Roaming Charges: When the Old Anomaly Became the New Normal–2021, the Year in Climate

January 1

+ Through the first 10 months of 2020 there were no regions on the planet which experienced near record cold. When it came to heat, however…

+ This satellite image, taken back on 9 September 2020, shows some of the wildfires over Oregon, including the fire that drove us from our house. The view on the right utilizes SWIR bands to penetrate the smoke.

+ A new batch of research in the American Southwest shows that higher levels of arsenic in the water systems of Hispanic communities. There are, of course, no safe levels of arsenic.

+ There are more than 90,000 dams in the United States, many of those dams are at risk of failure. When they collapse, don’t rebuild them…

+ Over the past century, three of Hawai’i’s major islands, Oahu, Maui and Kauai, have lost around one-quarter of their beach shores. The Obamas have been complicit in their destruction

+ On the last day of one of the hottest years on record, featuring some of the most vicious wildfires, hurricanes and cyclones in history, Alaska is about to hit by its strongest storm in more than a century (if not ever)…

+ The combined emissions of the richest 1% of the global population account for more than twice the combined emissions of the poorest 50%. The earth’s super-rich will need to reduce their carbon footprint by a factor of 30 merely to keep within the Paris Agreement targets, which we all now know are woefully inadequate to the challenge before us.

January 8

+ A new study finds that the amount of baked-in warming from carbon pollution is enough to push temperatures past 2 degrees Celsius.

+ In which John Kerry cites the murderous PLAN Colombia as a template for the kind of climate plan he is concocting for Biden: “So we put together a plan, not unlike the plan we once put together called Plan Colombia, where we put a billion dollars on the table and managed to pull Colombia back from being a failed state.”

+ California’s 2020 wildfire season spewed enough carbon dioxide into the air to equal the emissions of 24 million cars driving over the course of a year.

+ The first three months of the water year have been extremely dry across the Southwest, a region that’s in the tightening grip of a megadrought.

January 15

+ For the third year in a row, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s fall survey of the Sacramento River delta turned up no (that is, Leo) Delta smelt, once the most abundant fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, now likely to become extinct in the wild in 2021 or 2022.

+ It’s official: 2020 was the hottest year in the global temperature record, dating back 140 years. 2020 statistically tied with the previous record holder, 2016–a year when El Niño boosted above-average temperatures.

+ Admittedly, it’s a small measure of justice, after years of villainy, that included the poisoning of an entire city and the deaths of at least 12 people, but it was a boost to the spirit to see former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder indicted this week. Now on to the people in Obama’s EPA who turned a blind eye to Flint, starting with the person Biden just named to serve as his “domestic climate advisor,” former EPA head, Gina McCarthy.

January 22

+ Biden is getting praise from the professional environmental lobby for rejoining the Paris Accords, which are, in effect, a group of post-industrial nations who have agreed to blame developing nations for their own failures to meet climate goals.

+ Biden’s business working group is busily crafting his infrastructure plan, which seems to consist of using a carbon tax to pay for more roads and bridges to burn more carbon!

+ That may be one reason Wall Street is betting on Biden to revive slumping oil and gas stocks…

+ Here’s a map by climatologist Brian Brettschneider depicting temperatures changes over the last 60 years in the US by county…

+ A new World Health Organization study suggests that limiting air pollution (especially particulate matter and NO2) could prevent at least 51,213 premature deaths each year, and nearly 125,000 deaths annually if air pollution levels were reduced to the lowest levels recorded in the study.

January 29

+ A headline for our times…”Oil Steady as Virus Deaths Rise.”

+ Leading with science…except when it contradicts the desires of some of my leading financial backers. (When Biden says he isn’t “banning fracking” that’s no malarky. The rest of his climate agenda, however, might well prove to be…)

+ New a disturbing study published this week in Nature suggests that the magnitude of human-caused Global Warming already experienced is even more dramatic compared to natural variations than previously thought and the planet is now well outside the bounds of the Holocene. The study argues that the apparent Holocene Warm Period (from 6,000 to 10,000 years ago) was likely an artifact of seasonal rather than annual proxy measurements.

+ From 2015 to 2020, the Bering Strait became ice free, on average, 18 days earlier than it did from 2010 to 2014, according to data from the American Geophysical Union. The pace and breadth of the ice loss is accelerating rapidly. In 2018, the Bering Sea held the least amount of winter ice in any winter in the past 5,500 years. Winter sea ice used to routinely extend to down beyond the uninhabited island of St. Matthew, more than 400 miles south of the Bering Strait. For the past few years, the ice has rarely reached that far south at all.

+ February is coming and it’s likely to be warm, especially in Alaska …

+ The fossil fuel lobby remains bullish on Biden and believes his “green infrastructure” plan will in the long run prove profitable for the oil and gas industry.

+ According to a story in the BBC, big battery technology (often dependent on rare earth minerals such as lithium) could make fossil fuels obsolete. We’ll have to measure the cost in terms of coups per kilowatt hour.

+ The government of Alberta paid a home-school teacher living in England $28,000 to write a report claiming hundreds of climate journalists are part of a conspiracy to end industrial civilization.

+ Overfishing and warming oceans have depleted populations of some shark and ray species by more than 70 percent in the last half-century, leaving a “gaping, growing hole” in ocean life…

February 5

+ Satellite data shows that the snowpack in the Uinta and Wasatch Mountains of Utah is melting earlier and earlier, dramatically changing when and how much Great Salt Lake is refilled.

+ Analysts at Morgan-Stanley project that by 2033, coal will no longer be part of the US power generation system. Why wait?

