Hoping for a villain shift

Continuing flapdoodle on the climate and plastics front


House Republicans decided yesterday to start their National Day of Mourning break early, because they are sick of each others’ faces and were about to start punching one another. After Democrats (and a minority of Republicans) passed a continuing resolution to keep the government running, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La., no relation), tried to bring the hard-right Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill to the floor yesterday morning, but hard-right Republicans blocked it by voting down the rule for debating the bill.1 So they’ve packed up, and are scheduled to return on Tuesday the 28th.

Before the GOP blew town, they threw a few bombs at the Energy and Commerce hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed power-plant climate-pollution rules. Nico Portuondo and Emma Dumain watched chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) bash the plan. She’s part of the Congressional delegation to the upcoming climate talks in Abu Dhabi, and will be overseeing hearings celebrating the fossil-fuel industry right before she leaves for the corporate oilpalooza of COP28 with the committee’s ranking member, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.).

COP28 has a lot of side events on the promise of carbon capture, but that promise is flapdoodle. It would take Adnoc, the oil company run by COP28 president Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, 343 years to capture all the carbon pollution it will produce in just the next six years.

In the words of Axios Presented by Chevron’s Ben Geman, the villainous ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods is “hoping for a vibe shift” at COP28. Portraying fossil-fuel companies as “villains is easy,” Woods conceded at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday, while arguing that the way to solve global warming is to increase the production of fossil fuels. He then ate a cute puppy.

SHINY PLASTIC PEOPLE: The global boom in gas and oil production, led by our very own United States, is plastinating the world. Aryn Baker is in Nairobi, Kenya right now to see how the global talks to end plastic pollution are going:

“The negotiations are now in their third of five rounds and have settled on a “zero draft” of a possible treaty document. Right now, that draft looks like a multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blanks list of proposals, ranging from ambitious global bans on all single-use plastic packaging and per-ton plastic production taxes that could eliminate plastic pollution by 2040, to a frankly apathetic approach that would see voluntary reductions decided at a national level (I’m looking at you, Paris Climate Accords).

By the end of the week, it is hoped, delegates will agree on a streamlined draft that will be sent to the next round of negotiations, in Ottawa in April, for fine tuning.”

Thanks, Aryn!

New York Attorney General Letitia James sued PepsiCo yesterday for “creating a public nuisance by making a huge number of plastic bottles and wrappers, some of which inevitably fall or blow into the Buffalo River when they are discarded.” In 2022, the Attorney General’s office collected thousands of pieces of plastic waste from the Buffalo River and its tributaries. Of 1,916 pieces of waste containing an identifiable brand, 17% were produced by PepsiCo.

Thanks, Letitia!

The Ohio Oil and Gas Land Management Commission approved fracking in state parks yesterday.

The National Academies hosted a webinar on America’s political transition away from fossil fuels this afternoon, with energy-and-community researchers Julia Haggerty and Daniel Raimi. If today’s newsletter had come out at a reasonable time, you could have participated live, but since it didn’t, here’s the recording to watch at your leisure.

Climate Hearings:

Climate Action Today:

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] and  @climatebrad.hillheat.com on BlueSky

1 When MAGA hard-liners kill the party-line rule votes, the only alternative for the House GOP leadership is putting up Democrat-friendly bills. Thanks!

Subscribe to Hill Heat

Climate science, policy, politics, and action

Join the conversation

or to participate.