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“We don’t produce reports just for the hell of it”

Scientists are getting pissed. Also: the Green New Deal goes on tour


The Green New Deal Network is launching a national tour — first stop, Dearborn, Michigan, this Sunday. The Green New Deal festival and rally at UAW Local 600 will celebrate the success of the United Auto Workers’ green-jobs strike against the Big 3 automakers, which includes letting electric-battery workers into the union.

“Corporate America is not going to force us to choose between good jobs and green jobs,” UAW President Shawn Fain said at his union’s victory announcement last week. “That’s a false choice.”

The Michigan Alliance for Justice in Climate is hosting Sunday’s rally, with state Reps. Jason Morgan and Dylan Wygela calling for the House passage of the major climate package approved by the state Senate last week. Senate Bills 271, 273, 502 and 519 “require that Michigan get 100 percent of its energy from carbon-free sources such as nuclear, solar, wind, geothermal or hydropower by 2040,” “require utilities to reduce energy waste through electric efficiency targets and incentives, and creates an office at the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity to workers and communities with the energy transition,” reports Garret Ellison.

The continued crimes of Michigan’s polluted air, land, and water will also be top of mind at the rally. On Tuesday, prosecutors gave up trying to hold former Gov. Rick Snyder (R-Mich.) and other officials accountable for Flint’s leaded water, after the Michigan Supreme Court ruled the prosecutors’ approach was unconstitutional. The people of Flint found this failure of justice devastating, insulting, and outrageous, Arpan Lobo reports.

“We’re not going to sit by and let President Biden campaign on climate as a done deal while people in our communities are getting cancer from pollution and kids can’t breathe on the school playground,” said Michigan Alliance for Justice in Climate’s Mikal Goodman.

In a new paper, James Hansen and 17 other climate scientists criticize the “unrealistic lethargy of ice sheet models” and warn that “under the present geopolitical approach to GHG emissions, global warming will exceed 1.5°C in the 2020s and 2°C before 2050.”

So what’s cooking in geopolitics?

Pope Francis will attend the upcoming Dubai COP28 climate conference, but President Joe Biden probably won’t. What’s the point of having a Catholic president if he’s willing to no-show the pope?

A big point of contention at the conference will be the continued failure by wealthy climate polluters like the United States to fund climate survival in the rest of the world. Saleemul Huq, the Bangladeshi-British scientist who championed the “loss and damage” fund that was authorized last year at COP27, passed away last week in Dhaka. Dr. Huq was very clear about the political hoops the billions of people he fought for had to go through to even get a chance at survival:

“The term ‘loss and damage’ is a euphemism for terms we’re not allowed to use, which are ‘liability and compensation. ‘Reparations’ is even worse.”

Activists are calling for the fund to be named after Huq, but they’ll probably settle for it actually coming into being, which is sorely in doubt.

As the loss and damage fund committee meets in Abu Dhabi, the United Nations Environment Program released its Adaptation Gap Report today, finding that climate finance is in decline even as needs grow:

The adaptation finance needed to implement domestic adaptation priorities is estimated at US$387 billion per year.  Despite these needs, public multilateral and bilateral adaptation finance flows to developing countries declined by 15 per cent to US$21 billion in 2021.

We don’t produce reports just for the hell of it,” Andrea Hinwood, chief scientist with the U.N. Environment Program, told Maxine Joselow. “Negotiators at COP28 need to think about this seriously.”

Not thinking about this seriously: Exxon. “We got very focused as a society on a narrow narrative that said, you’ve got to get rid of oil and gas,” ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods bemoaned at a friendly interview in Boston. Woods promised that Exxon would never, ever switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. “We’re not an electron company. We’re a molecule company.”

Not thinking about this seriously: Chevron. “There is gas there, there is gas in the eastern Mediterranean, you look at the world demand for gas, you look at European demand for gas—it still feels an attractive place,” Chevron vice president Colin Parfitt said about his company’s plans for new gas drilling projects in Israel. “You have to be able to see through some of this [genocide].”

Hawaii’s courts have moved decisively on climate lawsuits while other US courts quibble over jurisdiction and technical legal barriers.

A post shared by @featured_wildlife

At 10 am, the House Financial Services capital markets subcommittee examines the Securities Exchange Commission’s agenda; Republican witnesses like former Trump administration economist S.P. Kothari are decrying SEC climate risk and responsible investing guidelines.

Also at 10 am, Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) energy committee looks at deploying carbon capture utilization and sequestration and direct air capture technologies—calling for the loosening of environmental permit requirements to support these fossil-industry-backed technologies.

At 10:15 am, the House Natural Resources Committee holds its Member Day, where members of Congress can request earmarks or other special consideration of issues of concern. Halloween is the last day for members to request to testify.

At 2 pm, the House Financial Services insurance subcommittee receives testimony on factors influencing property and casualty insurance markets, a hearing originally scheduled for last week. Witnesses include reinsurance industry lobbyist Frank Nutter and Environmental Defense Fund economist Dr. Carolyn Kousky. As climate disasters put increasing pressure on insurance markets, Republicans on the committee are offering the answer of eliminating the Federal Insurance Office.

In contrast, Senate Democrats, led by Budget chair Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) have launched an investigation against insurance companies, sending letters to “the 20 largest private sector insurance companies in California, Louisiana, Florida, and Texas—a total of 41 companies—to request documents and information related to the companies’ plans to address increased underwriting losses from climate disasters.”

Hearings on the Hill:

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