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Climate

It’s Time to Review June’s Global Warming Stats

On record heat, hurricane warnings, and electric racecars

It’s Time to Review June’s Global Warming Stats
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Current conditions: Nearly 12 inches of rain fell over six hours in Mumbai this morning • Extreme storms on the South African coast are causing shipping delays • July 4 fireworks sparked a forest fire in New Jersey that burned thousands of acres.

THE TOP FIVE

1. June marked another month of record-breaking heat

Last month was both the hottest June ever recorded, and the 12th month in a row in which average global temperatures broke the 1.5 degrees Celsius warming threshold. Between July 2023 and June 2024, the Earth’s temperature was 1.64 degrees Celsius (or about 3 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the pre-industrial average. Global sea surface temperatures were also remarkably warm, averaging 20.85 degrees Celsius, or 69.53 degrees Fahrenheit.

C3S

“This is more than a statistical oddity and it highlights a large and continuing shift in our climate,” said Carlo Buontempo, director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), which produced the data. “Even if this specific streak of extremes ends at some point, we are bound to see new records being broken as the climate continues to warm. This is inevitable, unless we stop adding greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and the oceans.”

Meanwhile, 10% of the country’s population remains under excessive heat warnings as an extreme heat wave grips states up and down the west coast. “Dozens of daily record high temperatures are forecast to be tied or broken into the work week,” the National Weather Service said. In Phoenix, Arizona, heat-related deaths have nearly doubled this year compared to last.

2. Hurricane Beryl makes landfall in Texas

Hurricane Beryl made landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast this morning as a category 1 storm with top sustained winds of 80 miles per hour. Up to 15 inches of rain could fall on the region, and flooding and dangerous storm surge are expected. More than 100,000 customers are already without power. The storm is also affecting oil and gas operations: The state’s largest ports – including Corpus Christi, the top crude oil export hub in the country – halted all cargo operations and some natural gas storage facilities also closed in preparation for the storm. Beryl killed at least 11 people in the Caribbean over the last week and left islands in ruins. It became the earliest category 5 storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. Researchers published a report on Friday concluding that human driven climate change likely made Beryl stronger and wetter.

3. ESG lawsuit could be an ‘early harbinger’ of post-Chevron litigation

A lawsuit playing out this week in a New Orleans appeals court could be the first test of how courts will treat regulations set by federal agencies after the Supreme Court overturned a 40-year-old precedent, known as the Chevron deference, that deferred to agencies’ interpretations of their own mandates. In this particular case, 25 Republican-led states are challenging a rule from the U.S. Department of Labor that says employee retirement plans can consider ESG factors when deciding where to invest. Conservatives have argued this amounts to politicizing investment decisions. A Texas judge refused to block the rule in 2022, citing Chevron, but now the landscape looks very different. “The trial court expressly relying on Chevron in upholding the ESG regulation ... puts this case on track to be an early harbinger of how courts will address pending cases,” said Julie Stapel, a lawyer with the firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius. The court will begin to hear arguments tomorrow. The fall of Chevron is expected to make it harder for federal agencies to regulate environmental hazards like air and water pollution.

4. Britain’s brand-new government greenlights onshore wind

The U.K. has scrapped its ban on onshore wind farms just days after a new Labour government came into power. The ban came into effect in 2015, and was part of a planning policy that required onshore wind projects to prove local communities did not object to new turbines. The new chancellor, Rachel Reeves, called the rule “absurd.” The Labour Party has pledged to double onshore wind energy by 2030 and decarbonize the power sector completely on that same time frame.

How and when Britain goes green matters on a global scale. “Britain is one of history’s major climate polluters,” as The New York Timesexplained. “It’s where the Industrial Revolution began in the 18th century, giving rise to a global economy driven by coal, oil and gas and with it, the emissions of planet-heating greenhouse gases. So the speed and scale of Britain’s energy transition is likely to be closely watched by other industrialized countries and emerging economies alike.”

