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:
pple TV+ has a new series about climate change called Extrapolations! And the reviews are… somewhat mixed. Much of the consensus seems to be “The climate science portrayed in Extrapolations is realistic, sure, but what isn’t is how these characters talk.” Still, if you’re an Apple TV+ subscriber, you should give it a chance. If people watch climate stories, they’re going to make more. So do what I do whenever any of my comedian friends releases a new video – throw it on in the background so they get the views without really paying attention to it. That’s what supporting friends looks like.
GETTING DOWN TO CLIMATE BUSINESS:
🇺🇸 The House of Representatives passed a bill that would expand fossil fuels in the United States — but don’t worry, it has no chance of passing the Senate. It was a top legislative priority for Republicans, who have been crowing a lot about energy costs and not so much about environmental catastrophe. You might be asking yourself, ‘Why would our legislators waste their time on this bill that was obviously not going to pass?” And the answer is – they can use it for PR purposes. Several representatives’ websites are already bragging to their constituents about voting “to pass the Lower Energy Costs Act.” It’s a little like telling your dentist you’ve been flossing – it’s not technically a lie as long as he doesn’t ask any follow-up questions.
⚖️️ The small Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu won a landmark case in the United Nations that “calls on the world’s highest court to establish for the first time the obligations countries have to address the climate crisis.” The UN’s International Court of Justice will provide an “advisory opinion” on countries’ legal responsibilities for fighting the climate crisis. Unfortunately, this advisory opinion is non-binding, but the hope is that it will bolster climate lawsuits that have been popping up around the world. Never thought I’d say this, but I hope we get to spend more time in court!
💰 Speaking of financial obligations, what ever happened to that Loss & Damage fund everyone was talking about so much? As it turns out, the coffers are still bare. There are a few sorta legitimate reasons for this – you can’t neatly divide countries into “developing” and “developed,” the actual amounts needed are so large that they could cause governments and their citizens to balk, and enforceable standards would require congressional approval, which we’re not likely to get. Without these funds, the next best alternative for poor countries would be to sue rich ones, like the ongoing case of Peru suing German energy company RWE. Of course, if these countries don’t get their money soon, it will end up costing rich nations even more, in the form of mass migration, political instability, and the global economy. So we’d actually save money in the long run by spending a little more upfront, which is how I know we’re definitely not going to do it.
🦌️ When you think of environmentalists, you might picture hippie vegans tying themselves to trees. But that ignores a very real group of could-be environmental allies: hunters and fishers. Millions of families around America hunt and fish, and they’re the most likely to notice ecosystem changes as a result of climate. Getting these people to talk about it would be a huge step towards a broad climate alliance, including among groups who might not have been previously amenable to climate action. A new movement called #OurLandWaterWildlife is forming a coalition of hunters and fishers to demand climate action. So try getting your hunting buddies talking about climate! Of course, to get most of them to open up, you’ll have to talk to them when you’re in the woods, freezing, covered in camouflage, stalking a deer. But that’s a sacrifice you’ll have to make.
🌽 Congress is currently re-negotiating the Farm Bill, which will have major climate implications. When the bill (hopefully) passes in October, it could contain a bunch of provisions for sustainability, like incentives for farmers to plant cover crops and sequester carbon, a revision of the crop insurance program that would discourage monocultures and overproducing food that will eventually rot, and support for small farmers who are better able to tend the land in sustainable ways. However, “a Republican-led House and a narrow Democratic majority in the Senate could stand in the way of more stringent regulations.” So definitely keep an eye on this process, but before you get too worried, one Representative says to keep an open mind: “Unless it was gutted and destroyed, the farm bill will be a climate package.” That’s great! Fortunately we don’t have a history of gutting important bills and regulations that could help people and the planet.
🦈️ London has a new plan to address plastic in its water: a battery powered “shark” that eats plastic. Apparently, “The idea is on the autonomous mode that it acts as a drone. So it literally sweeps around the water. You can go and do your job, come back and it should be full, and you empty it and then you put it back in.” Oh cool, it’s like an aquatic Roomba. A submaroomba, if you will.
35%: NEW YORK CREATED A LIST OF DISADVANTAGED COMMUNITIES THAT WILL RECEIVE THIS PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL STATEWIDE SPENDING ON CLEAN AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROGRAMS (CNBC)
53: SENATORS WHO VOTED TO ROLL BACK THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION’S NEW CLEAN WATER REGULATIONS, WHICH INCLUDED 4 DEMOCRATS AND 1 INDEPENDENT (NYT)
It’s A Clean Job, But Someone’s Got To Do It
If you’re a business owner trying to green up your operation, you might be interested in these tips for getting employees to make more sustainable choices at work. And on behalf of employees everywhere, I’ll also remind you that working from home is super duper sustainable. That’s the main reason we want to work from home. The sustainability.