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:
David Attenborough announced he will host his third and final season of Planet Earth for the BBC. Thank goodness – the only other voice I’d want to hear narrate animals is Fran Drescher, and she’s busy leading the SAG strike.
GETTING DOWN TO CLIMATE BUSINESS:
🌀 In the wake of Hurricane Idalia, scientists have revised their earlier predictions that this would be a “near-normal” hurricane season, now believing we’ll see more hurricane activity. Extremely high ocean surface temperatures may cancel out the influence of El Niño, which ordinarily decreases the likelihood of hurricanes. Although it’s difficult to link any particular hurricane directly to climate change, Idalia’s impact was likely made worse not only by atmospheric conditions that intensify storms, but also by rising ocean levels, which have dramatically increased in the Gulf of Mexico since 2010. This sea level rise combined with the storm surge to flood areas that otherwise would have stayed dry. It was the perfect storm, and this time, that’s not even a metaphor.
⚖️ The Australian government is going to settle a class action lawsuit alleging that the value of the country’s sovereign bonds were affected by climate change. Investor Kathleen O’Donnell filed the suit in 2020 “claiming investors who buy Australian government bonds should be made aware of the risks due to climate change that might make it difficult for Australia to pay back its debt.” That’s why if there’s a climate disaster, governments should pay for it with a credit card. At least they’d get hotel points out of it.
🔥 Climate activists blockaded a road into Burning Man this week by parking a 28-foot trailer across the road in protest of the wasteful tendencies of the festival. They had clear demands: “Ban private jets, single-use plastics, unnecessary propane burning, and unlimited generator use per capita at the nine day event in Black Rock City, Nevada.” Perhaps the most significant ask is the one about private jets: over 90% of Burning Man’s carbon footprint comes from transportation to and from the event, and in 2019, there were over 20 private jet trips to the desert outpost, largely from celebrities and tech CEOs. Unfortunately, officers from a tribal law enforcement agency met the protesters with violence, destroying the barricade with trucks, drawing a firearm, and announcing, “I’m going to take all of you out, you better move.” The festival has come a long way from its roots as a hippie art escape to a megalopolis dominated by CEOs and dangerous security forces. It feels less Burning Man, more RoboCop.
💰 As part of the Inflation Reduction Act, the Biden administration has made $45 million available through the Department of Commerce and the NOAA “for projects that will advance coastal habitat restoration and climate resilience priorities of tribes and underserved communities.” This funding covers a variety of projects, from removing outdated dams to restoring coastal wetlands, as well as research funding to analyze the impacts of climate change on communities. Applications are due by December 19th. And if municipalities are anything like me, that means they’ll start filling out the applications right around December 18th.
🐧 A little bit more good news: Maine’s puffin colonies are recovering in the face of climate change. 2021 was a devastating year for the birds, and scientists feared that warming waters would greatly reduce the food supply they need to feed their chicks. But fortunately, one species of fish, the sand lance, has continued to thrive, providing a sustainable food source. And thank goodness, because there is nothing cuter than a puffin with a mouth full of fish.
🍾 But what are we going to celebrate the puffins with?? Thanks to climate change, we could face severe Prosecco shortages! This poses a significant threat to the Sunday Funday economy.
$12B: LOW ESTIMATE OF PRELIMINARY COSTS FROM HURRICANE IDALIA (GIZMODO)
270: GIGATONS OF ICE GREENLAND LOSES EVERY YEAR (WAPO)
With the recent boom in entrepreneurship, it’s likely that if you’re reading this email, you’ve started or are thinking about founding a company. And one of the main reasons to do so is to have more control over your work, rather than simply doing what someone else tells you to do. But the same freedom you get as a founder means you also have a responsibility: what power do you have to address climate change. Fortunately, TechCrunch has some answers for you (unless you’re trying to found an oil conglomerate, in which case, I’d advise you to return to your old soul-sucking job).