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🌎 Fossil Fuel Industry Fights Climate Action

Climate news that's sponsored by you, not Chevron. Honest, independent, and curated by experts.
🌎 Fossil Fuel Industry Fights Climate Action

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This is the newsletter of OptOut Climate, a program of the OptOut Media Foundation led by Cristian Salazar. OptOut maintains a free news aggregation app for exclusively independent media that's available for Apple and Android devices. Find out more about the app at optout.news.

Hundreds of documents generated by oil and gas companies obtained through a congressional investigation reveal that fossil fuel companies have a long-term strategy to stall and obstruct climate action.

This includes efforts to block the expansion of electric vehicle infrastructure, position natural gas as a “green fuel,” and secure a future for questionable carbon capture technologies.

The documents demonstrate that any efforts to address the climate crisis will be met with stiff resistance from Big Oil and Gas, which has invested heavily in marketing and lobbying to promote their destructive products.

DRILLED reviewed the documents released through the House Oversight Committee’s investigation into climate disinformation—more than 1,500 pages—to highlight some of the key trends.

Highlights from the House Oversight Committee’s Climate Disinformation Documents
This fall the House Oversight Committee held its third hearing on climate disinformation. You can read more about the hearing itself here, but today I want to talk about a complement to it: the two rounds of documents the Committee has made publicly available from its subpoenas. The New York

As one environmentalist puts it in the DAILY MONTANAN, what’s not surprising about the documents is that they show how far fossil fuel companies have sought to deceive the public through “greenwashing.”

Gas and oil companies were deceiving us? What a surprise. – Daily Montanan
Oil companies are continuing to deceive the public as they claim investment in green energy, but have little to show for it, writes columnist George Ochenski.

Perhaps noncoincidentally, HEATED reminds us in its latest newsletter about the perils of such climate disinformation. “Inaccurate information about climate science and climate solutions is delaying the world’s response to climate change, thereby threatening life on Earth,” writes Emily Atkin, calling misinformation “hot garbage.”

A beginner’s guide to hot garbage
Our new term for climate disinformation, featuring Jennie King of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.

That greenwashing is alive and well was made abundantly clear by a recent report out of Ohio, where a state senator introduced an amendment that would classify natural gas as “green energy” to help fossil fuel producers meet “environmental, social and governance” (ESG) criteria, the OHIO CAPITAL JOURNAL reported. Natural gas, whether labeled green or not, is a fossil fuel that contributes global warming emissions—and the methane leaked during its extraction, transmission, storage, and processing is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon.

Ohio ‘green’ natural gas bill motivated by ESG investing concerns, lawmaker says - Ohio Capital Journal
The author of an Ohio amendment that would classify natural gas as “green energy” said he hopes the legislation can help companies meet ESG investing standards.

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Welcome to New OptOut Members

Two podcast shows with a focus on the climate crisis recently joined the OptOut network! A MATTER OF DEGREES is produced hosted by Drs. Leah Stokes and Katharine Wilkinson.

Petrochemicals and Plastics: A Fossil Fuel Lifeline? by A Matter of Degrees

UK-based journalist Rachel Donald is the host of the podcast PLANET:CRITICAL. Look for both in our app today!

Message From The Future | Wendy Schultz
Listen now (69 min) | This futurist studies how to reshape our existing institutions
DOWNLOAD the OptOut app for Android or iOS!

State Highlights

Waterways that once ran clear in Arctic Alaska and are now bright orange and cloudy as they become more acidic, HIGH COUNTRY NEWS reports. “It seems like something’s been broken open or something’s been exposed in a way that has never been exposed before,” one biologist said. Climate change is likely the root cause.

Alaska’s Arctic waterways are turning orange, threatening drinking water
Scientists think climate change may be the culprit.

In Pennsylvania, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection agreed to allow a major natural gas producer to begin fracking in an area that had been subject to a 12-year moratorium on drilling, CAPITAL & MAIN reports. The consent order came as residents celebrated an agreement by the same company to pay millions for environmental crimes.

Pennsylvania Lets Polluter Resume Drilling in Protected Zone, Outraging Residents in Fracking’s ‘Ground Zero’
Order was quietly signed on the same day that residents celebrated the energy company’s plea deal on charges of environmental crimes.

Memphis, Tennessee, is home to a 45,000 square-foot facility that sterilizes medical equipment with ethylene oxide (EtO), a flammable, colorless gas that is considered carcinogenic. Local residents have complained of health problems that could be linked to exposure to the chemical, PRISM reports. Environmental law group Earthjustice is suing the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to update rules to regulate EtO emissions.

