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:
Good news – for the first time since the pandemic started, Jane Fonda is back in Washington DC for her Fire Drill Friday rally to demand action on climate change. Even better news – her cancer is in remission. Sounds like there will be Fire Drill Fridays for years to come!
GETTING DOWN TO CLIMATE BUSINESS:
🎒 Connecticut will become one of the first states in the country to mandate climate change studies as part of its public school science curriculum. Enshrining it at the state level will ensure that local school boards and climate deniers can’t eliminate climate change curricula for being “too political.” Frequent newsletter readers will remember that The Atlantic reported on the dearth of Earth science education in schools, which would encompass climate change and give a broader knowledge base on environmental systems and policies. Personally, I never had an Earth science class after 3rd grade, which would have come in handy now that I work in the climate space. I did learn that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, though. Which never really comes up.
🧾 The Biden administration is working to ensure that the IRA’s $370 billion in subsidies for clean energy technologies is “spent properly and avoids waste and abuse.” John Podesta, the administration’s clean energy advisor, said that, “complex rules expected from the Internal Revenue Service and other agencies would clarify who qualifies for various incentives and how the money will be doled out.” Ah yes, because if there’s one thing that really clarifies things, it’s complex rules from the IRS.
₿ As we’ve covered before in this newsletter, cryptocurrencies, particularly Bitcoin, suck up a whole lot of energy (so much so that crypto miners have re-started some old coal plants. Yikes!!). This piece argues that because Bitcoin is a decentralized global technology with no CEO to issue direct changes, it’s up to the companies who deal in Bitcoin — increasingly, traditional financial institutions like MasterCard, BlackRock, and Goldman Sachs — must spearhead efforts to make the code more efficient and secure. Although they haven’t done anything to this effect yet, they’ll need to move fast or they’ll face increased scrutiny from regulators and consumers. Personally, I’m avoiding any crypto-environmental conflict of interest by simply not holding any crypto coins. I’m sticking with what I know: WWE commemorative plates.
📰️ Start-up news site Semafor hired former Wall Street Journal editor and reporter Bill Spindle to cover climate news, but in his very first newsletter, Semafor chose to run an ad for Chevron. Spindle publicly opposed Semafor‘s partnership with Big Oil, and was dismissed after three months (Semafor claims his dismissal had nothing to do with any of this, but this newsletter writer finds that hard to believe). Spindle is now publicly advocating for government regulation to stop oil and gas advertising, just as they regulated tobacco ads in the 1970s. Plus, with fewer oil and gas commercials, we’ll have more time to spend exploring the increasingly-complex Flo from Progressive universe.
🌪️ We have some new information about the way climate change is altering tornadoes. Although it’s hard to attribute any one tornado to climate change, their increased frequency indicates that greenhouse gases and warming are contributing factors. One significant change is that the tornadoes seem to be moving, from the area traditionally known as Tornado Alley towards the southern Midwest and Southeast. If there’s one thing the hurricane-devastated Southeast needs, it’s tornadoes.
🐋 Climate researchers now believe that whales are important but overlooked carbon sinks. Because whales are SO big and live for SO long, they store carbon much more efficiently and for longer than smaller animals. Their poop also supports phytoplankton that suck carbon out of the atmosphere, and when both those animals die, they sink deep to the sea floor, where the carbon can stay sequestered instead of releasing into the atmosphere. One researcher says that protecting whales has the double benefit of increasing carbon absorption and stemming the biodiversity crisis. Wow! Sounds like it’s time for Ben Affleck to reprise his best role – the little kid in Voyage Of The Mimi.
709M: POUNDS OF PLASTIC WASTE GENERATED BY AMAZON PACKAGING (GIZMODO)
25%: CHARITABLE GIVING TO CLIMATE CAUSES HAS RISEN THIS MUCH IN 2022 (YALE)
Let’s Talk About Offsets (Not Cardi B’s Husband)
If you’ve been paying extra for carbon offsets when you fly, you might want to rethink that. Practices like questionable carbon accounting make it difficult to know exactly how much (if any) emissions are being offset. Instead, airlines should be focusing on developing more sustainable jet fuel (they’re starting to move in that direction), and you’d be better off giving your money to an organization that helps protect carbon sinks like the Amazon rainforest and now, apparently, whales. Conveniently for you, Gen E lets you do that with every purchase you make!
Thanks for reading! – Nicole