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:
Idris Elba and his wife were honored at the World Economic Forum for their work on environmental conservation, food security, and climate change. Though frankly, it’s hard to believe they haven’t been a significant contributor to global warming, because they’re so unbelievably hot.
GETTING DOWN TO CLIMATE BUSINESS:
💰️ This week was the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and the global energy transition was a hot topic. The good news – the debt crisis and ongoing energy issues caused by the war in Ukraine may accelerate adaptation of renewable energy in first-world countries. The bad news – not so much in developing nations. Many countries in the global South are facing such high debt burdens that without assistance, they won’t be able to meet their rapidly-increasing energy demands with renewable energy. That means we’re gonna have a lot more coal and oil to deal with. Not to mention, fears of a global recession could slow both public and private sector climate investments. Yeesh! Now that I’ve got a new job, I could spot you guys a couple hundred bucks, but I don’t think that’s gonna cover it.
🛢️ Also in Davos, US Climate Envoy John Kerry responded to criticism (including from this newsletter) over the decision to hold next year’s UN climate talks in the United Arab Emirates. He insisted that the UAE is rapidly transitioning away from fossil fuels and told everybody, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Yeah okay, but when the book is called “Our Whole Economy Is Based On Oil, That’s Like Our Main Thing,” I think it’s okay to be a little skeptical of the book.
🇲🇽️ Mexico has banned geoengineering firm Make Sunsets after the company conducted field tests without prior notice or consent from the government. There are several proposed methods of geoengineering to cool the planet, but pretty much all of them aim to reflect the sun’s rays away from Earth. Make Sunsets wants to achieve this by injecting sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere. Apparently, they “launched two balloons in Baja California last year, each carrying less than 10 grams of sulfur dioxide. That’s a tiny amount of the compound that’s typically released into the air by fossil fuel power plants and volcanoes in much larger quantities — so the release isn’t likely to have had much impact. … And the startup didn’t track the balloons, so it doesn’t know if they even got high enough to bring the sulfur dioxide to its intended destination.” Okay so… what did this “field test” actually… test? It sounds like you guys just let two balloons go in the desert. People do that at Burning Man all the time, but they don’t call it science.
⚖️️ Remember last week, when I told you that Exxon’s own calculations from the 1970s were extremely accurate at predicting the course of climate change over the next 50 years? Well, apparently that accuracy could put them in “legal peril.” Makes sense. If you released a scientific study that said, “I am going to murder my neighbor next year,” they could probably use that against you in court, too.
🗳️ Many mayors want to take major steps to combat climate change, but they’re worried things like banning gas stoves and leaf blowers would be “political poison.” This is, of course, different from the very literal poison that spews out of gas stoves and leaf blowers.
🌵 After over a decade of repeated warnings that this was going to happen, Scottsdale Arizona cut off the water supply to a neighboring suburb. Rio Verde exploited a huge loophole in Arizona’s development laws when it was constructed, which means it doesn’t have a water supply of its own. Now, in the midst of a huge drought, Rio Verde has to figure out how to import its own water. Residents are split: half of them want their water controlled by the government, and half of them want their water controlled by a private company. Though you’d think that ALL of them would want to stop living in a place where there is no water.
🐬 One bonus story for you: Dolphins were spotted in the Bronx River this week! As a reminder, this is what the river used to look like. It’s good to remember that we can do a lot to help the environment, if we actually, you know, try.
300%: TWEETS CONTAINING TERMS LIKE “CLIMATE SCAM” ROSE BY THIS MUCH IN 2022 (PBS)
1300X: WE HAVE TO SCALE CARBON CAPTURE BY THIS MUCH TO MEET PARIS TARGETS (LA TIMES)
I’m Glad Someone’s Having A Good Time
While most of us are dreading what will happen to our homelands when the climate changes, Greenland is kind of looking forward to it. They have an unusually sunny outlook on the whole situation – after all, who knows what they’ll find under all that ice? A warmer climate could open up lots of opportunities for Greenland, like increased tourism and more places to grow their own produce. Of course, not everyone in Greenland agrees that this is a good thing, but it’s still interesting to see the perspectives of people who aren’t completely paralyzed with fear over the whole situation. Just a heads up: the pictures in the article are beautiful, but if you’re an animal-loving vegetarian softie like me, some of them are going to bum you out!
Thanks for reading! – Nicole