I’m Amanda Magnani, a Brazilian (photo)journalist and OptOut News’ climate editor. Every other week, I bring you the most important climate news from our network—with an extra serving of decolonial perspectives. ✨🌿
So let’s get started!
Decarbonizing the U.S. Economy, and a Global Plastics Treaty
In spite of all the lobbying and propaganda from oil and gas corporations, the “smart money” is now going to investments in solar energy, as discussed in the Daily Montanan. According to the International Energy Agency, “Investment in clean energy will extend its lead over spending on fossil fuels in 2023,” with solar as the biggest tool for rapid decarbonization.
Ambitions to decarbonize the economy, however, are giving environmentalists strange bedfellows, as the electrified future envisioned by the Biden administration depends heavily on minerals and metals such as lithium, copper, and zinc. States Newsroom reports that energy groups are joining with traditional industry, fossil fuel interests, and their allies in Congress to debate mining permitting.
This is particularly worrying given that the mining of these materials poses geopolitical and environmental risks, given that the U.S. and so-called “friendly countries” can’t meet the demand.
Meanwhile, in Paris, the second session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee wrapped up with an agreement to develop the first draft of a Global Plastics Treaty by November. Plastic pollution and the climate crisis are intrinsically connected. In 2020, the plastic industry’s global carbon footprint was 1.3 billion metric tons, Grist reports.
Concerned about fossil fuels and other corporate interests watering down the landmark accord, advocacy groups urge governments to tackle the plastic production processes head-on, as Common Dreams reports.
🛢️ For the fifth time, a Louisiana lawmaker has introduced legislation to try to reduce the tax that fossil fuel firms pay on oil they produce in the state. DeSmog)
🛢️ An unspecified amount of manure mixed with water flowed into a creek last week because a grassed waterway was removed. (Iowa Capital Dispatch)
🛢️ The Connecticut House passed a bill to reform energy regulation that will require that state’s publicly traded electric utilities to assess the costs of preparing or appealing rate decisions on shareholders, not customers. (CT Mirror)
Decolonizing Climate Change
🌱 If you want to learn more about how people of color are fighting against with mind-boggling quantities of toxic chemicals and animal waste in their North Carolina county, check out NC Newsline’s series of special reports, “Environmental Justice in Robeson County”.
🌱 If you want to learn more about how climate disaster survivors can cope with trauma and loneliness, check The Tyee’s piece, “What Climate Disaster Survivors Need to Heal Their Minds.”
🌱 If you want to understand how “green capitalism” uses loopholes to offshore and offset exploitation, check The Majority Report’s video, in which Adrienne Buller, senior fellow at Common Wealth, discusses her recent book, The Value of a Whale: On the Illusions of Green Capitalism.
To Lighten Your Heart
💚 “Bees are being decimated in Colorado, but a new law will help” (Colorado Newsline)
💚 “How Humans Are Learning to Speak Whale” (Atmos)
💚 “State law keeps Wisconsin’s wetlands protected despite U.S. Supreme Court decision” (Wisconsin Examiner)
💚 “To Curb Climate Change, Young People Are Growing the Green Jobs Market” (The Nation; featuring Kristy Drutman/Brown Girl Green, an OptOut participant)
Global South Corner
In 2022, Lula da Silva was elected as Brazil’s president under the promise of protecting Indigenous rights. But, so far, he hasn’t managed to fulfill the promise.
Last week, the Brazilian Congress (which is still very dominated by the alt-right) voted in favor of the so-called “Marco Temporal,” a bill that proposes to only recognize Indigenous lands that were occupied by them on the date of enactment of the 1988 Federal Constitution. It now moves on to be analyzed by the Senate and then to be sanctioned by the president.
Today, Wednesday, June 7, the Brazilian Supreme Court starts to judge whether or not the hypothesis behind this bill is constitutional at all—so, for this entire week, demonstrations are happening all over the country against it.
I talked to Indigenous lawyer Ivo Macuxi about this process and its consequences. He is currently in Brasília alongside thousands of Indigenous leaders who are protesting the bill.
"The House of Representatives tried to approve the ‘Marco Temporal’ bill nationally on an urgent basis in order to anticipate the vote happening now in the Supreme Court. Now, we hope that a Supreme Court decision that determines the unconstitutionality of the bill will pressure the Senate to veto it once and for all."
But while there is hope, there is also concern: “The longer the processes that deal with the 'Marco Temporal' take, the more violence Indigenous peoples will suffer,” Ivo explains.
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That’s all for now, folks! If you’re a climate journalist and want to keep the conversation going, join us in our Discord group. Over there, I will share new opportunities and resources every week, and you can let me know who—or what—you want to see next on the Global South Corner.
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Obrigada and have a great week!
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