Climate Roundup: War is a climate issue

The world doesn’t need another uninformed opinion (mine) on the Russian invasion of Ukraine–but if you, like me, aren’t up to speed on global politics, you might also be interested to learn how much the timing and the staging of this disaster has to do with fossil fuels.

How Fossil Fuels Play Into Putin’s Ukraine Strategy (Mother Jones, February 24, 2022)

This is how we defeat Putin and other petrostate autocrats (The Guardian, February 25, 2022)

This is not a “war for oil and gas” in the sense that too many of America’s Middle East misadventures might plausibly be described. But it is a war underwritten by oil and gas, a war whose most crucial weapon may be oil and gas, a war we can’t fully engage because we remain dependent on oil and gas. If you want to stand with the brave people of Ukraine, you need to find a way to stand against oil and gas.

One way to combat Russia? Move faster on clean energy (Los Angeles Times, February 26, 2022)

The environmental costs of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (Grist, February 25, 2022)

Good takedown of some bad takes: War, Who Is It Good For? The Fossil Fuel Industry (Hot Take, February 27, 2022)

Climate change impacts are already happening

A little allegory to help explain the economic factors linking climate change to inflated prices for natural resources. (The Rise of Greenflation, The Atlantic, February 2, 2022)

A third of Americans are already facing above-average warming (The Guardian, February 5, 2022)

In 2021, there were 20 weather or climate disasters in the United states with losses exceeding $1 billion each, with a combined 688 fatalities. Battered and Flooded by Increasingly Severe Weather, Kentucky and Tennessee Have a Big Difference in Forecasting (Inside Climate News, February 24, 2022)

Slightly older article that popped up on my newsfeed and caught my eye, because 10% of the global population is… a lot. Climate Change Linked to 5 Million Deaths a Year, New Study Shows (Bloomberg, July 7, 2021)

Brands aren’t your friends

Spoiler: everybody thinks corporations should…. Climate change will be expensive. Who should pay? (Politico, February 9, 2022)

….except corporations.
Google, Walmart, and Other Big Companies Are Half-Assing Their Climate Plans (Earther, February 7, 2022)
Climate change: Top companies exaggerating their progress – study (BBC News, February 7, 2022)
Fossil Fuel Industry Emitting 70% More Methane Than Official Numbers Show (Earther, February 24, 2022)

Response on a local scale

Recently I wrote about my local park and the plans to transform it, with an eye toward mitigating increased precipitation and flooding. As I mentioned, there’s been a lot of pushback against the plan, largely from local visitors who, like me, fell in love with the park in its current state and will mourn the loss of some of its unique character. I understand both sides, but have made my peace with the need to adapt to the climate we have.

So I read about the pushback against New York’s plan for the East River Park with great interest. In some ways it’s similar: East River Park has found itself submerged in river water before, and it will again, and the plan includes substantial landfill to raise the park and make it a sort of buffer against the rising river. Also similarly, residents seem not to have been looped in on these plans, and emotions are running high. (There’s a provocative image of protesters chained to a London plane tree.) Lessons from New York: What makes a community turn against climate adaptation? (Grist, February 8, 2022)

Obligatory notes of hope

Trees don’t rush to heal from trauma and neither should we (Psyche, February 1, 2022)

Not Perfect, Just Better (Atmos, January 31, 2022). The Atmos climate editor runs through some of the changes her household has made to reduce their impact on the environment. I find lists like this inspiring and useful. It can be overwhelming to reckon with our own patterns of consumption; there are so many angles, so many big and small decisions, and even when proactive measures are within reach, there’s so much homework to do when choosing alternatives. That’s why it’s so important to share, I think! Crowdsource the homework. Share mistakes as well as successes. Accept that some is better than none. And as the editor writes,

Becoming more environmentally conscious is a learning process, and we won’t always make the best decisions at first. What’s important is that you’re making a better choice today than you did yesterday.

The Case for Good News in Climate Coverage (The New Republic, February 25, 2022)

But the most important reason to cover good climate news, consciously and intentionally, is simpler: It exists, and there are plenty of systemic reasons that it’s often overlooked. The dearth of good climate news in the U.S. media reflects a morbid focus on national news at the expense of local, state, or global developments. Our national government is so hobbled by fossil fuel money and right-wing ideology that good climate news can be hard to find. That’s not the case in many state and local governments and certainly not overseas, either.

From a fellow member of Rewilding Our Stories: Towards Solarpunk Futures (Center for Sustainable Futures, Teacher’s College Columbia University, January 20, 2022)


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