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Oil fuels war. Electrify for peace

What does Twitter feed insomniacs? Let's find out

PRESENTED BY SIMON & GARFUNKEL

I was awake in the early hours of this morning, so my Twitter feed came from Europe and points east. I watched the opening of the International Energy Agency ministerial meeting in Paris live. You, too can watch the uncomfortable bureaucratese of petrostate officials trying to solve global warming without threatening extractive capital all day if you’d like. Though the Europeans are pretty serious about accelerating away from fossil fuels now.

The fossil-fueled Russian invasion of Ukraine is top of mind for the energy officials, and the implications are literally reaching our shores as well. Activists from Greenpeace intercepted the Minerva Virgo oil tanker on Tuesday morning as it set about unloading its cargo of Russian oil in the port of New York, with boats featuring the banner “OIL FUELS WAR.”

A great contrast comes from Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), who is raising the clarion call: “Electrify for peace!

Also on the Wednesday morning, 3 A.M. feed: Australians dumped flood-damaged junk outside the prime minister Scott Morrison’s residence to protest his climate inaction. And, sadly, updates on the fossil-fueled storms which surged through the south last night, spawning a tornado which ripped through New Orleans, killing at least one person.

On the good tweet front, I learned that the great J. Mijin Cha has published new research on making a just transition from fossil fuels to a sustainable economy, finding through extensive interviews throughout the country that a just transition is “not just a policy package but a political project.”

THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’: Nearly every top university—M.I.T., Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Stanford, UC Berkeley to name but a few—has their climate initiatives corrupted by fossil funding. Five hundred scientists and academics have written an open letter calling on universities to stop taking fossil-fuel industry money for their climate and energy programs. The letter notes the acceptance of this dirty money not only “undermines the academic integrity of climate-related research” but also plays a “key role in greenwashing these companies’ reputations.” The many signatories include many of my friends and colleagues in the fight against climate denial and corruption, including the aforementioned J. Mijin Cha, as well as Peter Kalmus, Genevieve Guenther, John Cook, Geoffrey Supran, Robert Brulle, Karenna Gore, Nathan Phillips, and Bill McKibben. Signatory Michael Mann:

“Taking money from fossil fuel companies to support climate and energy research is a bit like taking money from Russia to study American cyber-security.”

Academics benefitting from the carbon cash, such as the politically influential Robert Stavins, Jason Bordoff, David Victor, Robert Socolow, and Jesse Jenkins, have not yet signed the letter.

YOU CAN TELL THE WORLD: Today is the last day to register to speak at the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council’s next meeting, which will take place in a week’s time on March 30th. At the meeting, WHEJAC will discuss both the beta version of the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool—which excludes race despite that being the strongest predictor of environmental injustice—and also federal government agencies’ implementation of the Justice40 Initiative, the Biden mandate that 40 percent of the benefits of various federal investments “flow to disadvantaged communities.”

Tomorrow at 10 am, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission holds its monthly meeting, and on the agenda is further discussion of its proposed greenhouse pollution rules for natural gas projects. So it’ll be worth tuning in; I know lots of fracking lobbyists will.

Speaking of those fracking lobbyists: California is finally starting to deny new fracking permits, so of course the state is being sued by Chevron. “Chevron is represented in the suit by seven lawyers from two separate Los Angeles law firms, Alston & Bird LLP and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.”

THE SOUND OF SILENCE: The “healthiest” reefs in the Great Barrier Reef are dying. “This is the first time there has been widespread bleaching during a La Niña weather pattern.”

Farmers are facing ruin in Maine’s “forever chemicals” crisis. The only reason this has become a crisis in Maine and not all across the country is that Maine is one of the few states doing comprehensive tests for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. “All sludge contains some level of PFAS, and farms across the country have increasingly used the substance as fertilizer in recent decades,” writes Tom Perkins.

THE SUN IS BURNING:

  • The staggering Antarctic heat wave brought with it a snow and rainstorm of nearly unimaginable proportions. The “snowfall led to the ice sheet gaining 69 gigatons of mass from March 16 to 18, three times the usual rate,” with “rainfall accumulation of more than an inch” along the coast. “It doesn’t even rain here almost ever,” responded scientist Jonathan Wille. “Normally they have like a few millimeters of rain per year. And it’s March — it should be getting cold.”

  • An estimated 25.3 million metric tons of plastic waste has entered our oceans and nearly two-thirds of that cannot be monitored,” scientists Atsuhiko Isobe and Shinsuke Iwasaki find. “Another 540 million metric tons of mismanaged plastic waste—nearly 10% of all plastic produced so far—is still trapped on land. Being indecomposable in nature, this half a billion metric tons of mismanaged plastics will most likely outlive humans on this planet.”

  • From glaciologist Jason Box: “Arctic land ice loss averaged 8,800 cubic meters per second between 2020 and 2021.” That’s 3.5 Olympic swimming pools per second, by the way.

GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN: “An energy company backed by Indonesian tycoon Sukanto Tanoto plans to spend $500 million this year on a long-planned liquefied natural gas project in Canada, the clearest signal yet that it may move ahead with an LNG export facility on the country’s west coast.” The facility in Squamish, British Columbia, would connect to the Eagle Mountain-Woodfibre Gas Pipeline, for which construction has begun.

JERBS: Via Olivier Laurent: The Washington Post is looking for a new photo assignment editor for their climate reporting team (salary not disclosed).

Hearings on the Hill:

Last night I had the strangest dream: I dreamed the world had all agreed to put an end to war. Thanks for subscribing and spreading the word. DMs are open@climatebrad

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