+ Who needs a Democratic-controlled Senate? On Thursday, seven Democratic senators joined all of the Republicans in voting for the Braun Amendment, which prohibits the EPA and the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality from banning fracking:

Bennet (CO)
Casey (PA)
Heinrich (NM)
Frackenlooper (CO)
Lujan (NM)
Manchin (WV)
Tester (MT)

+ According to a new report by the UN, the global food production system is the key driver behind biodiversity loss and species extinction. A shift to plant based diets is needed to slow the damage being done to nature.

February 12

+ By a vote of 52-48, the Senate passed a resolution backing the Keystone XL pipeline. The two Democrats who pushed it over the top? Manchin and Tester.

+ Trafigura, a multinational commodity trader, with backing from a Moscow bank, is investing in one of the biggest and potentially most destructive oil and gas development schemes in the Arctic: the Vostok Oil Project.

+ A study conducted at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, found that a reduction in shipping traffic coincided with an average decrease of 1.5 decibels in waters near the Port of Vancouver.

+ Logging is responsible for 85% percent of the carbon emissions from US forests,

+ Arch Coal Co. announced this week plans to close its massive Coal Creek mine in Wyoming, prompting one longtime coal analyst to sigh: “People are now beginning to say what used to be unspeakable: The end [of coal] is now potentially in sight.”

+ Methane emissions from coal mines are approximately 50% higher than previously estimated, according to a recent study by researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the US Environmental Protection Agency, Raven Ridge Resources and Ruby Canyon Engineering.

+ Kill it off while it’s down…

March 5

+ On Biden rejoining the Paris Accords: Obama proved that it’s a lot easier to get away with widespread oil drilling, natural gas fracking and tar-sand pipeline construction if you pretend to believe in climate change.

+ Through February 2021, the Earth’s oceans have experienced 537 consecutive months with global sea surface temperatures higher than the average for the 20th Century

+ I Shall be Released….Scientists have found that permafrost buried beneath the Arctic Ocean holds 60 billion tons of methane and 560 billion tons of organic carbon — making it one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases not currently included in climate projections.

+ And the consequences are becoming clear: Methane (CH) levels hit a record high in November 2020 at 1891.9 ppb. November 2019’s global methane abundance was 1875.6 ppb….

March 12

+ David Wallace-Wells on climatological end times: “Most people talk as if Miami and Bangladesh still have a chance of surviving; most of the scientists I spoke with assume we’ll lose them within the century, even if we stop burning fossil fuel in the next decade. Two degrees of warming used to be considered the threshold of catastrophe: tens of millions of climate refugees unleashed upon an unprepared world. Now two degrees is our goal, per the Paris climate accords, and experts give us only slim odds of hitting it.”

+ Carbon dioxide (CO₂) averaged 416.75 ppm in February 2021, a 2.41 ppm increase since February 2020, despite the COVID slowdown in the economy.

+ A study of Epaulette sharks (native to waters off Australia and New Zealand)  found that warmer ocean conditions caused by climate change accelerated the sharks’ growing process, causing them to from eggs earlier, be born exhausted and struggle for survival.

+ New Mexico’s Senate just passed Roxy’s Law, a bill banning traps, snares & poison on state/fed public lands. More than 150,000 animals in New Mexico alone have been killed this way since 2008.

+ Two-thirds of the world’s tropical rainforests have now been seriously degraded or destroyed, with more than have of the loss since 2002 taking place in the Amazon and bordering rainforests…

+ The Amazon from carbon sink to greenhouse gas emitter?

+ Are economic sanctions driving the rapid deforestation of North Korea?

+ Burned forests are not growing back the way the once did. Some of them aren’t growing back at all. The latest research in the Rocky Mountains estimates that by 2050, about 15% of the forests would not grow back if burned by stand-replacing fire because climate conditions would no longer suit them. In Alberta, Canada, nearly half of all existing forests could vanish by 2100. In the Southwestern US, which currently in the grip of a “megadrought”, nearly 30% of existing forests are at risk of converting to shrubland or another kind of ecosystem.

+ The toxic airborne particles dispersed by wildfires have resulted in 10 times as many respiratory-illness related hospitalizations as other types of pollution…

March 19

+ The Guarani people in Brazil have been violently attacked this week by ranchers who invaded Guarani lands. Survival International has put together this short video of torture victims recounting what is taking place.

+ Christopher Heinz, the step-son of Biden climate czar John Kerry, has been paid more than $1 million since 2007 to lobby for the American Petroleum Institute.

+ Smoke from western wildfires wiped out all of the air quality gains made by the slowdown from the pandemic in the US….

+ “Clean coal” is one of the most destructive oxymorons of our time, along with sustainable development, smart bombs and humanitarian intervention….

+ Enbridge, the Canadian oil and pipeline company, is “funding and incentivizing” Minnesota police departments to crack down on its opponents, most of whom are female.

+ Is the Gulf Stream itself being slowly killed off? Sure as hell looks like it

March 26

+ As the Biden administration scolds Germany and other European nations about how buying Russian natural gas is undermines their energy security, yet the US is steadily increasing its imports of Russian crude oil. Russia is now the third largest oil supplier to the U.S. market.

+ John Kerry, Biden’s climate “envoy,” said this week that the private sector, not government, will led the “fight” against climate change, and argued that regulators and elected officials work best in a support role, for the likes of Exxon and BP. This is no surprise. Kerry has always favored a neoliberal approach to environmental issue and his wife’s foundation (Heinz) has been one of the most aggressive advocates of replacing government environmental regulations with magical market forces.

+ Big Nuke is hiring….

+ Big trees store enormous amounts of carbon. In fact, experts say that just 3% of trees hold 42% of the carbon in the forest.

+ Summer weather may expand to half a year in length by the end of this century, if no mitigation efforts are done on climate change, according to a new study by the American Geophysical Union. Over the past 60 years, summer has increased by an average of 17 days across the planet.

+ An in-depth study of blood samples from children in Pennsylvania by Environmental Health News shows that the bodies of children living near fracking are contaminated with fracking-related chemicals (ethylbenzene, styrene, and toluene) at levels up to 91 times as high as the average American and substantially higher than levels seen in the average adult cigarette smoker.

+ More than 50 environmental chemicals have been found by the EPA in pregnant women and their newborns., two of the most commonly detected chemicals were perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, that are used in nonstick cookware and pizza boxes, stay in the body for prolonged periods and bio-accumulate over time. Equally worrisome is the fact that researchers know very little about 37 of the newly detected chemicals.

+ A new report found that the fracking boom that swept across Appalachia created few economic benefits or employment opportunities for local communities. The report concluded: “There has been no business case for fracking.”

April 9

+ Kamala Harris: “For years and generations, wars have been fought over oil. In a short matter of time, they will be fought over water.” Glad to see Harris admit that the US has been fighting wars for oil, though she seems a little too excited about the prospect of fighting new ones for water, don’t you think?

+ Stasis you can believe in: The Biden administration will allow oil to continue to flow through the Dakota Access Pipeline despite the ongoing threats it poses to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Missouri and the inconvenient fact that it is currently operating illegally.

+ What’s the carbon bootprint for today’s decisions by Biden to keep oil slushing through the Dakota Access Pipeline and hiking the Pentagon budget by another $10 billion? Amazing the things you can get away with after rejoining the Paris Accords…

+ In his push for high-speed rail, Biden keeps promising that trains will be able to approach the speed of jetliners, which is neither realistic nor even desirable. People just really want more legroom…

+ For the first time in history, daily CO2 concentration at Mauna Loa has topped 420 parts per million.

+ A major climate shift in the Arctic is sparking lightning-started fires that can release huge amounts of carbon dioxide and methane greenhouse gases from tundra ecosystems, where historically fires have been rare, according to a new study  in Nature Climate Change.

+ 58% of the West is now in a ‘severe’, ‘extreme’ or ‘exceptional’ drought — up from 4% of the West a year ago. This latest extreme dry spell follows two decades of mostly dry years intensified by rising temperatures.

+ According to the California Department of Water Resources, 2021 has been the third-driest water year on record for the Golden State, The department’s annual snow survey released this month recorded precipitation levels at 50 percent below the annual average. The odds are increasing for another deadly wildfire, season after last year’s record-shattering blazes.

+ Meanwhile, PG&E has been charged with five felonies and 28 misdemeanors, including unlawfully causing a fire that resulted in great bodily injury, unlawfully causing a fire that resulted in the burning of inhabited structures and unlawfully causing a fire that resulted in the burning of forest land. How this will translate into prosecutions and who, if any one,  will be put in the dock remains unclear.

+ Nearly 80 fossil fuel companies, including some of the world’s biggest names in oil and gas, reaped more than $8 billion dollars in federal COVID-related rebates and loans, little of which trickled down the actual workers in the oil and gas industry. A study by BailoutWatch show most of those same companies laid off around 60,000 people last year.

+ Extreme drought conditions prevail across much of southwestern Oregon, as well. According to the US Bureau of Reclamation, Emigrant Lake stood at 21% full, Hyatt Lake was 14% full and Howard Prairie was only 8% full last week.

+ This week’s science moment with Marjorie Taylor Greene: “How much taxes and how much money did the people back in the ice age spend to warm up the earth?… Maybe perhaps we live on a ball that *rotates* around the sun, that flies through the universe, and maybe our climate just changes.”

+ Northern California’s kelp forests, the redwoods of the sea, are in a state of collapse, from which they seem unlikely to recover.

April 16

+ A hurricane a week before the 2020 elections nearly toppled a deep-water drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico, narrowly averting a catastrophe similar to the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Yet, the incident was covered-up by the oil company and federal regulators for nearly five months and only came to light after a group of rig-workers filed a lawsuit.

+ Nuclear power is to “green” energy what economic sanctions are to “humanitarian” diplomacy…

+ Despite the pandemic, the clearing of tropical forests increased by 12 percent last year.

+ Despite the pandemic and the economic slowdown, global carbon and methane emissions continued to climb in 2020. The global surface average for carbon dioxide (CO2) was 412.5 parts per million (ppm) in 2020, rising by 2.6 ppm during the year, the fifth-highest rate of increase in NOAA’s 63-year record, following 1987, 1998, 2015 and 2016. The annual mean at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii was 414.4 ppm during 2020.

+ Climate-change driven wildfires in the western United States seem to be spreading rare fungal infections, like Valley Fever, which has increased more than sixfold in Arizona and California from 1998 to 2018, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

April 23

+ According to a “State of the Air” report from the American Lung Association, 4-in-10 Americans live in counties where the air is so toxic it could do permanent damage to your lungs. Among the worst: Fairbanks, Alaska and Los Angeles.

+ Doctor Moreau, I presume? The EPA has just approved the released into the Florida Keys of the first horde of genetically-engineered mosquitoes.

+ A new study published in Nature Communications suggests that climate change is dramatically decreasing male fertility across the spectrum of species and that fertility rates are one of the best predictors of the likelihood of extinction rates caused by global warming. The study of tropical fruit flies showed that the temperature at which males could no longer reproduce was much lower than the temperatures that killed them.

