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Seriously, don't forget the scorpions

Beware the four horsemen of war, pestilence, famine, and private equity

In movies like The Matrix, it is the evil robots who bring about the blasted-landscape apocalypse. In the real world:

Scientists are quietly freaking out about how quickly the Arctic is melting. At least a third of the scientists and staff at EPA’s specialized forensics lab have quit or retired over the past five years. Jeff Masters reviews the fossil-fueled 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, summary: bonkers!


A catastrophic, fossil-fueled windstorm in Turkey killed at least six people on Monday, including one mother, Elif Şanver, who shielded her two-year-old daughter from falling timbers as a building’s roof collapsed on them.

“Let us not forget the scorpions,” cautions Leslie Kaufman, in a Bloomberg piece about some of the sadder, weirder, and scarier consequences of climate breakdown:

“So the next time you suffer a minor domestic calamity — an imperfect holiday or a band of marauding insects — don’t blame fate. Blame carbon.”

Let’s now celebrate some of the horsemen and women of climate destruction:

Neil Gorsuch hates the Chevron doctrine and is poised to slash it to pieces. The doctrine of Chevron deference is on the SCOTUS docket today in American Hospital Association v. Becerra. The landmark 1984 Chevron vs. NRDC decision was actually in favor of Chevron, but it ironically turned out, as a precedent, to be a key win for the environment, as it gives leeway to federal rulemaking agencies like EPA and HHS to do their jobs. Speaking of Chevron.

Mitch Landrieu (of the very oily Louisiana Landrieus) is Joe Biden’s fossil-fueled pick to oversee the implementation of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. Dorothy Slater has a grisly rundown of Landrieu’s record. Of special note is how Landrieu marked the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina (and the fifth of Deepwater Horizon), by telling Morning Joe:

“I think oil and gas production is good ... we need to make sure we keep drilling.”

For those pining for the Orwellian stylings of “clean coal” of yesteryear, the Clean Hydrogen Future Coalition, a front group for frackers like Chevron, BP, Williams, and Southern Company run by the fine lobbyists at Van Ness Feldman, and the Zero Carbon Hydrogen Coalition, another front group for frackers like Williams and Northwest Natural Gas run by Thorn Run Partners, are here to help make sure we keep drilling with this new scam.

Shannon Angielski, Executive Director of the Carbon Utilization Research Council and President of the Clean Hydrogen Future Coalition, sounds better than Shannon Angielski, Fracking Lobbyist.

Thanks to Republicans and corporatist Democrats in Congress, funding for updating FEMA’s flood maps was slashed in the reconciliation package from $3 billion to $600 million. What remains may be safe from Joe Manchin because “this is one climate resilience investment that doesn’t necessary hurt the fossil fuel sector,” hopes one staffer.

Connecticut retirees are helping private equity firms like Blackstone keep coal plants running, Reuters investigative journalist Tim McLaughlin writes. PE firms have been running the gamble of buying old, dirty coal plants required by regulators to stay online as reserve power—but when the regulations change, the gamble can go bust. Tim gave Ari Peskoe the last word on that:

“Somehow the private equity guys always make out OK. It’s everyone else who doesn’t.”

Today in Hill Hearings:


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