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There’s been a lot of big, sometimes surprising, climate news from Climate Week NYC and the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) this week. To help get you up to speed, here is some of what journalists need to know leading up to the US midterm elections and COP27 in November.
The Biden administration wants the World Bank chief out. Covering Climate Now’s Mark Hertsgaard broke the news this morning in The Nation that the Biden administration is working behind the scenes to oust the president of the World Bank, Trump appointee David Malpass. John Kerry, the United States special presidential envoy for climate, told Hertsgaard that he has “been pushing for months, along with others in the administration,” including at a meeting in New York on Tuesday with other nations, for “major restructuring at the bank,” where the US is the largest shareholder. Kerry’s comments came hours after former US vice president Al Gore called Malpass “a climate denier” and urged president Biden “to get rid of” him.
Meanwhile, Biden devoted a significant share of his General Assembly speech to climate change, declaring that he wants Congress to allocate more than $11 billion annually for climate aid to poorer countries, where “families are facing impossible choices, choosing which child to feed and wondering whether they’ll survive.”
Secretary-General urges countries to tax Big Oil’s windfall profits. In his remarks opening the UNGA, UN Secretary-General António Guterres charged that the fossil fuel industry is “feasting on hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies and windfall profits while household budgets shrink and our planet burns.” Companies should be forced to share some of those profits with victims of the climate crisis and people struggling with high food and energy prices, Guterres argued. He also called out governments for putting climate action “on the back burner — despite overwhelming public support around the world.”
Denmark pledges “loss and damage” funding. Growing calls from Global South governments and activists for payments for the “loss and damage” climate change is wreaking on the world’s poor is expected to be a key — and contentious — issue at COP27. Kerry on Tuesday restated the US position that spending on climate mitigation and adaptation is more important, saying, “If we don’t lower [global] emissions, we’re croaked, absolutely croaked.” Denmark, however, became the first wealthy country to say it will compensate poorer countries for losses resulting from climate change. “It is grossly unfair that the world’s poorest should suffer the most from the consequences of climate change, to which they have contributed the least,” said Danish Development Minister Flemming Møller Mortensen, who announced $13 million in funds earmarked for the Sahel region in Africa and other fragile regions. With less than two months until COP27, a coalition of organizations are demanding that loss and damage finance be on COP27’s formal agenda.
Talking Shop: Climate & the midterms. November’s US midterm elections have enormous climate implications — and voters need to know about them. Join us next Wednesday for a Talking Shop where veteran journalists will share tips for making climate a core, engaging part of your newsroom’s midterms coverage. September 28, 12pm US Eastern Time. RSVP.
CCNow Q&A. Twice a month, CCNow speaks with exemplary journalists about their experiences on the climate beat. Our latest features Obi Anyadike, the Africa editor for the nonprofit newsroom the New Humanitarian. “I think more climate stories have to be about adaptation. We know climate change is happening now. So what do we do?” Read it here.
Absent from front pages. “Africa is on the frontlines of the climate crisis but it’s not on the front pages of the world’s newspapers,” said Vanessa Nakate, a Ugandan climate activist and new UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. She recounts a recent trip to Kenya, where she saw climate suffering up close for the first time: “I’ve always said that climate change is more than statistics, it’s more than weather, but in Turkana I really got to understand those words.” By Nina Lakhani at the Guardian…
Out of step. Liz Truss, the UK’s new prime minister, is wildly out of step with the US and other western nations on climate change, judging from her UNGA speech and Cabinet appointments. Truss, a Conservative who succeeded Boris Johnson, did not utter the words “climate change” in her UN speech, referencing only “energy security.” Plus, her lead climate adviser said recently that he wants to wring “every last drop” of oil from the North Sea. By Scott Waldman at E&E News…
Finally. In a rare show of bipartisan agreement, the US Senate ratified the Kigali Amendment, a global treaty that will limit the use of hydrofluorocarbons, a highly potent greenhouse gas commonly used in refrigeration and air conditioning. The US became the 137th country to ratify the amendment. By Steven Mufson at the Washington Post…
Puerto Rico. Hurricane Fiona knocked out power and water for nearly all 1.5 million utility customers in Puerto Rico earlier this week. This compounds existing problems with the island’s aging power infrastructure; rolling blackouts and high electricity bills are a part of daily life five years after Hurricane Maria devastated the US territory. By David Begnaud and Analisa Novak for CBS News…
*Tens of thousands of rooftop solar arrays have been installed in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria, and early reports show that some of those systems were able to continue producing and storing solar energy after the grid went down. By Maria Gallucci for Canary Media…
Hot solution to cold war. As Russian leader Vladimir Putin uses his country’s gas exports as leverage against European opposition to his war on Ukraine, large-scale heat pumps offer Europe a viable, and climate-friendly, alternative. Heat pumps, for example, already supply Stockholm, Sweden’s capital, with 98% of its heat. By Gero Rueter for Deutsche Welle…
The preview for “Burning Questions,” CCNow’s one-hour upcoming climate documentary, launched this week. Hosted by NBC News’s Al Roker and Savannah Sellers and featuring winners of the 2022 CCNow Climate Journalism Awards, “Burning Questions” will air across the US on October 25, on public television’s WORLD channel and stream online for international viewers. Never before has reporting from so many major news organizations been brought together to tell the climate story.
