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Look on my Boots, Ye Frackbeasts, and despair!

Is February such a bad month? Discuss.


Yesterday’s Banking committee confirmation hearing for three Federal Reserve appointees did not disappoint, if you were hoping for climate denial and open racism from the Republican Party. Ranking member Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania summed up the Republican complaints against Sarah Bloom Raskin:

“From your repeated speeches, op-eds, podcasts, all kinds of sources, it seems very clear to me that you believe climate change is a very, very dire imminent threat, and for those reasons it is necessary and appropriate for financial regulators, including the Fed, to allocate capital away from those companies that are contributing the most to the carbon in the atmosphere. Isn't that true?

I am sad to report that Raskin did not respond, “Well, duh.”

Because I don’t read enough Daily Caller, I wasn’t prepared for the openly racist attacks at the hearing on Lisa D. Cook, a heavily credentialed and mainstream economist who happens to be a Black woman who has researched whether Jim Crow lynchings suppressed Black economic opportunity (guess what). Toomey said Cook has engaged in “extreme left wing advocacy” and “has supported race-based reparations, promoted conspiracies about Georgia voter laws, and sought to cancel those who disagree with her views.”

Better than Toomey was Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn), Trump’s ambassador to Japan. He said that Dr. Cook’s record “seems more like social science than economics and monetary policy.”

Given that economics is a social science, Hagerty’s harangue only makes sense if you change “social science” to “Black lady stuff” and “economics” to “white man stuff.”

The Energy committee confirmation hearing originally scheduled for yesterday was pushed back to next week, so Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) will have to wait for his opportunity to badger Interior nominee Laura Daniel-Davis a second time.


I ain’t saying Ye’s a gas driller

Frackwear, a trend caught by the WSJ hypebeasts back in 2013, are the “garments that would meet the OSHA requirements of oil and gas drilling sites,” elevated to major hypebeast mode this December by Kanye West, sporting “stiff, paint-flecked dungarees, a plain hoodie, and vintage Red Wing 3094 work boots” at a benefit concert with Drake, on dates with Julia Fox, at a celeb-studded slumber party in Los Angeles. Eve Andrews dives into the toxic masculinity (literally!) of shale-country chic. No news yet if Ye has surprised Julia with a hotel suite filled with fracking fluid, PFAS, and methane.

Harvard researchers have quantified how much sooner you can expect to die if you live downwind of a fracking well.

From Science: European scientists using the new TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument satellite have pinpointed that 12 percent of all methane pollution is coming from “ultra-emitting events” by frackers—sometimes pipeline leaks, but usually deliberate venting by the companies. “The countries where bursts of methane happened most frequently included the former Soviet republic of Turkmenistan, Russia, the United States, Iran, Kazakhstan and Algeria,” NPR reports, oh look there’s a western democracy hiding among the dictatorships.

EPA scientist Marina Evich is the lead author in the same issue of Science of a paper on the hyper-stable class of chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The authors warn darkly that the development and production of these “forever chemicals” is vastly outstripping our ability even to measure them. As Dr. Evich told IFL Science’s Alfredo Carpineti:

We don’t know what we don’t know. It is very difficult to look for a compound if we don’t know it exists. It’s difficult to study the toxicology if we don’t know the structure of it.”

An organic farm in Maine and a small cattle ranch in Michigan were founded to be contaminated by PFAS only last week. Fortunately, it’s not too hard to find and identify PFAS if you’ve got a 21 tesla Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer lying around.


So, Texas, how’s it going? It’s got a deep freeze right now (part of the massive, fossil-fueled winter storm that has knocked out power for hundreds of thousands of people across the country), so we’re all crossing our fingers it won’t be as bad as last year, when the fossil-fueled grid collapsed and millions were left without power for days. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is crossing his fingers that the grid is ready this time, but experts aren’t so sure.

The Guardian’s Aliya Uetova uncovers another fossil-fueled consequence of the storm: during last year’s catastrophic freeze, Texan petrochemical facilities spewed hundreds of thousands of pounds of pollutants into the air, but the air sensors of the state’s environmental regulator, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, also went offline. So the pollution, which of course primarily went into poor and minority communities, went largely unmeasured. Don’t worry, though, TCEQ says doing so is “often unnecessary.”

Roque Planas reminds us to think of the real victim: Sen. Ted Cruz.

Also: the National Butterfly Center on the Texas border is “closing indefinitely after attacks from right-wing conspiracy theorists.”

What’s going on with all the coal in China? We were warned about the ports. Build-a-Bear, After Dark. Monopoly capitalism ruined Adam Ruins Everything. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.), who received $200,000 from the wantonly criminal PG&E before it helped burn down Paradise, has certified the company as “safe.”

Tell me, tell me do, how do you feel about February? Should it take the title from April as the cruelest month? Is it unfairly maligned? It’s an open thread, I want to hear from you. — @climatebrad

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