After Heat, Fire

June 30, 2021

Below, What Exxon Knew, and when.

Raw Story:

Channel 4 in the U.K. published a startling expose on ExxonMobil’s lobbyists who revealed the top most important U.S. Senators who are the ones behind any legislation that might hurt the oil industry.

While many oil companies are diversifying with natural gas, it appears ExxonMobil is going all-in battling to keep “big oil” alive and well. 

“Keith McCoy is a senior ExxonMobil lobbyist on Capitol Hill and has represented the company in its liaison with the U.S. Congress for the last eight years,” explained the report.

“Did we aggressively fight against some of the science? Yes. Did we hide our science? Absolutely not,” said McCoy on camera. “Did we join some of these shadow groups to work against some of the early efforts? Yes, that’s true. But there’s nothing, there’s nothing illegal about that. We were looking out for our investments. We were looking out for our shareholders.”

McCoy compared his work with elected officials to fishing with ExxonMobil who supplies the “bait” before it “reels in” the official on issues like a carbon tax, electric cars, taxation and infrastructure.

“When you have an opportunity to talk to a member of Congress, I liken it to fishing, right? You know you have bait, you throw that bait out. And they say: ‘Oh, you want to talk about infrastructure, yeah,'” McCoy continued. “And then you start to reel them in and you start to have these conversations about federal leasing programs, you start to have these conversations about a carbon tax. You know, it’s all these opportunities that you use and to use the fishing analogy again just to kind of reel them in.”

“I make sure I get them the right information that they need so they look good. And then they help me out. They’re a captive audience. They know they need you. And I need them,” McCoy also said.

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Yes, it’s satire.

Alexandra Petri in the Washington Post:

Right now, the temperatures are bad. Much too high, very dangerous! 106 degrees Fahrenheit in Seattle? 116 in Portland? Breaking records? Breaking sidewalks? This is not what America needs. Fortunately, there is something we can do: Take prompt and decisive action on climate change on a national scale, although this may already be the new normal. Hire a charlatan to tell us that things are actually the way we would like them to be!

It is time we did an audit of the temperature. Something must be wrong with all the thermometers that is making them display these heinous numbers. Likewise, the eggs are all colluding somehow to cook when placed on a pan on the hot pavement. This kind of conspiracy between Big Egg and Big Thermometer is not unheard of and must be halted. We had better hire someone who understands what temperature it ought to be and is willing to massage the numbers until they get there.

Look, if there is one thing we learned from the last while, it is that if you look at a map and do not like the color that the map is, you can alter it using force of will alone. If the map is too red (with heat) or not red enough (with votes), you simply need to find someone who believes that this can change, and then you can change it.

Most things in reality, we have discovered, are subject to our whims. If something is wrong, we need only decide that it isn’t, and if we can get enough people to post on Facebook supporting this view, we can probably wriggle out of it. Why should the weather be any different than any element of civic life? Why should it be so harsh and contumaciously insistent on its own reality? The answer is simple: It shouldn’t! Get some auditors in and fix it, please, before it gets any hotter!

This so-called “heat dome” seems extremely suspect and is driving temperatures up artificially, when they should be in the balmy 70s or, at most, the sweltering 90s. These thermometer readings are clearly skewed in some way, no doubt because of the indoctrination of our children in schools where they are taught that human actions can impact the planet’s climate. Altering the temperatures is just a quick fix; to truly help future generations put this problem out of mind, we must change what children are taught about heat and the planet.

Why should it be 113 degrees when it could simply … not be? Once we adjust the temperatures and harass our local weathermen appropriately, I am sure they will stop telling us these awful things. Instead of 118, which seems very high, they will pick a nice, lower number, like 72, which will make everyone happy and help us to have faith in the forecast industry again.

Not Satire.

Michael Mann and Susan Hassol in the New York Times:

We’ve long known that a warming climate would yield more extremely hot weather. The science is clear on how human-caused climate change is already affecting heat waves: Global warming has caused them to be hotter, larger, longer and more frequent. What were once very rare events are becoming more common.

Heat waves now occur three times as often as they did in the 1960s — on average at least six times a year in the United States in the 2010s. Record-breaking hot months are occurring five times more often than would be expected without global warming. And heat waves have become larger, affecting 25 percent more land area in the Northern Hemisphere than they did in 1980; including ocean areas, heat waves grew 50 percent.

Meanwhile in Germany

June 30, 2021

230 deaths in Britsh Columbia since Friday.

Axios:

The big picture: The regional sales are small compared to the surge of global cooling equipment needed in the years ahead, in industrialized countries but especially the developing world.

Yes, but: Inefficient air conditioners use a lot of energy. Especially in places where electricity doesn’t come from clean sources, it’ll be a challenge to deal with the heat caused by global warming without adding even more greenhouse gas emissions.

By the numbers: Roughly 2 billion air conditioning units are in operation worldwide, per a 2020 International Energy Agency (IEA) report. The global number of units installed could rise by two-thirds by 2030, per IEA. 