Will we act in time? New #CoveringClimate documentary features extraordinary climate journalists telling stories of struggle + resilience from around the world. Hosted by NBC News’ @AlRoker + @WatchSavannah. Watch 10/25 on @WORLDchannel https://t.co/0R6DTVtGnz #BurningQuestions pic.twitter.com/3KqIuYWhJp
— Covering Climate Now (@CoveringClimate) September 20, 2022
Free to Publish
The following stories deserve special consideration for republication by CCNow partners:
- The White House Wants a Climate Denier Out as World Bank President – The Nation
- A New Approach to an Unresolved Mystery in Climate Economics – (Spanish version) – AGU’s Eos Magazine
- Minneapolis Is the Latest US City to Demand Emissions-free Shipping – Grist
- Solar Sovereignty: The Promise of Native-Led Renewables – The Revelator
Resources and Events
COP27 accreditation & visa. Media accreditation for COP27, to be held in Egypt from November 6-18, is open. Accreditation is required for journalists who plan to attend in person. For US journalists planning to attend in person, the US State Department highly recommends applying for a visa for Egypt as soon as possible. It can take up to 30 days to receive.
Fossil fuels database. Carbon Tracker and the Global Energy Monitor have launched a new database that tracks fossil fuel production, reserves, and emissions globally. The global registry includes data from over 50,000 oil, gas, and coal fields in 89 countries. Developers hope it will empower investors and activists to hold governments accountable. Check it out.
Future of insurance. Knowable Magazine is co-hosting an online event about the future of insurance amidst climate change. September 27. RSVP.
Accountability. Harvard University is hosting a discussion on “Accountability for the Deception Industry,” with a panel of experts including journalist Amy Westervelt. September 30. Registration via plukacz@g.Harvard.edu.
Methane. The Global Methane, Climate and Clean Air Forum is September 26-30. The agenda includes keynotes from John Kerry and US Environmental Protection Agency administrator Michael Regan; plus, announcements from several major NGOs and intergovernmental groups are expected. Registration to attend virtually is still open. RSVP.
COP27. The Allied for Climate Transformation consortium and World Resources Institute are co-sponsoring a webinar, “How to Achieve a Just and Ambitious Outcome at COP27.” Topics include addressing loss and damage, scaling up support for adaptation action, and more. October 6. RSVP.
Land use resources. The Lincoln Institute’s 2022 Journalists Forum explored the central role of land in addressing the climate crisis. The event recap compiles a wealth of resources for journalists, including a ‘Land Matters’ podcast episode about the forum, videos of the panels, and related reports. Learn more.
Jobs. Apple News is hiring for a weather and climate curator/editor. The Guardian is recruiting a reporter, fossil fuels and climate. Carbon Brief is looking for a journalist focused on food, land-use, and nature. The Associated Press has a number of climate journalism jobs open.
Grants. The McGraw Fellowship for Business Journalism is offering grants of up to USD $15,000 for high-impact stories that follow the money. The National Press Foundation and the National Press Club Journalism Institute will jointly award up to $75,000 in grants to US-based journalists who plan to cover environmental justice.
Pitches. Earth Island Journal is looking for features, especially from outside the US. Pay is $750 for 2,500-3,000 words. Email pitches to @earthislandjrnl.
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