Groups file suit against EPA for exposure to carcinogenic gas
The federal agency has been slow to update risk assessments and alert affected residents about ethylene oxide exposure, which can cause cancers and respiratory illnesses
Are you a climate journalist? If so, apply to join our forthcoming networking community!

Brown Girl Green on Breaking into Climate Careers in 2023

🌏 Podcast: Brown Girl Green on BIPOC in Climate Media & Staying Authentic on Social
Climate news that isn’t sponsored by you, not Chevron. Honest, independent, and curated by experts.
Click for a public preview of this episode of OptOutCast. If you're a recurring OptOut donor and are logged in, you'll find the full episode here.

Kristy Drutman is the founder of Brown Girl Green, a digital media brand that educates and inspires action around sustainability, climate change, and the environment. She is also the founder of Green Jobs Board. This interview has been edited for clarity.

Q: How did you become Brown Girl Green?

A: I was seeing this disconnect between the fact that we want people to care about climate change, but yet a lot of those narratives are very exclusionary and not inclusive of very diverse backgrounds and cultures and experiences and stories. And I felt there weren't enough platforms or storytelling that was addressing that disconnect. And so that's why at the end of university, almost five years ago, I came up with a concept of Brown Girl Green, which is a multimedia platform focused on creating very accessible climate education and discourse on the internet while also being able to address this lack of representation of climate storytellers. So I really try to uplift the voices of Black, Indigenous, and people of color who talk about climate issues and environmental issues impacting their communities through their own cultural lens.

Q: I want to talk to you about the Green Jobs Board because it's such an excellent source for environmental and climate jobs. As we head into 2023, what kind of advice do you have for people wanting to move into those sectors?

A: One consistent message towards the end of this year that we're seeing in the news is that climate jobs are on the rise. So I would say people wanting to enter this space, there's going to be even more jobs and opportunities than has ever existed before. And I would say the other thing is, we're going to need a lot of diverse skill sets to be working in this space. So it doesn't mean you just have to have an environmental degree, you might not even need a degree to get into this space moving forward. It's more like if you feel the passion and you have transferable skills; you don't have to be an “environmentalist.”

Q: What’s your advice for Black and Brown people to overcome barriers and get green jobs?

A: Luckily, there's those of us who are bridge builders and recognize this gap and have recognized this gap for a long time who are trying to build out those resources and to try to make that easier for people to try to collectively build those roadmaps. I would say that especially young people today have an opportunity to tap into some of those networks and those resources, including the Green Jobs Board. But I would say utilize those resources to find your mentors; you can find mentors by doing a quick LinkedIn search or Insta search, sliding into the DMs, trying to connect with people. You'd be surprised how many people want to help you out because, especially other people of color, because we recognize those gaps and want to make it easier, especially for the next generation.

In Brief

THE LEVER delivered a must-read about BlackRock, the world’s largest investment company, which the news organization reported is lobbying to weaken a federal rule on reporting climate risks to investments.

Millions of people are at risk of starvation in the Horn of Africa as the longest and most severe drought on record drags on, CURRENTLY reports.

Amazon generated 214 million pounds of plastic waste last year—an 18% increase—even as the company does little to reduce their reliance on the material, GRIST reports.

Climate Agenda

UN 2023 Water Conference
March 22-24, 2023, New York, NY
Learn more

New York Clean Energy Calendar
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Climate Jobs

Reporter (Michigan)
Planet Detroit
Apply Here

Environmental Reporter (Florida)
Jacksonville Today/ADAPT-WJCT Public Media
Apply Here

Managing Producer (Remote)
Post Script Media
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Senior Director, State and Local Policy (Washington, D.C.)
Rewiring America
Apply Here

Digital Climate Campaigner (New York)
Climate Organizing Hub
Apply Here

Don't forget to check out BROWNGIRL GREEN’s jobs board here.

Hit Me Up!

Thanks for reading OptOut’s climate newsletter! If you have questions, tips, or anything else about our climate program, feel free to email me at cristian@optout.news or message me via Instagram or Twitter at @xtianpublic.

We’ll see you in two weeks.

We started OptOut Climate because we face an existential threat, and corporate and legacy media are beholden to fossil fuel advertisers. Please join us in our mission to elevate independent media and accurately inform the public about our planet by making a tax-deductible donation today!

The OptOut Media Foundation (EIN: 85-2348079) is a nonprofit charity with a mission to educate the public about current events and help sustain a diverse media ecosystem by promoting and assisting independent news outlets and, in doing so, advance democracy and social justice.

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