Going in Circles

Hey Hot Cakes!

Welp, the West Coast is boiling, the Gulf Coast is dealing with another hurricane, and global leaders have once again failed to come to any sort of agreement on how to act on climate. All that, plus how the right-wing backlash against Critical Race Theory intersects with climate denial, and of course the weekly digest.


Mary & Amy

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Going in Circles

By Mary Annaïse Heglar

This weekend, the third named storm of the 2021 hurricane season, Tropical Storm Claudette, made a soggy landfall on the Gulf Coast. After last year’s hurricane season that took us deep into the Greek alphabet (seriously, I didn’t even know there were that many Greek letters!), I imagine every state with a coastline is going to be holding its breath all the way til November.

But even at the height of the hurricanes last year, we barely heard about them in the national media. My best guess as to why? Because they were pummeling the Gulf Coast and not the East Coast, where the mainstream media lives. If that bodes poorly for places like Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, let’s spare a thought for what it means for places even further away. For one thing, the hurricanes that battered the Gulf Coast last year usually wreaked havoc in the Caribbean and Latin America first—places where resilience has already been woefully worn down.

Then, consider India, which has already seen two cyclones this year: Yaas (very severe) and Tauktae (extremely severe). The latter was actually the strongest storm to ever hit western India, which is alarming since that Arabian Sea used to be much calmer than the Bay of Bengal on the eastern coast of India. In fact, Tauktae developed into a severe cyclonic storm in two days. It usually takes at least five days for a storm to reach that threshold. It’s recorded to have killed 174 people and displaced a still unknown number. And this in the middle of a pandemic.

Once upon a time, these events would have been headline-dominating world tragedies. And those headlines would have generated compassion, which would have turned into much-needed donations. But that’s not the world we live in anymore. I fear that we’ve skipped quickly from climate acceptance to climate apathy. That’s not the world I want to live in.

If you want to help cyclone victims, you can donate here, here, and here.

BP <3 Shell

By Mary Annaïse Heglar and Amy Westervelt

So, in our last podcast episode, we had a nice little cackle about Shell getting absolutely owned at the Hague (of all places). They got held to account for all their emissions—rooter to tooter—and had their whole “but the government isn’t making us do it” excuse shot down. It was glorious. But in that episode, we wondered both what Shell was going to actually do in this moment and...what’s going on over there at BP? In a week where all their top competitors were getting their asses kicked, they had to be feeling either smug or vulnerable, right?

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If Biden Wants the World to Act on Climate, He Needs to Start at Home

By Amy Westervelt

President Biden made tackling climate and Covid his two big agenda items as he headed to the G7 Summit earlier this month. Now the summit has closed and G7 leaders have agreed to chip in on vaccines for all, which is great. But there was no agreement on collective climate action. Which is perhaps unsurprising, given that the country most responsible for climate change is utterly failing to tackle it at home. Please save your "well actually" on China and India emissions.The U.S. is by far the largest historical emitter. And besides, when I say "most responsible," I am not just talking about our emissions. America literally started the oil industry, gave rise to the companies that blocked global climate action, and American companies still provide much of the world's oil and gas, while continuing to block climate policy wherever they can. So yeah, we're "most responsible" for the global climate crisis.

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Surprise! Critical Race Theory and Climate Action Have the Same Haters

By Amy Westervelt

The  debate over teaching critical race theory in American schools absolutely dovetails with climate change in both obvious and hidden ways. If you need an explainer on what critical race theory is, here's a great piece that ran in The Economist recently. In a nutshell, it's the acknowledgement of structural racism in the U.S., and the study of how it plays out in myriad ways. It's been around since the 1970s, but suddenly Republican governors are enraged that aspects of it might be taught in schools and they're pushing through legislation to ban it—so far that's happened in Texas, Idaho, and Tennessee, with several other states batting around the idea.

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Weekly Digest

A weekly round-up of climate coverage.

Rising Temperatures, Rising Tides

What “back to normal” means for climate change after Covid-19, by Rebecca Leber for Vox

Here are some things to know about the extreme drought in the Western U.S., by Celine Tebor for the Los Angeles Times

The amount of heat the Earth traps has doubled since 2005, NASA says, by Tik Root for The Washington Post

Earth is trapping ‘unprecedented’ amount of heat, Nasa says, by Victoria Bekiempis for The Guardian

Record-setting heat blasts the West: ‘Your skin is almost sizzling’, by Sarah Kaplan for The Washington Post

To Understand How Warming is Driving Harmful Algal Blooms, Look to Regional Patterns, Not Global Trends, by Haley Dunleavy for InsideClimate News

‘It’s brutal’: Las Vegas cooks amid blazing heatwave – and it’s going to get worse, by The Guardian

‘Potentially the worst drought in 1,200 years’: scientists on the scorching US heatwave, by Maanvi Singh for The Guardian

More than half of Europe’s cities still plagued by dirty air, report finds, by Fiona Harvey for The Guardian

Sweltering Texans urged to reduce cooking and cleaning to ease grid strain, by Katharine Gammon for The Guardian

Climate crisis to hit Europe’s coffee and chocolate supplies, by Damian Carrington for The Guardian

How are our cities going to look in a rapidly heating world? It won’t be long before 50C will be normal, by James Bradley for The Guardian

2021 wildfire forecasts for the western US: heat, drought, uncertainty, by Umair Irfan for Vox

Climate Change Batters the West Before Summer Even Begins by Brad Plumer, Jack Healy, Winston Choi-Schagrin and Henry Fountain for the New York Times

What Is a Megadrought? by Henry Fountain for the New York Times

Texas Power Grid, Strained Last Winter, Now Faces an Early Heat Wave by John Schwartz and Ivan Penn for the New York Times

The Climate Presidency

Democrats to Biden: No climate provisions, no vote for infrastructure deal, by Valerie Volcovici for Reuters

Judge Terry A. Dought of the US District Court issues an injunction to block the Interior Department policy, by Joshua Parlow and Juliet Eilperin for The Washington Post

Biden administration reinstates roadless rule for Alaska's Tongass National Forest, by Juliet Eilperin for The Washington Post

Senators Collins and Blumenthal move to ban toxic PFAS chemicals in cosmetics, which scientists say are 'widespread' and unlabeled, by Tik Root for The Washington Post

Biden Can Still Reduce Drilling on Public Lands, by Nick A. Martin for The New Republic

When Ed Markey Tweets “No Climate, No Deal,” What Does He Mean?, by Kate Aronoff for The New Republic

Will Biden Be Forced to Give Up What Some Say is His Best Shot at Tackling Climate Change?, by Marianne Lavelle for InsideClimate News

Federal Judge Says Biden Cannot Pause New Leases for Drilling on Public Lands by Coral Davenport for the New York Times

G7 Nations Take Aggressive Climate Action but Hold Back on Coal by Michael D. Shear, Lisa Friedman and Catrin Einhorn for the New York Times

Biden's offshore wind bonanza is coming to NY and NJ by Emily Pontecorvo for Grist

Trump Judge Blocks Biden Pause on Oil and Gas Leases by Brian Kahn for Earther

Climate Accountability

Analysis: With Trump gone, NATO wages war on climate threat, by Sabine Siebold and Robin Emmott for Reuters

SCOTUS takes a pass on Chevron appeal in climate lawsuit, by Sebastien Malo for Reutes

UN Climate Talks Slowed by Covid Woes and Technical Squabbles, by Bob Berwyn for InsideClimate News

Fox News' Bret Baier Has Been Spreading Climate Misinformation Since 2009: Report, by Geoff Dembicki for Vice

Justice Is Justice Is Justice

A New Zealand chapter of Greta Thunberg-linked climate movement disbands itself for being ‘racist’, by Michael E. Miller for The Washington Post

The Unequal Distribution of Covid Vaccines Is a Preview of the Coming Climate Apartheid, by Kate Aronoff for The New Republic

High greenhouse gas emitters should pay for carbon they produce, says IMF, by Fiona Harvey for The Guardian

The Line 3 Pipeline Fight Is the Next Standing Rock, by Samir Ferdowsi for Vice

During wildfires and hurricanes, a language gap can be deadly by Kate Yoder fr Grist

How returning lands to Native tribes is helping protect nature by Jim Robbins for Grist

Glimmers of Hope

Protein-Filled, With a Low Carbon Footprint, Insects Creep Up on the Human Diet, by Emiko Terazono for InsideClimate News

Living shorelines could help California coasts adapt to rising sea levels by Alexandria Herr for Grist

Is the Controlled Shrinking of Economies a Better Bet to Slow Climate Change Than Unproven Technologies?, by Bob Berwyn for InsideClimate News

Salamanders have a secret to survive drought, heat waves, and climate change, by Benji Jones for Vox

Climate in Culture

Vatican to host 'Faith and Science' talks to raise stakes ahead of U.N. climate summit, by Philip Pullella for Reuters

Q&A with 'The Spirit of Green' author William Nordhaus, by Steven Mufson for The Washington Post

We Don’t Need Science Fiction to Avert Climate Catastrophe, by John Hockenos for The Nation

Warming Trends: A Song for the Planet, Secrets of Hempcrete and Butterfly Snapshots, by Katelyn Weisbrod for InsideClimate News

How Women Can Save the Planet by Anne Karpf review – clear and invigorating, by Rebecca Liu for The Guardian

Second Nature by Nathaniel Rich; Under a White Sky by Elizabeth Kolbert review – Earth SOS, by Robin McKie for The Guardian

These bots are clicking on millions of ads — for the climate by Kate Yoder for Grist

Bot Clicking Ads on Climate Articles Shows the News Is Broken by Dharna Noor for Earther

Plus More

Brad Lander Knows How to Achieve the Big, Bold Structural Changes That Will Transform New York, by John Nichols for The Nation

Should more people eat insects? By Dylan Matthews for Vox

Are white people bad for the environment? by Eve Andrews for Grist

I Made Peace With Flying Less by Brian Kahn for Earther


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