Bezos, et cetera

A round-up of recent climate news, plus Week 7 book club information.

I forgot to share this with y’all, but last month, I had a long conversation with Britany Robinson of the newsletter One More Question about what it’s like to be a newsletter writer covering climate change. One More Question is a weekly newsletter for freelance writers who are determined to make it work—even when this industry just keeps getting harder. Subscribe for free by clicking the button below.

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I’ve got a reported story in the works for tomorrow, and a bunch of first article drafts from my students to grade, so today I’m just gonna give you a run-down of recent important climate news. Turns out there’s been quite a lot lately! Let’s get caught up.

Jeff Bezos has started fulfilling his climate pledge.

Lame duck anti-environment actions abound.

  • Trump is trying to lock in oil leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before leaving office. “This lease sale is one more box the Trump administration is trying to check off for its oil industry allies,” Adam Kolton, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League, told the New York Times. “But it is disappointing that this administration until the very end has maintained such low regard for America’s public lands, or the wildlife and Indigenous communities that depend on them.”

  • Trump also published a final rule allowing the Navy to “harm and harass” critically endangered whales. “The Trump administration published a final rule [on Thursday] allowing the U.S. Navy to harm and harass endangered whales and other marine mammals 1.7 million times during military training exercises in the Pacific Northwest over the next seven years,” says The Center for Biological Diversity.

  • Just before the election, Trump also stripped Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves. This apparently was an attempt to appeal to rural voters in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin before the election, reports ABC News. It didn’t work— all the states went for Joe Biden—but the protections remain stripped.

  • More lame duck anti-environmental actions are likely on the way. “Now that President Trump has lost reelection, observers and advocates are bracing for agencies to finish a host of actions on energy and the environment,” E&E News reports. “Analysts and observers expect EPA to speed up long-term priorities that could fundamentally change how future regulations are drafted, including a plan to restrict the use of scientific research. Another action would impose cost-benefit forecasting requirements for new air rules.”

An unthinkable hurricane season continues.

Miscellaneous but important

  • Charles Koch, longtime funder of climate disinformation machine, wants to work with Democrats now. With an incoming Biden administration, The Wall Street Journal reports that Koch now regrets his longtime partisanship: “At age 85, he says, he is turning his attention to building bridges across partisan divides to find answers to sprawling social problems such as poverty, addiction, recidivism, gang violence and homelessness.” While Koch’s political spending remains almost entirely partisan, the WSJ says he “will continue to look for potential partners” in the Democratic Party. I, personally, look forward to seeing who those partners will be.

  • Devastating wildfires in Washington state were ignited by power lines. A Seattle Times analysis of public data and interviews with fire officials reveal that sparks from downed power lines sparked at least 47 fires over Labor Day weekend. “The fires destroyed 121 homes in the Malden area and at least 62 elsewhere. They were responsible for more than 60 percent of the homes lost in one of the worst two-day stretches of wildfires in state history.”

  • Forty-seven faith institutions are divesting from fossil fuels, marking “the largest-ever joint announcement of divestment among religious leaders,” announced on Monday. The full list of divesting institutions is here.

  • Native groups want Rep. Deb Haaland to be Biden’s Interior Secretary. The Indigenous Environmental Network and 26 other grassroots Native groups sent a letter to the Biden transition team on Saturday advocating for Haaland’s nomination. “Our belief is that Representative Haaland will help facilitate the Biden/Harris vision for dealing with climate change, addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in Indian Country, ensuring an effective economic just recovery plan for Tribes and communities, overseeing the protection of public lands and fulfilling all treaty and statutory obligations.” The letter is here.

Support independent climate journalism

All We Can Save book club: Week 7

Today’s the seventh official day of HEATED’s book club partnership with All We Can Save, an anthology of female climate wisdom edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine Wilkinson.

The section you’ll be reading and discussing in your “circles” this week is “Feel,” which features essays from some of this newsletter’s favorite people: Amy Westervelt and Mary Heglar, writers of the Hot Take newsletter. Hot Take is a weekly, sometimes bi-weekly intersectional look at the climate crisis and climate conversation. You can subscribe by clicking the button below.

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This section is great particularly for those who are struggling with, well, how to feel about the very daunting time we’re living in. You can learn more about all the section’s authors in the supplementary materials section below.


Read 1 poem or quote from this section to open.


Share your name + your primary emotion regarding the climate crisis right now. (Circle leader should go first and model this.)


Move through 3 generous questions.

  1. What in this section made you feel seen?

  2. Has the climate crisis impacted your choices about or experiences of parenthood? How so?

  3. What practices help you face our planetary emergency? How might we support one another in our inner climate work?


Read 1 poem or quote from this section to close.


Ash Sanders

Amy Westervelt

Catherine Pierce

Emily N. Johnston

Naima Penniman

Susanne C. Moser

Mary Annaïse Heglar

OK, that’s all for today—thanks for reading HEATED! To support independent climate journalism that holds the powerful accountable—and to receive HEATED’s reporting and analysis in your inbox four days a week—become a subscriber today.

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Stay hydrated, eat plants (I like bananas), do push-ups, and have a great day!