Looks Not Good

"It's a little asinine" "tragic disappointment" "relentless rate"

PRESENTED BY OPTIMISTIC WOODPECKERS

Citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration is locking in long-term fossil fuel production. Jennifer Granholm’s Department of Energy yesterday authorized 15-percent boosts in liquefied natural gas shipments from two plants in construction and development: Golden Pass in Texas, owned by Exxon and Qatar, and Magnolia in Louisiana, owned by the New York-based Glenfarne Group.1 Golden Pass is not expected to start exporting until 2025, and Magnolia until 2027. Hey, maybe by that point Russia will be invading France or some such.

In return for the fossil-fuel gift to the surging LNG sector, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) lifted his hold on carbon-sequestration expert Brad Crabtree, Biden’s nominee for assistant secretary for fossil energy and carbon management at DOE.

Granholm is presenting her department’s budget to House appropriations this afternoon with a request for a 21 percent increase, where I expect both the Democrats and Republicans on the panel will pretend she isn’t doing the fossil-fuel industry’s bidding—Democrats will credit her for being a climate champion, and Republicans will demand even more obeisance to burning down the planet. Let’s see what chair Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) does.

Even before this latest news, Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, told reporters: “Biden’s climate legacy is a tragic disappointment. He has to use his executive powers and not let Joe Manchin block progress.” 

The plugged-in climate lobbyists at Evergreen Action, Sierra Club, and League of Conservation Voters have rightly heaped scorn on Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.V.) push for bipartisan energy legislation. They are, however, still pinning their hopes on a reconciliation package that could somehow get both Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) on board, though their public demands are simultaneously unacceptable and incompatible.2

On Tuesday, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Citigroup defeated shareholder resolutions to end financing of fossil-fuel projects, with only around one in six votes in favor. New York pension funds voted for the resolutions, but the giant money managers that own about 20 percent of the banks—BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard—did not. Which is so very strange, because they have so very publicly declared that they are so very dedicated to stopping climate change.

FOX NEWS UPDATE:

The world’s rainforests are disappearing at a “relentless rate,” with a climate cost equivalent to all the fossil fuels burned in India. And the boreal forests are also disappearing, with Russia suffering its worst wildfire year ever in 2021.

Good thing we have companies like BlueSource, which support a market of forest-protection carbon credits to sell as offsets for fossil-fuel polluters, right? Nope! Instead of working to protect forests at risk, BlueSource pays for credits for forests in parks and reserves that are already protected in places like Wisconsin and Michigan. As Mark Liebart, a county supervisor in Wisconsin, told reporter Ben Elgin:

It’s a little asinine to pay us to do something that was already going to happen, which could allow someone to pollute somewhere else.”

Biden’s cabinet is headed to the Hill to discuss their proposed budget for fiscal year 2023 — in addition to Granholm, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland (read more here), and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Mich.) is investigating the prospects for carbon dioxide storage in the Gulf of Mexico, and NOAA climate advisor Ko Barrett testifies about the need for urgent climate action before the House Science Committee.

Our friend Manchin is chairing a vote on the nomination of Dr. Kathryn Huff to be assistant secretary of Energy for nuclear energy, and then holding a hearing for acting director Dr. David Applegate to be director of the United States Geological Survey, Puerto Rican career diplomat Carmen Cantor to be the assistant secretary of the Interior for insular and international affairs; and MIT mechanical engineer Dr. Evelyn Wang to be director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy at the Department of Energy.

Molly Taft churns out the must-reads: Charles Koch is teaming up with fishermen to kill a Massachusetts wind farm, and a Danish dairy giant is attacking vegan “cancel culture.”

Kamala Harris promised her a fracking ban. Adding insult to environmental injustice, a sewage treatment facility in Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood plans to build a backup gas-fired power plant. Authoritarianism and global warming are both fossil-fueled. But one of Tokyo’s major railways now is 100% renewable powered!

JERB: Clean Virginia, the thorn in the side of Dominion Energy, is hiring a political director ($105K-$115K).

Hearings on the Hill:

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1 You’ll be shocked to learn that Glenfarne’s head, Brendan Duval, was hanging out with Manchin earlier this month at an LNG Allies event.

2 Manchin demands that renewable tax credits be paid for by rolling back Trump’s corporate tax cuts; Sinema is a hard no.

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