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One must imagine Sisyphus appropriately dressed for the weather

A substantive, responsible conspiracy of euphemisms and silence


Some housekeeping up front—I can’t do this without the support of my paid subscribers, so thanks to all of you. Well, unless you’re a long-time fossil-fuel lobbyist, in which case, thanks but no thanks.

Natural gas is methane, a fossil fuel that has been in use for two centuries. In the last twenty years, it has supplanted coal as the primary fossil fuel used to generate electricity in the United States, thanks to fracking technology and laws passed during the George W. Bush and Barack “That Was Me, People” Obama administrations. Its tremendous impact on global warming has been systematically undercounted, and like all other fossil fuels, is harmful at the point of extraction, when it’s transported, and where it’s burned.

So it’s not great that industry propagandists have very successfully exploited the general sense that “natural” means “clean” and “safe” and “good.” An excellent article by Rebecca Leber puts today’s natural-gas marketing in the context of a long history of fossil-fuel deception, and makes the strong case we’d be better off calling it “fossil gas” or “methane gas.”

My only regret about this must-read about natural gas propaganda is it didn’t mention the millions Sierra Club took from frackers in the ’00s for its anti-coal campaigning as fracking took off.1

IT’S A DELIGHTMARE: An epidemic of climate silence has broken out in coverage of the fossil-fueled heat gripping California right now, with reporters finding new ways to fail to mention global warming or the pollution responsible for the heat:

  • San Francisco Chronicle: “an unusual winter heat wave that's delivering a dose of summer weather in February”

  • CNN: “Approximately 375 firefighters have been tackling the flames in unseasonably high temperatures, with five helicopters assisting the effort”

  • NBC Sports: “The Bengals aren’t accustomed to the kind of heat they’re feeling during this week’s practices in Los Angeles, or the heat forecast for Super Bowl Sunday”

  • San Jose Mercury News: Heat wave to persist through the weekend, with potential record-breaking temperatures into the 80s”

  • KPBS San Diego: “Tardy said the heat wave was caused by a strong Santa Ana wind combining with a dome of hot air along the Pacific coast.”

  • ABC7 San Francisco: “The weather is so creepily warm, there might be a new word for it. A combination of delightful and nightmare. ‘DelightMare.’”

  • San Diego Tribune: “A rare and intense winter heat wave descended on San Diego County Wednesday”

  • KTLA: Summer-like weather will hit Southern California in the dead of winter as unseasonably warm weather is expected this week”

This is the result of my search on the phrase “heat wave” in Google News, and I was expecting to find at least one result that even mentioned climate change in some way at all. But I haven’t so far, so I’m giving up.

Also, Australia is burning hot.

In good news, a federal court has reinstated protections for the gray wolf removed by the Trump administration. In a hearing earlier this week, Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), and Chuy García (D-Ill.) pushed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to implement project standards that include climate change and environmental justice for the first time. And Grist is unionizing!


NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN STRATEGY: The White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs held up mercury pollution rules for four months because they “worried that it would antagonize industry and lawmakers” as they were trying to pass the Build Back Better Act. Spoiler: industry and lawmakers killed Build Back Better anyway.

CHARLIE BROWN STRATEGY: Although Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) has made it clear that Build Back Better could not be more dead and he is no longer having conversations about it, yesterday White House climate advisor Gina McCarthy respectfully disagreed: “Build Back Better is important. We’re going to get that over the finish line. I do know that conversations are continuing with Sen. Manchin.”

PIG-WRESTLING STRATEGY: OurEnergyPolicy is peak LinkedIn climate politics. Its stated mission is “substantive, responsible dialogue on energy policy,” overseen by a board of BP, American Petroleum Institute, fossil-fuel lobbying firm Bracewell2, utility lobbying firm Schiff Hardin, Evergreen Action, and Natural Areas Conservancy big wigs. It’s mighty white of the climate advocates to collaborate with carbon-pollution executives on this project. Anyway, they’re hosting a webinar on the future of the solar industry next Wednesday, it should be great.3

The diverse Our Energy Policy board, from white oil-industry executives to white climate advocates.

Instead of having delightmares, I recommend holding those responsible for polluting our climate for their profit responsible. Justice is a salve for anxiety. @climatebrad

1. They weren’t alone, of course. Fracker money continues to have strong influence over energy policy and Democratic Party networks.

2. Bracewell & Giuliani from 2005 to 2016, until Rudy went to work for Trump.

3. I mean it! Their panels feature high-level executives, lobbyists, and government officials.

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