Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track global extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉
A special note: Yesterday will be the last day that I highlight COVID-19 notes and articles at the end of each post, unless we see another horrific viral variant. Instead, starting today I will link articles and notes in association with the Ukranian war.
Main Topic: Like Ostriches We Have Our Heads in the Sand…And Digging for Oil
Dear Diary. We all know by now that President Joe Biden’s Green New Deal portion of his Build Back Beter plan won’t pass Congress due to one man, Senator Joe Manchin. Is that any reason not to mention climate much in a State of the Nation speech? If we go down in defeat once, should we bury our proverbial heads in the sand?
I was not surprised to not hear much about climate in Biden’s speech given how fresh the Ukraine crisis is, but come on man! The day before the State of the Union address, the United Nations issued its most dire report yet on the climate, which was not mentioned.
Due to the lack of Russian crude entering the market and other variables, the price of gasoline is well above four dollars a gallon, which can be a nightmare for any politician. Yes, the price of our addictive heroin is high, with a lot of pressure to drill baby drill to ease the pain. The big danger here is that this is the type of situation that Republicans can use as an excuse to quickly reverse climate initiatives if they get in power after 2024.
While there will be some pain, as U.S. citizens we should look on this situation as our patriotic duty both to support Ukraine and to more quickly switch to renewables for the sake of our kids, who will have to live during a period of worsening climate. Ditch that internal combustion engine car for an all-electric. Use mass transit if possible.
Here is much more on this story from Grist:
As scientists sound the alarm on climate, Biden’s State of the Union barely mentions it
Instead, the president touted the release of “60 billion barrels of oil from reserves around the world.”
On Monday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a report that warned of “widespread, pervasive impacts” to ecosystems, people, settlements, and infrastructure if the world does not take swift action to adapt to climate change. Already, storms, floods, and other extreme weather events are displacing millions of people around the world. Heat and drought are killing crops and will put wide swaths of global populations at risk of famine. Insects and the deadly diseases they carry are migrating into new areas and jeopardizing public health. In short, things are getting worse much more quickly than even climate experts expected.
President Joe Biden didn’t talk about any of that during his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night. Instead, he talked at length about his administration’s response to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, his plan to bolster American manufacturing, and the actions he’s taken to keep the COVID-19 pandemic in check. He paid special attention to the American consumer, promising to “lower your costs” and touting and a collaborative effort between the U.S. and 30 other countries to release “60 billion barrels of oil from reserves around the world” to limit the effect of sanctions against Russia on domestic oil prices — a line that was met with rapturous applause from members of Congress.
“I want you to know that we are going to be OK,” Biden said. The IPCC report indicates the U.S. and other nations are going to be anything but OK if swift actions aren’t taken to avert further planetary warming. “Any further delay,” the IPCC report says, “will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.”
Biden made only occasional allusions to the climate crisis during the speech. “We’ll create good jobs for millions of Americans, modernizing roads, airports, ports and waterways all across America,” he said, touting the bipartisan infrastructure plan Congress passed in November, “and we’ll do it to withstand the devastating effects of the climate crisis and promote environmental justice.” He advocated for cutting energy costs for American families to the tune of $500 a year on average by providing tax credits for weatherizing homes and doubling America’s clean energy production. He said he wanted to lower the cost of electric cars and build a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations. Biden’s only bill aimed at tackling the root causes of climate change in the U.S. — the Build Back Better Act, which contains $500 billion for clean energy tax credits — is currently stalled in the Senate. Biden didn’t mention the bill by name, though he did talk up some popular provisions that appeared in previous versions of the legislation.
Undeniably, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the biggest news story in the world right now, and it makes sense that Biden spent lots of time on it. This certainly isn’t the first time climate change has taken a back seat to other political priorities in a time of crisis.
In his book A Promised Land, former President Barack Obama credits the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which unleashed 134 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, with derailing his administration’s efforts to drum up bipartisan support for a pivotal cap-and-trade bill that would have set a limit on the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. In 2020, the world’s biggest economies used money earmarked for pandemic recovery to bail out fossil fuels, opting to pour resources into polluting industries instead of investing in renewable energy. As major oil companies divest from Russian oil now, some U.S. lawmakers, including Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the senator responsible for stalling most of Biden’s climate agenda thus far, have called for bolstering American oil and gas production.
But it was striking to watch Biden, who made climate action a centerpiece of his presidential campaign and his domestic agenda during his first year in office, skate over the IPCC’s stark warning about climate change — especially when the world’s oil addiction is also a contributing factor to Russia’s attitude of impunity in Ukraine.
“Fossil fuels have driven conflict, human rights abuses and ecological catastrophes around the world for decades,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement after the address. “It’s time for President Biden to stop equivocating and fully embrace every tool at his disposal to end the fossil fuel era.”
Editor’s note: The Center for Biological Diversity is an advertiser with Grist. Advertisers have no role in Grist’s editorial decisions.
Very much related:
Here are some “ET’s” from Thursday:
Here is some more February 2022 climatology:
Here is more climate and weather news from Thursday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)
Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on Putin’s horrid war against Ukraine:
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Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”