Looking for the silver lining

Senate Democrats look to pass the Inflation Reduction Act amid fire and flood

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The House has begun its August break, but the Senate is still in session this week, with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) hoping to get the Joe Manchin-approved Inflation Reduction Act passed. This bill, which includes $369 billion in energy spending spread out over 10 years, is designed to pass under budget reconciliation rules, so that it only needs a simple majority—in other words, a unified front of the 50 Democrats in the Senate. Challenges to passage include Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who likes ratfinking Joe Biden on behalf of hedge-fund billionaires, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) catching Covid, and the upcoming amendment vote-a-rama when the bill hits the floor.

However, progressive climate lobbyists are very much not standing in the way, even if the legislation is very much a moderate compromise that may throw Gulf Coast communities under the LNG-fueled cancer bus. As David Wallace-Wells notes, climate activists have been pilloried by the white-man political-pundit circle of jerks for daring to demand climate action, even though at every step the demand has been for a deal, even if it is inadequate.

Tonight at 7 pm, Evergreen Action has a mobilization call in support of the Manchin IRA featuring Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), political scientist Leah Stokes, and Rev. Lennox Yearwood.

Evergreen will emphasize the significantly positive, but there are some who remain unenthusiastic about the art of the politically possible. Today, Indigenous activists led a blockade of the Department of Interior to demand President Biden declare a climate emergency and end all fossil-fuel projects.

Biden’s campaign-trail promise to end fossil-fuel leasing on public lands will be permanently forbidden by the Manchin IRA, and Democratic leadership is teeing up a vote on legislation to fast-track fossil-fuel pipelines, another of Manchin’s demands. And “ExxonMobil and Chevron saw mounting oil and gas production from the US Permian Basin in Q2 2022, and outlooks continue to project double-digit growth for each in the giant West Texas and southeast New Mexico play.”

Fame is fleeting! California’s headline-seizing Oak Fire, which shut down Yosemite National Park, destroyed 180 buildings, and burned nearly 20,000 acres, is increasingly under control. The new headline-making blaze in the Golden State is the uncontained McKinney Fire near the Oregon border, which burned down 55,000 acres in just this weekend, and incinerated the town of Klamath River, including two people burned to death trying to flee in their car.

Ocean’s ‘22: The Deluge. UPS is “sending drivers out to die” in record heat. The deficit isn’t such a bad thing. The death toll from the fossil-fueled floods in eastern Kentucky is now 37, with hundreds of people still missing and more rain on the way.


Plastic bag titan Carl Allen, who sold his ocean-clogging company to Novolex for $300 million in 2016 and now searches for sunken treasure with his Triton submarine and yachts Westport Gigi, Axis, and Frigate, has literally found the silver lining amid the death of our oceans, Dalya Alberge reports. Allen has found the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas, which sank off near the Bahamas in 1656, filled with treasures looted from the Americas by the Spanish empire:

“The sea bottom is barren,” said Allen. “The colorful coral that divers remembered from the 70s is gone... It’s painfully sad. Still lying on those dead grey reefs, though, are sparkling finds.

Abrahm Lustgarden reports on other modern-day pirates of the Caribbean, telling the struggle of Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley to dig her nation out of robber-baron debt. Lustgarden buried the lede deep within his story, but I’ve dug it up:

On the other side of the negotiations was a young, ambitious investment manager out of Boston named Federico Sequeda. A portfolio manager in emerging markets for Eaton Vance, Sequeda was accustomed to buying sovereign-debt stakes in places like Vietnam and Brazil. The mutual funds he oversaw held large positions in Barbados’s bonds. . . . Sequeda didn’t think climate change — or the invention of a debt instrument to address it — was his business or responsibility.

BlackRock, for example, is now among the largest holders of Barbados’s publicly traded debt, having purchased large blocks of it once Sequeda and the creditors settled. Consider what BlackRock, which is also the largest global financier of the oil-and-gas industry, has earned directly from the processes that have caused climate warming.

I wonder what National Economic Council Director Brian Deese thinks about this.

A hearty welcome back to action for Substack climate OG Emily Atkin, whose first HEATED essay in months is about conspicuous carbon(ara) consumption in her new hometown of Los Angeles.1 And she’s hiring! She’s looking for an enterprise climate reporter ($65K-$85K, preferably LA or DC).

Climate Action Today:

Thanks for subscribing and spreading the word. DMs are open@climatebrad

1 She’s too polite to mention that the restaurant that flies its fresh pasta in from Italy to California every day is Uovo, but I’m not.

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