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Two feet of water in five hours.

The Fort Lauderdale flood; today's hearings on the Hill; Asia cooks; fossil-fuel shills


The 2018 US National Climate Assessment, prepared by the inter-agency U.S. Global Change Program, warned:

“Extreme rainfall events have increased in frequency and intensity in the Southeast, and there is high confidence they will continue to increase in the future.”

Not wanting to make our hard-working climate scientists look bad, our fossil-fueled hydrological system dumped 88 billion gallons of water on Fort Lauderdale last Wednesday. Not surprisingly, this was not very good for its residents:

Fort Lauderdale was brought to its knees on April 12 when the sky dumped 26 inches of rain on the city in the span of five hours. Several neighborhoods are still reeling from the storm. City Hall was flooded too and remained closed on Tuesday, nearly a week later.

A small plane parked next to flooded runways at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Credit: David Santiago

Not to worry, though, Gov. Ron “Puddin’ Fingers” DeSantis (R-Fla.) took charge, rushing down from promoting his book in Washington D.C. to hawk his book in South Carolina. On Thursday morning, he flew to West Chester Township, Ohio, to attend the Butler County Republican Party’s 2023 Lincoln Day event. Okay, Thursday night, he did fly back to Florida. To sign the six-week abortion ban in the middle of the night. And then he flew to Virginia’s Liberty University to pronounce, “I may have earned 50% of the vote, but that entitled to me to wield 100% of the executive power.”

For example, taking steps to prevent businesses and banks from considering climate risks in their investments.

A driver sits in a stalled Mazda MX-5 on April 12, 2023, in Dania Beach. Credit: Joe Raedle

Fort Lauderdale is in the middle of a $200 million, five-year project to strengthen the city’s storm system go from handling a maximum of 3 inches of rain in a day to 7 inches a day, so only a foot-and-a-half short of this latest storm.

Let’s check in again on the National Climate Assessment: “Much larger [increases in temperature and extreme precipitation] are simulated by the late 21st century under the higher scenario (RCP8.5), which most closely tracks with our current consumption of fossil fuels.”

As Bill McKibben notes, “We’re in for a stretch of heavy climate.”

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HEAR, HEAR: EPA administrator Michael Regan appeared before the House Agriculture Committee this morning. Rep. Tracey Mann (R-Big Ag) complained that the EPA’s tepid regulations of the toxic pesticide atrazine are still too restrictive.

Ways and Means chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.) hosts a hearing attacking Biden’s renewable-energy tax incentives, following the Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox News and the Wall Street Journal line that the tax code is now “subsidizing green corporate handouts and the Chinese Communist Party.” The all-white-white-male panel included the excellent Ben Beachy as the minority witness.

In the wake of her department’s recent approval of the ConocoPhilips Alaska Willow oil project, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland appears before the House Natural Resources oversight subcommittee to discuss her department’s $18.9 billion budget request.

And House Science hosts the inspectors general of EPA, NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the Departments of Energy and Transportation to discuss potential waste, fraud, and mismanagement.

The House Armed Services committee reviews the $185.5 billion Army budget request, of which $1.4 billion (0.7%) is climate-related. Senate appropriators review the full $16.7 billion military construction budget, and Senate Armed Services committee members review the military’s construction, energy use, and base closure plans.

Record-shattering heat is cooking Asia, with temperatures reaching 114°F in Thailand and 95-degree weather across China. The death count due to sunstroke at the Maharashtra Bhushan award event in Navi Mumbai, where temperatures broke 100°F, rose to 13. Madagascar faces catastrophic hunger after three cyclones in the course of twelve months. The Red River is continuing to swell with meltwater and appears poised to reach a crest at around 34 feet in Fargo.

TODAY IN SHILLS: The climate greenwashing lobbying group American Clean Power Association, led by fossil-industry shill Jason Grumet, is shilling for fossil fuels. Elon Musk is remaking Twitter into a climate denier sanctuary. Harvard Law School professor Jody Freeman faces new calls to step down from the board of directors of ConocoPhillips after The Guardian revealed she lobbied the Securities and Exchange Commission on behalf of the oil giant, which lavishly funds both her and the university.

Hearings on the Hill:

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