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If the oil companies were all colluding...

that pesky Fujiwhara effect again!

I’m headed to Sonny’s Pizza on Georgia Ave. for the Green New Deal Happy Hour at 6:30 pm; if you’re around, why don’t you come on by and say hello?


Back in January, readers of Hill Heat got the scoop on the law-review paper by Public Citizen’s David Arkush and law professor Donald Braman calling for oil companies to be charged with homicide.

Now, the paper has been accepted by Harvard Environmental Law Review. Brian Kahn, writing for The Guardian, got a response from Guyora Binder, a distinguished professor of law at the University at Buffalo, and an expert on homicide law:

“If it turns out [fossil fuel companies] were all colluding in suppressing research about climate change and all trying to help each other continue this enterprise, then we may be [able to] hold them responsible for one another’s actions,” he said.

Asked for a response to the study, a spokesperson for the American Petroleum Institute said

. . .

I see what you did there, Brian!

Lesley Clark, writing in E&E News (owned by polluter-backed Politico), discovers that polluter lawyers like the American Association of Manufacturers’ Phil Goldberg scoff that the paper “largely based on rhetoric.” Weirdly, Jonathan Brightbill, a former Trump official who now works for a law firm with a major oil and gas practice, was also skeptical of the paper’s argument.

In contrast, David Bookbinder, who is representing several Colorado communities in a climate liability case, told Clark that “given that climate change has already killed thousands of people, and put millions more at risk, it’s encouraging to see serious thought being given to criminally prosecuting fossil fuel companies for their actions.”

Presented by ExxonMobil: Not a hurricane

One of the fun things about global warming is that our vocabulary for pre-Anthropocene weather phenomena doesn’t comprise everything we now experience. For example, what to call the deadly storm that struck most of California this week? With cyclonic rotation, low-pressure eyes, hurricane-strength winds, walls of water, thunderstorms, and tornadoes, it sure resembled a hurricane. But “technically” it’s not, so I guess we’ll go with “hurricane-like storm” and “atmospheric river” and “bomb cyclone” and “intense microcells” and “landspouts” and “Fujiwhara effect” and “sting jet” while also carefully avoiding the words “man-made global warming” or “fossil-fueled climate change” or “oil-industry industrial homicide.”

Special credit goes to CNN, which published this whiplash-inducing paragraph:

It’s unclear how the climate crisis could be influencing the number of storms that hit the West Coast, but scientists have linked it to an increase in the amount of moisture the atmosphere holds. That means storms, like these atmospheric rivers, are able to bring more moisture inland, leading to an increase in rainfall rates and flash flooding.

One of the biggest cleavages within the Democratic Party on climate policy right now is “permitting reform.” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), backed by President Joe Biden, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and policy pundits like Princeton’s Jesse Jenkins, are pushing for sharp limits on environmental protection in favor of new energy construction projects, from natural-gas pipelines and carbon-capture facilities to high-voltage electric transmission lines to copper and lithium mines. When Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tried to jam Manchin’s pro-pipeline permitting legislation through Congress last year, the coordinated effort of the environmental community managed to block it. Republicans, in contrast, found Manchin’s plan insufficiently extreme, and are pushing to strip back environmental rules in favor of industry even further.

On board with the idea of using extractive capitalism to save us from extractive capitalism, the Biden administration is pushing for approval of a massive copper mine in the sacred Apache lands of Oak Flat, Arizona. On Tuesday, Ryan Devereaux reports, “the U.S. Forest Service said it was nearing completion of an environmental impact study that will transfer land east of Phoenix to two of the world’s largest mining companies for the purpose of building one of the largest copper mines on the planet.”

Attorneys for Apache Stronghold told the court that letting Rio Tinto and BHP build the mine, a “crater in place of the current Oak Flat that could be two miles long and 1,000 feet deep,” would be “a clear violation of religious liberty laws.”

That same day, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) launched a new salvo in this fight, working with the Roosevelt Institute on a “path forward on permitting and unleashing clean energy that prioritizes rapid development and community engagement, without sacrificing environmental justice principles.” His plan builds on his previously introduced bills—the CHARGE Act for grid modernization and the LIFT Act for construction of resilient climate infrastructure. On Tuesday, Roosevelt hosted a full-day symposium on building the green transition with Sen. Markey and an all-star lineup of Green New Deal policy thinkers, including Rhianna Gunn-Wright, Jungwoo Chun, Jamie Pleune, Anthony Karefa Rogers-Wright, Adrien Salazar, Fermina Stevens, Naomi Yoder, Dana Johnson, Raul Garcia, Maria Lopez-Nuñez, Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, Nicky Sheats, Jennie Chen, Nathanael Green, Christine Powell, and Abbie Dillen.

A post shared by DC Cherry Blossom Watch 2023 (@cherryblossomwatch)

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  • 6:30 PM: Green New Deal Happy Hour at Sonny’s Pizza

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