Hey climate heroes! Welcome to The Climate Roundup, where we round up the change, er the news about climate and the environment. As part of the Gen E community, we thank you for making climate action part of everyday life. (Reading this newsletter counts!)
In Pop Culture:
Ellen Degeneres posted a video of the creek near her Montecito home, which rose nearly 9 feet during this week’s torrential rains, and asked viewers to “be kind to the Earth.” I’ll give you the same advice I give to new comedians: don’t read the comments.
GETTING DOWN TO CLIMATE BUSINESS:
🔥️ The latest entry in the climate culture wars is this week’s unbearable battle over gas stoves. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission released a report about the dangers of gas stoves inside and linking the appliances to a whole host of health problems – including 13% of all childhood asthma cases. In an interview, the head of the Commission said they were open to the possibility of federal legislation restricting gas stoves, which resulted in a huge amount of backlash (mostly from states that generally cook on electric stoves, anyway). But the thing is… the administration never actually put forth legislation to ban gas stoves, and even if they did, it would only apply to new stoves, not ones in people’s houses already. Bans like these are mostly determined on the local level, anyway. Just like my mom forcing me into piano lessons I never wanted to take, the whole thing has been very loud and frustrating. Of course, if you want to learn more about the whole gas stoves debate (and also see one of the worst rap videos ever made), our friends at Climate Town have, ahem, cooked up this video for you.
⚖️️ The other big climate news this week is that Exxon’s own research conducted in the 1970’s has proven to be remarkably accurate when it comes to the impacts of climate change. And importantly, that it knew it was lying to investors and the general public when it downplayed the impacts of climate change and the effects of its business on ruining the planet. This research will probably be an important piece of evidence in the ongoing lawsuits against Exxon and other oil companies. Oh man, I wish Lennie Briscoe were here. He’d have a great quip, like “They lied about global warming. Bet they’re feeling the heat now.” Well, probably something better than that.
🛢️ Hot on the heels of COP 27, we’re already planning for COP 28! It’s going to take place in the UAE, and they just named the guy in charge, and it’s… the CEO of their national oil company. Oh. Cool. Seems a little like putting Cookie Monster in charge of a bakery, but oh well.
💩️ Wow, just when you thought the effects of climate change couldn’t get any worse, new research reveals that it also gives you diarrhea. More specifically, the shock of extreme weather events like drought followed by heavy rains can overwhelm sanitation systems. During a flood, “bacteria from excrement can leach into water sources and infect people.” Currently, this is an issue in the developing world, but with the way things are looking in California, they better start selling fiber supplements at In-N-Out.
👵 Puerto Rico is facing the dual crises of increased climate impacts and an aging population, which means a lot of older residents are on their own during extreme weather events. This pattern is only expected to get worse, as “most residents will reach retirement age in less than a decade.” Compounding factors include Puerto Rico’s ongoing struggle to recover from the economic crisis of 2006, difficulty of accessing or even understanding healthcare, and, despite its territory status, little support from the American federal government. And our government SHOULD be paying attention, since our population is getting older, too. It’s sort of like that Stevie Nicks song, except the Landslide was the result of melting glaciers.
🧴 Ending on a slightly cheerier note, air conditioning will be more important than ever in a warming world, and there are new opportunities for climate-friendly cooling, including funding mechanisms for phasing out HFCs, a strong climate pollutant. This will be particularly important for developing countries who haven’t started using cooling devices yet but will soon. If you’re looking for eco-friendly ways to stay cool, you can simply do what my dog does: go into the basement and lie motionless on the tile for hours at a time.
4%: FUNDING FOR STARTUPS AIMING TO DECARBONIZE THE ENVIRONMENT ROSE BY THIS MUCH IN 2022 (BLOOMBERG)
18: THE NUMBER OF BILLION-DOLLAR WEATHER AND CLIMATE DISASTER EVENTS IDENTIFIED DURING 2022 (NOAA)
Rule Of 3s
Three groups released major climate reports, and the New Yorker has a piece covering them all. It’s like reading regular climate reports, but you only understand half of the cartoons.
Thanks for reading! – Nicole