From January 11th to January 25th, 2023

We are happy to share our biweekly news agenda on climate, environmental justice, and oil and gas profiteering, intended to be a useful tool for national and state media. These are unprecedented times, and these issues are front and center for communities of color. Read on for the most recent developments that are useful to your reporting on this issue.


  • This Week:

    • This week, the Environmental Protection Agency released its new rule to tighten air quality standards for soot, one of the deadliest air pollutants. Soot fine particles, which come from smokestacks, construction sites, trucks, power plants, and other industrial activities, are linked to many diseases, such as heart attacks, strokes, and respiratory illnesses. This new rule will lower the annual average exposure limit from 12 micrograms to between 9 and 10 micrograms. A 2012 study found Latinos had the highest exposure to 10 of 14 PM2.5  pollutants of any demographic group. Latinos are particularly vulnerable to soot exposure, with a death rate of 260 per 100,000.

    • Today, the oil and gas industry’s lobbying arm, the American Petroleum Institute (API), is set to put on its annual “State of American Energy” presentation for media, political, and opinion leaders in Washington, D.C. Every year they paint a rosy picture of America’s corporate oil and gas giants and attempt to greenwash the industry’s environmental impact while laying out a pro-polluter policy agenda. However, they will fail to mention the industry’s record profits at consumers’ expense or the fact that oil companies spent over $34 million to elect members of Congress who deny the reality of the climate crisis and support policies that only benefit Big Oil. Read more here.

    • On Tuesday, the Biden administration unveiled a plan to eliminate carbon emissions from the transportation sector by mid-century. The plan includes a shift for communities to rely less on automobile use and a shift from gas to batteries to combat the climate crisis and avoid the worst effects of climate change. According to the EPA, transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gases in the U.S. economy and accounted for 33 percent of U.S. emissions prior to the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to the infrastructure bill and the Inflation Reduction Act, changes such as the adoption of electric vehicles will be easier for Latino families as the law provides tax credits of up to $7,500 for the purchase of electric vehicles, a step designed to reduce their costs and include significant investments for a charging infrastructure system.



  • Solar panel manufacturer Qcells announced a major expansion in Dalton, Georgia, in addition to a massive new plant northwest of Atlanta in what could be the largest clean energy manufacturing investment in U.S. history. Although they have not yet shared the exact investment amount, it is reported that it could create more than 2,500 new jobs in the state. These jobs will especially benefit the Latino community, as the company’s workforce is currently 40% Latino. Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, passed and signed by Democrats and President Biden last year, companies like Qcells are expanding their operations in the U.S., creating good-paying local jobs. Communities across the country are seeing the benefits of a clean energy economy and demanding bold climate action.

  • Tomorrow, Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Ann Arbor, Michigan, for a conversation about the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic and ongoing work to combat the climate crisis. Michigan is predicted to “dominate” electric vehicle battery manufacturing after a $2B investment.

  • Protégete just released the Colorado Latino Climate Justice Policy Handbook. This resource is the first of its kind: an informational guide designed for the Latino community to help educate and spread awareness about the status of the climate crisis in Colorado and the struggles that face the Latino community. It’s filled with compelling data, mapping, historical context, and insights drawn from lived experiences, it outlines the unique environmental challenges the Latino community faces and provides climate solutions that are critical for future well-being and resilience.



  • Vox reported on how consumers can take advantage of the tax benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act. Thanks to this historic legislation that Democrats passed last fall, as of Jan. 1, Americans can save thousands of dollars by buying electric cars, induction stoves, and modern appliances. Read the full article here.



Extreme Heat:

  • The world’s eight hottest years on record have occurred since 2014.

    • 2022 was the world’s fifth hottest year on record.

    • Overall, the world is now 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.1 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter than in the second half of the 19th century

  • The ongoing megadrought in the west and wildfire burn scars have caused a threat of deadly floods and mudslides as another atmospheric river storm hits California.

  • In 2022, the Western and Midwestern drought caused $22.2 billion in damages.

  • In 2022, more than 40% of the continental U.S. was under official drought conditions for 119 straight weeks, a record in the 22 years of the federal drought monitor.

Storms and Flooding:

  • More than 6 million people remain under flood warnings as the subsequent atmospheric river outpouring was forecast to bring heavy rain and potentially more flooding to Northern California beginning Wednesday.

  • Storms that battered California in recent weeks have left at least 17 people dead, and much of the state received rainfall totals 400% to 600% above average.

  • Four more atmospheric river events are expected to hit California in the next ten days.

    • The heaviest rain over the next seven days is expected in northern portions of the state, where the National Weather Service forecasts an additional 5 to 10 inches.

    • While the upcoming storms are not expected to be as impactful as the most recent ones, the cumulative effect could be significant since much of the soil is already too saturated to absorb any more rain, and streets are still flooded from previous storms.



  • An updated January 2023 report found that the U.S. endured 18 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters that resulted in at least $165 billion in damages and 474 deaths in 2022.

  • A January 2023 report confirmed that climate change drove unprecedented heat waves, floods, and droughts in recent years.