Putting rumors to rest

What happens when a Biden Cabinet official joins an oil CEO Zoom call?


Thanks to former Devon Energy chairman J. Larry Nichols, Exxon CEO Darren Woods, Williams CEO Alan S. Armstrong, ConocoPhilips CEO Ryan Lance, and other fossil-fuel executives, giant fractures in Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier are bringing it to a state of imminent collapse. Glaciologist Erin Pettit will present the details at the American Geophysical Union conference today in New Orleans.

The antipodal news is not better. “The trends are consistent, alarming and undeniable,” announced NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad unveiling the 2021 Arctic Report Card. Highlight: beavers are colonizing the Arctic tundra. Tundra be damned.

When given the opportunity to confront former Devon Energy chairman J. Larry Nichols, Exxon CEO Darren Woods, Williams CEO Alan S. Armstrong, ConocoPhilips CEO Ryan Lance, and other fossil-fuel executives at a meeting of the National Petroleum Council on Tuesday, Biden’s Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm spoke loud and clear:

“I do not want to fight with any of you.”

She specifically promised that the Biden administration would never attempt to reinstate the crude oil export ban, the lifting of which during the Obama administration is a key component of the Permian climate bomb. “We wanted to put that rumor to rest,” she said, drawing a line in the sand which pointed directly to more oil.

The activists at Build Back Fossil Free were not satisfied with the strategy Granholm chose to show the oil executives who was boss in this defining confrontation for the future of civilization.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is continuing its work on international finance appointments, with a vote on the nomination of Adriana Kugler to be the U.S. member of the World Bank board of directors. The current president of the World Bank, David Malpass, was appointed in 2019, after being nominated by US President Donald Trump. He’s a real jerk.

After Biden’s election, Malpass started talking a good game on climate in public. However, FT climate reporter Camilla Hodgson uncovered that he pushed for the joint statement by development banks at the UN COP26 climate summit to be significantly watered down. The former Bear Stearns economist had made clear he had “no appetite for a long joint statement,” instead proposing “a very short statement.” Wording in the draft that was not in the final statement included that the “years to 2030 are crucial,” that banks would “shift financing towards low-carbon, climate resilient development,” and that “finance flows must urgently be made compatible with Paris Agreement goals.”

Either you bring the water to L.A. or you bring L.A. to the water: As L.A. Times reporters Hayley Smith and Lila Seidman write in propulsive prose:

Streets flooded in North Hollywood’s Arts District and other neighborhoods.

The normally constrained L.A. River roared to life, sucking vehicles down its surging waters and swamping the small islands that dot the middle of the urban waterway near Atwater Village. A man in Sylmar had to be rescued after he got swept up into its flow.

Trees were toppled in Whittier, while homeless people who normally occupy benches near the Civic Center stop downtown huddled in an alcove in an effort to stay dry.

This fossil-fueled storm comes amid extreme, fossil-fueled drought. Los Angeles had no rain last month — its driest November in nearly 30 years. This deluge won’t end the desertification.

IN GOOD NEWS, the Environmental Protection Agency is acting like it will, for the first time, take action on complaints of racial injustice from communities suffering from extreme pollution, from Flint, Michigan toConyers, Georgia. We are going to use all of our regulatory authority,EPA’s director of the External Civil Rights Compliance Office, Lilian Dorka, told E&E News reporter Kelsey Brugger. “For me, after 34 years in civil rights enforcement, it is incredibly significant that there is a goal in the agency’s strategic plan for advancing EJ and civil rights and specific agencywide commitment.”

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