Welcome to Issue 37.2 of Digestable, your daily mouthful of real things happening in the world, minus alarmist pandemic news.
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Today’s news, fermented:
Well, it seems as if the potential for a coup has taken a nosedive as of this morning with the announcement that a formal transition to a Biden administration will begin. My expert opinion is that we should get Emily Murphy a stiff drink and promptly prohibit her from ever working in a government office again.
It’s vital that the incoming administration can begin this transition—there’s been talk about all the dangers that come with a delay, from threats to national security to a prolonged and increasingly fatal pandemic.
The Biden transition team has been slowly dropping names for the new cabinet, including John Kerry to be the ‘climate czar.’ I will take it on as my homework to find out why on earth someone decided this was the right thing to call the person in a democracy responsible for doing anything at all about the climate crisis.
This position, unlike most in the cabinet, does not require Senate confirmation. In my mind, that means Biden could have actually picked someone radical, but as we can already see, the name of the game in this administration is unremarkable, although we certainly can and must continue to push for otherwise.
Ok John, let’s take a quick little look at what’s on your czarian plate in these next few years. Let’s start off by acknowledging that you will get no points for rejoining the Paris Agreement, because everybody already knows that’s the plan and it’s not even binding. You’ve got to do some actual work.
First off—it seems like collaborating with Janet Yellen, new head of the Fed, should be a priority. Yellen believes in taxing carbon emissions; while we’re at it, we also have to end fossil fuel subsidies and make polluters pay. It’s ok John, don’t worry—civil society has already done all the work for you to figure out this to-do list.
Even Yale students are pushing that dinosaur of an institution to decarbonize sooner rather than later. Addressing the climate crisis, just like dismantling white supremacy, requires that those who hold power (heavy emitters and wealthy institutions, white people, respectively) take on the heaviest burden. As one of the world’s largest emitters, the US, and in turn our…dear czar?! has a lot of work to do.
As we (sort of) approach the end of fire season, it’s now typhoon season. Typhoon Vamco has flooded much of the Cagayan and other areas of the Philippines, taking lives and livelihoods. This is another of so many examples that demonstrate the disproportionate impact of a few countries’ and their resident corporations on the rest of the planet, specifically countries in the Global South, low-emitting countries, and innumerable species. John, enjoy your title for the next 60 something days, because you’ll need to cast off your crown on January 20th and get the eff to work.
Here’s some glowing platypi, brought to you by this beautiful planet.
Back next week from the superb Latifah Azlan.