The Golden State was a pioneer decades ago in curbing toxic air pollution from tailpipe emissions. Since then California has been in the lead among the states on a whole range of policies designed to curb greenhouse gas pollution, including a ban on new sales of gasoline-powered cars (by 2035) and locomotives and diesel-powered trucks (by 2036).
The state, however, has not been at head of the queue when it comes to taking on oil companies over lying for decades about the damaging impacts of extracting and burning fossil fuels. Some 40 other states have already done so. So has New York City. On Sept. 15, California, the seventh largest oil-producing state, joined them with its own 135-page lawsuit. Some of those previous lawsuits have laid the groundwork for this one. It’s going to be the case where we find out whether we will be allowed to squeeze out some billions of dollars in reparations. Not that anything short of trillions would actually cover the harm. Whatever is decided, the case will be in the courts for years.
According to the brief, oil giants ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and BP have known for more than 60 years that carbon emissions from continuing to extract and burn fossil fuels would cause the planet to warm. But as investigative reporters revealed eight years ago, instead of sounding the alarm, they kept quiet until serious people started seriously talking about doing something serious to curb these emissions. Then, in the words of authors Erik M. Conway and Naomi Oreskes, the oil men became “merchants of doubt,” telling lies and also paying big bucks to propaganda fronts and individuals to do more lying. Also named in the lawsuit is the American Petroleum Institute (API), the industry’s lying trade association.
Amy Westervelt at the climate collaborative Drilled wrote an excellent deep analysis of the new lawsuit, including this:
Not at all to downplay the states, cities and counties that moved earlier on this—cases in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Baltimore, Colorado, Puerto Rico and more all walked so that California could run, and none of those cases would have been possble without the first round of cases a decade or so (Kivalina, New Orleans, and AEP), not to mention all the journalism and attribution science that has continued to build up the evidence base for these cases over the past decade. What’s exciting about this case is that precisely because it is coming on the heels of those others, it’s taken the strengths of all of them—the fraud claims of Massachusetts AND the liability claims of Rhode Island, Hawaii, et all AND the collaborative enterprise of the Puerto Rico climate RICO—and rolled them all into a super-case. And then of course, California is massive: its the nation’s most populous state, the world’s fifth largest economy, and it faces every climate impact there is.
Veteran journalist Bill Walker at The New Lede writes that California Attorney General Rob Bonta wouldn’t put a figure on how much will be sought in damages, except to say it will be a “very, very large figure”:
The money would go into a “nuisance abatement fund” to pay for efforts to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, and to clean up and protect polluted air, water, and other natural resources. Bonta promised to make aid to environmental justice communities a priority. The fund would also pay for legal action to hold oil and gas companies accountable for false advertising and “greenwashing,” as in the case Bonta recently brought against the natural gas utility covering most of Southern California.
Given their history, we can count on the oil companies and the API to try to make themselves look like the victims in this matter and claim the damages are an attack on oil workers. In fact, here is Ryan Meyers, API general counsel, saying as much to The New York Times: “This ongoing, coordinated campaign to wage meritless, politicized lawsuits against a foundational American industry and its workers is nothing more than a distraction from important national conversations and an enormous waste of California taxpayer resources. Climate policy is for Congress to debate and decide, not the court system.”
Congress with its 149 climate science rejecting Republicans? Sure. Just as soon as we eject a dozen or so of them. Until then? Every non-violent tool should be deployed to nudge our leaders—corporate, governmental, academic—to take the climate crisis seriously in both word AND deed.
The UAW strike at the Big Three automakers has elicited a deluge of speculation. Much of it sounds like one of the most common YouTube themes: THIS WILL BE A GAME CHANGER!! Well, perhaps.
The Big Three “legacy” automakers—GM, Stellantis, and Ford—are in deep trouble as the electric vehicle transition is headed toward a near-term tipping point. Together, they’ve got $250 billion in debt, not the best place to be when faced with the need for even more billions of dollars invested in for that belated transition in which they remain years behind the leaders—Chinese companies and Tesla.
