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:
While attending the Italian premier of her Yellowstone spinoff series 1923, Helen Mirren spoke as an ambassador for the environmental nonprofit Save The Olives. Please, someone think of the martinis!
GETTING DOWN TO CLIMATE BUSINESS:
😶🌫️ By now, you’ve heard about the enormous cloud of smoke that drifted to New York City and New England from the devastating fires in Canada. But the awful news does have a small silver lining – some experts believe the wildfire smoke could help millions of people understand the impacts of climate change. According to an environmental policy researcher at UC Santa Barbara, “We know from political science research that experiencing climate impacts like this can mobilize people to act politically on climate change.” That’s great! But next time we’re trying to motivate people, let’s hope it doesn’t take poison air blanketing New York. I think something like an after school special would be fine.
🦊️ Of course, not everyone is worried about the wildfire smoke. Fox News happily hosted some climate deniers who said, among other things, “[Now] isn’t the moment to start lecturing people about the science of climate change,” and “This has got nothing to do with climate. This is wildfire smoke. This is natural. This is not because of climate change. This is not because of fossil fuels… This doesn’t kill anybody, it doesn’t make anybody cough, this is not a health event.” Oh cool, man! When I start coughing up blood, it’ll be good to know it’s not a health event.
💸️ Senators Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) are set to introduce legislation that would tax imports from countries with loose environmental standards, like China, Russia, and India. This legislation would “require the Energy Department to study the emissions intensity of certain products — including aluminum, cement, crude oil, fertilizer, iron, steel and plastic.” The proposal has support from Democrats for its climate merits and Republicans for its hard-on-China stance. Oh, and the name of the legislation? The Prove It Act. Which sounds like legislation that ensures that every member of congress can actually do a backflip and isn’t just bragging to look cool in front of their older cousin.
🌡️ In a surprise to no one, the largest companies in the world haven’t done nearly enough to limit global warming in the past five years. In fact, they’ve made “almost no progress.” A recent analysis covering 500 companies concluded that only 22% of them are aligned with the Paris Agreement, only a 4% increase from 2018. Their analysis took into consideration the emissions both in the manufacture of these companies’ products as well as the consumption of them, which is important for calculating the impact of consumers burning oil and gas. The study’s author says that meaningful change will require, “a combination of more stringent government policies, changes to consumer behavior and technological breakthroughs.” Sounds easy to me!
💰️ Fortunately, there’s some good news on that front, because investment firm Just Climate raised $1.5 billion for its inaugural fund with some major help from Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund. Just climate focuses its investments on hard-to-abate sectors, like cement, shipping, and land use. Finally, some financial news that doesn’t involve a bank or entire currency collapsing.
⛽ Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, the president of the upcoming COP28, told reporters that “The phasedown of fossil fuels is inevitable. The speed at which this happens depends on how quickly we can phase up zero carbon alternatives, while ensuring energy security, accessibility and affordability.” Needless to say, this guy has a vested interest in fossil fuels, so it’s probably safe to consider this lip service for now. However, forcing the head of an oil giant to verbally acknowledge that renewables are definitely happening is a small victory. Which, of course, means you’re entitled to buy yourself a small cake.
50-75T: ESTIMATED NUMBER OF MICROPLASTICS IN THE OCEAN TODAY (AL JAZEERA)
$1M: THE UAE HAS SPENT MORE THAN THIS MUCH IN THE PAST 10 YEARS ON GREENWASHING PR FIRMS (POLITICO)
Cue The Pomp & Circumstance
Can’t believe it, but it’s the end of an era – Greta Thunberg is graduating high school, which means this week was her final school strike for climate. It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right, I hope you keep up the climate fight.