Leaping Lizards!

Climate risk disclosure, JBS, and other burning issues


It’s Leap Day, the one magic holiday that comes once every four years1 to get our calendars back in sync with the earth’s orbit around the sun. At least in the English-speaking world, there have been fewer than 90 February 29ths—the convention of adding the intercalary day at the end of February, instead of making February 24th forty-eight hours long as the second sixth kalends of March, was not fully adopted until 1750.

After years of delay, the Securities and Exchange Commission finally intends to vote on a watered-down version of climate risk disclosure rules (“certain climate-related information”) next Wednesday, March 6th. A version of the rule was first proposed in March 2022, but it’s not like climate pollution is an urgent issue.

Although, as the Chevron-propaganda-sponsored Axios Generate climate newsletter reports, we now have “insane” winter heat across North America, shattering temperature records, spawning tornadoes and killer wildfires. Ohio’s Wright-Patterson Air Force Base was battered by one of the tornadoes, leaving planes and buildings in wreckage. Don’t tell the SEC that the insane winter heat is global:

“People in Tokyo snapped photos of pink cherry blossoms that bloomed about a month earlier than usual, while jacaranda trees that normally blossom in late March have filled Mexico City with purple buds since January.”

Sure, it’s over 100°F in parts of Mexico now, but isn’t this pretty?

A bird rests on a jacaranda tree branch in Mexico City, Mexico, February 19, 2024, more than a month earlier than when the blossoms should appear. Credit: Raquel Cunha

New York Attorney General Tish James continues to impress, announcing a major lawsuit against the criminal enterprise known as JBS, the world’s largest beef producer. JBS blatantly encourages the destruction of the Amazon rainforest for its cattle supply, hiding behind giant greenwashing campaigns such as a claim it intends to reach net-zero climate pollution by 2040. James’s suit goes directly after JBS’s professed climate commitment, noting it has “no viable plan” to reach that target. As James said:

“When companies falsely advertise their commitment to sustainability, they are misleading consumers and endangering our planet. JBS USA’s greenwashing exploits the pocketbooks of everyday Americans and the promise of a healthy planet for future generations.”

What’s happening on the Hill?

This morning, Rep. Jay Obernolte (R-Calif.), chair of the House Science oversight subcommitee, held a hearing on electric vehicle fires and first responders, following up on a GOP hearing earlier this month on lithium battery fires. The witnesses were San Bernardino County fire chief Dan Munsey, and UL Electrochemical Safety Research Institute director Dr. Judy Jeevarajan. Strangely, House Republicans are not holding hearings on any of the other threats first responders face thanks to the fossil-fuel industry, such as extreme heat, wildfires, exploding gasoline engines, exploding gas pipelines, exploding oil refineries, or, say, the foot of rain that struck Obernolte’s district last month. At the hearing, the smarmy Rep. Rich McCormick (R-Ga.) demonstrated that Gen Xers can be tedious climate deniers just like their elders.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La., no relation) has concocted yet another bizarre plan to extend the appropriations mess: the March 1st deadline for half of the appropriations bills will be pushed to March 8th, and the March 8th deadline for the rest will be March 22nd. The House is voting today on this plan under suspension (requiring a two-thirds vote), then leaving town, requiring the Senate to approve it under unanimous consent before midnight tomorrow. Will Johnson’s team then manage to release a detailed spending package for the Departments of Energy, Interior, Transportation, HUD, Commerce, Justice, and Agriculture by the March 8th deadline? We’ll find out, I guess.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is turtling out of his long-held leadership of the Republican Senate caucus, with his likely successor to be John—the climate denier John Barrasso (R-Wyo., Powder Basin coal), the climate denier John Thune (R-S.D., Williston Basin gas), or the climate denier John Cornyn (R-Texas, Permian Basin oil and gas).

(Jay Leno voice) Headlines!




All real headlines, folks.

Hearings on the Hill:

Climate Action Today:

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1 Except every year divisible by 100 but not by 400, of course.

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