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:
Kim Kardashian has launched a new bra and is giving a portion of the proceeds to 1% For The Planet. I wonder if that will cancel out all the fossil fuels they used to make the bra’s nylon and spandex?
GETTING DOWN TO CLIMATE BUSINESS:
🏠 I’ve told you about insurers leaving states at risk of climate impacts, and now, Senate Democrats are trying to find out what other states are most at risk. They’re giving insurance companies until November 17th to turn over “documents that show where in the country those insurers have begun dropping customers, or are considering it.” After that, they could serve them with a subpoena (though they haven’t threatened those measures yet). According to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, “Climate-caused uninsurability has the potential to trigger cascading failures that undermine our entire economy.” I like to think they’re also investigating because they care about people, but you know, whatever gets the job done.
💸 Speaking of caring about people, now’s probably the time to start. A new report from the UN indicates that poor countries who’ve done the least to contribute to climate change still aren’t getting the money they need to prepare for its impacts. Back in 2020, rich nations committed to giving at-risk countries $100 billion a year, but they haven’t hit that mark, and actually, in 2021, they gave LESS than they did the year before. Needless to say, this will increase the impacts of climate change on the people living in these countries, many of whom know what adaptation measures to take, but lack the funds to make them. Hmm, have we tried charging these countries a $25 late fee with no warning that they forgot to make a payment? That’s what my credit card company does and I gotta say, pretty effective!
💰 The Nature Conservancy is investing roughly $3 billion of its endowment into climate tech startups. Their chief investment officer says he’s selected “a select few of those companies that we believe have gigaton scale from a decarbonization standpoint, but also outsized expected return.” If he’s right, this could not only jumpstart climate tech, but also continue to grow their endowment. The Nature Conservancy has a team of scientists that vets all their investees as a caution against greenwashing, and it hopes to inspire other eco-orgs to make similar investments. I’ll just throw this out there – Gen E is a micro-philanthropy app, but if you’re throwing that kind of money around, we certainly wouldn’t turn down a little macro-philanthropy.
🌲 Climate change is fundamentally changing California’s forests. According to a new study from Stanford, “roughly one-fifth of all conifer forests in the Sierra are mismatched with the warmer climate.” The coniferous trees native to the region have adapted to regenerate after California’s frequent fires, but without enough water, require a lot of water as saplings, and thanks to warmer temperatures and ongoing drought, those saplings are struggling. That means following the next big fire, these native forests will likely be replaced by other species, which “could dramatically slash how much carbon the region can store; provide a habitat for invasive species; and displace plants and animals that call the forests home.” That’s why scientists are calling these “zombie forests.” Man, just when I think The Walking Dead can’t squeeze out one more season, they come up with a new idea.
😔 The UN has called the proliferation of climate mis- and disinformation “an urgent frontier for climate action.” This obviously includes outright climate denial, but also things like cherry-picking facts to draw an incorrect conclusion and advocating for solutions that won’t work and delay effective action. And while most social media platforms (not including Elon Musk’s X) have slowly rolled out climate misinformation protections, it’s not enough to outpace the rapid spread of misinformation and lies. Hmm, if only someone started a podcast specifically debunking climate misinformation…
🔌 BP just made a $100 million deal with Tesla to buy superchargers to build out its charging network in the United States. This represents one of the largest investments in EV infrastructure to date by an oil giant, and it could be a step towards making EV charging more like filling up your tank. While environmentalists have spent a lot of time ragging on oil companies like BP (with good reason), it also makes sense that fossil fuel companies would be interested in investing in EV charging. The writing is on the wall: we’re going electric. Much like the dinosaurs in their oil, BP can either adapt or die.
0.2%: PERCENTAGE OF LOANS AND GRANTS THAT WENT TO CLIMATE SCHEMES WITH HEALTH AS THE PRIMARY FOCUS (THE GUARDIAN)
50%: A NEW FEE PROPOSED BY REPUBLICANS WOULD PLACE A FEE ON IMPORTS FROM COUNTRIES THIS MUCH MORE POLLUTION-INTENSE THAN AMERICA (POLITICO)
Halloween has come and gone, and it’s time to get rid of that sad Jack-O-Lantern. Here are some tips for how to do it sustainably (assuming the squirrels haven’t already gotten to it).