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Did Cerberus really have only three heads?

Fire, floods, and exploding windows


We’ll get to the week in climate hearings in our next post, but first let’s provide some context for our returning members of Congress, in particular House Republicans, who are gearing up a month of attacks on climate finance and socially responsible investing.

In Italy, the fossil-fueled anticyclone Cerberus rears his scorching heads:1

Temperatures in Italy could get close to breaking a European record set in 2021 as a fierce heatwave grips much of the continent.

An anticyclone – an area of high pressure – named Cerberus will cause temperatures to exceed 40C (104F) across much of the country by Wednesday, with the islands of Sicily and Sardinia predicted to bear the brunt at 47-48C.

Naming the anticyclone after Cerberus, the three-headed monster-dog that in Greek mythology guards the gates to the underworld, was not a coincidence, the meteorologist Stefano Rossi told La Stampa. Cerberus appears in Dante’s Inferno, where it guards the third circle of hell.

“Metaphorically, the three heads indicate the three main climatic zones into which Italy will be divided,” Rossi said, adding that humidity levels would be “skyrocketing” and that nighttime temperatures would not drop below 22C.

So far, we have not yet found a Heracles or Orpheus with the power to subdue such a beast.

The European death toll from the record heat is likely to exceed last summer’s, which was not small. “Searing heat killed more than 60,000 people in Europe last summer, scientists have found, in a disaster made deadlier by greenhouse gases baking the planet,” Ajit Niranjan writes.

It’s also deadly hot in Arizona, home to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) and GOP nutjobs like Reps. Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, and Debbie Lesko, as well as Democratic climate hawk Raúl Grijalva.

Over the weekend, the National Weather Service issued a warning about forthcoming further excessive heat in an already scorching month, even by typical US desert standards. The warning covers the entire Phoenix metro area and beyond in Arizona, and it will remain in effect until at least Sunday.

You can read Ben Geman and Andrew Freedman’s take on the record-shattering heat in the Axios Generate newsletter, sponsored by Chevron propaganda.

Or you can read Jeff Goodell’s take on the record-shattering heat in the New York Times opinion pages, sponsored by propane propaganda.

Meanwhile, starting Sunday night, the heavens opened on New York’s Hudson Valley and the Green Mountains of Vermont, leading to catastrophic flooding that is ongoing as I write.

Rescue teams raced into Vermont on Monday after heavy rain drenched parts of the US northeast, washing out roads, forcing evacuations and halting some airline travel. One person was killed in New York as she was trying to leave her home.

Vermont’s capital, Montpelier, was completely flooded. The Army Corps of Engineers is planning to release “unprecedented quantities of water” from the Townshend and Ball Mountain Dams on the West River in southern Vermont, threatening the towns along its route, including Brattleboro. Also, a dog show was canceled.

One victim of the floods was the New York Times’s new Climate Forward newsletter writer, David Gelles, whose Hudson Valley home was inundated by rain in the middle of the night. Gelles is replacing Somini Sengupta, who is taking a summer sabbatical before returning to the climate beat with more long-form reporting.

Heavy rain sends mud and debris down the Ottauquechee River. Credit: Jessica Rinaldi

The snow crab vanishes. “Alaska news is full of climate elegies now — every one linked to wrenching changes caused by burning fossil fuels,” writes Julia O’Malley.

The tufted puffin vanishes. “A warmer ocean, and certainly a suddenly warmer ocean as happens during an El Niño or a marine heat wave, will result in the death of hundreds of thousands to millions of marine birds within one to 6 months of the temperature increase.” Julia Parrish, a professor of aquatic and fishery sciences at the University of Washington relates.

A remarkable bit of reporting from James Bruggers on life in West Virginia’s longwall coal zone:

“We woke up one morning and we heard a pop, and we thought somebody shot the window. The window exploded. Later in the day, another window exploded.”

I’m sure Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will be holding a hearing soon.

Now let’s check out ball sports:

On Wednesday, the first round of the Wimbledon Tennis Championship was disrupted by a pair of elderly Just Stop Oil protesters, the first of whom “ran onto the court throwing confetti from a picture-puzzle box featuring an image of Wimbledon's famed Center Court.” Just Stop Oil has promised to keep up protests until the UK government ends all new oil and gas exploration.

In a tamer protest, Extinction Rebellion activists mocked Wimbledon’s sponsorship by Barclays, which continues to invest heavily in fossil-fuel projects.

Michigan Republicans are sure having a good, normal time these days: “He kicked me in my balls as soon as I opened the door.”

Hearings on the Hill:

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1 In his Theogony, Hesiod said Cerberus had fifty

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