I had to look twice at the calendar today to make sure it’s really June. Bring out the ice cream and pool floats, summer is here.
This week’s must watch: Appearing on the Fox program The Next Revolution, Students for Carbon Dividends founder Alex Posner explains the carbon dividend and why it’s the most “elegant” way to combat climate change.
This week’s must read: Think big banks have abandoned coal? Think again. (New York Times). “It wasn’t an environmental policy,” explains our managing director Alex Bozmoski. “It was financial and risk management policy that was used by communications departments.” (Used cleverly, I might add.)
Fight climate change, improve quality of life: The Boston University Initiative on Cities project found that “large-city Republican mayors shy away from climate network memberships and their associated framing of the problem.” According to research fellow Nicolas Gunkel, “but in many cases they advocate locally for policies that help advance climate goals for other reasons, such as fiscal responsibility and public health.” Of the U.S.’s 100 largest cities, only 29 are represented by GOP mayors and 15 of those mayors “have developed or are developing concrete goals that guide their efforts to improve local environmental quality. Many of these actions reduce cities’ carbon footprints, although they are not primarily framed that way.” As EcoRight favorite Mayor Jim Brainard wrote in a recent op-ed, his town of Carmel, Indiana “used to be a car-centric suburb whose resident drove miles for the amenities of a big city. But Carmel focused on building more than 200 miles of bike and pedestrian trails so people could live a more car-free life, thereby reducing carbon emissions. When it came time to improve the Wastewater Treatment Facility, Carmel chose to capture most of the methane gas produced by the treatment process and repurpose it to heat boilers used in the biosolids process. Lastly, Carmel now has 116 roundabouts instead of traffic signals at intersections. In addition to reducing injury accidents by 80 percent, this changed street engineering substantially, saving the equivalent of over 270 tanker trucks of fuel last year.” Every bit of action counts, and we proud of the climate leadership shown by EcoRight mayors.
A banner year for lies: The Heartland Institute, a think tank infamous for a billboard campaign comparing those concerned about climate change to the Unabomber and Osama Bin Laden, celebrated 2017 as “a great year for climate realists.” [Side note: we consider ourselves the *actual* climate realists for shifting the dialogue away from belief and toward solutions.] “This is what victory looks like,” the group’s founder Joe Bast wrote in emails last year, noting that “global warming” wasn’t mentioned in the Environmental Protection Agency’s strategic plan for upcoming years. “More winning, this time at FEMA,” he added earlier this year when the Federal Emergency Management Agency cut references to climate change from its 2018-2022 plans. According to emails released by EPA under a Freedom of Information Act request, the agency also coordinated with Heartland to include climate hoaxers in meetings on the accuracy and integrity in climate science. For intentional obfuscation of peer-reviewed science for political gain, The Heartland Institute is this week’s (year’s, century’s) climate jester.
The Pope convening climate meeting: According to Axios, Pope Francis is hosting a meeting at the Vatican next week of major oil producers and investment executives to talk about how companies can address climate change. This comes just a year after President Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord and three years after the Pope’s encyclical on the environment. Stay tuned for more details.
Thank you, EcoRight friends and allies. See you soon!