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Heavy Prayers for Heavy Weather

Climate Defiance to blockade the White House Correspondents Dinner

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Politico Power Switch, PRESENTED BY CHEVRON this week, has the scoop on the Climate Defiance plans to blockade the “nerd prom” tomorrow. On Tuesday, the youth activists disrupted a speech by White House climate advisor John Podesta at a National Resources Defense Council donor event at the Sofitel Lafayette Square.

Dr. Margaret Klein Salamon of the Climate Emergency Fund, understandably, approves.

But why? Aren’t we, as the League of Conservation Voters’ Tiernan Sitterfield claims, chugging along on the path to an “equitable clean energy future”? Well, maybe we can’t afford to grade Joe Biden on a curve.

Multiple tornadoes were reported in Florida and Georgia on Thursday, “baseball-sized hail” hit Texas, and Asia is in the throes of “endless record heat” this month, in the words of climatologist Maximiliano Herrera. Hundreds of schools in the Philippines switched to distance learning to avoid students and teachers falling ill. Dhaka, Bangladesh hit 104°F; Bangkok, Thailand broke 108°F. The heat in Myanmar broke 109°F.

Europe has similarly been sweltering under fossil-fueled heat. Parts of drought-stricken Spain are hitting 102°F today, and a parched France is mobilizing its wildfire-fighting forces on June 1st, a month earlier than the past.

The Republican Texas legislature is doing what it can to accelerate the crisis, Nitish Pahwa reports, with:

  • S.B. 6, which establishes the Texas Energy Insurance Program—a plan to construct 10,000 gigawatts worth of new natural gas plants that would sit idle more than 97 percent of the time;

  • S.B. 7, which provides incentives for private companies to set up energy plants that can “come on within two hours and run for at least four hours”—which means even more natural gas;

  • S.B. 505, which establishes a new annual fee for electric cars registered in Texas;

  • S.B. 1287, which requires energy companies to cover more of the costs of connecting to the grid depending on distance—in what amounts to an added tax on renewable generators that often operate farther away from the central source and depend on lengthy transmission lines;

  • S.B. 2012, which would “incentivize the construction of dispatchable generation” and “require electric companies to pay generators to produce power in times of shortage.” Definition: more gas buildout, and more levies on electricity providers instead of gas producers;

  • S.B. 2014, which “eliminates Renewable Energy Credits” so as to “level the playing field” with gas sources;

  • S.B. 2015, which “creates a goal of 50% dispatchable energy” for the central grid, essentially mandating that gas sources provide at least half of Texas’ electricity at all times;

The Republican Party is definitely much worse than the Democrats, but you know, Biden could fire the fracking lobbyists in his administration, like Special Presidential Coordinator for Global Infrastructure and Energy Security Amos Hochstein and Deputy Secretary of the Interior Tommy Beaudreau, if he really wanted to restore the soul of the nation.

Not everywhere is run by suicidally stupid politics, though: Oregon’s Portland General Electric is setting up a 400 MW battery system to help them reach their target of cutting carbon pollution 80% by 2030. And wind and solar power is now generating more of our nation’s electricity than coal for the first time!

QUICK LINKS TO GOOD READS:I noticed most students were asking heavy prayers.”

Paul Ford asks his son The Three Questions of Streaming.

NEWS FROM THE HILL:I strongly oppose any measures that would essentially cannibalize Inflation Reduction Act conservation funding in order to pay for the Farm Bill conservation efforts,” Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) wrote in opposition to Republican plans to combine the programs. “For our farmers and our climate, we can and must do both.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) 50-plus year old National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)—which is by far the nation’s leading provider of flood insurance coverage— “has experienced two of its top five, four of its top ten, and ten of its top 20 costliest flood events all in the last decade alone.” This morning, FEMA’s David Maurstad, the senior executive of the NFIP, testified on the troubled program before the House Financial Services’ insurance subcommittee, recommending its multibillion-dollar debt to the federal treasury be canceled.

The Wall Street Journals Eric Niiler and Scott Calvert wrote about the $2.6 billion Army Corps of Engineers flood-control project and the $48 million seawall the Navy is building in Norfolk, Virginia, as the rising seas threaten to consume its the Norfolk base. This morning, the House Armed Services committee reviewed the $255.8 billion Navy budget request.

Hearings on the Hill:

Climate Action This Weekend:

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