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!)

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In Pop Culture:

Marvel’s new Aquaman movie includes several climate themes. The villain’s plan “involves the use a glowing green ancient power source that’s like radiation times a zillion, and is accelerating the pace of climate change (the film’s title is etched into the face of a collapsing glacier).” That plus getting to look at Jason Momoa for two hours might be enough to get me to break the no-superhero-movies promise I made to myself.


🌨️ Most of us won’t be walking in a winter wonderland this Christmas, as winter temperatures are rising faster than any other season. Climate Central’s analysis of NOAA temperature data reveals that winter temperatures have increased by an average of 3.8 degrees Fahrenheit since 1970 in 97% of the analyzed locations. The Northeast and Upper Midwest are experiencing the fastest warming, with implications for snow, tourism, winter sports, and local economies. The consequences include shorter cold snaps, fewer freezing nights, and a shift in allergy seasons. Industries such as skiing, agriculture (particularly the fruit and nut industry), and food companies may face significant challenges due to the changing climate, impacting both production and economic aspects. Not to mention, I’m never going to get my money’s worth out of the fancy snow boots I bought last year.

🦌 Reindeer in Lapland, particularly those herded by indigenous Sami people in northern Finland, are playing a crucial role in mitigating the effects of climate change in the Arctic. Research indicates that reindeer grazing habits help combat “shrubification,” the growth of taller, woodier plants that can transform open landscapes into forests. This process is accelerated by global warming, which is causing longer growing seasons. Reindeer prevent this by trampling on plants and eating them, preserving the open forest and tundra ecosystem. Additionally, the reindeer’s actions increase the albedo effect, reflecting more heat from snow and ice, thus slowing the spring snowmelt. The Sami community’s sustainable herding practices contribute to the resilience of the ecosystem, emphasizing the interconnectedness of reindeer, the environment, and Sami culture. However, climate change challenges, such as rain-on-snow events, pose threats to traditional reindeer herding practices, which are crucial for maintaining the balance of the natural environment. That might be bad news for these reindeer. Maybe Santa is hiring?

🗽 New York City’s government has acknowledged that it will likely fail to meet the deadline set by its own climate law, Local Law 97, which requires a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from government operations by July 2024. Officials admit that, despite a 25% reduction so far, they will fall short of the 40% goal. Challenges include the slow procurement process, setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and changes in electricity sources after the closure of the Indian Point Nuclear Facility in 2019. The city government remains on a faster timeline than the private sector, and officials anticipate surpassing the 2030 target of a 50% reduction in carbon emissions with planned projects, vehicle fleet reductions, and the electrification of schools. I guess I never considered that a school could be gas-powered but it does explain why my kid is getting such terrible mileage.

🇭 The Biden administration has released its proposed guidance for a hydrogen credit created through the Inflation Reduction Act, aiming for a climate-friendly approach to boost hydrogen fuel production. The guidance requires companies making hydrogen fuel to adhere to a requirement that they rely on relatively new low-emission energy and to geographic and time-based restraints on hydrogen production energy consumption. The credit allows companies to write off up to $3 per kilogram of “clean hydrogen” they produce if they meet specified requirements. However, the proposed restrictions have faced criticism from industries seeking looser regulations and could trigger a backlash. I have a feeling we’re going to see an Exxon-funded Hindenburg movie pretty soon.

🦟 According to the World Health Organization, dengue is surging globally due to climate change, among other factors. Climate change increases rainfall, humidity, and temperatures, affecting the behavior of mosquitos, which carry dengue, and the transmission of the virus. The WHO reports a tenfold increase in dengue cases over the past two decades, from 500,000 cases in 2000 to 5.2 million in 2019. The ongoing transmission, along with a spike in cases this year, poses a substantial public health challenge, with nearly half of the world’s population at risk. Environmental factors, climate change, and El Niño have altered mosquito distribution, leading to increased dengue cases in new areas, including previously dengue-free countries. The WHO is urging countries to prepare to detect and control dengue transmission. Ah, jeez, I was proud of myself for getting my flu and COVID boosters, and now I gotta worry about dengue fever??

💰 Despite a downturn in startup investment in various industries, cleantech and sustainability-focused categories have demonstrated resilience, attracting approximately $13.9 billion globally in 2023. The funding spans areas such as battery recycling, water-conserving crops, carbon capture, and climate software. The U.S. experienced a slight pullback in sustainability-focused funding compared to previous years, but cleantech remained relatively robust. The battery sector saw significant investment, with companies like Verkor and Northvolt securing substantial funding. Carbon capture and storage startups also attracted attention, reflecting the growing urgency to address rising atmospheric carbon levels and mitigate climate change impacts. One silver lining of the scary climate stories that come out every week – they’re inspiring some very rich people to throw money at the problem.