McDonald's aims to be carbon-free by 2050

McDonald's said it aims to bring its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

It's a higher bar than the Chicago-based fast food chain set three years ago, when it pledged to cut emissions linked to restaurants and offices 36% by 2030. Since then, emissions have dropped 8.5% below 2015 levels, the company said Monday.

McDonald's said it will work with the United Nations Race to Zero campaign, which includes cities, regions, investors and more than 3,000 businesses targeting net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, as well as the Science Based Targets Initiative.

The company said it will increase emissions reductions already underway and give teams in different regions some control over the strategies used to hit the net zero target, like renewable energy, regenerative farming and sustainable packaging.


Fed chair says action needed on debt limit

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Oct. 18 remains the date she is likely to run out of resources to stave off an unprecedented default on the nation's debt without congressional action to raise the debt limit.

She rejected the idea of minting a $1 trillion coin to avoid a default. Appearing on CNBC Yellen said that if a default were to occur she would expect a recession.

A default also would prevent the government from paying benefits to 50 million Social Security recipients and meeting its other bills. Yellen said it would be "catastrophic" if the government did not have the resources to pay its bills.


US service sector up for 16th straight month

The U.S. services sector, where most Americans work, grew again in September even as supply chain troubles persisted.

The Institute for Supply Management reported Tuesday that its monthly survey of service industries rose to a reading of 61.9, following August's reading of 61.7.

The gauge hit a record high of 64.1 in July. Any reading above 50 indicates growth in service industries.

The services index has shown growth for the past 16 months after two months of contraction in April and May of 2020 when the coronavirus triggered widespread shutdowns and millions of job losses.


US trade deficit hits record $73.3 billion

The U.S. trade deficit increased to a record $73.3 billion in August as a small gain in exports was swamped by a much larger increase in imports.

The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that the monthly trade deficit increased 4.2% in August, rising to an all-time high, surpassing the previous record of $73.2 billion set in June.

The trade deficit represents the gap between what the country exports to the rest of the world and the imports it purchases from other countries. In August, exports rose 0.5% to $$213.7 billion, reflecting revived overseas demand. But imports, even with all the supply chain problems at ports, were up an even stronger 1.4% to $287 billion.

The politically sensitive deficit with China surged 10.8% to $31.7 billion.


Pipeline developer faces criminal charges

The corporate developer of a multi-billion-dollar pipeline system that takes natural gas liquids from the Marcellus Shale gas field to an export terminal near Philadelphia was charged criminally on Tuesday after a grand jury concluded that it flouted Pennsylvania environmental laws and fouled waterways and residential water supplies across hundreds of miles.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the sprawling case at a news conference at Marsh Creek State Park in Downingtown, where Sunoco Pipeline LP spilled thousands of gallons of drilling fluid last year. The spill, during construction of the troubled Mariner East 2 pipeline, contaminated wetlands, a stream and part of a 535-acre lake.

Energy Transfer, Sunoco's owner, faces 48 criminal charges, most of them for illegally releasing industrial waste at 22 sites in 11 counties across the state. A felony count accuses the operator of willfully failing to report spills to state environmental regulators.

Shapiro said Energy Transfer ruined the drinking water of at least 150 families statewide. He released a grand jury report that includes testimony from numerous residents who accused Energy Transfer of denying responsibility for the contamination and then refusing to help.

The Texas-based pipeline giant was charged for "illegal behavior that related to the construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline that polluted our lakes, our rivers and our water wells and put Pennsylvania's safety at risk," said Shapiro, speaking with Marsh Creek Lake behind him.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner