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Climate stress scenario
All-male panels, climate bombs, and sewing-needle legs adorned with gold slippers.
PRESENTED BY PETROCHEMICAL CLUSTERS
The House Agriculture Committee is holding an all-male panel on rural electric vehicles this morning, and the (male) leaders of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are testifying before both the House and Senate today about water infrastructure. And EPW is voting to confirm David Uhlmann and Chris Frey as EPA assistant administrators for enforcement and research, respectively. It’s not a clean sweep for the men today though; Martha Williams is slated to be confirmed as U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director.
FED UP WITH CLIMATE
Yesterday, the Senate Banking Committee held its confirmation hearing to re-appoint Jerome Powell as chair of the Federal Reserve. Powell was pressed by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on climate, one of the key reasons that Warren, Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) , and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) opposed the nomination of this centrist Republican.
Powell was polite about the questions, but he considers the Fed’s role in climate to be “limited.” Powell made sure to emphasize climate will not be part of the stress tests which have regulatory teeth. To Brown he said:
“We are looking at climate stress tests. I think it's very likely that climate stress scenarios, as we like to call them, will be a key tool going forward. I would stress these are very different from the regular stress tests, which affect capital. Climate stress scenarios, at this stage, are really about ensuring large financial institutions understand the risks they are taking, including the risks that may be inherent in their business model regarding climate change over time.”
All he’s committing to here is saying, “Oh hey, look bank X is really screwed in certain climate scenarios, maybe you want to take a look at that bank X.” To Warren:
“Our role on climate change is a limited one, but it’s an important one. It is to ensure that banking institutions we regulate understand their risks and can manage them, and it’s also to look after financial stability. . With financial stability, the issue really is, can something from climate change rise to the level that would threaten the stability of the entire financial system. That sounds more like something in the nature of transition risk, where some unexpected government policy change happens, which could potentially create disruption.”
To me, that sounds like he’s more worried about the “transition risk” of climate action than the “civilizational collapse risk” of inaction.
IT’S A MESS IN TEXAS
“We’re building a wall,” a contractor admitted to reporter Sandra Sanchez, as she investigated major construction cutting through a federal wildlife refuge in Texas that is one of the most biologically diverse regions in North America.
The final chapters of the Permian Climate Bomb project on the meteoric rise in oil and gas extraction from west Texas have been released, with fun facts such as these:
Permian gas liquids production far surpasses all other producers, including Canada, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.
There are two major petrochemical clusters in the United States: the greater Houston area along the Texas Gulf Coast and an 85 mile-long industrial corridor along the Mississippi River in Louisiana commonly known as “Cancer Alley.” Both of these petrochemical hubs are fed by oil and gas from the Permian Basin.
Over two million people call the Permian Basin home. Tens of millions more live on the Gulf Coast and along the pipeline routes that connect the Permian with its key markets.
In Texas, oil and gas production is effectively unregulated. And no existing or proposed policy governing the oil and gas industry in the Permian, or anywhere in the United States, requires meeting the concrete carbon reduction targets necessary to limit global warming to 1.5°C and prevent climate catastrophe.
The reportage is linked with a comprehensive campaign to defuse the bomb by passing the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act, denying new oil and gas permits, banning fracking, ending new drilling on public lands, and supporting the grassroots community resistance.
Green New Deal supporter Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick won the special election to fill the late Alcee Hastings’ seat, Florida’s 20th, restoring the Democratic majority in the House to 222-212.
Finally, from the New York Times corrections today, a smackdown for Will Shortz:
Hearings on the Hill:
10 AM: House Agriculture
Implications of Electric Vehicle Investments for Agriculture and Rural America
10 AM: House Transportation and Infrastructure
Water Resources and the Environment
Proposals for a Water Resources Development Act of 2022: Administration Priorities
2:45 PM: Senate Environment and Public Works
Nominations of David Uhlmann to be EPA Assistant Administrator of Enforcement; Martha Williams to be U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director; Chris Frey to be EPA Assistant Administrator for R&D
3 PM: Senate Environment and Public Works
Water Resources Development Act Oversight: USACE Implementation of Water Infrastructure Projects, Programs and Priorities
P.S. In case you’re wondering about that Kate Aronoff tweet, she’s talking about slickback Amos Hochstein.