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:
Game of Thrones actress Carice van Houten was arrested with 1,500 other climate protesters at The Hague. Sounds like the Red Woman is actually… a Green Woman.
GETTING DOWN TO CLIMATE BUSINESS:
🤝 After lots of hemming and hawing (and a good deal of nail-biting), congress finally agreed on a debt ceiling deal this week. However, some environmentalists are concerned that the language of the deal will allow for completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which until now had been blocked by the Supreme Court for inadequate consideration of environmental impacts. The debt ceiling deal “directs the federal government to approve any outstanding permits for the pipeline and blocks courts from reviewing them or any other agency action in approval of the project.” Sure doesn’t seem great, but White House climate advisor John Podesta believes “this provision doesn’t have much of an effect,” since the pipeline was probably going to be completed anyway, and reaching a deal helps protect the other climate projects included in the Inflation Reduction Act. So we can think of the Mountain Valley Pipeline as something of a sacrificial lamb, or for the vegetarians among us, a sacrificial Impossible Burger.
💸️ State Farm, California’s largest insurer, announced it will stop selling coverage to homeowners “to improve the company’s financial strength.” Homes are getting harder and harder to insure in vulnerable areas, from California to Florida to Louisiana. And while California is taking steps to help communities be more resilient to wildfires, State Farm has determined that this does not mitigate the risk enough to make it a financially viable market for them. So the next time your husband is on the phone with “Jake from State Farm,” it actually IS a lie.
🍳️ Places around the country are banning gas stoves in apartments due to their climate impacts and harmful impact on indoor air quality, and now, scientists are quantifying just how bad they are. Apparently, concentrations of nitrogen oxide were 5 times the safety benchmark set by the FDA, and concentrations of benzene tripled. So the next time someone excitedly says, “Now we’re cooking with gas!” you can ruin their fun and tell them just how bad cooking with gas really is. It’s a great conversation starter at parties!
🏠 Arizona is restricting some development around Phoenix due to water shortages. While this won’t impact developments already in progress, it means the state will “put the brakes on any new subdivision proposals in suburban and unincorporated areas.” So if your grandparents were looking to retire somewhere, maybe they can try a similar city near a water supply. I’ve heard Detroit is basically the same as Phoenix.
⚖️ A judge has ruled that the lawsuit brought by Oregon youth climate activists can proceed to trial, a ruling years in the making after Justice John Roberts halted the trial in 2018. The judge giving this new ruling wrote, “It is a foundational doctrine that when government conduct catastrophically harms American citizens, the judiciary is constitutionally required to perform its independent role and determine whether the challenged conduct, not exclusively committed to any branch by the Constitution, is unconstitutional.” For those of you unfamiliar with legalese, that’s judge-speak for, “LET’S GOOOOOOO!!”
🏭 Some scientists believe that 2022 may have been the peak year for carbon emissions from power plants. That sounds bad, but it’s actually good – if we’ve already peaked, there’s nowhere to go but down. Think about it like those guys who peaked in high school: their greatest output is behind them, and moving forward their output will slow and eventually stop altogether. Sad for Kevin, but great for Earth!
10,000: THE NUMBER OF PLANTS AND TREES IN UTRECHT’S NEW APARTMENT COMPLEX/VERTICAL FOREST (THRED)
11%: ONLY THIS PERCENTAGE OF EXXON’S SHAREHOLDERS VOTED IN FAVOR OF COMPANY CLIMATE MEASURES (YAHOO!)
If you live in the American Southeast, you know that hurricane season begins today. And if you’re new to the area, you might want to start getting ready. Here are some tips.