+ Last Friday night I got what I thought was an alarmist alert on my iPhone that the Portland area was under a fire warning for the next few days, a result of low humidity, high temps (80-ish) and strong east winds pouring out of the Columbia Gorge. Then on Saturday afternoon a big fire erupted right here in Oregon City. It’s mid-April. In Western Oregon. Maybe it’s happened before. But I don’t remember it…

Smoke from Oregon City forest fire. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

+ As ranches, logging operations, mines, and tourist resorts gobble up their former habitat and Ivory poachers haunt their migration routes, the range of African elephants has shrunk to just 17 percent of what it could be.

+ The discovery that Tryannosaurs hunted in packs (not as solo predators) may bolster efforts to restore the Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments to their original size, which Trump slashed by 85 percent. The reason? Both areas are littered with similar fossil sites and are vulnerable to excavation by private collectors and looters.

+ Despite spending billions, the effort to remove “space junk” is not going very well, according to a report in Scientific American. Perhaps because Elon Musk keeps putting more up junk every week…

+ Some say the world will end with a bang, others a whimper. But it may be the mad rush to produce biomass energy that finally pushes it over the edge…

+ The Great Carbon Offsets Scam, brought to you by The Nature Conservancy…

April 30

+ Paris (agreement) is burning

+ With reports that the axis of the Earth has shifted as a result of melting glacial ice, we may have to revise Karl Jaspers’ Axial Theory of History.

+ Maybe Noam will write it: “You can’t overestimate, we have maybe a decade or two, that’s it, in which we can decide to get the heating of the environment under control. If we don’t do it, we’re finished. It’s not that everybody’s going to die the next year, but we’ll be on a course that is irreversible.”

+ A study of narwhal tusks suggests that the increasing levels of mercury in their system isn’t a result of fish consumption but to climate change and the loss of sea ice.

+ The end of coal in the EU by 2030? (Don’t count on it.)

+ The water privatizers at Nestle’s are awful and their corporate assets should be seized into the public trust, but when will the State have the guts to go after the real water hogs in drought-stricken California, the Westlands and Imperial irrigation districts?

May 7

+ The average temperatures in US over last three decades reached record highs, prompting NOAA to issue new “normals“…

+ A new study from Rhodian concludes that for the first time China’s greenhouse gas emissions have exceeded the combined total from other “developed” nations. In sum, we’re fucked: “Based on our newly updated preliminary estimates for 2019, global emissions—including emissions of all six Kyoto gases, inclusive of land-use and forests and international bunkers—reached 52 gigatons of CO2-equivalent in 2019, a 11.4% increase over the past decade. China alone contributed over 27% of total global emissions, far exceeding the US—the second highest emitter—which contributed 11% of the global total. For the first time, India edged out the EU-27 for third place, coming in at 6.6% of global emissions.”

+ Alaska is losing its glaciers faster than any place in the world,  accounting for about a quarter of global mass loss, more than twice the share of other areas including the Greenland periphery and the Himalayas.

+ The Sierra Nevada snowpack is down to a mere 15% of average to date. The situation in the Southern Sierra is even more grim, where the snowpack is only 9% of the average. The cause: Far below-normal snowfall during the winter and record snowmelt rates in the Sierra over the last two months. The fire season is going to be really ugly in Cali again this summer.

+ A new study out of UC-Santa Barbara suggests that nearly 20% of the planet’s groundwater wells are facing imminent failure, a calamity that would deprive billions of people of fresh water.

+ A Beyond Meat-commissioned Life Cycle Assessment found that the Beyond Burger generates 90% less greenhouse gas emissions, requires 46% less energy, 99% less water, and 93% less land use than a burger made from U.S. beef.

+ The Biden climate plan looks a lot like the Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump nuclear plan

May 14

+ Air pollution from industrial feed lots causes about 17,900 premature deaths a year in the US.

+ People: if you insist on using a plastic bag to haul your gasoline, at least recycle it.

+ The last 12 months in California from May 2020-April 2021 were the hottest and the 2nd driest May-April period on record in in the state.

+ It’s also the driest year on record for Sequoia National Park, a really bad omen for the planets oldest, and largest, living trees…

May 21

+ Chainsaw Joe: Biden forest plan calls for increasing “treatments” (ie, logging) by 2 to 4 times, using climate change as the (bogus) rationale…If it comes down to a choice between Trump’s raking and Biden’s logging, I’m getting my rake out…

+ After close inspection, it turns out that Biden’s much vaunted moratorium on new oil drilling on federal lands may not be (Quelle surprise!) a moratorium at all

+ Gina McCarthy, Biden’s climate advisor, is pitching the infrastructure package as a green jobs program. As Obama’s gutless EPA administrator, McCarthy was the person who turned a blind eye to the poisoning of Flint. When Flint needed an emergency infrastructure “upgrade” to make its drinking water safe, McCarthy was AWOL (and Obama was sipping Flint water to show (wrongly) it was fine). The fact that she got another job with that ongoing environmental crime on her blotter sheet reveals all you really need to know about the real nature of the Biden green team and the hypocrisy of the DC “eco” groups who have lauded her appointment.

+ Jane Goodall: “30 years ago, an estimated 1 million chimpanzees lived in the wild. Today there are as few as 34,000.”

+ Freshwater gastropods are currently going extinct at a faster rate than the Cretaceous Extinction, when the biodiversity loss caused in a matter of centuries took up to ten million years to undo…Don’t worry, Biden’s got a plan for that!

May 28

+ A report by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists reports how the system of carbon offsets used by the airline industry to make claims that their carbon emissions are “net zero” is “seriously flawed.” “Seriously flawed” the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ delicate way of saying: “Total Fucking Scam.”

+ How many “tipping points” is one planet expected to endure? According to the latest climate assessment by the World Meteorological Association, there is now a 40% likelihood that global temperatures will reach 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels within the next five years, and these odds of that happening are rising.

+ The Arctic is warming three times faster than the rest of the planet, driving the rising sea levels that threaten 300 million people around the world living in coastal communities, which is, of course. This is, of course, one reason why the fossil fuel lobby is very happy with the data showing 80 percent of US High School students lack even a basic understanding of science.

+ The Biden administration continues to support Trump’s malicious oil grab policies in Alaska. This week they announced their backing for ConocoPhillips’ massively destructive Willow oil & gas project on the North Slope, while lawyers in Biden’s Justice Department continue to defend former Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s awful decision to allow the State of Alaska to build a road through the Izembek Wilderness. These decisions are all Biden’s, no arm-twisting or horse trading with Mitch or Manchin.

+ A new study estimate that it may cost the state of New Mexico $8.3 billion to clean up the waste left behind at oil and gas sites. It’s the same old story, all across the West. The mining, oil and timber corporations rip it up, abscond with the cash, leave behind poisonous rubble and the bill for cleaning it up…if it can be cleaned up.

June 4

+ Nearly 40 percent of heat-related deaths have been tied to climate change. But if the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that the only death that matters to many Americans is their own.

+ Big Oil’s New Scam: Dump your most inefficient and toxic assets on small companies, then boast about how green you’ve become, as the old wells continue to leak methane under the new control of flight-by-night shell companies and hedge funds out to make an even quicker buck than you did….”According to the new analysis, Hilcorp, which has grown by buying up decades-old oil and gas assets, has the highest methane emissions in the country, despite being the 13th-largest gas producer. Hilcorp’s methane emissions intensity, or leak rate, was almost six times higher than the average of the top 30 producers, largely caused by high emissions from its aging San Juan operations. ‘So nothing changed from the perspective of the climate, even though it certainly made ConocoPhillips look a lot better,’ said Mr. Logan of Ceres.”

+ Industrial wind farms on the Pacific Coast? They’re going to be run by the same hedge funds, banks and corporations that profited off of off-shore oil drilling. Biden’s climate change plan, to the extent that it constitutes a “plan,” aims to keep energy production in the hands of large corporations, instead of putting solar panels on each house and letting the residents sell their energy back to the power companies that have been ripping them off and poisoning the planet for decades. It’s time to democratize soft energy production.

+ While the Southwest remains in the grip of the kind of megadrought that comes around every few thousand years, the Pacific Northwest is experiencing the worst drought in more than a century with dire consequences of crops and livestock–not to mention forests and salmon.

+ Since October 1st, 2019 much of the West are missing nearly 1 year’s worth of precipitation. The center of the drought is Northern California, where up to 1.5 years’ worth of rainfall is missing over the last 20 months alone.

+ Meanwhile, the governor of Utah, Spencer Cox , is pleading with residents of the state to join in him in a “weekend of prayer” for rain. If it doesn’t rain, does that mean that God is dead, never existed or just doesn’t give a shit?

+ Just because you build mighty river-killing dams, doesn’t mean they’ll hold water. Consider the case of Lake Mead, where the pool level is now 145 feet below the old “No Wake” signs and the whole Colorado River basin water allocation scheme is facing its first shortage since Hoover Dam went up in 1935.

+ According to Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology, Alexander Kozlov: “The Russian economy stands to lose more than $67 billion by 2050 thanks to melting permafrost due to climate change.” Of course, this hasn’t slowed down Russian plans for the Vostok Project, one of the biggest oil drilling schemes in history in the Arctic….

+ Meanwhile, it appears that Arctic is melting “twice as fast” as previously thought…

+ Giant sequoias evolved to withstand almost anything: storms, fires, droughts, insects–except the climate inferno we’ve now driven the entire planet into. A draft report by fire ecologists estimates that last years fires in the Sierra Nevada Range destroyed as much as 10% percent of the world’s Giant Sequoias. They won’t come back.

+ As of May 21, at least 749 manatees have died in Florida in 2021, in a die-off that has been long-predicted and the circumstances driving it long ignored…

+ This buffoon ran the CIA and the State Department. Now he wants to run the country…

June 11

+  Despite the economic slowdown related to the pandemic, levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide peaked in May, reaching a monthly average of nearly 419 parts per million, according to scientists from Scripps and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That represents an increase from the May 2020 mean of 417 parts per million, the highest level since measurements began 63 years ago at the NOAA observatory in Mauna Loa, Hawaii. Twice in 2021, daily levels recorded at the observatory have exceeded 420 parts per million.

+ The planet is hotter now than it has been for at least the last 12,000 years. The planet may even be at its warmest for 125,000 years, although data reaching that far back is less certain.

+ Minority communities are more likely to become victims of climate disasters and less likely to receive aid when they are displaced or out of work by climate driven fires, floods, tornadoes or hurricanes…

+ The beat(downs) go on: Fire hoses soaking anti-DAPL protesters in sub-zero temperatures at Standing Rock under Obama, low-flying helicopters blinding anti-Enbridge protesters with dust and sand under Biden.

June 18

+ It was so hot in Geneva that Biden had to take off his jacket five minutes into his press conference. But not a word about climate change from him or Putin…

+ USA! USA!! USA!!! Death Valley, California, hit124ºF on Weds., making it not only the hottest spot in the US but also lhe hottest location in the world, as temperatures spiked 10 to 30 degrees above average across the western US.


