Solar is booming!

Plus: loss and damage, orca style; and a whole lot of job listings


It’s election day in many states across the nation. Hill Heat previewed many of the top climate elections: in Virginia, Louisiana, and Mississippi, and Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Maine, and other municipal races. In today’s Climate 202, Maxine Joselow looks at Prop 7, the $10 fracked-gas-plant subsidy on the Texas ballot.

Progress is being made! At the Western Governors Association Winter Meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Interior Secretary Deb Haaland ran down the list of renewable-energy projects launched on federal lands during the Joe Biden administration, including the fully operational 500-megawatt Oberon Solar Project and 364-MW Arlington Solar Energy Center, both in the southern California desert. 46 solar, geothermal, and transmission-line projects have been approved, which combined could produce and transmit 11 gigawatts of electricity. 66 more projects (including wind) worth 33 gigawatts are in the pipeline, with hundreds more applications coming in. The administration is on track to “permit 25 gigawatts of solar, wind and geothermal production on public lands no later than 2025,” Haaland said. 

The Energy Information Agency now expects solar electricity generation to surpass hydropower next year.

The Texas government is working to screw the climate progress up, of course: they’re planning to redirect $500 million in federal climate funding with a “carbon reduction strategy” of enlarging highways.

At the end of contentious talks in Abu Dhabi, climate negotiators have agreed to a framwork for a global loss and damage fund. As Fiona Harvey reports, the fund “will be administered at first by the World Bank, and will draw on funding sources including large developing countries as well as the US, the EU and the UK.”

As a new report from the British ecosocialist think tank Common Wealth argues, a lot is owed into that fund by military superpowers, which burn truly unimaginable amounts of fossil fuels every year:

The minimum social cost of carbon attributable to the US and UK military’s direct emissions since the year of the Paris Agreement alone is $111 billion — $106 billion of this is attributable to US emissions and $5 billion to UK emissions.

Fun fact, though: “as a result of US lobbying, overseas military emissions were made exempt from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and military emissions reporting remained optional in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.”

In unrelated news, heavy rains and flash flooding have killed at least 40 people and displaced tens of thousands in Kenya and Somalia.

Plumes of smoke rise from a new isle on Iwo Jima. Credit: Setsuya Nakada

The MAGA terrorist who shot indigenous climate activist Jacob Johns at a New Mexico protest in September is now facing hate crime charges.

The EPA Inspector General Sean O’Donnell is a Trumpist creeper, but he says he’s not, so no problem.

Big Oil and Gas continues to get bigger: Kinder Morgan is buying NextEra’s south Texas fracked-gas pipeline system for $1.2 billion.

JERBS! Climate Power, the high-powered climate campaign group, is gearing up for the 2024 election with a managing director for research ($165K-$198K, DC/remote), rapid response director ($113K-$135K, DC/remote), policy advisor/Congressional liaison ($136K-$162K, DC), and the state lead for Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, or Arizona ($114K-$135K, remote).

The awesome Jane Fonda Climate PAC is hiring a social media manager ($75K - $90K, remote/LA).

Sierra Club is looking for a digital campaign strategist ($82K-$92K, remote)

Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions is hiring a new executive director ($96K-$106K, northern Virginia).

The Planetary Health Alliance is hiring a program director ($66K-$116K depending on experience, DC).

Mothers Out Front is looking to hire three senior regional managers (West, South, Northeast, $93K-$100K, regional).

The Center for Biological Diversity is on the search for a climate and energy policy specialist ($55K-$95K depending on experience, DC).

The activist-art team at Climate Clock is looking to hire a executive director ($40/hr, 20 hrs a week, remote).

Good going, orcas! Let’s look at the Hill action.

At 10 am, Senate Commerce tourism subcommittee chair Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) held a hearing on sustainable tourism in the age of fossil-fueled drought, fires, and floods, with a rare all-female panel of witnesses: Tahoe Regional Planning Agency director Julie Regan, Hilton sustainability director Jean Garris Hand, and North Carolina Appalachian tourism Amy Allison.

Also at 10 am, House Financial Services subcommittee chair Andy Barr (R-Ky.) held a hearing on financial regulators’ proposed Basel III Endgame rules and climate-risk principles for large banks. The witnesses include Thomas Hoenig of the Koch-backed Mercatus Center, conservative Wharton School professor Christina Parajon Skinner, Bryan Bashur of the Koch-backed Americans for Tax Reform, and Democratic witness Renita Marcellin of American for Financial Reform. In an amusing exchange, Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) made the Republican witnesses squirm when he asked them if they believe climate change is real: Bashur wouldn’t admit it; Hoenig claimed nobody knows how big the problem of climate change is; and Skinner said it’s “important to study.”

And House Ways and Means chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.) held a hearing attacking responsible investing principles (environmental, social, governance, aka ESG). Witnesses included former Trump official Preston Rutledge, extremist climate denier Jason Isaac, anti-ESG crusader Utah treasurer Marlo Oaks, and American Bankers Association representative Mason Bolay. The Democratic witness was the AFL-CIO’s Brandon Rees. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) mocked the proceedings:

“I believe that this hearing is based on an entirely false premise. Do you want me to believe that the retiree … is not concerned as much about whether he’s going to wake up to have his house under him tomorrow morning, when he sees the glaciers melting, that that has nothing to do with retirement?”

At 11:15 am, House Foreign Affairs began its markup on several bills, including a resolution demanding Mexico send more of its water to Texas.

And at 2:30 pm, the Senate Environment transportation subcommittee looks at roadway safety, with another all-female panel of witnesses: Pittsburgh car skeptic Karina Ricks, trucking lobbyist Brenda Neville, and North Dakota highway safety director Karin Mongeon.

Hearings on the Hill:

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