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:
Several celebrities have publicly called for the UK’s biggest banks to stop financing new new fossil fuel projects, including Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson, and Mark Rylance. They’ve signed on to an open letter from Make My Money Matter, a campaign set up by Love Actually director Richard Curtis. I guess at the end of the day, he realized that fossil fuels, actually, were all around us.
GETTING DOWN TO CLIMATE BUSINESS:
🌳️ Let’s start off with some good news! When Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was elected last year, he promised to crack down on Amazon deforestation, and so far, it’s working. According to the country’s satellite data, just 64 square miles of forest was cut down in January – a 61% decrease from January last year. Scientists are quick to note that January is a difficult month to get accurate figures due to cloud cover, but this is still a promising sign for the rainforest commonly known as the “lungs of the planet.” Remind me… how important are lungs?
️ A new report from the Institute for Public Policy Research warns that humans could become so overwhelmed by the effects of climate change that it will limit our ability to address its root causes. In a nutshell, governments will spend more money and time addressing not only things like extreme flooding and fires but also less visible effects, such as increased nativist politics due to climate refugees. That is time and money that they’re NOT spending on decarbonizing and stopping even more climate change from happening. The scientists refer to this as a ” doom loop” — a scary name for a sociological phenomenon, but a pretty cool name for a roller coaster.
🏘️️ The 2000s are coming back in a big way! Low rise jeans, bucket hats, and now a housing bubble! A new study found that properties across the country are overvalued by between $121 billion and $237 billion “because of factors such as outdated FEMA flood maps, incentives in the National Flood Insurance Program and home buyers who lack climate change information.” Bad news for waterfront homeowners, whose property values will likely drop in the next few years as flood risk goes up. But hey, maybe prices will drop enough that millennials will finally be able to afford to buy a house!
🚂️ You may have noticed the last couple newsletters didn’t mention the train derailment in Ohio, which spilled hazardous materials like vinyl chloride, and releasing chemicals such as hydrogen chloride and phosgene into the air. The reason we didn’t tell you about it earlier is that, frankly, there’s a lot of bad info floating around about the incident. And while new facts are still emerging, here’s a pretty good writeup of what happened, and here’s a little bit of fact-checking on some of the claims you might see online. This is probably a good time to bone up on some of those media literacy techniques we learned about in school. Unless, like me, you spent most of school learning about the coolest way to draw a sword.
💰 We’ve mentioned before that the World Bank President was, if not an outright denialist, at least not taking climate change very seriously. The World Bank is in charge of lending billions of dollars to developing countries trying to update their infrastructure in response to climate change, so having a guy in charge who still doesn’t think the science is settled is not ideal. Fortunately, he just announced he’s going to resign in a few months. I don’t want to take ALL the credit, but I’m sure my jokes had something to do with it.
💧 24 Republican-led states are suing the EPA to overturn one of its water protection rules. They’re attempting to block pollution protections issued in 2022 which would go into effect next month, claiming the protections “would harm miners, ranchers, farmers, and landowners throughout the country.” Call me crazy, but I think all of those people need to drink water to live. So protecting it is probably a good idea.
70%: PERCENTAGE OF THE U.S. ELECTRICAL GRID OVER 25 YEARS OLD (CNBC)
100K: NEW CLEAN ENERGY JOBS LISTED SINCE THE INFLATION REDUCTION ACT WAS SIGNED (CANARY MEDIA)
I went vegetarian for climate reasons about 13 years ago, but I’d be lying if I said I never missed sandwiches, especially since I generally dislike fake meats. So when I saw this recipe for an onion parm on Lifehacker, I was pumped to re-introduce a greasy, fried, unhealthy sandwich back into my rotation. Like I said, I went vegetarian for the planet’s health, not my own.
Note: to keep it vegetarian, make sure you’re using a parmesan alternative (don’t worry, they’re all still real cheese, they’re just not made with animal rennet).
Thanks for reading! – Nicole