Every vague verb

COP 28 ends, AGU begins, sharks merge


This evening at 6 pm, the Green New Deal Network is hosting a happy hour/holiday party at Sonny’s Pizza. Everyone except Myron Ebell and other fossil-fuel industry representatives are welcome. If you’re in town, come on down and say hello!

Transitioning! Credit: Giuseppe Cacace

The smazy COP 28 is officially over. The final agreement, gaveled quickly in by Adnoc CEO Sultan Ahmed al Jaber while many of the delegates were out of the room, includes the phrase “transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems” amid a flurry of caveats and loopholes. Anne Rasmussen, the lead negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States, only found out about al Jaber’s action after the fact:

“We didn’t want to interrupt the standing ovation when came into the room, but we are a little confused about what happened. It seems that you gaveled the decisions, and the small island developing states were not in the room.”

This of course raises the key question: is “transition” even a verb? Not according to my copy of the Oxford English Dictionary, but that was penned by fuddy-duddies. Fortunately, Merriam-Webster is here to the rescue, with the definition “to make a change or shift from one state, subject, place, etc. to another.”

Climate scientist Dr. Friederike Otto is not content with the agreement’s verbiage either:

“With every vague verb, every empty promise in the final text, millions more people will enter the frontline of climate change and many will die. At 1.2C of warming, we’re already seeing devastating climate impacts that disrupt economies, destroy livelihoods and claim lives.”

I know what you’re thinking: with COP 28 over, how will I get new stories of climate conferences overrun by fossil-fuel polluters? Don’t worry, you won’t have to wait until COP 29, to be hosted by the corrupt petrostate Azerbaijan in a year’s time.

The American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting—the world’s largest convening of climate scientists—is running all this week in San Francisco. And despite years of protests, AGU doggedly maintains some of its ties to climate polluters.1 Last year, climate scientists Peter Kalmus and Rose Abramoff were kicked out of the AGU meeting for their climate activism; Abramoff was then fired by Oak Ridge National Laboratory at AGU’s behest.

Yesterday, Kalmus and Abramoff led a town hall on the need for AGU to revoke the fossil-fuel industry’s social license with fellow scientists Caitlin Hicks Pries, Andrew Dessler, Eric Davidson, and climate activists Ilana Cohen and Sandra Steingraber. The conference certainly features fewer presentations on cutting-edge fracking than years past.

The tide may be transitioning for the better, here.

Weathering the Storms: The Arctic saw its hottest summer ever recorded. Southern Florida is being drenched with what used to be a month’s worth of rain this week. the Tennessee’s deadly tornadoes have left hundreds of homes mangled and uninhabitable. Heavy rains have flooded the tent camps in Gaza where Palestinians seeking to escape Likud’s relentless bombardment are concentrated, as Israeli Defense Forces begin flooding underground tunnels with seawater. Northern China is being pummeled by blizzards. Crippled by drought and left to starve, Tunisian villagers are “the living dead.”

Transitioning to the Hill: Democrats in Congress are taking their job seriously, working on multiple approaches to legislation to accelerate renewable-energy production and transmission. Kelsey Brugger has a comprehensive review of the perhaps quixotic efforts of Sens. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Reps. Sean Casten (D-Ill.), Mike Levin (D-Calif.), and Scott Peters (D-Calif.). To be clear, almost all of these plans are industry-friendly “permit reform” plans that threaten environmental protections and community engagement. But because these climate-hawk permitting plans would prioritize renewable energy over fossil fuels, Republicans are firmly opposed to all of these bills.

Today offers two serious policy hearings from House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittees:

A post shared by @barrywebbimages

Finally, notorious Koch-backed climate denier Myron Ebell is retiring. “His name will surely live on in infamy,” climate scientist Michael Mann told Timothy Cama.

Hearings on the Hill:

Climate Action Today:

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