Some for Me and None for You
By Mary Annaise Heglar
On this week’s episode of the podcast, Amy and I talked to David Wallace-Wells about all the parallels between the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. This was David’s second appearance on Hot Take. The first time was in March 2020, just a few days after lockdowns had gone, well, viral across the nation. We hadn’t planned to talk to him about the pandemic for that episode, we just couldn’t avoid it. This time, it was the whole point. David is one of many climate journalists who drifted into the COVID beat and we wanted to learn how that disaster had colored his lens on the climate crisis.
Not gonna lie, this is one of my favorite conversations on Hot Take so far. There’s a lot about it I’m still processing, but one thing David said has been sticking with me ever since we recorded: is there something that makes rich people in rich countries happy to see poor people in poor countries suffer? We were talking about the pandemic response and how the only way to get out of this safely was to vaccinate everyone—far past our borders. But we didn’t. That, in effect, means that we had a choice to create a world where everyone is protected, but instead chose one with medium protection for ourselves and no protection for anyone else. (P.S. David was clear that this does not apply to every American or every European, but pretty broadly translates to the decision makers in those places.)
This idea that we and the Europeans have the highest standard of living than anywhere else is so ingrained in American identity, I’m not sure many of us know who we’d be without it. It’s taken as a given that people in the Global South have a shitty quality of life and that’s perfectly okay. It’s a big part of how the climate crisis “snuck up” on a lot of folks in the Global North.
This mindset is not new. In fact, it’s the backing ethos of white supremacy and capitalism. It’s why slavery happened in the first place, and definitely why Reconstruction was a failed project. It reminds me of this scene from Always Sunny in Philadelphia—a thing isn’t worth doing unless you have someone’s face to shove it in.
The climate crisis forces us into a moment where we have no choice but to build a new world. If we’re going to build a better one, this mindset has to go. That means we can’t keep skirting around the real work of toppling white supremacy. It is the only way out of this mess for good.
This is today's free post. For full access to the rest of the stories in today's newsletter, please consider upgrading to a paid subscription. Thank you!
More Legal Drama and the Importance of Naming the Villain
By Amy Westervelt
In the past few months I’ve seen several news stories with headlines like “More Than 20 States Press Judge to Continue Migrant Expulsions,” or “More GOP state AGs join suit protesting Biden’s scrapping of Title 42,” or this week “17 states push EPA to revoke California’s ability to set its own vehicle emission standards.” Not a single one of these articles (the first two focused on immigration, the third on climate policy) mention the hugely powerful and well-resourced coordinating body behind all these GOP attorneys general, the Republican Attorneys General Association, or RAGA. Whenever a half dozen or more conservative attorneys general show up together to file a suit, join a suit, or file a brief, you better believe RAGA is in the background coordinating it. It’s their whole raison d’être (yeah, French, deal with it).
I really encourage folks to listen to the incredible researcher Lisa Graves on this, but in the meantime, here’s a quick primer: Formed in the late 1990s by the AGs of Texas ( it was now-senator John Cornyn running the Texas AG’s office back then), Alabama, and South Carolina as a reaction to the tobacco litigation, step one of RAGA's mission was to get more Republican attorneys general elected. At the time, there were more Democratic than Republican attorneys general, and they wanted to reverse that. With the balance tilted in their favor, RAGA planned to block anything like the tobacco litigation from ever happening, and copy the strategy to push lawsuits that benefit corporations. No surprise, then, that they have turned up to argue against every climate liability suit that’s been filed in the last few years.
The Ultimate Savior Complex
By Mary Annaise Heglar
Over the past two weeks, we’ve all been digesting the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion to overturn Roe vs. Wade, drastically reducing access to safe abortion across the country. For lots of people, it’s setting in how protracted and expansive the war on abortion has been, from the trigger laws in place all over the country to the implications for IVF. Where I live in Louisiana, it could mean traveling across several state lines to get a safe abortion, and even IUDs are on the line.
If you’re reading this newsletter, you know that there’s nothing under the sun that doesn’t intersect with climate change—precisely because it takes place under the sun, on this planet. In Atmos, Alexandria Herr wrote about how climate change increases the need for abortion. Last week, Amy wrote about the implications for the climate cases in front of the Supreme Court. But I want to pick up on something else Amy wrote about: climate change and abortion restrictions are being driven by the same people.
Stuff to Read, Watch, Listen to This Week!
By Amy Westervelt
Despite all the bad climate news swirling about, there are quite a few helpful new studies, docuseries, podcasts and more that are well worth your time. Here are a few I caught recently:
- Climate Colonialism - Been meaning to recommend this one for a while, but Dr. Farhana Sultana put out this paper on climate colonialism earlier this year that I really think anyone interested or working in climate should read. In it, she highlights not just the uneven distribution of climate impacts, driven by colonialism, but also how a lot of the ways we research and talk about climate today reproduces those same colonialist patterns. It’s a must read!
- New Study: We need 12 million climate activists – In a new paper, activism researcher Dana Fisher looks at what’s needed to cause what she calls an “AnthroShift” on climate–big changes across multiple aspects of society. She comes to the conclusion that it’s got to be either a massive crisis (a war, an epic disaster) or a major mobilization. According to the literature if you can get 3.5 percent of the population or more out in the streets for an extended period of time, it can drive the sorts of changes we need to see. In the U.S., that means about 11.5 million climate activists. Feels achievable, no?
Rising Temperatures, Rising Tides
Record heat fueling violent storms in central US - The Washington Post, by Matthew Cappucci and Jason Samenow
The swift march of climate change in North Carolina's 'ghost forests', by Brady Dennis for The Washington Post
North Carolina beach homes collapse from lumbering coastal storm - The Washington Post, by Jason Samenow and Brady Dennis
Video Shows Surging Water From a Melting Glacier Destroying a Landmark Bridge, by Rimal Farrukh for Vice
India tries to adapt to extreme heat but is paying a heavy price, by Gerry Shih and Kasha Patel for The Washington Post
Wildfires are still catching us off-guard. Congress' plan to fix that isn't going anywhere. by Chad Small for Grist
Winds fuel New Mexico wildfire, complicating containment efforts, by Elizabeth Miller and Paulina Villegas for The Washington Post
The Largest Water Reservoirs in California Are Rapidly Receding by Angely Mercado for Earther
Facing a new climate reality, Southern California lawns could wither, by Joshua Partlow
50-50 Chance We Hit 1.5 Degrees of Warming by *Checks Watch* 2026 by Molly Taft for Earther
Durban's Floods Are a Climate Change Warningby Glen Retief for the New Republic
Congress is routing climate policy through the Army Corps of Engineers by Jake Bittle for Grist
The Climate Presidency?
Why Biden's Plan to Fix Gas Prices Isn't Working by Kate Aronoff
Creaky U.S. power grid threatens progress on renewables, EVs, by Tim McLaughlin for Reuters Investigates
Drowning in Student Loans and Rising Tides | Atmos, by Yessenia Funes
Biden Administration Cancels Oil Drilling Sales in Alaska and Gulf of Mexico by Lisa Friedman for The New York Times
Democrats push to overhaul mining law, citing clean energy - The Washington Post, by Maxine Joselow and Vanessa Montalbano
The Democrats Really Are That Dense About Climate Change by Robinson Meyer for the Atlantic
House panel will investigate USPS plan to purchase 8.6 mpg trucks, by Jacob Bogage for The Washington Post
Exxon Doubles Down on “Advanced Recycling” Claims That Yield Few Results, by Amy Westervelt (!)
