It’s Earth Day and nature’s hurting.
Give it to me straight.
Earlier this month, a UN report found the world isn’t doing enough to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (above pre-industrial levels). A study found cyclones in southern Africa became more severe. Most recently, devastating floods in South Africa left more than 440 dead. Across Asia, 57 million people were affected by climate disasters in 2021. In the US, debris from disasters (think: hurricanes and wildfires) could be posing health risks to local communities. And more than 4 in 10 Americans live in counties that were impacted by climate disasters last year.
What’s being done?
President Biden’s thinking green. He pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. The US officially rejoined the Paris climate deal reaffirming its promise to limit global warming. But not everyone’s on the same page. During last year’s COP26, India and China weakened their pledge to “phase out” coal use. More than 100 leaders agreed to address deforestation and slash methane emissions by at least 30% within the next decade. TBD if that’ll be enough.
Climate change will affect everyone. But low-income families are at the greatest risk for natural disasters. Scientists say ‘it’s now or never,’ and that we've got until 2030 to get things back on track — or the impacts could be irreversible. That means making major changes. Like phasing out coal, cutting methane emissions (which warms the planet 80 times more quickly than CO2), and planting more trees to remove extra carbon from the air. There are also things we can all do in our day-to-day that could have an impact. That includes everything from traveling greener to choosing vegetables over meat — and even shopping sustainably. Don’t forget to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
The timer on climate change is about to ring. If world leaders don’t get it together, the effects of climate change will become irreversible. We only have one planet.
Psst...Climate change is also top of mind for the 2022 midterm election, see how it can impact your vote.
States v Roe: Kentucky
Welcome to our series on abortion rights and restrictions. theSkimm is tracking state actions in the lead-up to a landmark Supreme Court decision expected by July. Here’s the latest…
Yesterday, a federal judge temporarily blocked Kentucky's new abortion law. The legislation went into effect last week after the state’s GOP-majority legislature overrode a veto from Gov. Andy Beshear (D). The law banned most abortions after 15 weeks. And other requirements prevented the state's two abortion clinics from performing the procedure. Now, both clinics are reportedly planning to resume this week. A Planned Parenthood official called it a win, but said they will keep fighting for "patients’ right to basic health."
What’s not a walk in the jardin…
The French presidential election. French President Emmanuel Macron is facing off against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen for the French presidency. If this match-up sounds familiar, that’s because it is. In 2017, middle of the road Macron defeated Le Pen for the presidency by a large margin. Under Macron, France has stood strong behind the EU and has supported issues like climate change. He's even called for more efficient deportations of those who’ve been denied entry to the EU. On a global scale, Macron’s called for better cooperation between NATO members and has tried to negotiate between Ukraine and Russia (with little success). Macron’s approval rating is hovering between 41-43%. And French citizens have grown frustrated over issues like inflation, proposed vaccine mandates, and the war in Ukraine. All of this has politicians saying…
Challenge accepted: Le Pen’s trailing slightly in the polls. Her vision: a pro-France, anti-immigration referendum, a ban on headscarves in public places, and cutting France’s EU contributions. She also isn’t feeling too green and wants to dismantle the country’s wind turbines and end subsidies for renewable energy.
Next up: This weekend, voters will decide whether they want another five years of Macron or welcome their first madame présidente.
Who’s singing ‘It’s a small world after all’…
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL). Yesterday, Florida decided to strip Disney of its special status, which allowed the company to operate as an independent government. This all stems from FL’s Parental Rights in Education law (aka the “Don't Say Gay” law). Last month, DeSantis signed the legislation which blocked public schools from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity with kids K-3. The law has been met with pushback — including from Disney. Fast forward to this week, the governor urged Republican state lawmakers to remove the 1967 status. Yesterday, legislators did just that. The bill would erase Disney’s special district on June 1, 2023…pending the governor’s signature.
Not enjoying the ride: Democratic state lawmakers say the change could mean Florida residents would have to front the bill for $1 billion in bond debt. That’s because all of the things that Disney once paid for under its independent government (everything from emergency services to water, utilities, and sewage) would need to be covered by nearby counties.
Where people are outraged…
Puerto Rico. Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that the US territory would continue to be excluded from the Supplemental Security Income program (SSI). The program provides financial assistance for low-income, elderly, disabled, and blind Americans — and doesn't apply to US territories. PR sued, arguing the exclusion unconstitutionally discriminated against them. But the court majority said ‘if you’re not paying all federal taxes, you’re not getting all federal programs.’ Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the only dissenter in the case, called the ruling “irrational."
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