Discover more from Hill Heat
A little more oil in your climate
Greenwash, rinse, repeat
PRESENTED BY ISLAND WAY SORBET
WASHING IN THE OIL: On Thursday, the United Arab Emirates announced that its oil chief would be the president of COP28, the next round of international climate negotiations, to be hosted by the petrostate this December. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, the minister of industry and technology, chairman of Emirates Development Bank, chairman of the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, former chairman of the UAE National Media Council, and UAE’s special envoy for climate change, runs the world’s 12th largest oil company, producing 2.5 to 3 million barrels of oil per day, with proven reserves of 105 billion barrels. In the announcement, Jaber called for “a pragmatic, practical and realistic approach to the energy transition.”
Oil and gas lobbyists had sharply increased their attendance from previous years at last year’s talks in Egypt, led by the UAE delegation.
I suppose the positive way of looking at this is that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has finally, after thirty years, become consequential enough that fossil-fuel interests need to be more aggressive and open in their contestation of the outcome of the negotiations.
WASHING OUT TO SEA: The death toll from California’s fortnight of fossil-fueled deluge has reached 20, “greater than the number of people killed during the last two fire seasons combined.” The atmospheric river left hundreds of thousands of people without power for days on end, Grace Toohey writes, in a piece that clearly ties the destruction to climate change.
The storms also put the fun in Fort Funston, if you think giant concrete bunkers collapsing into the sea is fun. And who doesn’t!
WASHING OUT THE OIL: In a new Nature paper, scientists Stefan Rahmstorf, Geoffrey Supran, and Naomi Oreskes show how in the 1970s and 1980s, Exxon’s in-house climate scientists expertly projected the global warming that would be caused by their company’s products. Exxon executives, of course, responded to these studies by burying them and coordinating a decades-long conspiracy to deny global warming and obstruct climate policy. “It kind of took my breath away when I actually plotted for the first time Exxon’s predictions, and you see them land so tightly around that red curve of reality,” Supran told Grist’s Kate Yoder.
Vox Media, which once developed a greenwashing campaign for the coal utility Southern Company, has now banned fossil-fuel ads. In addition to Vox.com, the company owns New York Magazine and SB Nation. Vox follows The Guardian, the first major media company to ban fossil-fuel advertising, which did so in 2020.
Climate activists are working their butts off to get Big Oil advertising out of the cycling world.
Journalist Arielle Samuelson has joined Heated! In her first piece, Arielle and Emily Atkin expose how PR giant Edelman has lied about its plans to stop producing petro-propaganda. In 2021, the company admitted it had 20 “emission-intensive” clients. It has kept 18 of them.
MOVEMENT MOVEMENT: It’s a new generation at Greenpeace USA: executive director (and current co-ED) Annie Leonard is stepping down after eight years at the helm. Her co-ED, Ebony Martin, will continue as the sole executive director. Ebony’s leadership team includes program director Tefere Gebre, formerly of the AFL-CIO; political director Alice Madden, formerly the majority leader of the Colorado House of Representatives; and the new climate campaign director Natalie Mebane, formerly with the Sierra Clube, 350, and the National Wilderness Society. Annie is continuing with Greenpeace as a senior advisor and will also continue her work leading the Jane Fonda Climate PAC.
Climate hawk Jason Burnett, a grandson of David Packard, has been named chair of the Packard Foundation.
Mary Frances Repko, a longtime environmental Hill staffer who started in Sen. Russ Feingold’s (D-Wisc.) office in 1994, has joined the White House as deputy national climate adviser. Repko also worked for Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.), Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), and has been staff director of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee under Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) for the past several years, where she helped negotiate the Inflation Reduction Act with Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va) staffers.
Repko’s replacement as EPW staff director is Courtney O’Hara Taylor, an environmental lawyer, corporate lobbyist and former Environmental Defense Fund executive whose husband, Jay Taylor, is the top international lobbyist for PhRMA.
Oh, did I mention Manchin? The American Petroleum Institute has hired Lance West, Manchin’s chief of staff for the past four years, as its new chief lobbyist. I’m sure Repko and West will keep the chats going.
To cleanse the palate from these meaty reads, might I recommend these writings, as cool and refreshing as a coconut sorbet served in a coconut shell:
James Austen discovers the Pelotons of cube-solving
Zoe Schiffer, Casey Newton, and Alex Heath go Extremely Hardcore.