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Pakistan's Catastrophic Flooding • Fossil-Fueled Beauty • COP27

All you need to know about climate from the OptOut independent media network.
Pakistan's Catastrophic Flooding • Fossil-Fueled Beauty • COP27

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This is the newsletter of OptOut Climate, a program of the OptOut Media Foundation. 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.

After catastrophic monsoon rains flooded nearly a third of Pakistan over several weeks and videos of homes collapsing from the fury of the weather went viral, the country is struggling to keep the world’s fleeting attention focused on its plight. The world loves dramatic images of disaster, but not the tedium of rebuilding.

The staggering scale of the disaster has spurred calls for climate reparations. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced, more than 1,000 have been killed, and over 30 million are in desperate need of help, according to humanitarian agencies, IN THESE TIMES reports.

“This Is What the Climate Crisis Looks Like”: Devastating Floods in Pakistan Endanger Millions
From displacement to destroyed homes and crops, extreme flooding is having a catastrophic impact on Pakistanis.

Instead of a proportionate worldwide response, however, some observers are debating the extent to which climate change played a role in the disaster.

They point to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report that states that it has “low confidence” that climate change is to blame for an increase in heavy rainfall in South Asia. However, the IPCC has also stated that extreme rainfall is connected to climate change.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has been unequivocal in placing the blame on the fossil-fuel driven warming of the planet. “We have waged war on nature and nature is tracking back and striking back in a devastating way. Today in Pakistan, tomorrow in any of your countries,” he said.

Some also blamed the Pakistani government for failing to prepare for the vulnerability of the country to climate risk after devastating flooding in 2010, when six million people were displaced and nearly 2,000 killed.

“The plans were there,” Pakistan-based journalist Zofeen Ebrahim said on KALW’s YOUR CALL, explaining that those plans had been drawn up to respond to riverine flooding, but not torrential rains. “I think this is not how you plan because catastrophes will come in different shapes and sizes, and we need to be prepared for everything.”

Media Roundtable: Pakistan’s deadly floods have affected 33 million people; one-third of the country is submerged

Independent journalists have been documenting the painful recovery and highlighting the struggles of Pakistanis living in camps and attempting to access health services. Siri Chilukuri reports in GAL-DEM that mutual aid organizations have mobilized to assist in evacuating people and providing food and other support.  “In some cases, a boat is the only way you can get from one village to another to rescue people,” Tooba Syed, from the Women’s Democratic Front, told Chilukuri.

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Welcome, New OptOut Outlets!

We’re excited to announce that two news organizations, GRIST and THE XYLOM, recently joined the OptOut network. Both are dedicated to covering the climate crisis. Here are two recent highlights from their coverage.

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IRA Watch

Democrats’ backbones appear to be softening when it comes to opposing the Schumer-Manchin side deal to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) that would fast-track oil and gas pipeline approval, THE LEVER reports.

Most Dems Mum On Blocking Manchin’s Pipeline Deal
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Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said he would oppose it, though the silence from his party is deafening. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has already said he would vote against any spending bill that includes it.

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What the Inflation Reduction Act means for Indian Country
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Quick Hits

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The beauty industry is a climate disaster
The beauty and oil industries are inextricably linked, argues beauty reporter and critic Jessica DeFino.

OptOut’s Alex Kotch reveals in EXPOSED BY CMD that many companies that are committed to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles are also bankrolling Republican attorneys general who are working to end corporations' policies that begin to tackle the impacts of climate change.

ESG Companies Bankroll GOP AGs—the Very Officials Retaliating Against Their Climate Goals - EXPOSEDbyCMD
Dozens of major U.S. companies committed to environmental, social, and governance principles donate money to a group of Republican attorneys general set on promoting fossil fuels and punishing companies like theirs that are trying to curtail their climate risks and divest from oil, gas, and coal.
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The Road to COP27

After months of supercharged heat waves, megadroughts, and record deadly flooding in the Global South and beyond, all eyes are increasingly focused on the potential for world leaders to take substantive action on the climate emergency at the UN’s twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties (COP27).

This past weekend, delegates began arriving in Egypt, where COP27 will be held Nov. 17-18 in the tourist city of Sharm El-Sheikh, to begin setting priorities for the negotiations. Top of mind for climate activists is “loss and damage finance,” where a fund would be created to assist countries in offsetting the costs of climate impacts. A similar proposal was quashed at last year’s climate summit in Glasgow.

More than 400 organizations signed onto a letter, announced on Sep. 6 and coordinated by the Climate Action Network, that calls for “Loss and Damage finance” to be added to the formal agenda for COP27.

“Loss and damage finance is a make-or-break issue for the upcoming climate conference in Egypt,” said Harjeet Singh, head of Global Political Strategy at Climate Action Network International, in a statement that called out the lethal floods in Pakistan. “The credibility of climate talks hangs by a thread.”

The credibility of the climate summit has already been tarnished after the tepid results of last year’s COP26, which was widely criticized for having produced little tangible action items to stem the pain of the climate emergency. Observers of plans for this year’s summit have also been skeptical of the seriousness of organizers, given that host Egypt is an authoritarian state whose substantial consumption of fossil fuels is only expected to increase in coming years.

In what might be described as a greenwashing campaign, Egypt has launched a series of environmental campaigns ahead of the conference.

Follow OptOut on social media and sign up for our newsletters to keep up with key COP27 updates from the independent press.

Climate Agenda

Global Climate Strike
September 23, 2022
Join activists around the world in striking against the lack of climate action
Track, report and follow strikes here

NYC Climate Week
September 19-25, New York, NY

November 7-18, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt
Climate Action Calendar

National Association of Science Writers Conference - #SciWri22
October 21-25, Memphis, Tennessee
Apply for a grant to attend

Climate Jobs

Text Editor, Climate
The Associated Press
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Solutions Reporter, Climate
The Associated Press
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The Associated Press
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Various Positions
WE ACT for Environmental Justice (New York City)
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Climate Access (California)
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Also check out BROWNGIRL GREEN’s jobs board here.

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

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