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:
Arnold Schwarzenegger headed to Austria for the Austrian World Summit, hosted by the Schwarzenegger Climate Initiative. Boy, what a coincidence that the initiative happens to have the same name as the guy! (Also, before you ask – nope, that’s not a private jet. Arnold is flying commercial)
GETTING DOWN TO CLIMATE BUSINESS:
🐚 Activist investors clamoring for action on climate change are poised to give oil giant Shell a tough time at their annual investor meeting next week. Shell and other European oil companies underperformed last year due to the impact of the war in Ukraine on energy prices, so they got to stop thinking about climate change for a while and focus on what they love best: making their shareholders as much money as possible. Apparently, “In some cases, investors are getting personal, voting against the re-appointment of directors after largely supporting in recent years their efforts to gradually shift their century-old operations towards renewables.” This will make next week’s meeting extra contentious. Normally I’m pretty conflict-averse, but this is a fight I’d pay to sit ringside for.
💸️ New research confirms that Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey has called on President Biden to invoke the 14th Amendment to raise the debt limit, citing concerns that climate legislation will be among the cuts made if the federal government focuses only on cutting costs. Per Politico, “Some legal scholars have argued that the 14th Amendment, which declares that the ‘validity’ of the national debt ‘shall not be questioned,’ allows the government to continue paying its bills regardless of the debt ceiling.” Look, I know the 14th Amendment wasn’t in the original Bill of Rights, but I think we can all agree that keeping a livable planet is something the Founding Fathers would have wanted. “Life” is right there in the Declaration of Independence!
🦋 N️ew regulations from the US Fish and Wildlife Service could help humans act to relocate endangered species to help them adapt to climate change. The agency’s current policy forbids humans from moving endangered species beyond their historic range. However, as climate change forces migration of nearly all species towards the poles, it might be essential to the longevity of certain animals that we preemptively move them to a friendlier climate. In the case of the Karner blue butterfly, the species will struggle to relocate on its own because higher temperatures will cause the larvae to emerge before their food source blooms, effectively starving them off. Some scientists believe that neither option is a great choice — moving species outside their range can have many unintended consequences, like out-competition or interbreeding, but my non-scientific opinion is that we should move the animals and give them a fighting chance. After all, they’re not the ones that caused global warming (except for that one butterfly who drives around in a lifted F-250).
🌡️️ As you know by now, many of the people who will be hit hardest by climate change are poor workers in the global South. But now, a little good news: they can now get something called “heat insurance,” which will help them compensate for lost income “If temperatures climb high enough above historical averages and linger there for three days.” The nonprofit Arsht-Rock Foundation Resilience Center partnered with microinsurance startup Blue Marble and the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), a 50-year-old Indian trade union with 2.5 million women members. Even better, while many insurance schemes take months to pay out, this service doesn’t require its users to prove losses. Maybe I need to dream a little bigger, but insurance without paperwork is my absolute dream!
💰 This Friday, NYC Comptroller Brad Lander sent a letter to the governor to support a bill currently in committee called the Climate Change Superfund Act. If it passes, the bill will require big oil companies to pay $3 billion annually for the next 25 years for the city’s climate mitigation and adaptation efforts. The bill’s supporters have pointed out that “That’s less than 2% of the 2022 profits of Saudi Aramco — the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter” and “For the oil companies, $3 billion a year is lunch money.” That’s right, this time it’s OUR turn to take the bullies’ lunch money! And let’s give ’em a swirly while we’re at it.
🧴 The United Nations Environment Programme has found that with major changes, we could reduce plastic pollution as much as 80% by 2040. The report recommends expanding “reduce and reuse” to include “reorient” and “diversify,” which “replace single-use plastics with alternative materials, like paper or compostable materials.” The report also suggests that cleaning up our plastic mess would create about 700,000 new jobs, “particularly for low-income nations.” That’s great news, since AI is coming for all the jobs we have now.
$209B: SOME EXPERTS BELIEVE THIS IS HOW MUCH FOSSIL FUEL COMPANIES OWE IN CLIMATE REPARATIONS (GUARDIAN)
280: ITALY’S CLIMATE-WORSENED FLOODING HAS CAUSED THIS MANY LANDSLIDES (CNN)
(Tom Bodett Voice) We WON’T Leave The Light On For You
I’m about to head out on vacation, so I was happy to see this list of tips for sustainable hotel stays. It’s honestly all pretty easy stuff, which is great, because again… I’m going to be on vacation. No hard work allowed!