THE BRIEF [Jul 24-30’23]
2023 likely hottest year ever, EVs can help the grid, how EU cities can fight the heat and why greenwashing works (and what to do about it).
Welcome to this week’s edition of The Weekly Climate 🎉
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‼️News you can’t miss
Here’s one important scary/bad (🙀), good (😻), interesting (😼) and fossil (💩) news item.
This week’s highlights
[#notrarerecords] — A new rapid attribution study warns that the intense heatwaves that have been engulfing the US, China and southern Europe in July 2023 are “not rare anymore” in our current climate. The study finds that the heatwaves in the US and Europe would have been “virtually impossible” in a world without climate change, and the heatwave in China was “at least 50 times more likely” due to climate change. The authors warn that if global temperatures reach 2C above preindustrial temperatures, extreme heat events on the scale of those in July 2023 could happen every 2-5 years.
[#2023] — Global temperatures in 2023 are on track to be the hottest on record, with June setting a new record by a large margin. The extreme heat has led to record-setting heatwaves and contributed to wildfires and flooding. The El Niño event is expected to strengthen in the latter half of the year, further increasing temperatures. The data shows that temperatures are tracking climate model projections, and Antarctic sea ice extent has set new all-time low records for most of 2023.
[#greenhushing] — Some companies are choosing not to publicize their climate goals, a strategy that’s being called “greenhushing,” due to the increasing crackdown on greenwashing and the list of lawsuits over deceptive environmental marketing. This makes it hard to scrutinize what companies are doing and also makes it more difficult for them to learn from one another’s mistakes. The trend is not the result of fewer companies making climate goals, but rather a reaction to the new landscape with silence, rather than risking a costly court case. Governments are crafting regulations aimed at countering greenwashing, and companies are afraid of being sued, so they give up talking about their targets altogether.
[#fossilfluencing] — Oil and gas companies, including Shell and BP, have been using UK influencers to promote false solutions to the climate crisis and improve their image. The campaigns, which have reached billions of people, are part of a global effort to give "millennials a reason to connect emotionally" with fossil fuel firms and tackle their perception as "the bad guys". The influencers include a former BBC presenter, a polar explorer, and a father of five who finds a break in BP's rewards app. The companies have been using digital tactics to detract from negative headlines about their record profits and contribution to climate change.
That’s it for this week folks!
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