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:

📝 #OscarsNotSoClimate: A climate storytelling nonprofit has created a test to assess whether movies and television series are grounded in our climate reality. By analyzing scripts, they determine if the work 1) acknowledges that climate change exists and 2) if a character knows it. The story also must take place on Earth in the near past through the future. So how did tonight’s 31 Oscar-nominated films fare? Well only 13 took place on Earth in the time parameters, and of those, 3 gave a nod to the climate crisis in their narratives: Barbie, Mission: Impossible—Dead Reckoning Part One, and Nyad. The group wants to see half of all Oscar-noms pass the test by 2027.

🔥 Rivian, the elevated outdoorsy electric vehicle startup, dropped a new model this week. The new R2 is a more accessibly priced and compact SUV with a 300 mile range per charge, starting at $45K. According to Bloomberg, there are currently 53 EV models on the market in the US and only 16 are under $45K. Rivian also revealed plans for an even cheaper model, the forthcoming R3. My reaction to the R2: it’s a beaut and it’d be the Rivian I’d buy if I were ever in the market for a car.


😢 Winter Isn’t Coming: Every single month for the past nine months has been the warmest on record. The year 2023 was the warmest year on record. And so on. If you’re a winter person, or someone who enjoys winter sports, or if you simply notice the weather, then you know that winters have been getting warmer. And now we know with data that winters have been getting warmer for 86% of our country since 1980, with New England warming up the most. Yup, that tracks with my spidey senses. Explore the scientific data in this interactive article, where you can also search the temperature trends, brought to you by climate change, in every city.

🌞 Put A Solar On It: Some see open spaces and surfaces as an opportunity to slap an ad on it. Others see an opportunity to integrate solar panels. Those in the latter camp are getting more creative about how to incorporate solar panels into existing infrastructure in order to avoid taking up otherwise unused space for solar arrays. Examples follow. Adding a solar canopy to a parking lot creates shade and doubles its function. Putting solar panels on top of every flat-top building is a no-brainer that uses that open space efficiently while allowing those buildings to generate renewable energy and reduce their operating costs. Other solar-sites include unused golf courses, decommissioned power plants, landfills, and floating solar farms on lakes. Solar creativity is even seeping into the artworld, where ‘solar art designers’ are making cool structures or redesigning things like billboards using solar panels. The future is bright indeed.

💸 Keep The Pressure On: In response to a shareholder proposal dealt by 3 NYC pension funds, JPMorgan has agreed to disclose its ratio of investments in clean energy to fossil fuel financing. This ratio can help track if banking activity is in fact aligned with an institution’s emissions goals. By 2030, this ratio should be 4:1, clean energy to fossil fuel investments. JPMorgan is currently at a lowly 0.7. Five other major banks received the same proposal from NYC’s pension funds in an ongoing effort to ensure follow-through on net zero promises from financial institutions. These net zero promises will be bankrolled via “transition investing” or investing in the transiton to a carbon-free economy. Note the new buzzword “transition investing”. This is the new inside Wall Street term to replace “environment, social and governance (ESG) investing”, courtesy of ESG Investing Godfather, Blackrock’s Larry Fink. We’ve seen some whiplash decisions recently from the world’s largest asset managers as they navigate the tensions across politics, culture wars, fiduciary duty, and if we’re lucky, a moral compass. But there’s money to be made in funding the climate-friendly future. So they can label it whatever they want. Just keep that money flowing to pro-habitable-planet projects.

🗳 Nowhere To Hide: Officially, the SEC voted to approve climate disclosure requirements for public companies, meaning these companies may have to report on their direct greenhouse gas emissions, their use of carbon offsets, and how climate change impacts their business (think physical damage to a warehouse in a flood zone). That last one is commonly referred to as ‘climate risk’, and is becoming increasingly important to investors so they can get the full picture of a potential investment, which should logically include its vulnerabilities to climate-induced extreme weather, sea level rise, etc. As we noted a couple weeks ago, the SEC’s rules are a watered down version of the climate disclosure reporting already in place in the EU, and allows companies to avoid reporting on Scope 3 emissions, which are often the largest share. Predictably, several lawsuits have already been filed to try to block these disclosures.

🪸 Relentless Marine HeatwavesThe Southern Hemisphere is undergoing a mass coral bleaching, with the Great Barrier Reef looking at its 6th and most intense bleaching in 8 years. Not helping is the fact that February recorded the hottest ocean temps on record. Coral bleaching is essentially a cry for help from the ocean’s corals that the water is too hot to survive. The hot temps cause them to release an algae that lives in their tissues which strips them of their color while also making them weak and vulnerable to disease, and can lead to die-offs. Coral reefs provide shelter and food for 25% of marine life, plus they provide economic value to coastal communities. Last year’s extreme marine heatwave in Florida, where ocean temps in some places reached 100°F, devastated coral reefs. A NOAA survey conducted last month showed that among the 5 reefs surveyed, only 22% of corals survived. The scientific community, including government and nonprofit groups have been studying these devastating bleaching events and are working on ways to help reinforce resilient corals. Coral Reef Alliance is one such org, and you can support them in your Gen E app.

Some Stats:



The Dog Days of Fake Meat

🌭 Have you ever wished that Oscar Mayer would just make a fake hot dog already? Well buckle up, because it’s happening. They’ve teamed up with a plant-based food startup called NotCo to create a new product line for the Kraft Heinz brand, dubbed Oscar Mayer Not Hot Dogs (great name). Personally, I haven’t liked any fake meat I’ve tried, so I stay away. But in this case, I might make a concession – a concession of the ballpark stand variety. This way, if the not dog turns out to be not edible, I could throw the lackluster dog at the opposing team, giving it a second life. I’m a Phillies fan after all, and what else are we supposed to throw, now that Dollar Dogs have been taken away from us? But I digress. I also don’t think that’d be necessary. Nope, I bet this Not Dog would have to taste pretty damn close to the original. The mass market knows what it likes and expects consistency. So to create a plant-based version of the iconic Oscar Mayer hot dog, it’s crucial to get it right or risk an onslaught of digital abuse and boycotts. So in the spirit of being a bite more environmentally friendly, and doing my own sort of transition investing, I’ll support Oscar Mayer in this risky play by trying the thing when it hits shelves later this year. I’ll also keep my eye out for an upgraded Weinermobile EV zipping across the country.