Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) may be most famous for opining that “Putin pays Trump…swear to God” (above)
Insists now he was kidding.

But on climate change, even one of the stupidest men in politics is bright enough to get that it looks bad if you continue to pretend that you don’t get it. Not that he wants to actually do anything about it.
Might piss off Putin.

Washington Examiner:

McCarthy issued one stark warning for his party. He said younger voters are worried about climate change and cautioned that Republicans were risking their viability in elections over the long term by ignoring this critical issue.

Most major Republican leaders have been reluctant to address climate change. Some Republicans have even referred to fears about the warming of the Earth as a hoax. But McCarthy said that voters in their late 20s are the largest demographic age group in the United States and said Republicans could permanently lose this voting bloc absent offering a climate change agenda.

“We need to have an open discussion about, what should the party look like 20 years from now, and we should be a little nervous,” McCarthy said. “We have to do something different than we’ve done.”

To that end, McCarthy said House Republicans are planning to introduce a series of bills addressing climate change. He said the legislation would seek to use conservative, free-market principles to protect the environment, rejecting Democratic proposals such as Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal.

“Let’s have that debate instead of everybody saying we’re just deniers,” McCarthy said.




Not our fault. They made us do it.


It’s rare for a current or former leader of one of the world’s largest energy firms to testify under oath about climate change. That’s why a New York courtroom was packed on Wednesday to see ex-Exxon Mobil Corp. Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson take the witness stand and explain, in the context of a securities-fraud trial, that the company knew for years how global warming was a significant threat.

“We knew, we knew it was a real issue,” said Tillerson, 67. “We knew it was a serious issue and we knew it was one that’s going to be with us now, forevermore, and it’s not something that was just suddenly going to disappear off of our concern list because it is going to be with us for certainly well beyond my lifetime.”

Tillerson, who resigned in 2016 to become President Donald Trump’s first Secretary of State, was testifying in a trial over a lawsuit by the New York attorney general. The state alleges Exxon intentionally misled investors about the way the company accounted for the financial risk of climate change. Tillerson rejected the claim, but also took the opportunity to weigh in on the existential threat of global warming.

During 3 1/2 hours of testimony, he made few concessions under questioning by New York’s attorney. He used a lengthy cross-examination by Exxon’s lawyer to cast the company in a favorable light, in contrast to claims by environmentalists and some government officials that it helped trigger climate change and exacerbated the crisis by hiding it from the public.

Tillerson didn’t deny Exxon’s role in creating the problem — which isn’t what the trial was about. But in his nuanced view, the company did its best to address the issue once it became apparent. He also said there may be plenty of blame to share, given that Exxon was providing products demanded by society.

Humanity, he said, has a hard time making changes to address the impacts of climate change because of the world’s never-ending demand for economic development and improved standards of living, which is tied directly to fossil fuels.


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This is going to be expensive.

Fox News:

Insurance has become a serious problem in California as wildfires — past and present — wreak havoc on the state.

After last year’s devastating wildfires, insurance companies are balking at fire coverage policy renewals for more than 350,000 residents in high-risk areas.

“We are seeing an increasing trend across California where people at risk of wildfires are being non-renewed by their insurer,” state Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said in a statement.

The California Department of Insurance “has seen cases where homeowners were paying an annual premium of $800-$1,000 but, upon renewal, saw increases to as high as $2,500-$5,000,” a staggering rise of more than 300 percent in most cases.

Plumas News – Quincy, CA:

Graeagle’s fire hall was packed with close to 200 community members on the evening of Sept. 20. Everyone had one thing in mind: How to make sense of the recent spate of refusals and non-renewals by their home insurance companies, triggered by recent wildfires. Many looked worriedly at the cancellation or non-renewal notices they brought with them; many were angry.

Chuck Bowman, the Graeagle Firewise Community coordinator, welcomed Ted Dobbs, a commercial and personal insurance underwriter for 40 years. He’d given this same talk two years prior to an audience of 50, he said, but recent, devastating California fires had insurers bailing out of the market where, as Dobbs put it, “people are living near trees.”

Dobbs comes from the “company side,” and he gave the perspective of someone who made assessing risk a career. He wanted to help people understand what they were up against, and why.


Insurers were kept from raising their rates by the Dept. of Insurance. Insurers couldn’t continue, at present rates, to insure entire areas which, as the fire in Paradise proved, could go up in flames.

In the meantime, getting out of the business was the safest way for insurers to avoid the possibility of tremendous losses. They were taking entire zip codes out of their portfolio. “Insurance company methodology,” said Dobbs, “is by zip code.”

“Isn’t this redlining?” asked one member of the audience. Dobbs stopped for a moment before he said, essentially, yes.

Redlining, historically used to target minority neighborhoods, draws a red line around an entire area and says the risk to do business there is too high. This, if true, is a frightening prospect for homeowners.