One very big problem for the Big Three is that in Europe for the first eight months of 2023, 25% of all new car sales were of battery electric vehicles. Of the top 20 EV sales models, only one boasted a legacy U.S. brand, the Ford Kuga, a plug-in hybrid with a battery good for a pitiful 30-mile range with pitiful sales to match. No Mustang Mach-Es, no Chevy Bolts, no Cadillac Lyrics made the list that the Kuga did. No matter how much Elon Musk’s politics may spur us to grind our molars, Tesla topped that list, with sales more than triple that of every other model in Europe.
U.S. cars have for at least 75 years not been a particularly good fit for Europe or the U.K. Which is why Tesla becoming the first U.S. car company to set up shop in Germany was such a big deal. Tesla has also set up shop in China and is head to head in sales with the Chinese electric car maker BYD, which itself has sold manyfold more EVs than the Big Three and the European and Japanese car companies combined. In the first eight months of this year, 30% of new car sales in China were battery electric, where Tesla is No. 1 unless plug-in hybrids are included in the count. For comparison, 7.2% of U.S. new car sales so far this year have been fully electric. Guess who has sold most of them. Big Three sales of EVs in China are even worse than in Europe unless you count the SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture.
As the still very shaky transition to a clean energy global economy gains momentum in the face of the climate crisis, in the contest between the giant car corporations of the monopoly capitalist United States and the apparatchiks and billionaires of the bizarre state capitalist hybrid of China—where about the only thing communist is the name of the autocratic ruling party—Tesla has managed to straddle the two systems, thriving in each while most others struggle.
For now, the Big Three’s profits remain huge. Stellantis made $12.1 billion in the first half of this year. Ford made $3.7 billion and GM $4.9 billion. But those profits are slipping because the companies are losing billions in the EV sector. And their entry into a market whose potential they long shunned and ridiculed has been far from exemplary, with just a few models whose sales remain relatively weak, afterthought products manufactured at a fraction of their continuing output of internal combustion vehicles. They never liked the idea of electrification. They sneered, they delayed, they laughed, and it’s unclear how many of them—along with legacy automakers in Japan and Europe—will survive the disruptive paradigm shift that is well underway. More than one of these companies is headed for an unpalatable helping of FAFO.
While nobody knows the precise trajectory of this shift, workers justifiably feel vulnerable, expendable. As EV manufacture uses more automation, they also feel redundant, as they see their old jobs winding up in the grip of the robots or vanishing altogether.
Critics of non-unionized Tesla, the top EV seller worldwide—having just built its 5 millionth such vehicle, 1 million of them in the past six months—proclaimed as recently as four years ago that once the legacy automakers made the move to electrics, their decades of experience would allow them to quickly leave Elon Musk’s upstart in the dust with cheaper, better vehicles. The companies have discovered it’s not so easy. Not only have they been unable so far to ramp up production into the millions, they’re losing thousands of dollars on each EV they sell. Tesla did, too, for a decade. But the legacy makers are still bringing in ample profits with the 90% of their sales that are internal combustion engine cars. As EVs sales rise, that present a serious problem. The Big Three, as well as Toyota and the Volkswagen group need several years to “catch up,” but cannot afford several years in EV money-losing mode.
And now, sounding a good deal like his predecessors who made the sit-down strike a valuable tool for labor in the 1930s, the newly militant UAW under president Shawn Fain wants autoworkers to get a larger share of the profits still being made by the Big Three as well as protections for workers facing the changes in production methodology that switching to BEV manufacture requires, particularly in automation. Fain said Friday that the union’s demands are far from resolved with GM and Stellantis, and though significant progress has been made in talks with Ford, there are still “serious questions” to resolve there, too. The strike has now been extended to distribution centers from Massachusetts to California, making it a nationwide matter. There is every indication that this could be a months-long disruption.And it’s already causing ripples in the supply chain. It won’t be long before these reach into the broader economy.
For now, the strike to get a better contract gets the attention. But the Big Three aren’t the refreshed UAW’s only target. As Brett Wilkins at Common Dreams reports:
“There is a group of Tesla workers who are actively talking about forming a union and creating the best representation they can for themselves and their co-workers through collective bargaining,” Mike Miller, director of UAW Region 6—which is made up of California and Nevada, where Tesla makes vehicles and batteries—toldThe New York Times on Thursday. […]
In 2018, the UAW tried, and failed, to organize workers at Tesla’s Fremont, California plant, which was previously a unionized GM-Toyota facility. Despite Musk’s assertion on Twitter—which he later bought and renamed X—that there was “nothing stopping” workers at the plant from voting to unionize, UAW officials alleged the company was engaging in illegal union-busting activities, and the National Labor Relations Board agreed. The NLRB ordered Tesla to rehire a worker illegally fired for disparaging a non-union colleague and compelled Musk to delete his tweet. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals subsequently affirmed the NLRB’s decision.
