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Did the Bible say anything about floods?

Killjoys, energy storage, and all-male panels


Pussy willows blossoming in Boston on February 9th. Credit: John Tlumacki

Thanks to ExxonMobil, spring has come nearly a month early to the eastern United States, with leaves budding and flowers blooming throughout the Southeast already.

Killjoys as ever, climate scientists have found that warming California is trapped in a vicious cycle as growing wildfires reduce the snowpack that limit wildfires. Some other lame climate scientists announced on Valentine’s Day that “the amount of floating sea ice encircling Antarctica reached the lowest level ever recorded.” Yet more annoying climate scientists modeling polar ice-sheet collapse under global warming published a study on Valentine’s Day finding that “according to our simulations, the 2°C warming (above the pre-industrial level) target emphasized by the Paris agreement is insufficient to prevent accelerated sea-level rise over the next century.”

In what can only be characterized as a wild overreaction, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned the Security Council that the rising seas will cause “a mass exodus of entire populations on a biblical scale.”

I think you and I can agree that it would be more fun to worry about Chinese spy balloons or read this CNN story: “Amish dog breeder explains how George Santos allegedly stole puppies.”

Though not as fun as the puppy-stealing news, a large NPR team has produced a stellar work of dynamic photojournalism about Saint-Louis, Senegal, “perched precariously between the Atlantic Ocean and the Senegal River.” The vibrant city is being eaten away, by tides and storms, as the seas rise.

Virtually all of the 36 flooding deaths from last summer's torrential rains in eastern Kentucky occurred downstream from large-scale coal strip mines. Activists with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth are seeking a federal investigation of Kentucky’s Division of Mine Reclamation and Enforcement, which is responsible for ensuring compliance with the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.

National television coverage of the East Palestine toxic train derailment ignored industry culpability for weakening rules to prevent such accidents.

A federal judge in Nevada “upheld the federal government’s approval of the largest proposed lithium mine in the nation, dismissing arguments that the Thacker Pass project would degrade nearby aquifers, air quality, and habitat for the imperiled greater sage grouse.”

The fossil-fueled Cyclone Gabrielle ripped across New Zealand with flooding rains and powerful winds, killing four and knocking out power for nearly 225,000 people.

Grist’s Jesse Nichols has turned Geoffrey Supran’s research on Exxon’s very accurate and secret global-warming predictions into a very excellent video:

New Senate Budget chair Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) hosts a hearing on climate-related economic risks, with an all-white-male panel of witnesses: Canadian economist and investment banker Mark Carney (formerly Goldman Sachs, Bank of Canada, and Bank of England); economist and investment banker Robert Litterman (formerly Goldman Sachs, now chair of the Climate-Related Market Risk Subcommittee of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission); and economist and Republican activist Douglas Holtz-Eakin (formerly George H.W. Bush administration and Congressional Budget Office).

Senate Environment chair Tom Carper (D-Del.) hosts a hearing on low-carbon transportation fuels with an all-white-male panel of witnesses, three industry lobbyists.

GETTING WONKY: At noon, Resources for the Future is hosting an informative webinar on the Inflation Reduction Act’s potential impact on the nation’s electricity portfolio.

American Clean Power, the lobbying group that claims to speak on behalf of the renewable industry but is really an all-of-the-above group for nuclear and fossil-fuel-heavy companies, is hosting its annual Energy Storage Policy Forum today in Washington, D.C. Speakers include Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Alice Busching Reynolds of the California Public Utilities Commission, and several officials from the Department of Energy: Deputy Secretary David Turk, the Grid Deployment Office’s Colin Meehan, and the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations’ Marcella Mulholland, formerly with Data for Progress.

The IRA’s support for new energy storage projects is already bearing fruit: storage developer Eolian “is developing a pair of interconnected battery facilities capable of supplying 200 MW into the Texas energy market” thanks to the IRA’s subsidies.

MOVEMENT MOVES: Former Securities and Exchange Commission climate official Satyam Khanna has joined the Environmental Protection Agency, as Senior Advisor for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund in the Office of the Administrator.

Hearings on the Hill:

Climate Action Today:

Finally, Geoff Greer reviews his gasoline car:

Unlike a normal car, a gas car needs to be “started”. Apparently it would be wasteful and expensive to keep the gasoline engine running all the time, so you’re only supposed to run the engine if you’re moving the vehicle. The starting process is pretty painless: You insert your key into a slot on the side of the steering column, push the clutch pedal (more on that later), then turn the key and hold it for a second or two. I succeeded on the first try, causing the car to jump to life and emit all kinds of crazy noises. Imagine if a steam locomotive had a baby with a machine gun. That’s the sort of noise that comes out of a gas car. It evokes both excitement and concern.

In related news, Bloomberg’s Colin McKerracher reports “the total value of electric vehicles sold to date in the passenger vehicle segment has now crossed $1 trillion.”

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