Climate news to start your week
Line 3 protests intensity, the ANWR battle heats up, and the U.S. kicks Norway's butt. Plus, an excerpt of my interview with Numlock News.
We already covered those things, so I won’t republish the entire interview. But I thought you’d be interested in the part where I talk about what’s next for HEATED.
Spoiler alert: I still haven’t completely figured it out. To be quite honest, this whole “world opening back up” thing has been difficult for my brain. I’ve been having a hard time thinking straight lately. But I’m still thinking—or at least, trying. And I do have a couple things in mind for the future.
As always, I’d be interested in hearing more from subscribers about what you’d like to see down the line. So please feel free to e-mail me, or leave a comment, with any and all of your thoughts.
After the transcript, you’ll find a list of climate stories to start your week. Enjoy.
WALT HICKEY: You write the HEATED newsletter, a really, really wonderful source of news. What are you looking forward to this summer?
EMILY ATKIN: One of the things I like to do the most in the newsletter is make things that don't seem like they're about climate change, about climate change. Today, I wrote about an anti-marijuana provision in Biden's budget and how federal marijuana legalization would really help in the climate fight. So more stuff like that.
I also think that this summer we're going to be experiencing a lot of changes as we go "back to normal." So I'm going to be looking at ways to parallel how our new way of lives, post-pandemic, ties into climate change. Are we learning the lessons that COVID taught us? What are we actually doing? What are we failing to do? Because COVID taught us a lot of lessons about climate change.
COP26 is also in November, so I'm looking at that as well. The next round of international negotiations, over emissions, and who should be reducing them.
WH: Your close personal friend John Kerry will be involved, I imagine.
EA: Yes. My close personal friend who definitely likes me and doesn't hate me.
Yeah, and just keeping a bigger eye on all the propaganda coming from the oil and gas industry, and the banking industry and the airline industry, about how climate friendly they are.
Lately, I cannot turn on a television, I cannot turn on the radio, I’m just getting so bombarded by climate, environment-type propaganda from oil companies. And that is always a sign that they are very worried about what's about to happen with this administration.
WH: Well, sounds good to me. But, yes. Folks can find you at the newsletter, anywhere else that folks can find you these days?
EA: Just Twitter, for the most part. Twitter and the newsletter. I think one day, I'll try TikTok for climate stuff. I do love TikTok, I just don't have the energy to do it for work yet.
WH: You were very, very early to the Instagram climate teen scene. And so I am excited to see whatever you do in the TikTok space.
EA: Thank you so much. I think TikTok is wonderful.
WH: Right. This has been two millennials, congratulating one another about their use of younger platforms.
EA: I love that segment.
WH: It's my favorite segment.
Climate news to start your week
Big protests over the Line 3 pipeline start today. The Biden administration has still not said a word about the controversial tar sands pipeline expansion in Minnesota (which HEATED dedicated three weeks of coverage to this past March and April). So starting today, indigenous-led direct actions are expected to intensify.
The Minnesota Star Tribune reports: “On Monday, organizers expect more than 1,000 people from around the country to show and protest at an undisclosed location along the new pipeline route in the Park Rapids, Minn., vicinity.
Dubbed the Treaty People Gathering, film star and activist Jane Fonda is expected to address the crowd, as well as Bill McKibben, an author, environmentalist and founder of 350.org, a national climate action group.”“Our waters are being put at risk & inevitable harm from tar sands oil. The CO2 that this line would put into the atmosphere would be equal to 50 coal plants.” - Dawn Goodwin
The battle over Arctic drilling is also heating up again. Last week saw another big win for the climate movement—and loss for Donald Trump’s legacy—as Interior Secretary Deb Haaland temporarily suspended all oil drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. But this is far from the final step in the decades-long battle.
National Geographic reports: “Environmental groups applauded the decision but were quick to point out that they will still push the administration to cancel the leases entirely. Environmentalists also note that the decision to temporarily suspend leases in ANWR was inconsistent with other recent moves by the administration to support oil and gas activity, including in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A), west of ANWR on the Arctic coast.”
The oil industry is also extremely pressed about the lease suspension. As they tell it, they were totally going to help solve climate change while drilling in one of the most environmentally sensitive areas in the world. “Our industry is committed to tackling climate change while safely and responsibly producing American energy,” The American Petroleum Institute told NatGeo in a statement.
The oil industry is marketing itself as gay-friendly while funding anti-LGBTQ politicians. Here is something I thought was very funny and terrible. Check out API’s Twitter header right now. The combination of “we are serious about climate change!” and “we are huge supports of queer folk, just look at our rainbow logo!” is truly something to behold:
Relatedly, Grist has a great piece on the oil industry’s pridewashing this month. In addition to API’s logo, it notes, “Chevron put out a tweet with the hashtag #ChevronPride, celebrating the 30 year anniversary of its PRIDE employee network. …. BP and Phillips 66 also tweeted Pride statements.”
There’s nothing wrong with celebrating pride, but that’s not what Big Oil is doing. It’s using LBGTQ people as a marketing tactic while more quietly supporting anti-gay lawmakers. The piece continues: “Chevron, for example, has funneled more than $6 million to PACs working to keep GOP leaders in Congress — many of whom have blocked legislation on climate change and LGBTQ rights. Last year, before the presidential election, Republicans voted to keep their 2016 platform, which diminishes the threat of climate change and also called for a ban on same-sex marriage.”
Earther also has a great piece on the very same thing. Perhaps this is something the newsletter will look into more.
Biden backs a number of controversial oil and gas projects. The very bottom of that NatGeo piece on ANWR pointed out something I thought was important to note. Despite committing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to half of 2005 levels by 2030, the administration is still supporting projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, the Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota, and something called “the Willow project” which I had not heard of until now.
“In May, the Biden administration filed a court brief in support of what’s referred to as the Willow project in the NPR-A,” it read. “Overseen by ConocoPhilips—the largest oil producer in Alaska— the project taps into a reserve with an estimated 300 million barrels of oil.” For more about it, I recommend this piece by Lisa Friedman at the New York Times.
Climate change threatens Tokyo Olympics. “Climate change is adding another risk as intense heat and high humidity threaten the health and performance of athletes, according to a U.K.-based association,” Bloomberg reports.
Will Ferrell’s Superbowl commercial is working—for Ford. You may remember General Motors was the one who called out Norway for beating the U.S. in electric car sales during this year’s Super Bowl. But Ford is the one reaping the benefits, Reuters reports. Sales of Ford’s electric Mustang officially topped Norway's car sales in May, “the first full month of registrations for the crossover vehicle in the small but influential Nordic market.” That’s right. Suck it, Norway.
Catch of the Day
Fish’s favorite segment is Catch of the Day (or dinnertime, more realistically).
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