Green Starts and Red Alerts

Clean ports and melting ice


Reminder for DC folks that the Green New Deal happy hour is this evening at 6 pm at Alero on U St.

A note from the Editor: It’s possible that Hill Heat often leads with the bad news of the day before getting to the good news. For example, yesterday’s post first presented the homicidal proclamations of oil CEOs, and only later discussed Green New Deal champions running for local office. Today, good news first!

Yesterday, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Bacerra launched the Clean Energy Connector program, using HHS’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program to support access to community solar for low-income families. The program has launched as a pilot in New Mexico, Illinois, and Washington D.C. Additional states are encouraged to join a webinar on April 10 to find out how to get involved. Granholm and Bacerra are testifying before Congress today about this and other programs in the FY2025 budget.

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a new rule limiting air pollution from the nation’s eight steel mills, protecting workers and local communities from particulates, arsenic, lead, and other highly toxic metals.

The multi-billion-dollar push to electrify our nation’s ports—highly concentrated cesspools of diesel pollution—is bearing fruit. The nation’s first all-electric tug boat, the eWolf, has now docked at the Port of San Diego and will soon begin pollution-free operation. Last year, the port became the first in North America to install a pair of all-electric cranes to load and off-load heavy cargo.

Last week, EPA Administrator Michael Regan visited the Port of Los Angeles to announce the new $3 billion Clean Ports program, offering competitive grants to ports across the country to help them electrify and eliminate diesel-powered infrastructure.

On Monday, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont toured New Haven Harbor to see a new all-electric cargo mover in operation. The giant crane, built by the German company Sennebogen, replaced a diesel-powered crane last December.

Bird of the Day — Killdeer, Kansas, March 2024

Congratulations, you’ve reached the bad news. Take it away, Ajit Niranjan!

“The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) confirmed on Tuesday that 2023 was the hottest year on record by a clear margin. In a report on the climate, it found that records were ‘once again broken, and in some cases smashed’ for key indicators such as greenhouse gas pollution, surface temperatures, ocean heat and acidification, sea level rise, Antarctic sea ice cover and glacier retreat.”

The WMO community is sounding the Red Alert to the world,” says WMO Secretary-General Celeste Saulo.

Laura Paddison, anything to add?

The world’s oceans have now experienced an entire year of unprecedented heat, with a new temperature record broken every day, new data shows. Global ocean surface temperatures started breaking daily records in mid-March last year, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer, fueling concerns for marine life and extreme weather across the planet.”

Daily Sea Surface Temperature, World

gosh, that does look bad

In Nature, NASA climatologist Gavin Schmidt warns that scientists don’t actually know what the fuck is going on:

“It’s humbling, and a bit worrying, to admit that no year has confounded climate scientists’ predictive capabilities more than 2023 has. For the past nine months, mean land and sea surface temperatures have overshot previous records each month by up to 0.2 °C — a huge margin at the planetary scale. A general warming trend is expected because of rising greenhouse-gas emissions, but this sudden heat spike greatly exceeds predictions made by statistical climate models that rely on past observations.”

“We need answers for why 2023 turned out to be the warmest year in possibly the past 100,000 years,” Dr. Schmidt concludes. “And we need them quickly.”

It’s a busy day on the Hill, even though the “minibus” needed to stop a government shutdown hasn’t been released yet, whee.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm appears before House appropriators at 10 am to discuss the $51.42 billion Department of Energy FY2025 budget request, which has a 9 percent increase in defense spending and a 5 percent increase in non-defense spending from FY2023. The budget includes $10.6 billion in DOE climate and clean energy research, development, demonstration, and deployment programs.

At the same time, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Bacerra presents the the $130.7 billion Department of Health and Human Services budget request to House appropriators, including $4.1 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program mentioned above.

At 10 am, the Senate Environment Committee examines PFAS as hazardous substances. Environmental Working Group’s Scott Faber, a long-time advocate for the banning of PFAS, New Mexico environmental secretary James Kenney, who has fought for years to regulate PFAS, and the Water Coalition Against PFAS’s Michael Witt are joined by Congressional Research Service lawyer Kate Bowers and industrial polluter lobbyist Robert Fox. Witt will argue that water commissions should not be held liable for cleaning up PFAS contamination, while Fox will argue industrial polluters should not be held liable.

Meanwhile, Budget chair Sheldon Whitehouse holds his latest climate hearing, looking at the cost of global warming to the recreational industry, with Olympic cross-country skier Gus Schumacher, fly fisherwoman Hilary Hutcheson, camping gear executive Theresa McKenney, macroeconomist Joao Gomes, and climate denier Scott Walter.

At 10:15 am, the House Natural Resources federal lands subcommittee holds a legislative hearing on Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez’s (D-N.M.) bill supporting tree seedlings (H.R. 5015) and several Republican bills limiting environmental protections for federal lands. Notably, H.R. 5499 from Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Calif.) would limit the creation of national monuments and H.R. 7006 from Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah) would block the as-yet-theoretical natural asset companies from his state.

At 2:15 pm, the House Natural Resources energy subcommittee holds a hearing assessing domestic offshore energy reserves, but strangely the Republicans in charge are only interested in oil and gas reserves, not wind or geothermal. Gulf South climate justice advocate Kendall Dix and U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management deputy director Walter Cruickshank will be joined by several offshore oil and gas industry advocates.

Hearings on the Hill:

Climate Action Today:

“I’m not labeling the unique winter to climate change, or global warming one way or another- it was just a crazy weather pattern this year.” Credit: climate denier William Hill

TODAY’S OBSTINATE CLIMATE DENIAL AWARD goes to William Hill, an Adirondack trail guide who has lived in the region since 1972. “In a normal March, I’m usually snowshoeing,” he writes in the Adirondack Explorer. “This year is a far cry from that.” The record-shattering heat has brought spring conditions a month and a half early. “Before St. Patrick’s Day the robins were back, and the woodchucks out of their dens. The waterfowl are out and about on the open waterways. Finally, the stretch of warm, sunny days got the best of me, and I broke out the kayak.”

After his compelling, visceral tale of the local impact of the burning of hundreds of billions of tons of fossil fuels during his lifetime, he concludes:

“I’m not labeling the unique winter to climate change, or global warming one way or another- it was just a crazy weather pattern this year.”

Congratulations, Mr. Hill, on winning the competition as the most obstinate climate denier of the day.

Thanks for subscribing and spreading the word. If you’ve got job listings, event listings, or other hot news, I want to hear it. Connect with me—@[email protected], @climatebrad on Threads, and on BlueSky

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