+ The Week the Salmon Died:

“An extreme heat period for the Sacramento Valley is expected for the third week of June, and it is still only spring. Winter-run and spring-run adult salmon that made it to the spawning grounds below Shasta and Keswick dams earlier this winter and spring are very likely to experience highly stressful water temperatures (>60ºF) for holding and spawning. Because it is releasing too much agricultural water now, Reclamation is likely to run out of cold water in Shasta by the time that fall-run salmon arrive in Redding in October and November. The drumbeat of dying salmon will be pounding all summer and into the fall.”

+ According to the UK’s Climate Change Committee, heat-related deaths could triple to more than 7,000 a year in the UK by 2050 unless urgent efforts to tackle climate change are made.

+ What NASA describes as a “phenomenon” might more accurately be described as the future…

+ Climate change doesn’t give a damn about your quaint anachronistic concept of the “seasons“…

+ Between 2007 and 2020, oil production in the tar sands of Alberta swelled by 113.7%, from 8.3 million cubic meters a year to 17.8 million. Yet, oil and gas jobs in the region feel over he same period by 12.95%, from 150,000 to 132,800. This has long been the strategy of the oil industry: increase production while slashing the workforce.

+ Maybe the Veep should contemplate how little snow there is in the Tetons, why this might be the case and then rethink her conservation priorities, and instead of pushing for increase access, usually by car, to already overburdened national parks and wilderness areas, urge the hordes of eco-tourists to, as she did the Guatemalans, “Do not come. Do not come. Stay home.”

June 25

+ Ground temperatures topped 118F in the Arctic Circle this week, but in the US the dinner table conversation has gone like this: “Honey, did you know the high school wants to teach our kids that George Washington kept slaves?”

+ Mister Weather DJ, I’m pretty sure this isn’t the kind of Heat Wave Martha and the Vandellas were talking about. Can you spin the other one?

+ California deserts have lost nearly 40% of their plants due hotter, drier conditions driven by climate change.

+ The amount of water (acre-feet per acre) needed to grow specific crops in California (weed excepted, which consumes about 1.4 acre-feet of water per acre)…

+ Welcome back! As Lake Foul shrinks, Glen Canyon reemerges.

+ The irrigation of the lemon tree (and other) plantations is part of what’s making the water taste like dirt…

July 2

+ The Pacific Northwest, from Red Bluff to Bellingham (and large parts of Canada we know and care nothing about) just got ransacked by an insurrectionary Heat Dome. Nancy Pelosi naming a Select Committee to investigate the causes will be the surest sign Congress intends to do nothing about it. Of course, Pelosi not appointing a Select Committee to investigate the causes of the insurrectionary Heat Dome will also be a sign that Congress intends to do nothing about it.

+ I set up a nerf basketball hoop for the grandkids last week. By Sunday afternoon, it had melted like one of Dali’s clocks. I guess it’s soccer fields for them…

+ The heat waves, (if that’s what you want to call them), droughts, fires and hurricanes are happening at only 1.1 degree of warming. What’s it going to be like when the planet hits 2 degrees and then 3, which is exactly where we’re headed…Will Bezos & Musk be terraforming Mars by then?

+ Portland’s high temperature was 40 degrees above normal, 4.5 standard deviations from the mean, making it the most severe heatwave ever recorded in North America, the kind of event only expected to happen every 400 years. But these kinds of wild fluctuations usually happen in fall and spring,  almost never in summer. Portand’s deviation from the norm would be like Dallas hitting 134F or Madrid hitting 124F. (H/t Robert Rohde, Berkeley Earth).

+ Admittedly, Portland isn’t as hip as it used to be, but at 116F it’s still one-degree cooler than Salem (117F), which my late friend Larry Tuttle used to call “the city of unresolved architecture”…

+ DC’s highest ever temperature was 106F. So at 116F, Portland is now officially hotter than Hell.

+ Many states have never recorded temps as high as Portland hit on Monday, including…

• Hawaii: 98
• Mass. 107
• New York: 108
• Florida: 109
• Maryland 109
• NJ: 110
• North Carolina: 110
• Virginia: 110
• Pennsylvania: 111

+ Satellites recorded temperatures as high 122F in Washington state yesterday. (It was 118F at The Dalles) Today’s high of 95F will feel like a descending cold front. Glad I didn’t stow away my parka for the summer…

+ It hit 70F on the summit of Mount Rainier (14,411 feet above sea level), where the normal high temperature is 30F.

+ On Sunday afternoon, Lytton, British Columbia, broke the record  for the hottest temperature ever recorded in Canada with a measurement of 46.6 C (116F). Then it broke that record again on Monday. And again on Tuesday with a high of 49.6C (121F), shattering the old heat record set 84-years ago by 4.6C (8F)!

+ Here’s a map made by climate scientist Brian Brettschneider, showing all the places in Canada and the US that have ever been as hot or hotter than Lytton, BC.

+ On Thursday, a wildfire tore through the native village of Lytton, burning 90 percent of the town.

+ The fire that burned Lytton to the ground was probably ignited by lightning, lightning which may have been created by the dense heat and smoke from other fires. Over a 15 hour period this week, the fire clouds sparked 710,117 lightning strikes in BC and Alberta.

+ As we “grieve” the death of Rumsfeld, it’s time to rephrase one of the Bush team’s most cynical equations–though in this case we replace fantasy with reality. The smoking gun from climate change is a mushroom cloud: the pyrocumulus smoke plume of the Lava Fire on the northern flank of Mt. Shasta.

