The wind felt like a hurricane

It was like being in hell


“There was smoke, the sky turned black, everything was dark. The wind felt like a hurricane. It was like being in hell.”

Vehicles and homes ablaze in Viña del Mar Photograph: Javier Torres

Vehicles and homes ablaze in Viña del Mar. Credit: Javier Torres

The death toll in Chile has reached 123 from catastrophic wildfires during their fossil-fueled summer. The Valparaíso fires have left scenes of carnage in seaside towns where families had flocked for relief from the torrid summer heat, only to find fiery death.

California is in a state of emergency, as three people have died, struck by falling trees, in the freak carbon-pollution-driven deluge battering the state. Parts of Los Angeles have seen more than 11 inches of rain, shattering historic records and causing hundreds of mudslides.

Some climate scientists believe it’s time to add Category 6 to the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale, now that by burning hundreds of billions of tons of fossil fuels we humans have created cyclones with sustained wind speeds of greater than 192 mph.

European Robin in Regent’s Park, London, January 2024

How’s that Capitol Hill eco-fascism going? Let’s check: After emerging from his goo pod, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) is “gobsmacked” that Republicans rejected the cruel anti-immigrant bill Democrats crafted on their behalf. “They literally demanded specific policy, got it, and then killed it.” No duh, Brian.

Across the pond, the always great Kate Aronoff dumps on the cowardly Tony-Blairite Keir Starmer, under whose control Labour is dumping its £28 billion green investment plan. Meanwhile, the European Commission is calling for the European Union to cut greenhouse pollution by 90 percent from 2015 levels by 2040.

A reminder that there are heroes: Stacy Swann, founder of Resilient Earth Capital, and Barbara Buchner, the global managing director of the Climate Policy Initiative, and have resigned from the Export-Import Bank’s Climate Council in protest of the Ex-Im Bank’s continued disregard for climate risk.

In particular, Lisa Friedman and Hiroko Tabuchi report, the Ex-Im Bank’s chair Reta Jo Lewis is planning to back a major expansion of Bahrain’s oil and gas fields, ignoring the climate council’s strident objections. Swann was the chair of the advisory council.

And now, this from Fox News:

A post shared by @foxes_club

At this morning’s Energy and Commerce hearing on Biden’s limited pause on new LNG export approvals, NRDC’s Gillian Gianetti shone in her testimony. Gianetti, a former oil industry attorney who was also a schoolteacher in Louisiana, noted that the already approved projects are on track to triple current U.S. export capacity, the greatest in the world, and that the administration is calling for a long-overdue assessment of whether LNG exports that destroy the climate and raise natural-gas prices domestically are in the public interest. “I don’t know what to say,” climate denier Rep. Larry Buchson (R-Ind.) pithily responded, “it’s like we’re in two different universes.” Well, yeah.

There are ten oily Democrats in favor of raising the profits of frackers at the expense of American families: the Texas representatives Marc Veasey, Henry Cuellar, Vicente Gonzalez, Colin Allred, Sylvia Garcia, and Lizzie Fletcher; openly corrupt California Reps. Jim Costa and Lou Correa, Don Davis of North Carolina, and Alaska’s Mary Peltola.1 They professed fealty to the LNG export industry in an embarrassingly smarmy letter of lobbyist talking points which should pay off in campaign donations soon.

This afternoon’s Natural Resources markup of the Mining Regulatory Clarity Act is underway, with Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) castigating the colonialist approach to mining. Grijalva also criticized the Republicans’ upcoming anti-immigration field hearing on Thursday in his state. Grijalva was particularly annoyed the field hearing is taking place at the same time as the House Democratic Issues Conference, guaranteeing no Democrats can attend.

Hearings on the Hill:

Climate Action Today:

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1 Gonzalez founded the Oil & Gas Caucus; Fletcher and Costa co-chair the Natural Gas Caucus; and a year ago, Correa and Cuellar co-founded the Energy Export Caucus.

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