Good luck to the UAW in this. But after years of trying, they haven’t even been able to organize Toyota in the United States, although in Japan, the company has a contract with the largest union of any kind in the country, with 784,000 members, compared with the UAW’s 400,000. Plus, union-busting is just one of Musk’s lesser shenanigans. Whatever the eventual outcome of union organizing at Tesla, the Big Three’s future prospects are dicey at the moment, and the Chinese EV makers and Tesla will be the immediate beneficiaries. People working for legacy automakers have every reason to be fearful for their own prospects. That applies in Europe as well, where keeping out Chinese autos—now about 8% of the European EV market—is a growing concern on politicians’ minds.
Here is a selection of a dozen articles and commentaries on the UAW strike and potential fallout, positive and negative:
• An Ohio Town Struggles Between Biden’s Clean Energy Agenda and Union Support by Jonathan Weisman at The New York Times. • Autoworkers used to be the best-paid workers in the U.S. What happened? by Andrew Van Dam and Jeanne Whalen at The Washington Post. • The Big 3 Want You To Think Striking Workers and the Climate Are at Odds. They’re Not by Sarah Lazare at In These Times • If UAW Wins Its Contract Demands, It Would Be A Huge Step Forward In Establishing A People’s Economy by Sonali Kolbatkar at the Independent Media Institute • America’s Auto Workers: On Strike Against Inequality. Again by Sam Pizzigati • The UAW Strike Is Bringing Out Republicans’ True Anti-Worker Colors by Luke Savage at Jacobin • Autoworkers Staged Their First Big Strike in the 1930s. Here’s How They Won by Greg Mitchell at Mother Jones • Michigan and the Auto Industry Share a Past. What About the Future? by Mitch Smith at The New York Times • UAW Strikes Built the American Middle Class and The Punditocracy vs. the UAW by Harold Meyerson at The American Prospect • Autoworker strike could give GM breathing room to fix battery production by Jonathan A. Gitlin at Ars Technica • How the shift to electric vehicles is fueling the UAW strike by Akielly Hu and Katie Myers at Grist.
RESOURCES & ACTION
“It’s not that the world hasn’t had more carbon dioxide, it’s not that the world hasn’t been warmer. The problem is the speed at which things are changing. We are inducing a sixth mass extinction event kind of by accident and we don’t want to be the ‘extinctee.’”—Bill Nye, “The Science Guy”
Making Climate the Everything Story by Mark Hertsgaard and Kyle Pope at The Nation. The news media needs to stop treating climate change as a niche topic—and start treating it as the most important story of our time. Despite living through the hottest summer in history, as well as wildfires, tropical storms, and rapidly warming oceans, the news media continues to be outdone by popular culture when it comes to telling the most urgent story of our time. Inexplicably, climate change remains a niche concern for most mainstream news outlets. Most American TV coverage of this summer’s hellish weather did not even mention the words “climate change,” much less explain that the burning of oil, gas, and coal is what’s driving that hellish weather. Too many newsrooms continue to see climate as a siloed beat of specialists. There are, of course, notable exceptions. The Guardian, for example, has long delivered abundant science-based, comprehensive coverage of the climate crisis as well as its solutions, as have other big global outlets such as the AFP news agency and Al Jazeera. But, as excellent as they often are, these examples are among the outliers; much of the rest of media—particularly television, which, even in today’s digital era, remains the leading source of news globally for the largest number of people—struggle to find their climate footing. We wish it were otherwise. As founders of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration formed to break the “climate silence” that long prevailed in the media, we’ve been working to help our colleagues throughout the news business amp up their coverage of the climate story.