Climate chaos certain if oil and gas mega-projects go ahead, warns IEA chief | Environment | The Guardian, by Fiona Harvey, Matthew Taylor and Damian Carrington
Fed utility weighs coal plant switch options, climate impact | AP News, by Jonathan Mattise
Fossil Fuels Aren't Just Harming the Planet. They're Making Us Sick - Inside Climate News, by Liza Gross and Victoria St. Martin
Raimondo fails to reassure a rattled solar industry - The Washington Post, by Maxine Joselow and Vanessa Montalbano
Climate change: Airlines miss all but one target - report - BBC News, by Georgina Rannard
Report: 'Carbon Bombs' Are Poised to Screw Us Over Big Time by Angely Mercado for Earther
Big Oil investors reject calls for stricter climate goals — so far - The Washington Post, by Maxine Joselow and Vanessa Montalbano
Do not use Ukraine war to defer climate goals, warns Mark Carney, by Kalyeena Makortoff for The Guardian
Where is Russia's oil going? - The Washington Post, by Steven Mufson
Oil Majors Have Found a Sneaky Way to Look Greener on Paper by Molly Taft for Earther
The massive, unregulated source of plastic pollution you've probably never heard of by Neel Dhanesha for Vox
How shareholders are pushing big banks for climate action by Manuela Andreoni for The New York Times
Elon Musk Isn't a Climate Hero by Molly Taft for Earther
Oil Giants Sell Dirty Wells to Buyers With Looser Climate Goals, Study Finds by Hiroko Tabuchi for The New York Times
Justice Is Justice Is Justice
India and Pakistan's severe heat wave, explained by Umair Irfan for Vox
To Equitably Confront Climate Change, Cities Need to Include Public Health Agencies in Planning Adaptations, by Aydali Campa for Inside Climate News
The Climate Reality of Roe v. Wade | Atmos, by Alexandria Herr
The Department of Justice Announced New Climate Cops. What Can They Do? By Audrey Carleton for Vice
Black communities are last in line for disaster planning in Texas, by Tracy Jan for The Washington Post
Tuvalu, sinking in the Pacific, fears becoming a superpower 'pawn' | Reuters, by Kirsty Needham
Brazilian groups want direct access to US forest funding | AP News, by Fabiano Maisonnave
Justice Dept. Tries to Shift Environmental Justice Efforts From Symbolic to Substantive by Glenn Thrush and Lisa Friedman for The New York Times
What overturning Roe v. Wade means for pregnant people in pollution hotspots, by Naveena Sadasivam & Eve Andrews for Grist
The plan to ensure Indigenous peoples have a voice at the UN by Joseph Lee for Grist
Glimmers of Hope
A quiet revolution: Southwest cities learn to thrive amid drought by Jim Robbins for Grist
Reimagining Rehabilitation | Atmos, by Adam Mahoney
A Climate Progressive Leads a Crowded Democratic Field for Pittsburgh's 12th Congressional District Seat, by Kristoffer Tigue for Inside Climate News
Joy for environmentalists as California blocks bid for $1.4bn desalination plant, by The AP in Huntington Beach for The Guardian
How climate scientists keep hope alive as damage worsens | AP News, by Seth Borenstein
Scientists Discover Unexplained Abundance of Rare Nuclear Fusion Fuel on Earth, by Becky Ferreira for Vice
What if the Wind and Sunshine Really Belonged to All of Us? | The Nation, by David McDermott Hughes
The secrets to passing climate legislation — even in red states by Kate Yoder for Grist
California lays out plan to drastically cut fossil fuel use | AP News, by Kathleen Ronayne
Climate in Culture
Chef Crystal Wahpepah on the power of Indigenous cuisine: 'Native foods are overlooked', by Maria C. Hunt in Oakland
The Future of Climate Careers | Atmos, by Daphne Chouliaraki Milner
He bought the house 9 months ago. Then the ocean swept it away, by Brady Dennis for The Washington Post
Melting Glacier Reveals Nearly Two Dozen Huge Ancient Sea Creature Fossils, by Audrey Carleton for Vice
“Black Gold” Reviewed, by Emily Sanders for ExxonKnews
“How Much Climate Anxiety Helps?” Interview with Britt Wray on her new book! By Ana Sales for Death, Sex, Money podcast
There’s an election in Australia. Here’s how climate fits in by Somini Sengupta for The New York Times
California regulators reject governor's pitch for carbon neutrality by 2035 by Diana Kruzman for Grist
A New York power line divided environmentalists. Here's what it says about the larger climate fight. by Zoya Teirstein for Grist
Senegal sees opportunity and 'hypocrisy' in Europe's search for gas, by Danielle Paquette and Evan Halper for The Washington Post
Coral reefs provide stunning images of a world under assault | AP News, by Curt Anderson and Cody Jackson
This group decided to clean up Lake Tahoe. They found more than 25000 pounds of submerged trash, by Parth M.N. for The Los Angeles Times