Tahoe Daily Tribune:

Fear and anger were palpable in the room as an estimated crowd of 500 people attended a forum on fire insurance held by Assemblyman Kevin Kiley Thursday night at the Cameron Park Community Center.

Joining Kiley in providing information and answering questions were State Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, El Dorado County Supervisors John Hidahl, Lori Parlin and Shiva Frentzen and staff from Lara’s office.

Reporting that 10 of the 20 most destructive fires in California have occurred in the last four years, Lara noted there has been a 12% increase in non-renewals of insurance policies in El Dorado County with that trend expected to continue in the future.

Going into the specifics of why insurance companies aren’t renewing policies, he noted that more of them are relying on satellite imagery of people’s property to determine if they want to write a policy and that more transparency in the process needs to take place. That way people have a chance to review their risk scores, appeal them and mitigate issues so risk scores can be lowered, he said.

Some new legislation related to insurance was passed in 2018-19, which may help. Senate Bill 824 provides non-renewal protection for all homes in a disaster area, Assembly Bill 38 provides financial assistance to homeowners to help pay to fire-harden a home and Assembly Bill 1816 increases advance notice insurers must give to policy holders of non-renewal to 75 days. Not all the laws are in effect yet.

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I started this as a one-off joke. Turns out it’s a thing.

Big crossover between climate denial and Putinism. Go figure.


In an appearance on Tony Perkins’ Washington Watch program this Tuesday, former Minnesota congresswoman and chairwoman of the Family Research Council, Michele Bachmann, discussed the Democrats’ “fake, phony” impeachment inquiry currently targeting President Trump.

“This is such a pathetic joke,” Bachmann said. “They have no candidate on the Democrat side for 2020 that they can get excited about. … They have no message, they have no record of accomplishment, they’re doing nothing in Congress, so this [impeachment] is the only thing they have to run on.”

“Our President of the United States — he is like nobody else I have ever met in my life,” she continued. “And he doesn’t scare easy and he’s gonna stare these guys down. They have no idea who they’re dealing with.”

According to Bachmann, Trump’s potential impeachment has “almost biblical implications.”

Wrapping up the segment, the two discussed the recent military operation that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and how it was strategically more significant than former President Obama’s accomplishment of taking out Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden — a feat that President Clinton failed to do.

“[Trump] understands the difference between good and evil,” Bachmann declared. “We have not seen a president with greater moral clarity than this president.”

I don’t blame them for waxing nostalgic. I wish we had the guy back.

But there might be some ulterior motives.
The Oil play is one area, where I think Obama was picking his battles and playing 4-D chess with a hostile congress, and won a few rounds.

Heated (registration req):

Let’s say oil and gas companies were all Power Rangers. If that were true, The American Petroleum Institute would be their Megazord—the huge robot monster that uses the combined power of each individual power ranger to friggin’ hulk the hell out.

The API is America’s largest oil and gas industry trade association, representing more than 400 individual oil and gas corporations. It’s also a powerful lobbying force in Washington, and has worked closely with the Trump administration to loosen environmental regulations over the last two years. Trump, in other words, has been Dragonzord—another powerful robot monster that combines with Megazord to form the more powerful Mega Dragonzord.

But as all Power Rangers fans know, the alliance between the Megazord and Dragonzord ultimately fails. And that’s sort of what’s happening with the API and Trump.

Lately, API’s biggest corporate members have been complaining that Trump is actually too anti-climate. As Justin Worland reported for TIME last week, oil and gas companies are facing “increasing pressure to act on climate change.” And Trump is only further harming public opinion of their industry by slashing climate regulations for natural gas.

API’s individual members don’t all agree on how to gain climate credibility with the public, Worland reported.

But API itself has settled on a strategy: Ditch Trump, align itself publicly with President Barack Obama, and advertise the crap out of it.

(I don’t have a Power Rangers reference for this).

API’s pro-Obama social media advertising blitz

The American Petroleum Institute has spent a combined $216,899 on about 131 Facebook ads since May of 2018. About a third of those ads have touted the oil and gas industry’s “greenhouse gas emissions reductions” or “environmental progress.”

It wasn’t until last month, however—the night of the September Democratic presidential debate—that Big Oil started using Obama in its pro-climate ads. Using hashtags #ActOnClimate and #DemDebate, API released a video montage featuring inspirational piano music and President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address.

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Associated Press via CTV:

WASHINGTON — The number of people threatened by climate change-triggered flooding is about three times higher than previously thought, a new study says. But it’s not because of more water.

It’s because the land, especially in Asia and the developing world, is several feet lower than what space-based radar has calculated, according to a study in the journal Nature Communications Tuesday.

So instead of 80 million people living in low-lying areas that would flood annually by 2050 as the world warms, this new study finds the population at risk is closer to 300 million people.


And if emissions of heat-trapping gases continue unabated and Antarctic ice melts more in a worst-case scenario, around 500 million people could be at risk by the end of the century, according to the study by Climate Central , a New Jersey based non-profit of scientists and journalists.

Space-based radar says 170 million are at risk in that scenario.

