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:
Noah Cyrus and PJ Harding have released a new “dark” Christmas song called “Snow In LA,” with a message about climate change and “the lies grownups tell.” I think we should update lots of Christmas songs to have a climate message. Some pitches: “Rudolph The Endangered Reindeer,” “Baby It’s Hot Outside,” and “All I Want For Christmas Is Renewables.”
GETTING DOWN TO CLIMATE BUSINESS:
🌍 Discussions at COP27 in Egypt have stalled after the US balked at a plan proposed by Europe that would include payments to developing countries for loss & damage caused by climate change. This is an uncharacteristic break for first-world nations, as Europe and the United States typically side together on climate reparations, which might leave the US as the only major bloc opposing the measure. The loss & damage argument is that rich countries who have benefited the most from pollution should foot the bill for it. In terms we can all understand – the United States is like the guy at dinner who ordered five apps and a steak, but now he wants to split the bill right down the middle. Now, there’s a last-minute deal on the table, but as of this writing, it’s unclear whether or not anyone will bite.
👧🏿 One of the highlights from COP27 is this speech by 10-year-old Ghanaian activist and poet Nakeeyat Dramani, who also called for loss & damage payment, asking, “When can you pay us back?” She got a standing ovation, and she even took a subtle dig at John Kerry’s age, which, as a comedian, I have to respect.
🗳️ One lesson we should probably take from this midterm election is that voters support climate initiatives at the ballot box. New York voters passed a multibillion dollar investment for climate mitigation, Rhode Island passed a multimillion dollar green bond deal, and Boulder, Colorado implemented a carbon tax. My takeaway: we should try to get as many climate initiatives on ballots as possible, instead of waiting for elected officials to pass legislation. Turns out, when you ask people if they would like a liveable planet, they overwhelmingly say yes.
🧓🏾 Climate change is altering Americans’ retirement plans, as hotspots like Florida and Arizona become particularly vulnerable to the impacts of a warming planet. On a personal level, my parents plan to retire to the desert of Palm Springs, but I’m trying to convince them it would be just as nice to retire in an insulated bunker near Detroit. Not as much golf there, but they’ll be safer during the coming water wars.
🖥️ Big layoffs across the tech industry are bad news for most, but there might be a silver lining for the climate movement, as laid-off tech workers have the skills that climate startups crave. Apparently, climate-tech venture funding is holding strong and the climate tech sector is expanding, with huge calls for new workers in spaces from the very climate-focused, like carbon capture, to the more business-centered, and all of which can take advantage of transferrable skills from laid-off crypto or Twitter employees. So it turns out the electric car guy did help the environment… just maybe not in the way he planned.
⛷️ The World Cup Alpine ski season is off to a disappointing start, with seven out of eight races so far cancelled due to inadequate snow cover. And while you might not shed any tears over shorter ski seasons for wealthy jetsetters, ski tourism is a $20 billion industry which will probably face extreme downturns due to climate change. As someone who grew up in the mountains of Colorado, I can tell you that the loss of all that freshie gnar gnar is bunk and definitely not shibby.
2X: CLIMATE CHANGE LITIGATION HAS INCREASED MORE THAN THIS MANY TIMES IN THE PAST 7 YEARS (REUTERS)
30: THE NUMBER OF AGENCIES IN THE WESTERN US WHO HAVE PLEDGED TO REMOVE DECORATIVE GRASSES AS PART OF WATER CONSERVATIONS EFFORTS (FOX NEWS)
A Little Edu-tainment
There’s new discussion about the use of hydrogen as a renewable fuel source, and how renewable it actually is. Hydrogen fuel is made by splitting water molecules and isolating the hydrogen, but in arid parts of the country, that will contribute to the ever-worsening drought. Proponents of hydrogen fuel argue that it still uses less water than coal-fired power plants. It’s an ongoing conversation, but it got me thinking – most people don’t know how a lump of coal turns into electricity, and why it’s a water-intensive way to keep the lights on. If you’d like to learn more, take a second to picture being in your 4th grade classroom. Your teacher rolls in one of those TVs on a cart, and on the screen, you watch this delightfully dated PBS video explaining how coal power plants work
And if you don’t have time for that, the answer is: you burn coal to boil water, and the steam from the water turns a turbine. Sorry for the spoilers!
Thanks for reading! – Nicole