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. ✨🌿
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Earth’s unfitness for human life 🌿 Carbon offsets’ greenwashing 🌿 Solar industry workers’ rights
A study led by Oregon State University researchers has found scientific proof of what we have all been feeling for a while now: Our planet is becoming unfit for human life. The report summarized 45 studies that analyze Earth's “vital signs”, such as global temperatures, ice coverage, and biodiversity loss, Oregon Capital Chronicle reports. While it found that we’re nearing a point of no return, the report also gives hope that there’s still time to change the course, provided we take radical action.
Meanwhile, carbon offsets, which were supposed to be a relevant tool for decarbonizing the energy sector worldwide, are proving ineffectual–little more than greenwashing. Essentially, companies compensate for their own emissions by investing in green initiatives. According to Gas Outlook, however, 78% of the top 50 carbon offsets projects are embellishing their impacts, casting doubt on the future of the global carbon market.
On some good news, the growth of solar energy may offer a national model for labor rights bargaining. Because the national solar market is dominated by the top 20 developers, unions have the chance to organize the entire industry, rather than specific workplaces like with the traditional construction industry, which is highly fragmented and local. According to Prospect, three major trade unions have negotiated work divisions so far but this agreement has the potential to raise job standards across the solar industry.
🛢️ “Don’t buy into the ‘clean energy is unreliable’ narrative,” by Indiana Capital Chronicle.
🛢️ “Houses can be built to use much less energy. Why aren’t they?” by Virginia Mercury.
🛢️ “Millions of rural Americans rely on private wells. Few regularly test their water,” by Iowa Capital Dispatch.
🛢️ “The Twin Traumas of Ecological Collapse and Escalating Warfare,” by The New Republic.
Decolonizing Climate Change
🌱 “Native lands lack clean water protections, but more tribes are taking charge,” by Minnesota Reformer.
🌱 “A squeaky wheel with data: how Nipissing First Nation is healing environmental damage,” by The Narwhal.
🌱 “Poor Sanitation Causes Disease and Death Globally. Climate Change Will Only Make It Worse,” by Jacobin.
🌱 “Conservation in the 21st century means looking beyond the environment,” by Grist.
To Lighten Your Heart
💚 “Community fridges don’t just fight hunger. They’re also a climate solution,” by Grist.
💚 “Federal funds boost tribal-led revival efforts for salmon in upper Columbia River Basin,” by Idaho Capital Sun.
💚 “New Haven will plant 5,000 trees over next 5 years,” by CT Mirror.
💚 “Climate Witchcraft and the Magic of Direct Action,” by Atmos.
Around the World
Costa Rica: “The Battle for the Future of Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast,” by The Real News Network.
Canada: “Chair of Ontario’s Greenbelt Council quit right after he learned of Ford’s land use plans last fall,” by The Narwhal.
United Arab Emirates: “Abu Dhabi National Oil Company FID ties CCS to net zero,” by Gas Outlook.
India: “Subansiri: a significant landslide at a hydroelectric dam in India,” by EOS.
Global South Corner
We’re starting the countdown to COP 28, the yearly UN Climate Conference, which will take place in Dubai from November 30th to December 12th.
This week I invited Dizzanne Billy, journalist and Climate Tracker’s Caribbean Regional Director to tell us a little bit about COPs and what they mean for the Global South. Billy started as a climate activist in her native country, Trinidad and Tobago, when she was just 15 and she has been covering the conference since 2014.
Over the years, she watched as COPs went from “being an obscure reference nobody cared about, unless you were a ‘tree hugger'" to occupying the front pages of mainstream newspapers.
“I feel that, especially since the pandemic, people have been paying more attention to climate issues," she told me.
Billy feels that the conference has strengthened the voices of the Global South. Negotiating blocs such as the Alliance of Small Island States have been able to make their particular demands heard and score victories. “Without the COP process, it would be almost impossible for vulnerable countries to press for mechanisms like the loss and damage fund," she said.
Despite these positives of the COPs, Billy says there is still much work to be done beyond simply formulating a plan to address the technicalities of phasing out fossil fuels.
“In general, we have seen a more comprehensive approach that reflects the multifaceted nature of climate change," she explains. "But–and it’s a big but–the increase in participation of the Global South and particularly of non-governmental/civil society actors hasn’t been reflected inside of the negotiating rooms.”
With COP 28 about to start, Billy is optimistic. She is particularly excited about the Loss and Damage fund, which was established last year, and the Global Stocktake, a process through which countries and stockholders analyze our collective progress and determine what changes need to happen.
You can check more of Billy's work here.
Before you go, don’t forget to check out Planet Critical’s podcast “Exposing UN Greenwashing with Jacob Goldberg”.
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.
If you have any questions or suggestions, hit me up at email@example.com.
Obrigada and have a great week!
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