You Better Trek Yourself
March 22, 2022
The Good News
- ‘Long-overdue’: all-Black, female second world war battalion to receive congressional gold medal (Guardian)
- Ukrainian sisters use bakery to raise money for those hurting back home (ABC)
“You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end, each of us must work for his own improvement and, at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful.” – Marie Curie
Everyone’s heard a variation of that old statistic that 10% of corporations are responsible for 90% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, this isn’t entirely accurate, but corporations do hold the blame for a good deal of global warming. Now, the Securities and Exchange Commission plans to have corporations face their role in the planet’s destruction and consider how they are affected by their own carelessness.
Many companies already disclose the carbon costs of their own operations, and those of their suppliers as well. However, there isn’t really a clear set of rules for what corporations have to tell their investors in terms of how they impact the climate, and how the climate impacts them. Regulators hope to force companies to confront the risk climate change poses to their financials, but businesses are pushing back, saying it’s cumbersome and risky to request these disclosures.
This might sound like a pure-of-heart, valiant effort, but as with most things, it’s mainly driven by money. Investors want to know not only where their money is going in terms of sustainability, but also that the companies in which they invest have a plan for – or at the very least, a vague inclination of – how they’ll be affected by global warming. SEC Chair Gary Gensler said at a forum on green investments last year, “When it comes to climate risk disclosures, investors are raising their hands and asking regulators for more.”
Any rules the SEC proposes will be subject to a public feedback period, so these changes are still a ways off, but Gensler has certainly accelerated the focus on climate disclosures. Most companies have taken the step towards acknowledging climate change, and some have even committed to net-zero emissions. But the difficulty that comes with measuring a company’s impact on the environment has made many wary of putting their estimates into writing and opening them up to lawsuits. Even those with the most sincere commitment to helping fight climate change say that with so many hands in the regulation cookie jar, it makes it hard to ever really have a definitive measurement. (NPR)
A Badge Of Dishonor
- Activists in Brazil have expressed outrage after President Jair Bolsonaro was honored by the Brazilian government for his altruistic efforts to protect Indigenous lives. Bolsonaro, who has been accused of leading an attack on Indigenous rights, was granted the Medal of Indigenous Merit on Wednesday, to the dismay and anger of Indigenous leaders across the country.
- Groups have spoken out against the act, stating that Bolsonaro only deserved “the medal of Indigenous genocide.” Alessandra Korap, an activist from the Amazon’s Munduruku people, said Bolsonaro needed to be arrested, not honored “for all the destruction he has inflicted on Indigenous people and the forest.” (Guardian)
Not Exactly What The Doctor Ordered
- Hong Kong has announced plans to lift flight bans for nine countries and reduce the mandatory quarantine for returning residents to a week. This is the first time the “zero-covid” policy set in place is being eased and represents a shift in ideals as Hong Kong officials continue to be pressured to open their borders with mainland China and restore international ties.
- Starting April 1, flights will be allowed in from nine countries including the United States, Britain, Canada, and the Philippines. The measures are the first step in reopening Hong Kong’s borders, which have largely been closed since the start of the pandemic two years ago – though the announcement comes as Hong Kong’s Covid-19 situation continues to worsen, with infections and deaths rising since February. (WaPo, $)
Additional World News
- ‘Nowhere on earth are people more at risk than Tigray,’ says WHO chief (Guardian)
- Afghanistan world’s unhappiest country, even before Taliban swept to power (NBC)
- Climate change: ‘Madness’ to turn to fossil fuels because of Ukraine war (BBC)
- Biden administration rules Myanmar army committed genocide against Rohingya (Reuters)
- Slovakia starts deploying Patriot air defence system (Reuters)
- Fear of political turmoil as Pakistan PM faces no-confidence vote (Al Jazeera)
- Tunisia: Mass anti-Saied protests take place in capital Tunis (Al Jazeera)
Great Minds Think Of Strikes
- Early Monday morning, over 500 workers went on strike at a Chevron Corporation refinery plant in the San Francisco Bay Area, demanding salary increases and bringing attention to safety concerns at the plant. The strike came after long negotiations between the local United Steelworkers union chapter and Chevron.
