News roundup for Fri, Jul 29, 2022

In short:
  • The US economy shrinks for the second time in a row, but is it a recession yet?
  • The world’s first named heatwave, Zoe has hit Seville, Spain.
  • Heat deaths have outpaced hurricane deaths over the past decade.
Economy, energy, supply chain

US economic growth shrunk by 0.9% in the second quarter of 2022, following a 1.6% drop in the first. Two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth are usual signs of the economy entering a recession. Economists also look at employment, consumer demand, and a broader economic picture before declaring a recession.

The Federal Reserve had just raised interest levels by 0.75%. They might rise again in September, depending on how the inflation is doing. The Fed needs fewer job openings and lower wage inflation before it can ease off aggressive rate hikes. Here’s why there could be a slowing down of the economy but no recession.

Here are some numbers from Q2:

Via Fact Check (click to link)

Senators Manchin and Schumer reached an agreement on the Inflation Reduction Act, a spending bill derived from Build Back Better that includes climate change spending, tax reform, and expanding health care:

The Senate approved the CHIPS act, and the Treasury will allow unspent Covid funds to be used for state and local affordable housing loans.

The US remains the world’s top oil producer and consumer.

Drought and extreme heat are driving future prices of soybean and corn up:

Via Bloomberg

China and Uzbekistan are experiencing blackouts as extreme heatwaves push electricity usage to record levels.

Extreme heat, climate change, environment

The world’s first named heatwave, Zoe has hit Seville, Spain:

As a heatwave sweeps the US, the White House launched the website, a hub with tools like heat forecasts from NOAA and the National Weather Service, a new national Climate and Health Outlook developed by the Department of Health and Human Services, and the CDC’s Heat and Health Tracker:

Thursday’s heat forecast/Via (click to link)

Heat deaths have outpaced hurricane deaths by more than 15-to-1 over the past decade.

NOAA’s three-month outlook:

Via NOAA (click to link)

A melting glacier shifted the border between Italy and Switzerland.

English residents have been asked to ration water as reservoir levels fall low. People have been asked to take showers instead of baths and not to use hosepipes to water their gardens. Officials are preparing to declare a drought in August if dry conditions continue.

Western US wildfire smoke plumes are getting taller. The taller the smoke plume, the farther the fine particles can travel, potentially hurting more people. BTW, here’s why wildfire evacuations are really hard.

100 metric tonnes of plastic have been removed from the ocean!

The rest

The CDC is set to make monkeypox a nationally notifiable condition, which means that each state will have to report a confirmed or probable monkeypox case within 24 hours. In doing so, the agency could better understand how fast and far the virus is spreading. 786,000 vaccine doses will be soon released as soon as they are cleared by the FDA. The US has the second-highest number of monkeypox cases in the world.

A recently published study shows disaster preparedness can save lives but isn’t as accessible to those most at risk. American families with children, renters, homes led by women, and those of low socioeconomic status, are unlikely to have the essential resources for immediate evacuation or sheltering for three days. Moreover, Asians and African Americans are less likely to have disaster preparedness.

Have a look at a 312-acre New Mexico prepping ranch built by a seismic-construction expert. The home has its own water supply, a year’s worth of propane, a solar energy system, multiple backup generators, and even a herd of yak. In case you want to pull resources together, you should know that community member M.E. has already dibs on the yaks 😉

Saudi Arabia is building a 100-mile-long mirrored skyscraper megacity. The Line will house 9M people in just a footprint of 34 Km (21 miles) and will be ready for the first residents in 2030. There will be no cars or roads, and every amenity will be only a five min walk away. A high-speed rail will carry people from end to end in 20 minutes. Some people might find this dystopian, but if they can pull off thriving in the desert while being carbon-neutral, then I’m all ears. But I wonder how this project will impact the local weather patterns, animal migration, etc:


    • Captain Peanut

      I can just tell from the news articles this week that a lot of research and organization has gone into this compilation. Thank you Carlotta Susanna for the great work you do.

      That Saudi Arabia line community looks very interesting and would be something I would like to live in. Not having to need a car and I can walk to all the amenities that I need within 5 minutes? That sounds amazing. My first thought when seeing this though was how would it affect animals? There probably aren’t too many there in the middle of the desert, but do they have to travel 10 miles in either direction to get on the other side of the wall? Hopefully they have some holes along the way that allows for them to travel through.

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    • M. E.Contributor

      Thank you for helping me out with the yaks! #MineAllMine

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    • Karl Winterling

      There should be enough updated boosters for every person who wants a booster to get one in the fall, based on current demand levels. The boosters will target BA.4, BA.5, and the original (wild type) coronavirus.

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    • Karl Winterling

      Not to get too into politics, but if the ~$400 billion budget and tax bill passes, it will be a huge deal because it will lead to trillions of additional private investment in renewable energy over the next 10 years. The main substantive criticisms of the bill come from “global warming hawks” who think addressing global warming and getting to net-zero emissions as quickly as possible should be the government’s #1 priority, even if that means ignoring or downplaying other economic and public health problems. Most of the other problems with the bill (like making it somewhat easier to approve some oil and gas projects) are probably easily fixable later on.

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      • pnwsarahContributor Karl Winterling

        You would probably consider me a “climate hawk”, but I’m not too hung up on the oil and gas handouts in this bill— which is to say, I agree with you. My perspective (as a climate-adjacent professional married to a climate professional) is that the costs of no substantive legislative action on climate in the first two years of this administration far outweigh the costs of this big, imperfect bill’s imperfections. Call me a “pragmatic climate hawk”, I guess. 🙂

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      • Karl Winterling pnwsarah

        I agree with the “climate hawk” criticisms of the bill, but I also think passing the bill now is better than delaying action or trying to aggressively shame people into supporting a stronger bill (which could backfire). I guess I’m a “climate hawk” if I’m forced to use a label. It’s better than “environmentalist” because that term can come with ideological and sociocultural baggage (I have donated small amounts of money to groups like the Sierra Club but not to groups like Greenpeace, I haven’t read Rachel Carson or John Muir yet, and I’ve never gone hiking or camping with a group of activists).

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      • pnwsarahContributor Karl Winterling

        I agree with the “climate hawk” criticisms of the bill, but I also think passing the bill now is better than delaying action or trying to aggressively shame people into supporting a stronger bill (which could backfire).

        Right, exactly. Especially given the Senate math. 

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    • John Chamberlain

      Hi Carlotta

      Although your post is very much a USA perspective [I live in OZ] you really do a great job, I just wish we had someone doing the same in OZ.

      keep up the good work 

      Kind regards


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      • Carlotta SusannaStaff John Chamberlain

        Thanks, John. I wish I could do a whole roundup about Australia. I’ll try and add more news about AU in the future.

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    • Lindsey

      I was a little surprised to see nothing on flooding in St. Louis in this roundup. Any chance you might cover the flooding in St. Louis and Appalachia in the roundup tomorrow? And what preps might be helpful before/after a flood event like those?

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