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:
Dolly Parton has a new climate song called “World On Fire.” And when Dolly speaks, you have to listen.
GETTING DOWN TO CLIMATE BUSINESS:
🚰 Starting off with a little bit of good news, the states of the Colorado River Compact have reached a deal to manage water shortages. If you’ve ever read the excellent book Cadillac Desert, you know that the water laws that govern the Western United States were a complicated mish-mash of pacts and agreements that formed a shaky regulatory house of cards in which any change could result in the whole agreement collapsing. But those agreements also included allotments based on total volume of water versus percentages of available water. For example, Arizona is always allotted 2.8 million acre feet of water, whether Colorado snowpack is high or low that year. That makes it really difficult to get states to use less water. But this new agreement arrived at a solution, and it specifically addresses the West’s largest water user: agriculture. Their simple solution to the problem was to throw money at it. The lower basin states are apportioning $1.2 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act to pay farmers not to use water. Apparently, “This rosy outcome is only possible because of a wet winter that blanketed the river basin with snow and stabilized water levels in its two main reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead.” So remember that the next time you’re complaining about scraping snow off your windshield after you JUST cleaned it off last night.
🐚️ Last week I told you that activist investors were poised to give Shell a hard time at the company’s annual meeting, and now, it’s all happening. They brought the meeting to a halt, shouting things like “Shut down Shell,” and several were forcibly removed from the building by security. Unfortunately, their proposals were rejected in the final investor vote, and representatives from Shell criticized the activist investors for not participating in “civil debate.” Why can’t people simply be NICE about the planet burning??
⚖️ Dutch citizens living on the Caribbean island of Bonaire are threatening to sue the Netherlands for human rights violations due to the European nation’s failure to mitigate carbon emissions and protecting its citizens in Bonaire. In addition to demanding a faster Dutch transition to net zero, the lawsuit seeks government funds for adaptation on Bonaire, where scientists believe parts of the island will be submerged permanently due to rising sea levels and coral reef loss. I hope they live stream the trial: we might get to see a sea anemone on the stand!
🔋️️ Exxon Mobile has finally realized we’re going electric whether they like it or not, so it’s trying to stay alive during the transition by mining the materials needed to make car batteries. Specifically, it’s buying lithium drilling rights in Arkansas. Of course, they’ve spent less than 1% of last year’s profits to purchase these rights, so it’s tough to say yet how serious they are about this, but their move into the sector is a clear admission that they know the glory days of gas-powered vehicles are coming to an end. It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right, I guess we should buy some lithium rights.
✝️ The Pope has once again urged us to take action on climate change, referring to it as a “senseless war against creation.” He also said that Earth is “beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.” Jeez, is this guy the Pope or my landlord trying not to give me my security deposit back?
For years, old tires have been an irascible source of pollution — their manufacture, use, and disposal all create emissions, particulate matter, and other nasty stuff. But now, some experts are exploring the possibility of using tires as fuel, since tires are largely made of hydrocarbons anyway. One company from Norway plans to begin recycling operations next year in an English recycling plant, which will turn tires into a product called “tyre derived oil.” It’s spelled “tyre” because it’s in England, and they have to be impossible about everything all the time.
30%: THE SOUTHERN OCEAN OVERTURNING CURRENT HAS SLOWED BY THIS MUCH SINCE THE 90S (GUARDIAN)
1/3: THIS MANY NEWS PRESENTERS IN GREAT BRITAIN CAST DOUBT ON CLIMATE CHANGE (GUARDIAN)
Vive La France
France has finally enacted a law proposed two years ago that bans short-haul flights where trains are available. It’s a good move for a country trying to ensure that la vie en rose doesn’t turn into la vie flambé.