- On Sunday night, Chevron stated that they had negotiated with the union for months and offered a contract that the company deemed fair, but the union voted down the offer and refused to bargain with Chevron again. While United Steelworkers has successfully negotiated a national contract with Chevron, the union noted that local issues would have to be resolved between local chapters and local plants.
- The Bay Area plant had offered a 2.5% pay raise, but workers felt that a 5% increase was needed to keep up with inflation. According to union rep B.K. White, “If we had more people and could get a better pay rate, maybe our members wouldn’t feel obligated to come in and work as many as 70 hours a week to make ends meet.” He also explained the union’s demand for a larger pay increase: “we asked for a 5% bump to help us out a little bit with our medical at Kaiser, which went up 23% last year.” (AP)
- On Monday, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell voiced his disapproval of Republicans who support Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, calling them “lonely voices,” and stating that the “vast majority” of Republicans were against the attacks. When given the opportunity to state that pro-Putin Republicans should face some form of disciplinary actions or be ejected from the party, however, McConnell wavered, declining to comment.
- While they might be lonely voices, plenty of Republican talking heads and legislators have voiced outright support for Russia, or at least opposition to supporting Ukraine in defending its borders. Fox News host Tucker Carlson has received praise from the Russian state department for pushing “alternative points of view,” and far-right Republican legislators Madison Cawthorn and Marjorie Taylor Greene have spoken against legislation aimed at supporting Ukraine. (Guardian)
Additional USA News
- Two Pennsylvania troopers among three hit by a car and killed on I-95 (NBC)
- Shooting at Arkansas car show kills at least 1, wounds 27 (CBS)
- US boater who rescued man from lake then shot him will not be charged (Guardian)
- Jan. 6 panel will reveal new information about attack, Cheney says (NBC)
- Virginian-Pilot reporter and former CNN news assistant Sierra Jenkins killed in shooting (CNN)
- Liz Cheney does not regret vote against Trump Ukraine impeachment (Guardian)
- ‘Cowboys for Trump’ founder’s January 6-related trial starts Monday (CNN)
You Better Trek Yourself
- You’ve probably heard of Stacey Abrams. One of the more beloved Democratic candidates in recent memory, Abrams ran against Brian Kemp in the 2018 gubernatorial race in Georgia. She is a former member of the Georgia state house, a romance novelist, and a proclaimed Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Star Trek enthusiast. She also promises she’ll be president in less than two decades.
- Recently, her promise came to fruition – sort of. In the fourth-season finale of the Paramount+ TV series Star Trek: Discovery, which aired Thursday, producers were trying to decide who they would make president of United Earth. They wanted to pick someone who could actually pull off the role, and Abrams was the perfect fit. Executive producer Michelle Paradise said, “well, who better to represent that than her?”
- Of course, the role was a dream come true for Abrams, but not everyone was so eager to applaud the casting decision. Abrams’s effectiveness in getting Democrats elected has made her a target of conservatives, and the National Review published a column on Friday called “Stacey Abrams Does Not Deserve to Be President of Earth.” Someone may want to call them up and let them know that, like many things in the Star Trek universe, the position is not real. (Guardian)
- Private investigator says drug kingpin ordered hit on Red Sox star David Ortiz (Guardian)
- A family suffered weeks of dizziness and nausea. A doctor’s hunch uncovered the cause. (WaPo, $)
- Climate change: Wildfire smoke linked to Arctic melting (BBC)
- Shanghai Disney closes as city sees record surge in Covid cases (CNN)
- Tourist killed by shark in popular snorkeling spot off Colombian island (CBS)
- David Beckham hands over Instagram account to Ukrainian doctor in Kharkiv (CNN)
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