For big picture global mapping of flooding threats, the go-to technology for elevation is NASA’s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission . But that doesn’t accurately show ground, instead mistaking rooftops and tree canopies for ground with an average error of 6.5 feet (2 metres), said Climate Central chief executive officer Ben Strauss, a scientist who studies sea level rise.


For the United States, much of Europe and Australia, this is not a problem because those areas use airborne lidar radar, which is more accurate about true elevation. But in flood prone Asia and other places that’s not an option, Strauss said.

So Climate Central used the shuttle radar, artificial intelligence and 23 different variables to create a computer model that is more accurate in globally mapping elevation, Strauss said. They then tested it against the airplane-generated data in the United States and Australia and found this computer model was accurate, he said.

“This is a far greater problem than we understood,” Strauss said. “Far more people live in risky places today than we thought and the problem only multiplies in the future.”

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It may not quite pencil out, yet, in normal times, – but these are not normal times.

Customers who are losing all their grid power due to Fire-induced blackouts are motivated,  looking at their options for power production and backup.

Of course, more sales, means more production, which means lower prices, which means more sales…..

San Francisco Chronicle:

At Solaria, an Oakland company that builds solar panels and related products, the latest blackouts have triggered a “continued surge in interest and demand for those systems,” said CEO Suvi Sharma. “In a way, there is almost no other event like that to spur interest in solar systems.”

Just adding solar panels won’t help in a blackout; homeowners need a way to store the power they generate.

Sunrun has over time installed over 6,000 batteries, which cost $10,000 and help people keep the lights on and food fresh for 8 to 12 hours on a single charge. A majority opt for a lease like Krause, the company said.

“Climate change is not going away and we’re going to have to adapt to this new reality, so investing in this is better than the short-term solution,” said Audrey Lee, Sunrun vice president of energy services.

Not everyone can afford the investment, which the state recognizes. Just before the outage earlier this month, the California Public Utilities Commission expanded its low-income home solar subsidy program to provide $8.5 million in incentives annually through 2030 to reduce the cost of going solar. A new incentive program rolling out in 2020 should pay for the system for critical facilities and medical need customers, said Scott Murtishaw, senior adviser for regulatory affairs with California Solar & Storage Association. He also predicted storage costs would decrease between 10% to 20% yearly.

But when an outage hits, people want cheaper and faster options.

Before Kensington resident Lauren Tyler lost power for less than 24 hours in the last outage, she rushed to REI and spent $2,600 on GoalZero solar panels and a lithium ion battery that could keep her fridge and internet going. For her, it was worth it to prepare for next time.

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“States rights” are an important value for Republicans, when it comes to, say, keeping black people from voting.

Not so much when it comes to diluting pollution/mileage standards.

New York Times:

Breaking with some of their biggest rivals, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and Toyota said Monday they were intervening on the side of the Trump administration in an escalating battle with California over fuel economy standards for automobiles.

Their decision pits them against leading competitors, including Honda and Ford, who this year reached a deal to follow California’s stricter rules. It represents the latest twist in one of the Trump administration’s most consequential rollbacks of regulations designed to fight climate change. It has also opened a rift among the world’s biggest automakers — the very industrial giants that the Trump administration maintains it was trying to help with regulatory relief.

The Trump administration has proposed a major weakening of federal auto emissions standards set during the Obama administration, prompting California to declare that it will go its own course and keep enforcing the earlier, stricter standards.

The automakers siding with the administration, led by the industry group the Association of Global Automakers, say that the federal government, not California, has the ultimate authority to set fuel economy standards for passenger cars and trucks.

John Bozzella, chief executive of the automakers association, said the group still hoped for a middle ground. “We can still reach an agreement that is supported by all the parties,” Mr. Bozzella said.

Still, the auto industry has “historically taken the position that fuel economy is the sole purview of the federal government,” he said, “though it doesn’t have to come to that.”

The legal fight between the Trump administration and California over auto pollution rules has swelled into a battle over states’ rights and climate change that is likely to only be resolved once it reaches the Supreme Court. Its resolution could have repercussions affecting pollution regulations across the United States, as well as states’ rights to set their own environmental laws and the future contours of the auto industry.

After Mr. Trump won the presidency, automakers initially sought rollbacks in the Obama-era rules. However, the administration went further than expected in weakening the emissions rules, creating the predicament for automakers that is now dividing the industry.

Ironically, with countries around the world signaling they will be banning internal combustion engines, weakening CAFE standards ultimately makes US carmakers less competitive in a world that is moving to EVs.

NYTimes again:

Under the decades-old Clean Air Act, California has the power to write its own clean-air rules, and the state has taken the Trump administration to court to defend its authority.

Several other states have pledged to follow California’s lead in enforcing stricter standards for auto emissions, meaning that their actions have the potential to split the United States auto market, with each side selling vehicles with different sets of pollution standards.

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The widespread moral cowardice of the official classes will not impress our grandchildren.