5. NASCAR unveils its first electric racecar

NASCAR showed off its first electric racecar in Chicago over the weekend. The ABB NASCAR EV Prototype was developed as part of a partnership between NASCAR, Chevrolet, Ford, Toyota, and electrification company ABB. It hasn’t been driven much yet, and there’s no plan to get rid of gas-powered racers any time soon (in fact NASCAR says it is “committed to the historic role of the combustion engine in racing”), but the prototype is intended to “gauge fan interest in electric racing,” according toThe Associated Press. “As more and more customers are buying all-electric vehicles, there will be, we believe, a growing number of people that want to watch full electric racing,” said Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance Motorsports.

NASCAR

THE KICKER

There are now more than 800 carbon removal startups.

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Jessica Hullinger

Jessica Hullinger is a freelance writer and editor who likes to think deeply about climate science and sustainability. She previously served as Global Deputy Editor for The Week, and her writing has been featured in publications including Fast Company, Popular Science, and Fortune. Jessica is originally from Indiana but lives in London.

Technology

Florida’s Climate Tech Hub Has a Florida Problem

One of the most vulnerable states in the U.S. wants nothing to do with “climate change.”

A Florida postcard.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

The Biden administration loves a hub. There are the hydrogen hubs, the direct air capture hubs, and now there are the tech hubs. Established as a part of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, the $10 billion program has so far seeded 12 such hubs across the country. Four of these are focused on clean energy and sustainability, and one is located in the great state of Florida, which recently passed legislation essentially deleting the words “climate change” from state law.

The South Florida ClimateReady Tech Hub did not, in the end, eliminate climate from its name. But while Governor Ron DeSantis might not approve, the federal government didn’t seem to mind, as the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration awarded the hub $19.5 million to “advance its global leadership in sustainable and resilient infrastructure.”

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Climate

America Wasn’t Built for This

Why extreme heat messes with infrastructure.

Teton Pass.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

America is melting. Roads are buckling everywhere from Houston to Aurora, Colorado, and in June caused traffic jams in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Last week, a New York City bridge that had opened to let a ship pass got stuck after expanding in the heat, forcing thousands of commuters to detour. The mid-June heat wave led to thousands of flight delays; more recently, even Toronto’s Pearson International Airport warned travelers to brace for heat-related complications. Commuters along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor have been harried by heat-induced delays for weeks.

The train delays have affected an especially large population. The Northeast Corridor is the most trafficked commuter rail system in the country, with over 750,000 daily commuters. In late June, Amtrak notified customers that trains in the corridor could face delays of up to an hour in the coming weeks as heat interfered with tracks and overhead power lines. Since it issued that warning, tens of thousands of people have experienced heat-related delays.

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Climate

AM Briefing: Turbine Troubles

On broken blades, COP29, and the falling price of used electric vehicles

Vineyard Wind Is Having Turbine Troubles
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Current conditions: Torrential rain brought flash flooding to Toronto • A wildfire on the Hawaiian island of Kauai has been contained • Parts of southern Spain could hit 111 degrees Fahrenheit this week.

THE TOP FIVE

1. Intense heat waves and thunderstorms torment millions of Americans

The extreme heat wave over the East Coast may very well break a record in Washington, D.C., today that was set during the 1930s Dust Bowl: the longest stretch of days with temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The mercury yesterday hit 104 degrees, after similarly scorching numbers on Monday and Sunday, tying the existing record of three days. The National Weather Service forecasts a high of 98 degrees for Wednesday but The Washington Post said there’s “an outside chance that it hits 100 (or higher).” Either way, with humidity at 55%, it will feel torturously hot, with a potential heat index of 110 degrees. An “Extended Heat Emergency” is in effect in the city through today. Nearly 75 major cities across the Northeast, South, and Southwest are currently facing dangerous heat levels, according to The New York Times.

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