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:
The climate crisis is fueling a new wave of TV “eco-thrillers.” There’s The Last Of Us, The Rig, The Swarm, and the new season of Ted Lasso. Okay maybe not that last one, I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m making some assumptions.
GETTING DOWN TO CLIMATE BUSINESS:
⚖️ There’s a crossover event between two of this newsletter’s favorite topics: using the legal system against oil companies and activist investors. An organization called ClientEarth, “an environmental law charity turned activist Shell investor,” filed a claim in London’s High Court against the oil giant due to the “material and foreseeable” risks they’ve created for the company by failing to address climate change. This is just one week after Shell posted a record $40 billion profit, so you know they haven’t exactly been trying to STOP making money off oil.
🛢️ Speaking of oil giants failing to meet climate goals, BP is walking back its plans to cut emissions by 2030, and now, it’s actually planning to increase its oil and gas production through 2025. And would you believe it? BP ALSO posted huge profits last year, to the tune of $27.7 billion. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m starting to think… oil companies… don’t care about the environment??
👩🎓️ Vice President Kamala Harris spoke at Atlanta’s Georgia Institute of Technology, and she had a message of hope for students there (and everywhere) who are studying to fight climate change. “Students who are here and those who are thinking about their role in this: You are going to come out and just leapfrog over all of us … Because, you know, especially for our younger leaders, the benefit that you have is you’re not burdened by any question about, ‘Is this real?’” Which is the same question that has delayed progress for years in Bigfoot Studies.
🍳️ Sometimes it feels like we as individuals are helpless to do anything about climate change, but “Almost a third of the Inflation Reduction Act’s climate benefits in the coming decade stem from individual actions.” That comes in the form of incentives for consumers to switch to electric vehicles and switch to energy-efficient appliances. And according to researchers at Princeton, changes like these “could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 336 million tons of CO2 — or around 30 percent of the total emissions reductions expected from the bill.” It feels so empowering to know that my choices can help the environment, and also that I get to do it while picking out a new dishwasher.
✈️️ A growing group of travelers are signing pledges not to fly, due to the high emissions output of airplanes: air travel accounts for 3% of man-made emissions, and that number will likely triple by 2050. And while some airlines offer carbon offsets for climate-conscious travelers, “critics say that rather than erasing carbon in the atmosphere, the practice preys on travelers’ guilt and offers an excuse to pollute without producing viable results.” Ah yes, the longstanding tradition of airlines tricking consumers into paying an additional fee for bare-bones service.
🌕 There’s a new proposal for cooling the planet, and it’s pretty out-there (literally). A group of astrophysicists are proposing firing a bunch of moon dust into outer space to block some of the sun’s rays from reaching the Earth. It’s an interesting theory. I’m no astrophysicist, of course, but I can’t help but think that blowing up the moon might have some unintended consequences.
139M: METRIC TONS OF PLASTIC TRASH MADE FROM “VIRGIN” PETROLEUM IN 2021 (NY TIMES)
$190: EPA’S PROPOSED “SOCIAL COST OF CARBON” PER TON OF CO2 (NPR)
Green Runs Only
If you’re not one of those travelers who swore off airplanes (don’t worry, I’m not either), you might be interested in vacations that limit environmental damage in other ways. And for you, I present: 10 of the world’s most sustainable ski resorts. If you’re lucky, you can drive an electric car to one.
Thanks for reading! – Nicole