Lowering the global coal IQ

Instead of more paths to citizenship, the White House wants more bombs to Gaza

PRESENTED BY FUTUREGREEN: The Global Alliance for Responsible, Sustainable and Clean Energy Derived From Natural Resources Such As Our Favorite Resource, One You Might Have Heard of, It’s a Really Good One, You’re Not Going to Believe This, Get Ready, It’s Coal

Emirates Airlines has been busy shuttling folks to Abu Dhabi for tomorrow’s official launch of COP28 (“Now, with more petrostate!”). Climate reporters there include newsletterists Maxine Joselow of the Washington Post Climate 202, Andrew Freedman of Axios Generate Presented by Chevron and Axios House COP 28 Presented by Boeing and NextEra (Fracked) Energy, and Suzanne Lynch of Politico’s new Global Playbook 1. Like President Joe Biden and Pope Francis, who had to cancel because he caught the flu, I won’t be part of the mix. Though I had been looking forward to jumping through skyscrapers in sustainably powered supercars, for climate.

President Joe Biden is headed instead to Pueblo, Colorado to visit the world’s largest wind turbine factory. This happens to be Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-Colo.) district, and Biden is bashing her for opposing the Inflation Reduction Act, whose renewable-energy tax credits are boosting demand for CS Wind’s products.

Matt Levine is one of the great auteurs of the newsletter form. In Money Stuff, he writes about finance, corporations, and the chicanery therein. Here’s his take on recent bold acts of fossil-fuel greenwashing:

We talked a few months ago about a company called GreenSaif Pipelines Bidco, which is Saudi Aramco. I mean, it isn’t really; it’s a special purpose vehicle that owns some Saudi Aramco pipeline joint ventures and that sold some bonds to finance them. The bonds found their way into an index of environmental, social and governance investments, because technically they were not bonds issued by an oil or pipeline company (bad ESG) but by an investment company (good ESG, or at least neutral). Even though “Pipelines” is right in the name. But “Green” is in the name first. If you were an extremely careless ESG investor — and it is arguably rational to be an extremely careless ESG investor? — you might look at that name, see the word “Green,” stop reading before you got to “Pipelines,” and buy the bonds. I guess.

The World Coal Association has rebranded itself as “FutureCoal: The Global Alliance for Sustainable Coal,” Chief Executive Officer Michelle Manook said at a press conference in Delhi.

“For too long our global coal value chain has allowed anti-coal sentiment to dominate and fragment us,” Manook said in a statement. That’s “resulted in a lowering of the global coal IQ,” which the group defines as an understanding of coal’s contribution to society.

“Lowering of the global coal IQ” is a magnificent bit of marketing and I lost several points of (regular) IQ just by reading it. But presumably the point here is that some investors, activists, governments, etc., are going to see that name and read “The Global Alliance for Sustainable” and figure “ah well that’s good then” without getting to the word “Coal.” I suppose starting with “FutureCoal:” is a mistake? Really they should put that off as long as possible. Call it “FutureGreen: The Global Alliance for Responsible, Sustainable and Clean Energy Derived From Natural Resources Such As Our Favorite Resource, One You Might Have Heard of, It’s a Really Good One, You’re Not Going to Believe This, Get Ready, It’s Coal.” No one’s gonna read that far.

If you haven’t already, I strongly recommend subscribing to Money Stuff. It’s free, and worth it.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) has signed the state’s historic climate legislation into law, a broad package with a “100% clean energy standard, increased renewable energy integration, energy conservation, and regulatory accountability.”

Poor Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-La., no relation). He is in a real crunch — GOP hardliners are simultaneously demanding he pass more appropriations bills but are also blocking them from coming to the floor. The House is set to be in session for only 16 legislative days after this week before the January 19th deadline before a partial government shutdown.

The real victims of the Beltway mess right now though are the climate migrants trying to flee drought, famine, and failed states, seeking asylum in the United States. President Biden and Senate Democrats are hinting they’re willing to exclude more migrants in order to get $106 billion in funding for the Ukraine and Israel wars. “Democrats seem resigned to accepting a revised asylum threshold,” Ryan Lizza writes, “which would result in more migrants being removed.” Instead of more paths to citizenship, the White House wants more bombs to Gaza. “For immigration reform advocates, it means their longtime priorities have been traded away and replaced with Biden’s foreign aid priorities.”

As Maryanne Chaney writes, “the current politics of immigration have turned and twisted human nature against itself and our own kind and are fostering unimaginable maltreatment of those who wish only to survive and live a better life.”

Last week, a bald eagle visited my hood. Credit: Brad Johnson

Starting at 10 am, House Natural Resources Committee ranking member Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) is leading a roundtable on historic and cultural preservation, with several other Democratic members of the committee and leading experts.

At 10 am, House Energy and Commerce’s environment and manufacturing subcommittee is holding a hearing on America’s history as the world’s greatest carbon polluter, aimed at the COP28 talks. The Republicans will present the U.S. record as the “global leader” in “reducing emissions.” Witnesses have not yet been announced.

Also at 10 am, the House Homeland Security Committee holds a hearing entitled The High North: How US Arctic Strategy Impacts Homeland Security.” Witnesses have not yet been announced.

Speaking of US Arctic strategy, at 10:15 am, House Natural Resources
Energy and Mineral Resources chair Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) is holding a hearing on his legislation, Alaska’s Right to Produce Act (H.R. 6285), which would overturn all of the Biden administration’s protections of Alaska’s coastal plain from oil and gas drilling and fast-track all proposed projects. Witnesses have not yet been announced.

At 11 am, the House Transportation and Infrastructure railroads subcommittee led by chair Troy Nehls (R-Texas) and ranking member Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.) receives testimony on the future of intercity passenger rail in America. Witnesses have not yet been announced.

Hearings on the Hill:

Climate Action Today:

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1 I am very excited to find out which global polluter will be the inaugural sponsor.

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