populating an email or text rather than a person.

According to Federal Trade Commission data, consumers reported losing around $10 billion to fraud in 2023, representing a 14% increase over 2022. According to the FTC, online shopping scams were the second most commonly reported type of fraud, trailing only impostor scams.

Throughout the year, the FTC and the Better Business Bureau educate customers with recommendations on how to prevent scams. The guidance includes rejecting unwanted communications, not exposing financial information to unsolicited callers, and double-checking URLs before clicking – secure websites, for example, will have “HTTPS” in the URL, not “HTTP.”

Scammers frequently encourage you to respond quickly, according to experts. It’s critical to pause and trust your instincts. Experts also encourage customers to report scams to regulators.

Aside from frauds that imitate firms or stores, be wary of counterfeit products and phony reviews on the websites of reputable retailers. Just because you are shopping on Amazon, for example, does not imply that you are purchasing from Amazon. Online shopping giants like eBay, Walmart, and others have extensive third-party markets.

Amazon Prime Day Is A Big Event For Scammers, Experts Warn

According to Planos, the quality and appearance of counterfeit products have improved dramatically in recent years, making the practice harder to control. A decent rule of thumb is to look at the price tag; if the product is sold for less than 75% of its annual market rate, “that’s a pretty big red flag,” he says.

Sketchy merchants can appear on many platforms, including sites like Amazon, “all the time,” according to Planos, who advises consumers to check out organizations on the Better Business Bureau website. Counterfeit products, like other scams, may become more prevalent during peak shopping seasons.

In recent years, Amazon has acknowledged getting rid of millions of fake products in response to mounting demand to combat counterfeit goods. The corporation also claimed to have prevented billions of fraudulent listings from appearing on its website. In 2023, Amazon stated that more than 7 million counterfeit items were “identified, seized, and appropriately disposed of.” The online shop has also launched many cases against fraudulent review brokers.

Amazon emphasizes that users can use its website to report fraudulent reviews and other scams. If a buyer purchases a counterfeit item found by the corporation, Amazon has stated that it will “proactively contact” the client and issue a refund.

SOURCE | AP

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