Prince Charles Is the Worst

Plus the failures of fracking, more wokewashing from Big Oil, disinformation on steroids + more!

Hey Hot Cakes!

Welcome to Hot Take! Your weekly (at least) newsletter surveying the state of the climate crisis and all the ways we’re talking—and not talking about it! We give you a round up of the latest climate stories and articles of the week, plus exclusive original reporting and commentary from us. Oh, and who are we? Amy Westervelt, long-time climate journalist with more seasoning than an everything bagel, and Mary Annaïse Heglar, a literary writer known for her essays on climate, race, and emotion—and her enthusiasm for dad jokes! 

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It’s time to talk about climate!  

Prince Charles Is the Worst 

By Mary Annaïse Heglar

During Oprah’s explosive interview with Megan Markle and Prince Harry earlier this week, I logged into Twitter and saw at least 20 tweets in a row about how Prince Charles stopped taking his son’s phone calls. I wasn’t watching the interview and don’t really care about the Royal Family, so I logged off, but I did take great pleasure in watching so many people come to the conclusion that Prince Charles sucks. 

He’s also a faux environmentalist. 

The man has a whole charter for the earth, which he quite punchily calls the Terra Carta (slow clap) and guess who’s one of the proudest signatories? BP. Yep, that BP. His Royal Highness is also gravely concerned about very specific places. And, like father, like (other) son. So, really, it’s up in the air about which one of these gentlemen had the nerve, gall, and audacity to fret over Baby Archie’s skin color. 

Just as their racism should come as no surprise, neither should their entanglement with the oil and gas industry. After all, in the 1990’s, Queen Elizabeth gave the green light to look for oil underneath Windsor Castle! It just goes to show that the worst people are always, always the same people. 

Why Fracking Counties May Actually Be Ready to Ban Fracking

By Amy Westervelt

In a new report, Sean O'Leary, a researcher with the Ohio River Valley Institute, analyzed economic data before, during, and after the fracking boom and found that the millions of dollars and jobs the industry promised people never really materialized. O'Leary concentrated his research on an area he calls "Frackalachia," comprising parts of West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania where about 90 percent of the country's fracking has taken place. "If you live in the region, you don't need a report to tell you that fracking didn't benefit these communities," O'Leary told me. "You only have to walk through the downtowns to see what I'm saying, whether it's, you know, Steubenville, Ohio; Wheeling, West Virginia; Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. All of those downtowns are hollowed out shells of what they once were." 

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What Wokewashing Really Means for the Fossil Fuel Industry

By Mary Annaïse Heglar

This week was International Women’s Day, which means it was a helluva week for corporate feminism. The fossil fuel industry was high on the hog too. Here’s some gems from Chevron, Exxon, and Shell, who really tried it last year. My personal favorite came from the American Petroleum Institute, which, as Amy has written about before, is basically the fossil fuel mafia.  Even better, they didn’t stop at that one tweet. They even went into full-on Black-washing

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Disinformation's Climate Roots 

By Amy Westervelt

Last week I got to talk to Caitlin Gilbert, founder of the Biden Digital Coalition, which worked on spotting and combatting disinformation for the Biden campaign. (Shout out to Hot Cake Chris Round, who also worked with the Coalition, and made this intro!) In hearing Caitlin explain how disinformation is working online, I couldn't help but think of how fossil fuel companies have worked to make Americans, in particular, susceptible to disinformation, offline, for a century. And how, as with climate change, many of the proposed solutions to disinformation have to do with individuals changing their behavior, rather than regulating the system more broadly.

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Rising Temperatures, Rising Seas

Global heating pushes tropical regions towards limits of humanity, by Oliver Milman for The Guardian

The Amazon Rain Forest Is in Worse Shape Than We Thought, by Melody Schrieber for The New Republic

The megadrought parching 77 percent of the Western US, explained, by Lili Pike for Vox

Study: Equivalent of COVID emissions drop needed every 2 years by Fiona Harvey for The New York Times

Global Warming's Deadly Combination: Heat and Humidity By Henry Fountain for The New York Times

Shocking Findings Show the Amazon May Be a Greenhouse Gas Emitter by Dharna Noor for Earther

We Have a Chance to Keep the Tropics Habitable by Molly Taft for Earther

Is this the end of forests as we've known them? by Alastair Gee for the Guardian 

The Great Blind Spot in Hurricane Preparedness by Nick Martin for the New Republic

The Pandemic Fueled a Boom in Empty Ghost Shipping Containers Traveling the High Seas, by Dhruv Mehrotra and Dharna Noor for Earther

The Climate Presidency

Senate Confirms Biden's Pick to Lead EPA By Lisa Friedman for The New York Times

Republicans new favorite study trashes Biden's climate plans – but who's behind it? by Emily Holden for the Guardian

Marco Rubio Is No More Pro-Labor Than He Is Pro-Climate by Kate Aronoff for the New Republic

Biden's Stimulus Is Also (Sort of) a Climate Bill by Robinson Meyer for the Atlantic

Trump's Forest Service Planned More Logging in the Yaak Valley, Environmentalists Want Biden To Make it a 'Climate Refuge' by Judy Fahys for InsideClimate News

Federal Courts Help Biden Quickly Dismantle Trump's Climate and Environmental Legacy by Marianne Lavelle for InsideClimate News

China leads world’s biggest increase in wind power capacity, by Jillian Ambrose for The Guardian

This must be the ‘decade of action’ on climate change, John Kerry says, by Kate Abnett for Reuters

