• A lot of climate-change-related news has been dropping in recent days, so consider that to be the Indy Digest Theme of the Day. Next up: A surprising reason why the state is investigating an oil-company titan. According to The Los Angeles Times: “Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta stated Thursday that Exxon Mobil Corp. has been subpoenaed by his office. seeking information related to the company’s role in global plastics pollution. ‘For more than half a century, the plastics industry has engaged in an aggressive campaign to deceive the public, perpetuating a myth that recycling can solve the plastics crisis,’ Bonta said. … The announcement comes amid an urgent and growing movement across California to curb plastic pollution by reducing it at its source.The county and city of Los Angeles have issued directives and ordinances to reduce the amount of plastic waste. Meanwhile, state legislators, lobbyists and negotiators are weighing a bill that could ban many single-use plastics. Also, in November, Californians will have the opportunity to vote on a ballot initiative designed to curb plastic pollution.”
• Due to the ongoing drought, severe water restrictions are in place in other parts of Southern California. ABC News: “Unprecedented restrictions have been ordered for millions of residents in Southern California as the megadrought in the region persists and continues to intensify. The Metropolitan Water District will require approximately 6 million customers in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties to drastically reduce outdoor water usage. Deven Upadhyay, Metropolitan Executive Officer, said Wednesday that they are still encouraged hand-water their trees. The water district requires its member agencies from the State Water Project-dependent areas that they limit outdoor watering to no more than one day per week. Upadhyay stated that the goal is to reduce water consumption by 35%, in light of the water shortage. If the restrictions do not get consumption down by 35%, even stricter rules could follow next year, he added.”
• CalMatters’ partners reported that the state is shifting tactics in its fight against climate change. It is adopting a lower cost, slower-gain ideology: “California air-quality officials endorsed a new blueprint for combating climate change. It aims to minimize job losses, costs, and reduce greenhouse gases. It also aims at achieving carbon neutrality by 2045. California has been a leader in climate change mitigation, with its aggressive laws and policies to reduce carbon footprint. The state has been under fire from activists as well as legislators for not taking action quickly enough and depending too heavily on carbon trading programs. The strategy that the staff of the state Air Resources Board plans to unveil in May requires a massive shift away from California’s reliance on fossil fuels and more emphasis on renewable energy sources. The plan, which aims for an 80% reduction of greenhouse gases below 1990 levels by 2050, would cost an estimated $18 billion in 2035 and $27 billion in 2045.”
• Moderna is asking FDA to approve her vaccine for children between 6 and 5 years of age. CNBC reports: “According to a company press release, the vaccine was effective at preventing infection from the omicron variant in children aged under 2 years and 37% for 2- to 5-year olds. Dr. Paul Burton, Moderna’s chief medical officer, said those levels are similar to two-dose protection for adults. The protection Moderna’s vaccine provides against infection has declined substantially from the high-water mark of 90% effectiveness when the shots first rolled out. The omicron version, which contains more than 30 mutations and can evade antibodies that block the virus invading human cells, is very adept at doing so. Burton stated that children under 6 years of age who receive two doses of the virus should be protected from severe illness. Adults have about 1,000 units of antibody after two shots with at least 70% protection against severe disease, while children in the study had 1,400 to 1,800 units of antibody after two doses, he said.”
• Independently-owned restaurants have until the end of the month to apply for grants up to $3,000 to pay for equipment upgrades or employee-retention bonuses. From a news release: “Due to the success of last year’s inaugural program, the California Restaurant Foundation (CRF) has partnered again with California’s energy companies to provide $3,000 grants to independent restaurant owners and their staff through the Restaurants Care Resilience Fund. … Grant recipients can use this year’s funds for equipment upgrades and employee retention bonuses to alleviate industry-wide staffing issues and deferred maintenance caused by two years of incurring debt, losses and rising costs. Restaurants will be able to thrive and grow over the one-year support services. Resilience Fund Applications will be available from April 15-30, 2022. www.restaurantscare.org/resilience. California-based restaurant entrepreneurs with less than 3 units and less revenue than $3,000,000 will be eligible to receive grants.Priority will go to restaurants owned and operated by women and people who are of color. Last year, the Resilience Fund awarded 318 grants to independent restaurant owners, 65 percent of which were women-owned and 83 percent color-owned.”
• An finally … since climate change is the theme of the day, let’s end with it: Scientific American reports that global warming is causing animals to shrink … especially the dumber ones. Yes, really. An excerpt: “Scientists have observed this phenomenon in very different animal species from wild sheep to woodrats. But it’s especially well-documented in North American songbirds. In 2019, researchers at the University of Michigan published a dataset of more than 70,000 birds that died after hitting windows in Chicago. The data showed that the body sizes of dozens species had actually decreased over the past 40 year. … Bird species with larger brains are more intelligent and can adapt to their environment. They might be able buffer themselves against rising temperatures., says Carlos Botero, an assistant professor of biology at Washington University and the study’s co-author.”
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