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Climate Catastrophe in the Congo

Also: The Hot Dark, Dirty Deal (again), getting electric!


The death toll in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday reached at least 141 people after catastrophic rains flooded the capital, Kinshasa. “Dozens of houses and buildings collapsed and vehicles were left stranded. Wide stretches of road were completely destroyed,” reports Richard Davies.

DR Congo President Félix Tshisekedi, in Washington on Tuesday for the US-Africa Leaders Summit, said the torrential rains are a consequence of wealthy nations’ climate pollution.

“This could have been avoided if the commitments of the polluting countries had been respected for the past 13 years. It is necessary to act now.”

Support must come from countries that pollute and unfortunately trigger the harmful consequences in our countries that lack the means to protect themselves,” Tshisekedi said. Without that support, the nations of the Congo Basin are turning to oil and gas exploration in the tropical forests.

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken offered his condolences.

NOAA released its Arctic Report Card for the year at the American Geophysical Union fall conference. Thanks to the continued burning of billions of tons of fossil fuels, the Arctic is turning into the Hot Dark. Nathan Kauffman sums up:

“The past seven years have been the Arctic's hottest seven years since 1900, and the impacts are widespread and include everything from monster storms and supercharged wildfires, to permafrost melt and massive bison die-offs when winter rain freezes on top of the snow, blocking the animals from the plants below and starving them to death.”

Today, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Wash.) chaired a Ways and Means Trade subcommittee hearing on sustainability in trade policy and Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Mich.) chaired a Science R&D subcommittee hearing on building tech hubs.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is getting a vote on his dumb dirty deal, this time as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. It’s not going to pass. It’s another timewaster by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to keep Manchin happy.

Among the agenda items for Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) once he navigates the choppy MAGA seas of his caucus to become Speaker of the House next year is this Big Important Investigation:

  • Environmental NGOs’ collusion with Russia and China to hurt American Energy

As Glenn Kessler explains, this has been one of the weirder GOP conspiracy theories since at least 2015, when a Rick Berman front group tried to tie environmental funder Sea Change Foundation, via a Bermuda law firm, to Russian oligarchs.

Why do I mention this? So that when I have to cover the inevitable hearings next year I’ll be able to search the Hill Heat archives and say, “Oh right, that dumb thing.”

Hey nerds, today is the White House Electrification Summit! Get juiced with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, CEQ chair Brenda Mallory, White House Clean Energy Advisor John Podesta, OSTP Director Arati Prabhakar and White House National Climate Adviser Ali Zaidi, along with Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Reps. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) and Sean Casten (D-Ill.).

In a mini-electrification summit, Environment America had a webinar at noon making the introduction to induction to help us make the switch from gas stoves.

“Big Green”—national environmental non-profits like Sierra Club, NRDC, and EDF—have gotten a little less white, DiverseGreen reports. Those who participated in the study reported 36.5 percent of full-time staff are people of color, up from 33.1 percent in 2020. Unfortunately, Environment America did not.

In other news:

Hearings on the Hill:

Climate Action Today:

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