The mess that Biden’s EPA chief Michael Regan will inherit, explained, by Umair Irfan for Vox

Here’s what clean energy companies want from President Biden, by Sammy Roth for The LA Times

In swing through Europe, John Kerry aims to boost climate action, by Brady Dennis for WaPo

Red States Go to War Against Math, by Molly Taft for Earther 

US urged to cut 50% of emissions by 2030 to spur other countries to action, by Oliver Milman for The Guardian

Climate Accountability 

A Midwest pipeline promises to return carbon dioxide to the ground by Emily Pontecorvo for Grist

Florida Republicans are ready to stop rising seas — just not climate change by Zoya Teirstein for Grist

The world's first 'carbon-neutral' cargo ship is already low on gas by Maria Gallucci for Grist

12 Republican Attorneys General Sue Over Social Cost of Carbon by Molly Taft for Earther

US urged to cut 50% of emissions by 2030 to spur other countries to action by Oliver Millman for the Guardian

Shipping industry proposes ‘moonshot’ fossil fuel levy, by Fiona Harvey for The Guardian

Why every state is vulnerable to a Texas-style power crisis, by Umair Irfan for Vox

Justice Is Justice Is Justice 

‘Climate ninjas’ overlooked as little finance reaches women, by Megan Rowling for Reuters

Why Extinction Rebellion hasn't taken off in the US — yet by Kate Yoder for Grist 

After 20 years of advocacy, Black farmers finally get debt relief by Monica Nickelsburg for Grist

One of America's most polluted counties is getting 40,000 more oil wells by Alexandria Herr for Grist

There’s a Global Plan to Conserve Nature. Indigenous People Could Lead the Way. by By Somini Sengupta, Catrin Einhorn and Manuela Andreoni for The New York Times

Why the PRO Act Is Part of a Green New Deal by Dharna Noor for Earther

Naomi Klein: 'We shouldn’t be surprised that kids are radicalised' by Patrick Barkham for the Guardian

Inside the Oil Industry’s Fight to Roll Back Tribal Sovereignty After Supreme Court Decision by Alleen Brown for the Intercept

Budget cuts and collapse in tourism revenue pose ‘severe’ threat to nature, by Patrick Greenfield for The Guardian

Going under? Brazil’s hospitals at risk as climate change brings more floods, by Meghie Rodrigues for Reuters

UK charity launches world’s first LGBT+ climate fund, by Hugo Greenhalgh for Reuters

2020 Changed Everything About Climate Justice, by Maia Wikler for Vice

One of the most polluted counties in America is getting 40,000 more oil wells, by Alexandria Herr for Grist

Oil companies want you to think they’re feminist. It’s BS, by Alexandria Herr for Grist

Glimmers of Hope

The Economic Case for Restoring Abandoned Oil Wells - Gizmodo by Molly Taft for Earther

This Is What the Beginning of a Climate-Labor Alliance Looks Like by Kate Aronoff for the New Republic

Young negotiators inject ‘new blood’ into climate decision-making, by Laurie Goering for Reuters

This Is What the Beginning of a Climate-Labor Alliance Looks Like, by Kate Aronoff for The New Republic

We Have a Chance to Keep the Tropics Habitable, by Molly Taft for Earther

Climate in Culture

Is There Anything Funny About the Climate Crisis? By Bill McKibben for the New Yorker

Malala Yousafzai says educate girls to fight climate change, by Lin Taylor for Reuters

The Secret History and Uncertain Future of Big Oil’s Unfunniest Meme Website, by Molly Taft for Earther

I Sold a Tweet About My Future Cat on the Blockchain and Helped Kill the Earth in the Process, by Tom McKay for Earther

The Regulations That Could Help Reduce Bitcoin’s Carbon Footprint, by Molly Taft for Earther

No, Mark Zuckerberg, Virtual Reality Goggles Won’t Solve the Climate Crisis, by Dharna Noor for Earther

Worn Out: The Fashion Industry’s Big Oil Problem, by Dharna Noor for Earther

Indoor Weed Farms Are Hotboxing the Planet, by Dharna Noor for Earther

Who’s talking about climate change on TV? Mostly white men, by Ysabelle Kempe for Grist

Too British for America? Extinction Rebellion is getting lost in translation, by Kate Yoder for Grist

Plus More

Why Your Boring Utility Bill Is Much More Important Than You Think by Molly Taft for Earther

Political party set up by school climate strikers takes on German Greens, by Isabel Sutton for The Guardian

It’s unavoidable: we must ban fossil fuels to save our planet. Here’s how we do it, by Roland Geyer for The Guardian

Why the tiny copepod is an unsung climate hero, by Jeremy Plester for The Guardian

Land could be worth more left to nature than when farmed, study finds, by Phoebe Weston for The Guardian

After setback, ‘climate kids’ narrow lawsuit in Oregon court, by Sebastien Malo for Reuters

These Antifa Goat Farmers Are Living Everyone’s Dream, by Hannah Smothers for Vice

Electric Cars Are Coming. How Long Until They Rule the Road? By Brad Plumer, Nadja Popovich and Blacki Migliozzi for The New York Times

Brood X cicadas are about to put on one of the wildest shows in nature. And D.C. is the main stage. By Darryl Fears for WaPo

Here’s What Animals Are Up to While They Wait for Their Wildlife Center to Reopen, by Molly Taft for Earther

How does a firefly start a race?

On your mark, get set, glow!