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:
Al Roker spoke about climate change’s impact on extreme weather events at his TED Talk in Detroit, where local thunderstorms, tornado warnings, and flood alerts underscored his point. I’m not saying he planned those things, but, you know. Seems awfully convenient.
GETTING DOWN TO CLIMATE BUSINESS:
💸 More great news about the Inflation Reduction Act! Projections from The Rhodium Group indicate that “The full suite of current policies on the books as of June 2023 drives US emissions to 32-51% below 2005 levels in 2035. Along the way, the US will achieve a 29-42% reduction in GHGs in 2030.” Now, this isn’t enough to completely reach the goals set forth in The Paris Agreement, but it’s a big step in the right direction. The projections include information about the ways federal agencies can implement IRA policies and how markets have responded to the IRA’s incentives. Sounds like they’ve covered all their bases, but if they need more info, I’ve got a great psychic I can send them to.
⚖️ There’s been a growing movement for using the court system to protect the environment. This week, the New York Times released a great profile of Missy Sims, a midwestern lawyer with a “creative legal gambit to make oil and gas companies pay for the devastation being wrought by climate change in Puerto Rico.” She has an interesting strategy, including accusing fossil fuel companies of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act by downplaying the effects of global warming among the public, leading to disastrous weather events in Puerto Rico. So you could call this lawsuit a RICO for Rico.
🇨🇳 John Kerry spent 3 days in China talking with senior officials about climate policy and cooperation, emphasizing the importance of cooperation between the two major nations in order to achieve meaningful climate goals. Unfortunately, the meeting did not result in any official agreement or joint statement, but they did agree to more discussions before this year’s COP28 climate summit. Not getting much done but vowing to try again next week? Add some excessive sweating and that sounds like me at the gym.
🔥 New York is still in the middle of its on-again-off-again relationship with Canadian wildfire smoke, and if we want to break this toxic cycle, we’ve got to start thinking about fighting wildfires by preventing them in the first place. Wildfire prevention will become increasingly important, since higher temperatures, drier climates, and the vast wilderness of Canada mean a small spark can quickly turn into a major fire. Some strategies for preventing fires include “closing forests to people when conditions are ripe for fires and increasing patrols to spot smaller fires earlier, when there is still a chance to contain them.” Makes more sense than my idea: asbestos trees.
🔋 Here’s a bit of a catch-22: You want to do your part for climate change, so you get an electric car, but climate change prematurely ages your EV battery. The chemical reactions that degrade batteries over time speed up when the battery is exposed to extreme heat. This is doubly true when your battery is charging, a process which also speeds up chemical reactions in the battery. The good news is, if you have to leave your car in the hot sun or charge your battery on a hot day, it shouldn’t immediately damage your car. It will just speed up the degradation of your battery over time. Which is why I’ve opted to slow down the aging process by getting Botox for my car.
💰 Climate change is driving up the cost of living in the western United States. Everything from frequent air conditioner use, scarcer water, higher insurance premiums, and disrupted harvests have resulted in a very expensive heat wave. The problems are multifaceted: just as air conditioning is more necessary than ever, prices are being driven up by increasing costs to power companies who must perform expensive wildfire mitigation. One new proposal would adjust electricity rates based on income level. Which sounds great! If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that rich people never try to get out of paying their fair share.
$100B: IT’S OVERDUE, BUT RICH NATIONS HAVE FINALLY MET THIS PLEDGE TO DEVELOPING COUNTRIES FOR CLIMATE MITIGATION EFFORTS (REUTERS)
93M: THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ISSUED HEAT WARNINGS AND ADVISORIES FOR THIS MANY AMERICANS ON FRIDAY (THE HILL)
A Philosophical Exercise
Amid the bleak heat wave news cycle and El Niño weather conditions that will last into next spring, it can be easy to feel dispirited. But here are 18 ways to think about the heat that are slightly cheerier than lying face-down in bed and giving up.