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The center is the balancing point

A mea culpa, the crime of 47-Across, and words from the wise


First, a mea culpa. Every news outlet, including Hill Heat, failed to mention what should have been central to every analysis piece about Colorado’s apocalyptic, fossil-fueled Marshall Fire: that Boulder is currently suing ExxonMobil and Suncor for damages that include “increasing wildfire risk” by their decades-long strategy of preventing climate action through misinformation and political influence campaigns.

Only EXXONKNEWS, a publication from Center for Climate Integrity’s Emily Sanders, responded to the fire by discussing the ongoing lawsuit, filed in 2018 and now facing a jurisdictional ruling by Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. And Boulder isn’t the only community fighting back: “Here are hot spots to watch as climate litigation expands worldwide.”

President Joe Biden is holding his first State of the Union address on March 1st. So that’s the next deadline for whatever remains of Build Back Better to be rejected by Joe Manchin, as drives his Maserati past the coal-country cadaver of his state. The federal government is only funded through February 18, so Team Don’t Drive Everything Into A Ditch1 has its work cut out for it, even as Omicron rips through the nation’s capital.

GOOD WORKS: Gov. Roy Cooper (D-N.C.) “took executive action on Friday to set more aggressive goals for greenhouse gas reductions and zero-emission vehicles in North Carolina compared to those he set in 2018.” Idaho Power is planning to accelerate its phase out of coal power and add 3.8 GW of clean energy. And Biden has nominated climate-resilience expert Alice C. Hill to be FEMA’s Deputy Administrator for Resilience. If you’ve read her book The Fight for Climate After COVID-19, please let me know.

Flooding waters inundated Washington state last weekend. A 72-year-old man went out in the torrential rains to move his car to higher ground, but he and the car were swept away, and he drowned in his car 100 yards from his driveway. The rising seas spilled over Washington banks with record high tides two feet higher than expected. As KUOW’s John Ryan writes,

“The ongoing rise of the oceans is expected to accelerate, given the heat-trapping greenhouse gas pollution that has accumulated in the atmosphere.”

Via Bill McKibben, today’s factoid: “Something very close to forty percent of all the shipping on earth is just devoted to getting oil and coal and gas (and now some wood pellets) back and forth across the ocean.”

In a twist, crossword editor Will Shortz published the worst bit of greenwashing in the New York Times today, an honor usually reserved for the Opinion, Business, or Politics desks.

Jobs Corner: Henry Waxman’s Waxman Strategies is looking for a Vice President of Environment Technology and Policy Communications to help build their climate-tech portfolio.

It’s been more than ten years since this interview with Tim DeChristopher was published, but it remains essential reading. For example:

“With climate change, the center is this balancing point between the climate scientists on one side saying, “This is what needs to be done,” and ExxonMobil on the other. And so the center is always going to be less than what’s required for our survival.”

1. Maaaaybe a majority in Congress.

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