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:
There’s actually a lot to get excited about in these challenging climate times. We are living at the beginning of a new era that will be marked by imagination and innovation – the driving forces that will propel us as we upgrade and reinvent everything under the Sun. To that end, a new series aims to highlight some of these bright spots already in the works. An Optimists Guide To The Planet with host Jaime Lannister, aka Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, is all about positive solutions to help the planet. Start watching this Thursday on Bloomberg TV.
GETTING DOWN TO CLIMATE BUSINESS:
🌎 John Kerry’s replacement for the role of top climate guy has been named: John Podesta, currently the White House senior adviser on clean energy and Inflation Reduction Act implementation. His role will be to represent the US in international climate discussions while maintaining his current responsibilities. Podesta is a seasoned environmental advocate, having worked on the hallmark Paris Agreement while serving as Obama’s climate advisor, among other examples. Looks like we are in good hands.
💍 The world’s largest jewelry maker, Pandora, is now sourcing 100% of its gold and silver from recycled metals. This means no more mining of these materials for the Danish company. Naturally the anti-Earth people have a problem with this, raising issue with the company’s decision and its potential impact to miners, to which Pandora’s CEO responded ‘You have to decide: Is the climate topic more or less important than particular communities,’ he said. ‘In our case, we think that getting hold of the climate issue and moving progress forward is a bigger topic for humanity in the long run.’” Amen.
💰 Vermont has proposed a majority-backed bill that would hold fossil fuel companies responsible for the damage caused by climate-fueled disasters. Dubbed “The Climate Superfund Act”, the bill aims to follow the federal Superfund model, where polluters pay to clean up the destruction they’ve caused. In this case, Big Oil would also fund climate resiliency programs like energy efficiency retrofits, water utility improvements, solar microgrids, and stormwater drainage. Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York have introduced similar bills. Sounds incredibly logical and reasonable. Not to mention, the payouts from Big Oil would be just a fraction of their annual multi-billion dollar profits.
😎 In predictably human news, the idea of sending a sun shield out into space in order to block a fraction of the Sun’s rays from reaching Earth is attracting attention. “Scientists have calculated that if just shy of 2 percent of the sun’s radiation is blocked, that would be enough to cool the planet by 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 Fahrenheit, and keep Earth within manageable climate boundaries.” A team of Israeli scientists say they’re ready to build a small prototype, though the final product would have to be the size of Argentina, and the project cost would be in the trillions. You know what else costs those same trillions? Deploying clean, renewable energy infrastructure and drawing down the surplus of dirty greenhouse gasses that still remain in the atmosphere, sun shield or not. This experiment is a form of geoengineering, which refers to the manipulation of Earth’s natural systems. Unsurprisingly, it’s a highly controversial concept because we don’t know the consequences of a large-scale manipulation of Earth’s systems. Oh wait- we do. It’s called climate change, and it was caused by decades of dumping planet-warming emissions into the atmosphere. Turns out, the consequences suck.
🇮🇳 The Ocean Cleanup announced its first partnership in India to help clean up plastic pollution in Mumbai’s rivers. Much of the plastic that ends up in the ocean travels there by rivers predominantly in major coastal cities. A large focus of The Ocean Cleanup’s work is to intercept the plastic in these rivers before it reaches the ocean. India is the world’s second largest ocean plastic emitter after the Philippines.
$85.6B: COMBINED PROFIT FOR BIG OIL’S TOP 3 COMPANIES IN 2023 (SEMAFOR)
17%: LAST YEAR’S INCREASE IN GLOBAL CLEAN ENERGY SPENDING, TOTALING $1.8T. IT NEEDS TO BE $4.8T. (BNEF)
And Now, A Moment of silence…
Ingenuity was NASA’s little helicopter that lived on Mars. It was a first of its kind aircraft to take off and fly on another planet. Ingenuity’s mission was to fly around, scoping out the terrain for its companion rover, Perseverance. Alas, after three years of wildly exceeding all expectations, its 72nd flight was its last. The little guy sustained a career-and-life-ending injury to one of its blades. Ingenuity is survived by its bestie, Perseverance. Rest in peace, little friend.
Before you go…would you believe it if I told you that NASA has a webpage dedicated to Ingenuity memes that they made for public use? Well they do, and you’re welcome.