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A nest of aromatic boughs and spices

If you're going to self-immolate, why not do it in style?


The sprawling city of Phoenix, Arizona was so named by Darrell Duppa because it was built on the ruins of the former Hohokam civilization, recalling the Egyptian myth:

As its end approached, the phoenix fashioned a nest of aromatic boughs and spices, set it on fire, and was consumed in the flames. From the pyre miraculously sprang a new phoenix, which, after embalming its father’s ashes in an egg of myrrh, flew with the ashes to Heliopolis in Egypt, where it deposited them on the altar in the temple of the Egyptian god of the sun, Re.

While “Phoenix” is certainly preferable to the runner-up name of “Stonewall” (the co-founder was a Confederate die-hard), it may tempt the Fates to name your desert city after a creature who is consumed by a fire of its own making.

Especially if your air conditioners are mostly powered by the burning of fossil fuels.

As Gabrielle Canon relates, the bird is fashioning its nest:

Tuesday marked the 19th day the city of Phoenix has been subjected to temperatures of at least 110F (43.3C) – the longest stretch of time spent in such brutal heat – as record-breaking summer weather continues to affect millions in the US and around the world.

Phoenix also broke its record for the highest overnight low temperature on Monday with a low of 95 degrees, which surpassed the 2009 record of 93 degrees. It was the eighth consecutive day of overnight lows being above 90 degrees, which was another record for the area.

The killer fossil-fueled heat means the region’s fossil-fuel power plants have been working overtime:

Electricity demand from customers of the Arizona Public Service (APS) soared to an all-time peak for the second time in a week, on July 15, mirroring similar trends in Texas as grid operators grapple with a heatwave in parts of the United States.

The peak demand of 8,191 megawatts (MW) was reached on July 15 after 17 straight days of temperatures at or above 110 Fahrenheit (43 Celsius) and air conditioners cranking to keep Arizonans cool, the state's largest utility said in a release on Monday.

The prior record of 7,660 MW was hit on July 30, 2020, the APS said.

APS serves more than 1.3 million homes and businesses in 11 of Arizona's 15 counties.

Coal baseload with methane peaking. If only Arizona had more sunlight, there could be higher solar…

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has responded to the killer heat gripping the American Southwest with a memo to his colleagues, calling for the elimination of climate resilience funding, Dharna Noor reports. From the memo:

“If the goal is to make imperceptible changes in CO2 emissions as part of the administration’s zealous effort to micromanage global temperatures, then NASA should abandon such wasted mental energy. NASA should not become a plaything for anti-fossil fuel environmentalists.”

Not to wade into the Rep. Pramila Jayapalracist state” discourse, but:

A heatwave in the Gaza Strip that has sent temperatures over 38 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) worsened power shortages and sparked discontent among residents who expressed frustration with the ruling Islamist Hamas group.

Hamas, which has run the territory since 2007 blames a 16-year-long Israeli blockade for devastating Gaza's economy and undermining development, including the power network.

More than 2.3 million people live in a narrow strip of land squeezed between Egypt and Israel, suffering power cuts for up to 12 hours a day. The area needs around 500 megawatts of power per day in summer, according to local officials. It receives 120 megawatts from Israel while the enclave's lone power plant supplies another 60 megawatts.

500 is more than 120 plus 60, by the way.

Also, a few dozen people have died in South Korea this week due to catastrophic monsoon flooding.

In great news, the residents of Port St. Joe on the Florida panhandle successfully blocked the construction of a liquefied natural gas export terminal. As Public Citizen’s Tyson Slocum told reporters:

“I think it’s a real testament to the incredible organizing by the people of Port Saint Joe. Once they started to learn about what had been negotiated behind closed doors, they rose up in very clear opposition to building an LNG export terminal.”

The House Natural Resources committee got an early start with a 9:15 AM hearing to mark up three pieces of legislation. The one controversial bill is the “Energy Opportunities for All Act” (H.R. 4374) from Rep. Eli Crane (R-Ariz.), to overturn Biden administration protections of lands surrounding the Chaco Canyon National Historical Park from mining.

At 10 AM, House appropriators conduct their markup of the Fiscal Year 2024 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Bill. The House mark of $25.4 billion is a full 35% below the President’s request, slashing the Environmental Protection Agency budget by 39% and rescinding billions in climate funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, while requiring oil and gas lease sales, expanding mining access, and delisting endangered species. Here’s a collection of responses from environmental organizations.

In the afternoon, the Senate committees get to work:

Hearings on the Hill:

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