Opening the Gaetz to Hell

McCarthy out, Pope Francis in, plus a look at Virginia


Chekhov’s gun has been fired: Rep. Kevin “Lies To Everyone” McCarthy (R-Calif.) was dethroned as Speaker of the House by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and seven other disgruntled Republicans yesterday, the first time the party in charge of the House has voted to remove its speaker in the history of the United States. Making it possible for one member to bring the motion to vacate was one of the concessions McCarthy made to Gaetz in order to become Speaker at the beginning of the year.

After the vote, Speaker pro tempore Patrick “Republican ESG Working Group” McHenry (R-N.C.) took the House into recess and then kicked Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) out of her Capitol cubbyhole office, because hey, why not. Eventually, the House will be called back to vote on a new speaker, who will then face the same impossible task as McCarthy of keeping the government running past the new November 17th deadline while appeasing the insurgent hardliners.

POPE POPS OFF: Pope Francis is back with an update to his 2015 environmental encyclical, Laudate Si. On the eve of his church’s global Catholic Synod, Francis has released the apostolic exhortation Laudate Deum, which criticizes the insufficiency of the global climate talks, while holding out hope for the next round to be held in Abu Dhabi the first week of December:

“If we are confident in the capacity of human beings to transcend their petty interests and to think in bigger terms, we can keep hoping that COP28 will allow for a decisive acceleration of energy transition.”

Francis’s moral message is a critique of the arrogance of techno-optimism: “Let us stop thinking, then, of human beings as autonomous, omnipotent and limitless, and begin to think of ourselves differently, in a humbler but more fruitful way.”

He concludes that “a broad change in the irresponsible lifestyle connected with the Western model would have a significant long-term impact.”


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OUR NEWEST SENATOR: Labor-lawyer-turned-Uber-and-Airbnb-lobbyist Laphonza Butler, the current head of Emily’s List, was named by Gov. Gavin “GOB” Newsom (D-Calif.) and sworn in yesterday by Vice President Kamala Harris to fill Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s seat in the U.S. Senate. Butler is a consultant to and ally of Newsom and Harris. Butler and her wife, SEIU official Neneki Lee, have been living in D.C. since 2021 but will technically relocate to California. Butler has no history of interest in environmental, climate, or energy policy or politics.

GREEN OLD DOMINION: The KKR-owned Axel Springer-owned Politico-owned E&E News’s Scott Waldman has a great overview of the upcoming Virginia state legislature elections and the stakes for climate hawks. Some key points:

  • Republicans have a chance in about seven weeks to take full control of the Virginia state government for the first time in a decade. Virginia Democrats hold a tenuous 22-18 majority in the Senate.

  • The Virginia League of Conservation Voters announced $2 million in funding for the state Legislature races; the Democratic National Committee will be pouring in $1.2 million, and Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee another $2 million.

  • However, Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s Spirit of Virginia PAC has already spent $7 million this year and still has a $6 million war chest.

  • Youngkin blocked Virginia from being considered for a Ford electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility, and recently made it clear on Fox News that he would continue to attack Biden’s climate policy as being beneficial to China: “This laser-focus they have on driving America into a mandated electric vehicle purchase — all it does is drive us economically into the Communist Chinese Party’s hand.”

Backing the effort to flip the Virginia House of Delegates to Democratic control, Climate Hawks Vote has endorsed challengers Travis Nembhard, Lily Franklin, Joshua Cole, and Nadarius Clark. Climate Cabinet is backing eight House and five Senate candidates.

TODAY’S ACTION IN DC: At 2 pm, the Senate Commerce committee is looking back at a year of implementation of the CHIPS and Science Act, with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan, the director of the National Science Foundation.

This evening, the Koch-backed climate-denier American Legislative Exchange Council is holding its fifty-year anniversarygala” at the National Portrait Gallery.

The ALEC Extinction Watch protest rally outside ALEC’s party, organized by Greenpeace, People for the American Way, and others will probably be a lot more entertaining. There’s more about ALEC in yesterday’s Hill Heat.

QUICK HITS: Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) announced Monday that she would be revoking the lease of a Saudi-owned alfalfa venture that has for years siphoned off state water resources.

Pepco will pay more than $57 million to the District of Columbia after the electric utility discharged toxic chemicals in the city for decades, polluting the Anacostia River and other areas.

Technology consultancy ICF (formerly the Inner City Fund) has taken a look at how much more ambitious U.S. climate policy would need to be to get to net zero carbon pollution by 2050. In particular, they recommend a national zero-emissions vehicle mandate as soon as possible.

Caltrans official Jeanie Ward-Waller, hired to make California transportation planning more sustainable, was fired by Caltrans’ chief deputy director Michael Keever for fighting to make California transportation more sustainable.

As global warming takes hold, controlled burns, used to prevent catastrophic wildfires, are increasingly likely to cause catastrophic wildfires.

Some folks think it’s dumb to cut down forests to put up solar farms, because it is dumb.

Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Andrew John Stevenson has found that climate destruction is fueling the growth of companies that benefit from the aftermath of climate destruction, from Home Depot and Advanced Drainage Systems to payday lenders like World Acceptance Corp. and FirstCash Holdings.

Hearings on the Hill:

Climate Action Today:

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