California’s Climate Disclosure Bill Could Have a Huge Impact Across the Nation by Andy Furillo at Capital & Main. The California Legislature took a step this month that has the potential to accelerate the fight against climate change within the state and have a transformative effect across the nation. It also marked the rise of a more forceful climate caucus in the Legislature, led by new Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas, bucking an intense industry lobbying push that killed a similar bill last year. Senate Bill 253, which would force companies that generate revenues of more than $1 billion a year to fully disclose their total GHG impact. Gov. Gavin Newsom has already said he will sign it, and he has until Oct. 14 to do so. When that happens, said Lynn M. LoPucki, a professor at the University of Florida law school, California will essentially establish a national policy that compels big business to be transparent about its emissions, according to at least one analyst. “I think this is a really big deal,” he said. “The idea is that companies will make a greater effort to reduce their GHG emissions once they’re reporting them. They know investors care, and they also, I think, know that consumers and the public care. Virtually every company is doing corporate social responsibility reporting, or webpages in which they profess concern about corporate social responsibility. And today, that means reducing GHG.”
How to accelerate rooftop solar & household batteries in the U.S. One out of three Australian households has solar panels on the roof. In the U.S., it’s one out of 25. That probably has something to do with the fact that in the U.S., rooftop solar is twice as expensive, twice the hassle, and takes twice as long to get installed. Why is the process so broken? And what could be done to make it smoother and faster? To discuss these and related matters, David Roberts at his Volts substack conducted an interview with Mary Powell, the CEO of Sunrun, Australia’s largest residential rooftop solar company.
EV sales growth points to oil demand peaking by 2030—so why is the oil industry doubling down on production? by Robert Brecha at The Conversation. Electric vehicle sales are growing faster than expected around the world, and, sales of gas- and diesel-powered vehicles have been falling. Yet, the U.S. government still forecasts an increasing demand for oil, and the oil industry is doubling down on production plans. Why is that, and what happens if the U.S. projections for growing oil demand are wrong? On Sept. 12, 2023, Fatih Birol, director of the International Energy Agency, an intergovernmental organization that advises the world’s major economies, drew global attention when he wrote in the Financial Times that the IEA is now projecting a global peak in demand for oil, gas and coal by 2030. The new date would be a significant leap forward compared with previous estimates that the peak would not be until the 2030s for oil and even later for natural gas. It also stood out because the IEA has typically been quite conservative in modeling changes to the global energy system. Birol credits changes in energy policies and a faster-than-expected rise in clean technologies along with Europe’s shift away from fossil fuels amid Russia’s war in Ukraine as the primary reasons. He wrote that the IEA’s upcoming World Energy Outlook “shows the world is on the cusp of a historic turning point.”
The global food system is failing small-scale farmers—here’s how to fix it by Alexa White at Environmental Health News. We were standing on a coffee farm 7,500 feet above sea level in the middle of the Jamaican Blue Mountains. Before she broke down, the woman was telling us about her life as a farmer. Weeping was commonplace throughout my interviews in Jamaica. Farmers told me how fertilizer prices skyrocketed because Russia is the world’s top fertilizer exporter and the Russian invasion of Ukraine made it nearly impossible for them to afford the increased costs. I also heard stories of how unattended rural roads make it impossible to maintain vehicles. However, during this interview this woman was one of a few who told us about a more local economic issue: farmers have no control over the value of their crops because local corporations control the market. She explained how for farmers to produce enough to make a living, they need fertilizer and pesticides, which are expensive. Agrochemical companies spend billions of dollars to ensure that industrial farms can maintain a crop year-round—so that Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee beans get from a farmer’s bush in Portland Parish of Jamaica and into your hands at your local grocery store, even in the middle of February. But the labor of small-scale farmers is not calculated into these companies’ profit margins, leaving the people who grow those coffee beans crying on the shoulder of anyone who would listen.
Indigenous peoples are being excluded from a global pool of climate cash by Anita Hofschneider at Grist. A new report focused on green financing by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, José Francisco Calí Tzay, has found that Indigenous peoples are largely being excluded from trillions in global spending to mitigate climate change, with governments doing little to ensure that such funding not only respects Indigenous rights but also supports Indigenous-led green projects. Said Calí Tzay, who is Kaqchikel, one of the Maya peoples of Guatemala, “The shift to green finance is necessary and urgent, and if done using a human rights-based approach it can be a source of opportunity for Indigenous Peoples to obtain funding to preserve their lands, knowledge, and distinct ways of life, and to create economic opportunities that may help them to maintain and strengthen their indigenous identity.” The Special Rapporteur’s report comes eight years after the Paris Agreement called for $100 billion in annual funding to address the effects of climate change in developing countries. But Oxfam’s “Climate Finance Shadow Report 2023,” published in June, shows that although donors have claimed they mobilized $83.3 billion in 2020, the real value of their spending was—at most—$24.5 billion.