+ A new fire (Salt Fire) erupted Weds. afternoon south of Shasta this time, near Lakehead. I direct your attention to the lack of lake at Lakehead…(That’s the I-5 bridge over Lake Shasta. I walked under that bridge two weeks ago. The waterline was at least 200 feet below the end of the boat ramp. Lower now.)

+ The central valley town of Teviston, California is now without running water. It won’t be the only one…

+ The wildlife refuges of the Klamath Basin and Sacramento Valley–Klamath, Tule Lake, Sacramento, Delevan, Sutter and Colusa–are also drying up, with grave consequences for migratory birds, including an epidemic of avian botulism.

+ A new study found that umpires in Major League Baseball call pitches less accurately when temperatures are above 95 degrees Fahrenheit. (And K-Zone just goes offline due to PG&E power surges…)

+ Meanwhile, the Atlantic has already brewed up 5 tropical storms, including Hurricane Elsa, and the hurricane season just started …

+ The 104°F (40°C) reading at Ft. Smith near Wood Buffalo National Park in the North West Territories is the warmest temperature ever measured north of 60°N latitude.

+ Exxon’s lobbyists brag openly about about gutting Biden’s climate agenda and their smugness is truly grating. But is it really that much of an achievement to undercut policies Biden never intended to fully implement in the first place?

July 9

+ On almost every issue that matters, including the future of life on the planet, the US government, if not the entire US culture, has become a real time case study of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, where the more incompetent it becomes, the less able it is to realize that what it’s doing isn’t working. The less you know, the less you know what you don’t know.

+ There’s no more authentic celebration of the history of America than the mass detonation of incendiary devices without regard to any possible collateral damage (your dog, your kid, your neighbor’s house, the forests of the Columbia Gorge)…

+ A new report in the journal Nature Climate Change confirms the findings of other recent studies predicting that the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free by 2035: “The ability of the HadGEM3 model to realistically simulate the very warm LIG Arctic climate provides independent support for predictions of ice-free conditions by summer 2035. This should be of huge concern to Arctic communities and climate scientists.”

+ Is it merely coincidence that Ken Salazar, one of the people most responsible for the Deepwater Horizon blowout, was nominated to be Biden’s Ambassador to Mexico, then the Pemex pipeline ruptured and the Gulf of Mexico started burning again?

+ Now it’s Norway and Lapland’s turn in the oven…

+ The National Weather Service is forecasting the hottest part of Death Valley to reach 130F on Sunday, one of the highest temperatures ever forecasted by the NWS or any weather agency across the globe.

+ A couple hundred miles to the northwest, the Yosemite Valley is expected to hit 110F on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The last time it was that hot in Yosemite was 106 years ago in 1915.


+ More than 500 humans and nearly a billion sea creatures broiled to death under the heat dome that covered the Pacific Northwest last week.

+ According to the latest climate data released by NOAA, June 2021 was the hottest June on record in California. The state was an stupefying 6.8°F above normal. In the last year alone, California has experienced its hottest June, August, September and October months on record.

+ The California drought is luring more and more rattlesnakes into the backyards, porches and gardens of houses on the state’s Central Coast.

July 16

+ Despite his climate change rhetoric, Biden’s Interior Department is on pace to equal or surpass the glory days of the George W. Bush administration when it comes to the approval of new oil drilling permits on public lands. By the end of the year, the Interior Department could issue close to 6,000 permits. The last time so many were issued was fiscal year 2008, during an oil boom propelled by crude prices that hit an all-time high of $140 per barrel.

+ The National Interagency Fire Center estimates that there are already 67 large fires burning across 12 states Western states. Seven have fires reached scales of 50,000 acres or larger.

Smoke patterns from Western Fires.

+ Fires in California have burned over twice the acreage they had by this point last year. “We’re seeing fire activity that we would normally be seeing in September and October already,” said CalFire’s director Thom Porter.

+ Multnomah County, Oregon officials revealed this morning that 10 of the 54people who officially died of heat related causes during the June heat dome in Portland were houseless people living in RVs, mobile homes or their cars.

+ Over the last century, the chance of a given tropical storm becoming a Category 3 or greater has grown 8 percent every decade.

+ Shasta is melting…mudflows.

+ Here’s a 40,000 foot tall pyrocumulonimbus smoke plumes from the Sugar Fire, near Mt. Lassen…

+ Latinos make up about 18 percent of the U.S. population, but represent 37 percentof the people who live in the areas identified as facing the most extreme wildfire risks.

+ With the impending failure of the US wheat crop due to drought and excessive heat, it looks like we all may be going gluten-free, like it or not…

+ As a consequence of decades of unrelenting logging, slash burning and cattle ranching, what was once the world’s largest carbon sink, the Amazon, is now a net emitter of carbon.

July 23

+ Predictably, the press lapped up Jeff Bezos’ near space spectacle, giving dwarfish mogul’s quick in-and-out more coverage in a single day than it devoted to the threat of climate change in the last year.

+ The climate atmospheric impact of just 1000 space flights a year would equal that of all current aviation.

+ Where’s a frozen O-Ring when you need one? Melted, like the glaciers, I guess.

+ Only China and the US have the resources and power to address the three major threats to life on the planet today: extreme inequality, a killer pandemic and a killer climate. Instead, we get this…”US Air Force to Send Dozens of F-22 Fighter Jets to Pacific Amid Tensions With China.”

+ We have reached a new level of absurdity in the Arctic, where the thawing permafrost is destabilizing the TransAlaska pipeline, causing the braces that hold the pipeline to warp and bend. The solution? The Alaska Department of Natural Resources is installing a “cooling system” to refreeze swaths of tundra beneath the “black snake” of the pipeline, which hauls oil from the North Slope to Anchorage.

