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Delivering on my ambitious commitment

The bad, the good, and other notes from the Chthulucene


Last month, we discussed reports that President Joe Biden was willing to punish climate migrants seeking asylum in order to get Republican votes for military support for Ukraine and Israel, a depressing step in the eco-fascist direction. Yesterday, Reuters reporter Ted Hesson confirmed this remains the negotiating position of the White House, as it pushes for a vote on the emergency supplemental before the Christmas break.

But it’s not all coal in our Chthulucene stockings. We can also report welcome steps in the eco-democratic direction: Under Ajay Bhanga, the World Bank is suspending debt payments from countries ravaged by climate pollution and pouring investment into renewable energy. Yesterday, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) announced that power is now flowing from the first offshore wind project in the United States, Long Island’s South Fork Wind farm. And President Biden is in Las Vegas today to announce $6.1 billion in funding for high-speed rail projects to connect Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas. And, as Sabrina Shankman reports, “The state of Massachusetts appears to be breaking up with natural gas,” thanks to the Department of Public Utilities under Gov. Maura Healy (D-Mass.).

A brighter future must be imagined before we can build it.

The final week of COP 28 has begun. For details on the negotiations, I recommend Mike Fourcher’s newsletter and The Guardian’s ongoing updates, but this post from Kate Aronoff pretty much sums it up:

CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Yesterday I attended the COP 28 event at American University organized by We Don’t Have Time, which I strongly recommend watching. It was a great pleasure to listen to my former ThinkProgress colleagues Emily Atkin and Rebecca Leber discuss climate journalism with American University scientist Dana Fisher.

“To be an effective climate journalist today,” Emily noted, “you have to challenge the conventional wisdom that it’s ‘extreme’ to phase out fossil fuels.”

Also impressive was economist Gaya Herrington, who in 2020 published an update to the seminal 1972 Limits to Growth report on global sustainability, and is now at Schneider Electric.

“We have to get out of this growth mindset,” Herrington said.1 “We’re at the 28th COP. If it was to work in this economy, it would have happened. What we need is to change from ‘never enough’ to ‘enough for each.’ It’s not a capitulation to grim necessity.”

There are a lot more stories of inspirational climate justice and harrowing injustice around the world right now, but it’s Friday, and sometimes it’s okay to take a breath and let someone else carry the baton. My thoughts are very much with all the good people fighting against the fossil-fueled tide of sludge in Dubai and everywhere else right now. Thank you. Meanwhile, here’s me:

Thanks for subscribing and spreading the word. If you’ve got job listings, event listings, or other hot news, I want to hear it. Connect with me@[email protected] and @climatebrad.hillheat.com on BlueSky

1 Admittedly this is my real-time paraphrase.

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