Can the Inflation Reduction Act Advance Climate Justice? by Chitra Kumar at the Union of Concerned Scientists. The number of provisions in the IRA aimed at accelerating the transition towards clean energy are plentiful and evident, but most programs were not written into law with the intent to center marginalized communities. And, some programs miss the mark entirely and create the risk of continuing to prop up fossil fuel extraction, which would harm communities and our climate. All told, between the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), IRA, and prior funding, there are now levels of funding for climate action and infrastructure similar to the investments during the New Deal era that shaped our entire society. Coupled with the Biden Administration’s Justice 40 initiative and racial equity executive order, federal agencies also are tasked with implementing the IRA programs in ways that help tackle racial and economic inequality. Environmental and climate justice advocates have long sought this. But, in the past, inequality was baked into nearly every system and institution funded by the New Deal. With the funding available today, we must do better and focus on equity and justice right from the start. And, with communities’ needs at stake—and the clock ticking toward statutory spending deadlines—there is not a moment to lose to implement programs.
HALF A DOZEN OTHER THINGS TO READ (OR LISTEN TO)
Animal CSI: Forensics comes for the wildlife trade by Amber Dance at Knowable. Among the scientific techniques used to combat poaching and wildlife trafficking, DNA is king, says Cindy Harper, a veterinary geneticist at the University of Pretoria. Its application in animal investigations is small-scale but growing in a field with a huge volume of crime: The value of the illegal wildlife trade is as much as $20 billion per year, Interpol estimates. “It’s not just a few people swapping animals around,” says Greta Frankham, a wildlife forensic scientist at the Australian Center for Wildlife Genomics in Sydney. “It’s got links to organized crime; it is an enormous amount of turnover on the black market.” The problem is global. In the United States, the crime might be the illegal hunting of deer or black bears, the importing of protected-animal parts for food or medicinal use, the harvesting of protected cacti, or the trafficking of ivory trinkets. In Africa or Asia, it might be the poaching of pangolins, the globe’s most trafficked mammal for both its meat and its scales, which are used in traditional medicines and magic practices. In Australia, it might be the collection or export of the continent’s unique wildlife for the pet trade.
Radical Vegans Are Trying to Change Your Diet. The impossible fight to persuade people to stop eating meat by Annie Lowrey at The Atlantic. DxE activists aim to stop the brutalization of farm animals and bring about the end of animal exploitation, ideally by way of a constitutional amendment granting personhood to nonhuman creatures. The mission is clearly a good one: to alleviate extraordinary, omnipresent suffering. Americans eat roughly 10 billion land animals a year, many raised in terrible conditions. In service of that goal, DxE performs undercover investigations, rescues animals, publishes whistleblower reports, engages in nonviolent protest, shuts down slaughter lines, files legal complaints, trains activists, and lobbies the government. But it is perhaps best known for its viral stunts. There was the time an activist wearing a poop-emoji costume disrupted a planning-commission meeting in a small town in Virginia; the time the group sprayed manure all over the lawn of an executive at Smithfield, the world’s largest producer of pork; the numerous occasions when members have seized the microphone from politicians at stump speeches; the time a DxE member named Matt Johnson pretended to be Smithfield’s CEO for a chaotic Fox Business hit.
The Effect of U.S. Climate Policy on Financial Markets: An Event Study of the Inflation Reduction Act by Michael D. Bauer, Eric A. Offner, and Glenn D. Rudebusch from the Hutchins Center. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 represents the largest climate policy action ever undertaken in the United States. Its legislative path was marked by two abrupt shifts as the likelihood of climate policy action fell tonear zero and then rose to near certainty. We investigate equity price reactions to these two events, which represent major realizations of climate policy transition risk. Our results highlight the heterogeneous nature of climate policy risk exposure. We find sizable reactions that differ by industry as well as across firm-level measures of greenness such as environmental scores and emission intensities. While the financial market response to the IRA was economically significant, it did not lead to instability or financial stress, suggesting that transition risks posed by climate policies even as ambitious as the IRA may be manageable.
