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Red Sky Morning: Investor Warning

Can the 4th Circuit block the Mountain Valley Pipeline? They think so!


The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has blocked the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline for the third time, rejecting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s analysis of the fracked-gas “pipeline’s impact on endangered species, including the candy darter, a nearly extinct fish.” The court is now in a fun fight with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who tacked language mandating the pipeline’s construction onto the debt ceiling package with President Joe Biden’s blessing:

“The law passed by Congress and signed by the president is clear. The 4th Circuit no longer has jurisdiction over Mountain Valley Pipeline’s construction permits.”

Biden’s U.S. Justice Department “had filed briefs urging the 4th Circuit to dismiss the appeals challenging Mountain Valley.”

In news that the Capital Weather Gang won’t admit is related, six people died and three others were missing after the “heaviest rain ever” triggered floods and landslides in southwest Japan.

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby recently explained at a Politico lobbying event sponsored by his company that fossil-fueled global warming is leading inexorably to flight disruptions. “More heat in the atmosphere, thermodynamics 101 — we’re going to have more thunderstorms.” His company burns about 4 billion gallons of jet fuel a year.

Flood debris in Kurume, Fukuoka prefecture, Kyushu island. Credit: Kazuhiro Nogi

INFLATION REDUCTION ACT: “At least four of the fiscal 2024 House Appropriations bills released so far propose to rescind some funding included in the IRA, including a big chunk of a $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund established at the EPA.” Roll Call’s Mike Magner has the rundown.

Al Gore, increasingly critical of the fossil-fuel industry, calls the carbon capture and sequestration subsidies in the IRA a “wart.” On the upside, I guess, fossil-fuel utilities have so far expressed no interest in the technology.

In Time, author Jeff VanderMeer describes Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) as “a catastrophic climate event embodied absurdly in one person.”

Since June 24, Amazon delivery drivers in Southern California have been on strike to protest inhumanly hot working conditions. “Sometimes it reaches 135 degrees in the rear of the truck and there’s no cooling system,” driver Raj Singh told Grist data fellow Tushar Khurana.

CARBON BARONS: Dirty-well billionaire Jeffery Hildebrand, whose Hilcorp buys leaky oil and gas wells from oil majors and thus is an insane methane polluter, gets an extended profile from Benoît Morenne. Fun facts: McKinsey helped devise his business model! He owns a polo team!

Warren Buffet expands his fossil-fuel empire with Berkshire Hathaway’s purchase of Dominion’s share in the Cove Point LNG export terminal in Maryland.

INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE NEGOTIATIONS: U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry and his British counterpart Grant Shapps announced pledges of $2 billion in private money to support international climate justice at the conclusion of the Climate Finance Mobilisation Forum held at Windsor Castle. Meanwhile, the Green Climate Fund meeting in South Korea concluded after “sleepless nights and hunger pains” with a new four-year plan for the fund; Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen again pushed the U.S. line that China should be a funder instead of a recipient; China again rejected that argument.

The International Seabed Authority is meeting in Kingston, Jamaica, this week to set rules for deep-sea mining. Georgina Gustin explains that major seafood industry and marine conservancy groups are calling for a “precautionary pause” in the global race to mine deep-sea minerals, “pointing to new research that suggests excavating the ocean seabed could cause tuna populations to plummet.”

ON THE HILL: A House Financial Services hearing on Wednesday morning, Examining Environmental and Social Policy in Financial Regulation, targeted the Securities Exchange Commission with a raft of legislation obviously written by corporate lobbyists. Some of the bills would allow companies to ignore ignore all “environmental, social, or political” shareholder proposals.

Former representative Keith Ellison, the Attorney General of Minnesota, testified in favor of sustainable investing and shareholder democracy. Corporate lobbyists Lawrence Cunningham and Ted Allen testified for the Republicans. In a recent letter, Cunningham slagged the SEC’s proposed climate disclosure policy as “overzealous rulemaking that exceeds its authority” that was “heavily influenced by a small but powerful cohort of environmental activists.” Cunningham and Allen were joined by a pair of Exxon and Koch-backed activists—the Manhattan Institute’s James Copland and the American Enterprise Institute’s Benjamin Zycher, who has moved from tobacco denial to climate denial.

The hearing was something of a trainwreck, with the mediocre-to-awful Democrats Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and David Scott (D-Ga.) assailing any rules that would make fossil-fuel companies include the burning of their fossil-fuel products in their carbon footprint (in the jargon, Scope 3 emissions). Sherman and Scott want some climate realism, but not too much.

The Sustainable Investment Caucus, led by Reps. Sean Casten (D-Ill.) and Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), held a press conference following the GOP hearing. “It’s partisan to say climate change is real,” Casten noted. “Sometimes it seems partisan to say the right guys won the Civil War.”

Rep. Sean Casten (R-Ill.) speaks on behalf of the Sustainable Investment Caucus

Also this afternoon, the Senate Small Business Committee is marking up S. 943, the Small Business Disaster Damage Fairness Act of 2023, and S. 1763, the Small Business Wildfire Smoke Recovery Act, among other pieces of legislation.

Hearings on the Hill:

Climate Action Today:

Finally: I’m excited to read Peter Gleick’s “essential book” The Three Ages of Water.

Thanks for subscribing and spreading the word. Connect with me@[email protected] and@climatebrad.hillheat.com on BlueSky

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