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The Climate Politics Almanac: A global update

The godfathers of climate chaos

2024 is a consequential year for climate politics, as climate records are shattered. American congressional and electoral politics are strongly shaped by the relationship between “war and warming.” Ukraine continues to fight the aggression of fossil-fueled autocrat Vladmir Putin. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu— a proud ally of Putin and Trump— is waging war on Gaza, provoking a humanitarian crisis in a region already “highly vulnerable to climate change.”

UN chief António Guterres, Wednesday, June 5, 2024.

UN chief António Guterres, Wednesday, June 5, 2024.

On Wednesday, as California seared and deadly tornadoes struck Detroit and South Africa, United Nations General Secretary António Guterres spoke at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, denouncing fossil-fuel companies as the “godfathers of climate chaos,” calling for a global ban on advertising by carbon polluters:1

“Many governments restrict or prohibit advertising for products that harm human health, like tobacco. I urge every country to ban advertising from fossil-fuel companies. And I urge news media and tech companies to stop taking fossil-fuel advertising.”

Polling officials gather in Varanasi on June 1, 2024

Polling officials gather in Varanasi on June 1, 2024. Credit: Niharika Kulkarni

A month-long election in India just concluded, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi — the Hindu nationalist leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who has kept India reliant on coal as the “incumbent fuel” — appears to have won a third term. Modi was seen as a heavy favorite going into the election against the Indian National Congress Party led by Rahul Gandhi, but BJP’s electoral performance was surprisingly weak. Modi will now be forced to form a coalition government, after BJP lost nearly 50 seats, and Indian National Congress picked up over 30.

The dry bed of the Zumpango lake, Mexico, May 24, 2024. Credit: Quetzalli Nicte-Ha

The dry bed of the Zumpango lake, Mexico, May 24, 2024. Credit: Quetzalli Nicte-Ha

Like India’s, Mexico’s national election just took place amidst scorching heat and water shortages, and voters there overwhelmingly elected climate scientist Claudia Sheinbaum as president, maintaining power for the leftist Morena party of outgoing president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO). AMLO’s climate efforts have been labeled “critically insufficient,” as he’s poured money into the state-owned oil company Pemex, which is plagued with debt. Sheinbaum has proposed boosting Pemex’s financial future by expanding its focus on renewable energy.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Bavarian Premier Markus Söder, and Interior Minister Nancy Faeser went to assess the flooding

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Bavarian Premier Markus Söder, and Interior Minister Nancy Faeser went to assess the flooding. Credit: Oliver Pieper

European parliamentary elections will conclude on June 9, and right-leaning parties are expected to win seats—an outcome that is being construed as a manifestation of farmer-led backlash to Green Deal policies, even as Germany is stricken by extreme floods and Greece hit by record heat.

Conversely, elections in the United Kingdom have been called for July 4, and polls are forecasting an end to 14 years of Conservative government through the election of the Labour Party and its leader Keir Starmer over Tory Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Neither candidate is “in line for any climate-fighter awards,” but Sunak has presided over a significant regression on climate policy, while the Labour Party has campaigned on a proposal to create a publicly owned energy company.

In the next post from the Climate Politics Almanac, we return to the United States to discuss ecofascist politics at the state level and the right-wing assault on the Green New Dealers of the Squad.

1  You may have read about the speech in the Axios Generate newsletter, sponsored by ExxonMobil, or The New York Times, now running major ad campaigns by Chevron and BP.

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