Putin’s War Against Ukraine Is Slaughtering Dolphins in the Black Sea by Angelie Mercado at Earther. Ukrainian officials and wildlife experts are collecting evidence to build a case for environmental war crimes against Russia. Harbor porpoises and bottlenose dolphins have washed up dead on the Black Sea’s shores in droves since February 2022 when Russia invaded Ukraine. Animal experts, who are increasingly concerned about the environmental impacts of the war, are dedicated to gathering evidence of ecocide against the Kremlin. Experts are conducting autopsies of the dead marine mammals to collect proof of ecocide and to understand how the war is affecting natural ecosystems. Ecocide is used to describe the intentional destruction of an ecological system. Pawel Goldin, a zoologist at the Ukrainian Scientific Center of Ecology of the Sea who specializes in marine mammals, told The New York Times last month that losing these sea creatures would be a tragedy. “They are keystone creatures for the marine ecosystem,” he said. “If dolphins are in a bad condition, then the entire ecosystem will be in a bad condition.
Seattle’s Black Farmers Collective nurtures communities and crops by Syris Valentine at High Country News. As part of the nonprofit Black Farmers Collective, Small Axe Farm is more than just a place for growing food. It’s also a place for growing Black-owned farm-based businesses and helping the collective to fulfill its mission: building a Black-led food system that heals and enlivens Seattle’s Black community. The collective collaborates with Black-led markets and food banks, and brings people together to celebrate life and land, with its farms and farmers at the center of its efforts. Prior to founding the collective, Ray Williams, its executive director, was involved in two small gardens in central and south Seattle, one of which was tucked behind the Africatown Center for Education and Innovation. Then, in 2018, the Black Farmers Collective formed to establish Yes Farm on a 1.5-acre plot in central Seattle, where organizers host volunteer days, summer cookouts, and food and gardening classes. In 2020, Williams learned that King County was looking to lease and reactivate fallow farmland in the Sammamish River Valley. Williams and Clamoungou inspected the weed-strewn land, talked about what they could do with it, applied for the lease, and Small Axe Farm was born.
Poor regulatory safeguards leave farmworkers suffocating in the face of increasing heat waves by Mónica Corder at Investigate Midwest/Report for America and Eva Tesfaye, Harvest Public Media. A fifth of reported heat-related deaths between 2017 and 2022 were agricultural workers, according to OSHA data. Academics, occupational health specialists and advocacy groups are calling attention to the under-reported impact of climate change on this group from heatwaves. Juan Peña, 28, has worked in the fields since childhood, often exposing his body to extreme heat like the wave hitting the Midwest this week. The heat can cause such deep pain in his whole body that he just wants to lie down, he said. It sucks his desire to work, as his body tells him he can’t take another hot day on the job. On those days, his only motivation to get out of bed is to earn dollars to send to his 10-month-old baby in Mexico. Farmworkers, such as Peña and the crew he leads in Iowa, are unprotected against heat-related illnesses. They are 35 times more likely to die from heat exposure than workers in other sectors, according to the National Institutes of Health, and the absence of a federal heat regulation that guarantees their safety and life—when scientists have warned that global warming will continue—increases that risk.
• American football season is getting hotter. Young players are dying • Watch seal pups trapped in fishing nets cut free by South Africa beachgoers • California Leads the Way in Low-Carbon School Meals • Climate Week NYC: Clean technologies are racing to the future • New California Legislation Would Be a Major Step Forward for Climate Disclosure • Revealed: How Big Dairy Is Milking Net Zero • How Hawai‘i’s Youth Advocates are Fighting for Hawai‘i’s Future • ‘Not accurate’: Republican wrong to say Montana has more bears than people • In Miami, It’s No Coincidence Marginalized Neighborhoods Are Hotter • ‘Totally unsustainable’ sand mining harms marine environments, new data suggest • The Beach Is Lovely. The Water, Maybe Not So Much • Socially vulnerable populations are disproportionately exposed to wildfires in the West, study finds • Lead poisoning kills millions annually. One country is showing the way forward.