Merry Christmas from Empire of Dirt

It's the time of year for presents. I have a few for you

Merry Christmas from Empire of Dirt
Merry Christmas from Empire of Dirt’s own Barnabas, who has a small carbon footprint, and excellent little feet.

People celebrate the winter holidays in all sorts of ways. My household is pretty old-school about it. Christmas is supposed to last for twelve whole days, damnit.

I can’t give you all a two-week holiday and a figgy pudding, much as I’d like to, but here’s what I am going to give you for the holidays: a pause on subscription payments, and twelve newsletter posts on some of the climate-related presents we’ve all gotten recently as members of the public and as residents of New York State. Some of them are pretty shiny. Some might be lumps of coal. We’ll open them up and find out.

First up, on Christmas Day: a peek under the hood of what New York might do with rules for a new cap-and-invest program — which were recently outlined in a “pre-proposal” by NYSERDA and the NYSDEC, and which will be the subject of a lot of meetings (and a lot of political fighting) in the new year to come.

I know some of you are very deep in the New York climate policy weeds, and I love you for it. If you have thoughts on cap-and-invest, and wish me to know them, please do email me soonest.

Yes, I’m going to set these posts to “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” I might even sing it over the air to WJFF, if we can work out a time for me to call in and talk about climate in 2023. Stay tuned on that front.

As for the pause on Empire of Dirt subscription payments: You can thank Substack for that.

Yesterday, Substack cofounder Hamish McKenzie responded to a letter from a group of a couple hundred “Substackers Against Nazis,” which asked leadership to explain why they are monetizing, profiting from, and promoting overt Nazi and white supremacist content. In his response, McKenzie made it clear that they’re going to keep on doing just that.

I’ve felt increasingly icky about letting Substack profit off my writing over the course of the year, as they have gotten even more active about boosting and promoting the work of white supremacists and transphobes (like, for instance, Richard Hanania, who McKenzie says he doesn’t regret having on as a podcast guest despite his having been recently outed as an even more virulent racist under a pseudonym). Substack’s official response to the Substackers Against Nazis letter made this decision easy for me: Today I turned off the subscription button. Not one more dollar for them.

I’m looking into a new home for this newsletter. Right now, I’m leaning toward Ghost, which is a pretty similar service with tools for migrating from Substack. Whatever I choose, I’m going to make the switch as easy on all of you as I can, and will make sure you continue to get Empire of Dirt in your inboxes.

God rest ye merry — gentlemen, ladies, and everyone else. Here’s to a bright 2024, with fewer greenhouse gas emissions in it.