Accomplishment unlocked

Boo: Fiona hits Puerto Rico, Merbok hits Alaska, Nanmadol hits Japan, ...


It’s a metaphor. Credit: Ricardo Arduengo

Fossil-fueled Fiona crashed through Puerto Rico on Sunday, five years after the devastation of Hurricane Maria, again leaving the island with catastrophic flooding and total blackout.1 Instead of Maria’s killer winds, Fiona brought staggering rains: at least 30 inches of rain fell in some spots. Amid the widespread flooding, at least two Puerto Ricans are dead. Fiona then struck the Dominican Republic.

Reporters will mumble that climate change may have made this tragedy more likely, but few will decry the fossil-colonialism responsible.

The oil-drilling dividend for Alaska residents this year: $2,622 and your house being swept into the sea.

Fueled by a record-hot northern Pacific Ocean, Typhoon Merbok spun up through the Bering Strait, bringing—there it is again—catastrophic flooding to the western Alaska coastline over the weekend. “The storm left a trail of wreckage across coastal Alaska, with flooding, telecommunications outages and damage to buildings and infrastructure including roads, docks, seawalls and village runways.” Coastal flooding ran seven to nine feet above normal, inundating towns and villages along a thousand miles of coastline of what used to be a notoriously cold part of our planet.

Also: catastrophic flooding from Typhoon Nanmadol in Japan caused tens of thousands to evacuate, and catastrophic flooding killed at least ten people in Italy’s Adriatic coast.

#NODIRTYDEAL: The opposition to Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to attach pipeline-fast-tracking language to the must-pass government-funding continuing resolution is growing.

On Friday afternoon, after Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) tweeted his opposition, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) subtweeted the deal (see below), calling on President Joe Biden to “phase out oil and gas production.” Given the Manchin deal would do the exact opposite, I’m taking Merkley’s tweet to mean “Definite-no-on-the-deal-but-sorta-scared-of-Schumer-shouting-at-me.”

On Monday, dozens of environmental justice organizations from around the country signed a letter to the founders of the Senate Environmental Justice caucus—Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Tom Carper (D-Del.)—calling on them to “stand with impacted frontline communities against the deal,” and, maybe, meet with environmental-justice activists before throwing them under the bulldozer.

Without any final text, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are increasingly skeptical of the deal. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is now raising the threat of rounding up the handful of votes it would need to sink a dirty continuing resolution.

Of course, if Manchin can’t get his dirty deal into the CR, the upcoming defense authorization bill—which, naturally, usually passes with overwhelming bipartisan margins—would be his (and Big Oil and Gas’s) next chance. “They’ve been talking about it,” Senate Armed Services chair Jack Reed (D-R.I.) told E&E News reporters. “They’re looking for any place for it.”

It’s Climate Week in New York City; there are a bevy of events organized to take advantage of the confluence of international dignitaries for the UN General Assembly.

Tobias Read, Oregon’s state treasurer, points out that GOP laws against state pension funds taking into account the risks of climate change are damn stupid. Arizona’s incumbent treasurer Kimberly Yee is on Team Stupid.

Speaking of Team Stupid, certain pundits keep insisting that natural gas is magically great for the climate, even though scientists keep reporting that methane is leaking everywhere.

At last week’s hearing on how petrochemical polluters are poisoning our politics, Team Stupidest Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) defended the petrochemical polluters financing his campaign and poisoning his constituents the only way he knows—by yelling at a witness and calling her “boo” and “little lady.” The oil and gas industry is also killing Louisiana through sea-level rise, and home insurers are abandoning the state. Higgins will next shout at the sea.

On Friday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bevy of climate bills. California’s oil drillers are sad.

Feds raided the offices of a Louisiana oil driller responsible for a Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

HILL ACTION THIS WEEK: The Jackson water crisis takes center stage in Congress this week. On Wednesday, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Jackson, Miss.), chair of the Homeland Security Committee, oversees a hearing on our nation’s water infrastructure, with former FEMA chief Craig Fugate and NAACP climate justice director Abre´ Conner.

On Tuesday, House committees: Science investigates the science of the rapidly melting Arctic; Agriculture looks at federal conservation programs for farmers and ranchers; Oversight marks up the Disaster Resiliency Planning Act; and Natural Resources receives testimony on the Public Lands and Waters Climate Leadership Act.

On Wednesday, House Science has a hearing on weather satellites, Senate Environment reviews the bipartisan infrastructure law, and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) takes up several national parks-related bills.

On Thursday, Senate Energy holds a hearing on batteries and energy storage.

Despite some GOP delay tactics, the Senate is preparing to take a vote on Thursday to ratify the Kigali Amendment, which phases down highly climate-polluting hydrofluorocarbons.

Today’s closing quote comes from Varshini Prakash:

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they wish bedbugs on you, then you win.”

Thanks for subscribing and spreading the word. DMs are open@climatebrad

1 In the wake of Maria, Puerto Rico’s power grid was privatized in 2020, sold over to LUMA Energy, a joint venture of Houston’s Quanta Services and Alberta-based energy conglomerate ATCO.

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