  • 35% of the world’s population lives in countries where the average temperature is 77°F — extremes can vastly exceed this — and only 10% of that group own air conditioners.
  • A 2017 study in Nature Climate Change found that 30% of the world’s population is currently exposed to climatic conditions exceeding a deadly threshold for at least 20 days a year. 
  • By 2100, this percentage is projected to increase to about 48% even under a scenario with drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, or about 74% with growing emissions.

Threat level: The group Sustainable Energy for All estimates there are 1.1 billion people among the rural and urban poor at “high risk” from lack of cooling across 54 “high impact” nations.

Above, the Right Wing Watch organization provides the service of shining a light on the dangerous and growing disinformation fringe of the far right, that I think, in light of January 6, we can now all agree is no joke – and is part of the apparatus that is seeking an end to democracy in the US and globally.

Napoleon said always assume stupidity first, but this does feel targeted.

Raw Story:

The Google-run site YouTube has destroyed the one of the greatest repositories of right-wing extremism online by eliminating the channel for Right Wing Watch.

The group announced on Twitter Monday that after years of work exposing “bigoted views and dangerous conspiracy theories,” their collection has been deleted.

Then a little later

Daily Beast:

After left-wing media watchdog Right Wing Watch had been informed that its channel had been permanently suspended from YouTube on Monday morning, the online video platform reversed course hours later and reinstated the channel.

“Right Wing Watch’s YouTube channel was mistakenly suspended, but upon further review, has now been reinstated,” a YouTube spokesperson told The Daily Beast on Monday afternoon. The social-media site also suggested that the issue was a mistake due to high volume of content and that they attempted to move quickly to undo the ban.


In April, my Yale Climate Connections video was put in YouTube jail. The topic was specifically to identify the common roots of climate denial and right wing extreme disinformation.
Within minutes of the upload, the vid tripped some kind of robotic algorhythm, and no one could view it without certifying they were 21 years old and confirming their identity- at least one commenter said they had to upload photo ID.
It’s clear that something is critically amiss with Big Tech’s supposed attempt to deal with extremism and disinformation online – the purported safety net is killing our journalistic immune system that should rightly be exposing bad actors.

Meanwhile, denial of science and fact continue to be a staple of too much social media.

Guardian July 25, 2019:

The majority of YouTube videos about the climate crisis oppose the scientific consensus and “hijack” technical terms to make them appear credible, a new study has found. Researchers have warned that users searching the video site to learn about climate science may be exposed to content that goes against mainstream scientific belief.

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Like so many technologies, solar energy was invented in the US, but we allowed other nations to take the lead in deploying and manufacturing it.
One company is trying to reverse the tide.

Wall Street Journal:

WALBRIDGE, Ohio—Solar panels are part of any formula for fighting climate change, yet the U.S. makes few of them, since subsidized manufacturers in China dominate the market.

First Solar Inc. is trying to change that. It has just committed to building a new $680 million panel factory in Ohio. A key reason is the company’s confidence that Washington will have its back.

After years of decline, the fragile American solar industry is hoping for a turnabout bolstered by President Biden’s plans to make the U.S. electric grid carbon-free by 2035, and his insistence on a made-in-America transition that would create jobs and bolster industries deemed critical.

In seeking to “reshore” manufacturing that has moved offshore, the Biden administration is initially focusing on four industries to bolster with tax breaks or other government support. One is pharmaceuticals, whose importance the pandemic shows. The other three—semiconductors, advanced batteries and minerals crucial for electronics—are important for next-generation renewable energy. Many of the plans would require congressional approval.


Solar power isn’t named as an administration priority so far, but it is lobbying for tariff or tax-law support on grounds it, too, is critical to America’s future. The Biden administration already supports extending tax credits for solar-panel purchases and is weighing whether to back tax credits that would give domestic panel makers a lift and disadvantage imports. The administration also plans to require federal contractors to purchase many solar panels from U.S. suppliers. Changes in the tax code require Congress to sign on; administrative actions don’t.


In talking to administration officials, said Mark Widmar, First Solar’s chief executive, “We’ll have conversations [at the cabinet level] and they’ll say, ‘You guys are pushing an open door. We’re all in.’ ”


A White House spokeswoman wouldn’t comment on conversations but said the administration “will make investments to diversify our domestic energy sources, including solar.”


The situation of the solar-panel business illustrates some of the challenges the broader reshoring ambitions face, including divisions and conflicting interests within industries.


Solar-power manufacturers that want to build from scratch in the U.S., such as First Solar, support tariffs to fight low-priced goods from abroad. But the upward pressure that tariffs put on panel prices tends to slow the adoption of solar technology and the employment of panel installers, so that many others in the industry, including solar-panel importers and companies that install panels, oppose tariffs. The different factions support different types of tax changes, too.


Tariffs “have had a detrimental impact on the solar market,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group whose membership includes many importers and installers. “You can look at our membership all day long but the evidence shows [tariffs] haven’t worked.”

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