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:
Shell partnered with several popular streamers to promote fossil fuels using Fortnight. Great, just when I thought the users on XBox Live couldn’t get any more evil.
GETTING DOWN TO CLIMATE BUSINESS:
🌡️ September broke heat records around the world, and it broke them by a record amount. We’ve been getting warmer for decades, but now, we’re getting warmer faster. Global average temperatures were nearly 1ºC higher than 1991-2000 levels, which means the month of September hit July temperatures. One climate scientist called the temperature, “absolutely gobsmackingly bananas.” Which is a scary thing to hear from a climate scientist, but a pretty cool title for a New Wave album.
👣 Rampant conspiracy theories are disrupting our efforts to reign in climate change. While these used to take the form of outright denial that climate change was happening, now they’re somewhat more subtle and insidious. Sometimes they take the form of attacking climate solutions like renewable energy and other times they argue that climate change is good, actually. This makes it harder to enact change. According to one researcher, “In the end, it actually doesn’t matter if 99% of the public believe in climate change, if you’re able to embed real fear and seeds of doubt about the solutions that are on the table you end up with the same outcome, which is no legislative agenda, no meaningful policy proposals, no local action.” Hmm. Maybe we should start spreading rumors that Bigfoot is real…. but climate change might kill him.
🪟 A new report shows that improving window technology could net us huge climate gains. According to the federal government, 30% of our heating and cooling energy is wasted due to heat transfer through windows. They also estimate that high performance windows could cut our emissions by 2%. The rise in lightweight glass used in LED TVs and smartphone technology has made high performance windows lighter and more feasible than in decades past, which means now is the most feasible time in history to install them. Plus, they enable cool new features like dimmable technology. States like Massachusetts, Minnesota, Washington, New York, and Colorado have implemented green building codes that will require these new energy-saving windows. Although the windows are still a little expensive while we wait for more people to adopt them and economies of scale to drive down the price, this could be an important tool in our journey towards decarbonization. In the meantime, I’ll stick with the next best option: whatever windows my landlord decided to install in my apartment 40 years ago.
🇫🇷 Five climate activists were arrested on Wednesday after storming the stage during a West End production of Les Misérables. They carried orange banners reading, “The show can’t go on” during the song “Do You Hear The People Sing?” We should probably listen to them, before they radicalize the theater kids. They’re annoying enough as-is.
✝️ Researchers conducted a survey on the intersection between race, religion, and climate beliefs, and they found the most likely group to take climate change seriously were religiously unaffiliated people of all races. The least likely? White evangelicals, who hold an outsize amount of political power in America relative to their number. However, according to Katharine Hayhoe, a prominent climate educator and herself a white evangelical in Texas, climate and faith don’t need to conflict, and that there’s nothing in the Bible to indicate humans wouldn’t be responsible for climate change. She told reporters, “For many people, their identity is written, first of all, by their politics and their ideology, and only a distant second by their theology.” Man, am I going to have to start teaching people about climate AND the Bible?? There’s only so many hours in a day!
🇰🇪 A “first-of-its-kind” carbon removal plant will be built in Kenya, and it’s being touted as a boon for developing the country’s green economy. The plant has been met with mixed reactions. Many prominent climate activists argue that pursuing carbon capture and storage will make us delay or even forego the most important element of fighting climate change — reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. However, supporters of the new plant argue that carbon capture and storage is an essential element of the portfolio of techniques that aims to reduce carbon emissions as quickly as possible. Of course, this is complicated by the industrialized world’s relationship with African countries, which has historically been…. not great. While the plant could offer important new economic opportunities in Africa, it’s essential that in the pursuit of profits, companies don’t forego the safety and human rights of Kenyans. Let’s try to harm fewer people when we take carbon OUT of the atmosphere than we did when we put it IN there.
113M: THE NUMBER OF CHILDREN EXPERTS ESTIMATE WILL BE DISPLACED BY CLIMATE EVENTS IN THE NEXT 30 YEARS (AP NEWS)
$700M: THE U.N. CLIMATE FUND HAS FALLEN SHORT BY THIS AMOUNT IN THE RUNUP TO COP28 AFTER WEALTHY NATIONS LIKE THE U.S. FAILED TO PAY IN (REUTERS)
They Don’t Build ‘Em Like The Used To
Some of the most exciting news about fighting climate change is about new technological breakthroughs (heck, I was just talking about fancy new windows earlier). But we should be equally as excited about things that will help in the climate fight that don’t require anything new at all. Forbes published this piece about the advantages of sustainable building that uses traditional techniques. Be right back, gotta call HGTV with a new show idea.