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:
According to a new online survey, the person Americans trust most on climate change is…. Leonardo DiCaprio. Sorry, Al Gore. Try being handsomer next time.
GETTING DOWN TO CLIMATE BUSINESS:
🌞 It’s been a “revolutionary” year in solar energy, with new innovations allowing the technology to surpass 30% energy efficiency, a key milestone in our transition to renewables. The breakthrough came from coating solar panels in a layer of perovskite, a semiconductor that captures blue light (the silicon solar panels capture red). Ooh, boy, I’m gonna go buy some blue glow sticks and start charging people for electricity.
🎆 This 4th of July was the hottest day ever recorded on Earth, breaking a record last set in 1979. The average global temperature of 62.92 degrees was the result of a combination of factors, but the big ones were climate change and this year’s El Niño cycle. The heat wasn’t geographically discerning – heat waves hit the United States, China, and Africa, among other places. At the end of the day, I guess we’re all the same (really hot).
🌳 Some great news from South America: after defeating climate denialist Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil’s presidential election last year, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has overseen a 33.6% drop in deforestation in the Amazon. Lula’s cabinet is staying conservative with their celebrations, reminding everyone that the yearly results will largely depend on the challenging months ahead, when a lot of deforestation happens. The problem is compounded due to a lack of enforcement agents. During the Bolsonaro administration, retiring members of Brazil’s environmental agency weren’t replaced, leading to a major staffing shortage. If it’s helpful, I know a bunch of unemployed TV writers who could use a little freelance work right now. I’ll have them send their résumés to Lula.
📦 The global shipping industry has forged a climate agreement that can only be described as…. better than nothing, I guess. The global shipping industry is responsible for roughly 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and they’ve been resistant to the kind of changes needed to protect the environment. Now, they’ve struck a deal that some experts are calling “wishy-washy.” They’ve agreed to reach net zero “by or around, i.e. close to 2050” depending on “national circumstances.” Doesn’t sound like they’re taking it very seriously! I’ve never boarded a plane that told me to get there “by or around noon.”
💸 Some economists have long opposed carbon taxes, arguing that the higher prices for companies would be detrimental to the economy. But new research indicates that that’s not true — and in fact, carbon taxes could even be GOOD for the economy in the short term by reducing macroeconomic risk. You can read the full report with explanations here, but regrettably, I went to art school and I couldn’t begin to explain it to you. Sure sounds good, though!
💰 The environmental benefits from the Inflation Reduction Act just keep coming. Apparently, investment from the law continues to spur innovation in new clean tech not just in America, but all over the world. Three emerging technologies that could have a big impact are sustainable aviation fuel, clean hydrogen, and direct air capture. Although these technologies are still in the early stages of development, they’re going to be essential for decarbonizing (or at least reducing carbon from) industries that are difficult to electrify, like aviation and shipping. One organization who analyzed the IRA tax incentives said they hope to “demonstrate to policymakers that investments are needed now to spur future development.” Make sure to write that down: money helps you make stuff.
83,000: CESSPOOLS IN HAWAII, WHICH THREATEN TO LEAK INTO THE WATER SUPPLY DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE (FORTUNE)
3: REASONS TO BE OPTIMISTIC ABOUT CLIMATE TECH, ACCORDING TO GREENBIZ (GREENBIZ)
Game, Set, Coach
Serving up some news for Wimbledonians: there’s a push among tennis players to be more sustainable and stop flying private. That’s news that everyone can…. love.