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:
It’s never too early to become a climate advocate, and several childrens’ TV shows are introducing kids to age-appropriate climate stories. Sesame Street, Molly of Denali, Octonauts, and Jane have all released climate-themed episodes. Of course, if they really want to win kids over, they’ve gotta reboot the GOAT environment show: Captain Planet.
GETTING DOWN TO CLIMATE BUSINESS:
👮 18 young people were arrested outside the office of Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy. They were part of a group of 150 teenage protesters opposing a funding gap caused by a potential government shutdown, which would heavily impact FEMA’s ability to mitigate damage from extreme weather events. A press release from youth climate organization The Sunrise Movement didn’t mince words: “They would rather shut down the government than do their jobs and protect our generation. Our generation is watching and we will hold them accountable for their actions.” That’s right, these kids are watching you, and they have eyes in the back of their heads. Wow, we all really do become our parents.
☀️ A little bit of good news from a new International Energy Agency report: countries are installing record levels of renewables, and there’s still a narrow path to limit warming to 1.5ºC by 2050. To pull it off, we’ll need to more than double our investments in renewables, get projects approved more quickly, and kick our oil and gas habit, like, yesterday. According to a Greenpeace activist, “It’s an extraordinary moment in history: we now have all the tools needed to free ourselves from planet-heating fossil fuels, but there’s still no decision to do it.” Kind of like how I have all the tools to get a restful night’s sleep, but I still choose not to go to bed until 1:00 AM.
🧅 Climate change and El Niño have caused some countries to limit their food exports, raising prices on certain dietary staples around the world. According to the International Food Policy Research Institute, “41 food export restrictions from 19 countries are in effect, ranging from outright bans to taxes” around the world. These include such important items as rice, onions, and olive oil. Oh no! My paella is ruined!!
🏢 The Biden administration has clarified the official definition of a “zero-emission” building, which, “while not legally binding, could help real estate developers navigate a patchwork of state and local rules aimed at curbing how buildings from skyscrapers to schools warm the planet.” Some estimates indicate that buildings are responsible for over one third of U.S. emissions. The new definition centers on three pillars: “no on-site emissions, the use of 100 percent renewable energy, and adherence to strict energy efficiency guidelines.” Until now, LEED building certification was considered the “green standard,” but because those rankings were generated by a nonprofit, they didn’t have federal authority behind them. So you could say that they’re LEED, but not leaders.
🌳 Plenty of politicians and business leaders have long been beating the drum of carbon offsets which would, in effect, cancel out the emissions generated by countries and corporations, but research shows they’re actually not that effective. A new study in the peer review process “estimates that only 12 percent of carbon-offset projects ‘constitute real emissions reductions.'” This new evidence has led companies like Shell to pivot away from some of their carbon offset plans, government regulatory agencies to make requirements for offsets more stringent, and lawsuits challenging fraudulent carbon offset schemes to head to court. Of course, if we can’t rely on carbon offsets to help us meet our climate goals, we have to think much more seriously about reducing our emissions targets. You can’t out-run a bad diet, and you can’t out-tree fossil fuel infrastructure.
☁️ Plastic is in everything around us, and now, it’s above us, too. According to a new study,, there are microplastics in the clouds, which is causing something they call “plastic rainfall.” Terrible news, unless you’re in a Prince cover band. “Plastic Rain” tracks pretty easily onto “Purple Rain,” so you’ll be up-to-date for the foreseeable future.
4500: OVER THIS MANY DEATHS IN ENGLAND HAVE BEEN ATTRIBUTED TO THE 2022 HEAT WAVES (BBC)
87%: PERCENTAGE OF AMERICANS WHO SAY THEY HAVE EXPERIENCED AN EXTREME WEATHER EVENT IN THE PAST 5 YEARS (AP)
All Around The World, Flights Get Cancelled For Me
As climate change progresses, extreme weather may throw a wrench in your vacation. Prepare for it with these tips to reduce the impacts of extreme weather on your travel plans, so you don’t have to spend your dream trip hiding in an air conditioned H&M.