+ The Biden administration is moving to protect pipelines from “cyberattacks.” The pipelines themselves are a “climate attack”. Who will protect the planet from those? Not Biden.

+ Record-shattering heat hit Northern Japan on Monday. Some areas reached the mid-30s, about 10C higher than normal. The heat was so intense that the train rails were distorted in Hokkaido.

+ The Bootleg Fire, in southern Oregon, has now charred nearly 400,000 acres, an area that has had the shit logged out of it, over and over again, as shown in this map put together by ForestWatch…

+ Here’s an aerial view showing the extensive clearcutting in the northern half of the fire zone…

+ Marcus Kauffman, Oregon Department of Forestry. “The [Bootleg] fire is so large and generating so much energy and extreme heat that it’s changing the weather. Normally the weather predicts what the fire will do. In this case, the fire is predicting what the weather will do.”

+ There’s some grim irony here. The Sierra Nevada town of Quincy is the site of one of the first collaboration groups (Quincy Library Group), where grant-dependent enviro groups huddled with Big Timber to rationalize the logging of public forests, often using the threat of fire as the justification. After twenty years of such “green” logging, the town of Quincy is at risk of burning down.


+ Air conditioning is not “a solution” to the climate crisis. It’s a cause…

July 30

+ The GOP is so obsessed with proving a repeatedly discredited point (ie, that the labor shortage is the result of unskilled laborers preferring to live on unemployment than work at low-paying jobs) that often they have no idea what they hell they’re even saying. Consider the Tom McClintock’s moronic deprecation of one of the most technical and dangerous jobs around: wildland firefighting: “Enhanced unemployment benefits are causing a severe labor shortage in entry-level positions. Wildfire firefighting is hot, miserable work, but it is not skilled labor.” This guy McClintock is one of the biggest assholes on the Hill, a Hill that includes Gohmert, Boebert, Greene, Wasserman-Schultz and Hakeem Jeffries..

+ Thousands of sockeye salmon nearly boiled to death in the Little White Salmon River, a tributary of the Columbia, as water temperatures behind the dam-clogged river soared during the heat dome. Many fish died in the river, others developed a white fungus that will likely proved fatal and prevent them from spawning. Some of the afflicted salmon were captured on video by the Columbia Riverkeeper.

Don Sampson, the hereditary chief of the Walla Walla tribe and an advisory board member for the Northwest Tribal Salmon Alliance, said watching the video was like seeing his relatives die: “That’s how bad I felt. I mean I was near in tears when I saw it.”

+ There’s renewed chaffing about the water diversions from illicit pot grow operations in California. It’s been a problem for decades. But the water thefts of the marijuana growers (1.4 acre feet per acre) are nothing compared to the wasteful practices of the “legal” irrigators growing rice (5.1 acre feet per acre), grass (4.92 acre feet per acre), pistachios (4.49 acre feet per acre), almonds, alfalfa (4.48 acre feet per acre), lemons, sugar beets, rice and grapes…

+ In the Klamath River Basin, people are getting their water in buckets, as nearly 300 wells have gone dry, a consequence of over-pumping to irrigate crops and the prolonged drought.

+ Of 31 “vital signs” for the Earth—key metrics of planetary health that include greenhouse gas emissions, glacier thickness, sea-ice extent and deforestation—a new assessment in the journal BioScience found that 18 hit record highs or lows in 2020, despite the economic slowdown from the pandemic.

+ Greenland’s ice-sheets are disappearing so rapidly that the melt-off on Tuesday of this week alone was enough to cover the entire state of Florida in two inches of water.

+ The warm weather driving the collapse of permafrost across the Siberian Arctic is happening 70 years ahead of the predictions from most climate models.

+ Instead of blocking China’s role in the UK’s nuclear power program, the Ministers should break George Monbiot’s heart and cancel the whole damn thing.

August 6

The view on Thursday evening from a PG&E camera near Susanville, California, in the northern Sierra Nevada…

+ A few words about fire. The temperate forests of North America evolved with fire. Fire has been a shaping force in forest ecosystems since the end of the last ice age. Forests have adapted to fire and been reborn out of it. From Yellowstone to the Oregon Coast Range, the Siskiyous to the Sangre de Cristos, forests have burned and remained forests. Douglas-firs, redwoods, Ponderosa pines, and Giant Sequoias have all evolved and even thrived under natural fire regimes. But not now. Not with these forest-killing infernos that burn for weeks and months, killing everything in in their paths, down to the soil itself. These fires are hotter and more intense. They burn longer, spread faster, travel farther. Of course, the climate has changed and it’s a driving force behind these super-charged fires. It’s hotter and drier, in both winter and summer. The moisture content of forest soils has withered. The understories of forests are dry and crisp. The snow pack has dwindled. The fogs of summer have dissipated. The warming climate has primed the forests to burn. But the forests themselves have changed–or rather–change has been inflicted upon them. The fire-resistant old growth trees–95 percent of them, anyway–have been logged off. The forests themselves have been fractured and fragmented by clearcuts, pipelines, power corridors, monocultural plantations, and a road network that in some places exceeds 10 miles per square mile of land. Fires, most of them, start near roads, many by accident others by design. Some for sick kicks, others for profit. There’s a dark history of arson for profit in America’s forests: for the jobs that come in putting them out and “cleaning” them up. Not just in the firefighting, but the roadbuilding and logging and milling and log exports that come afterwards. Managed forests–that is logged, roaded, grazed–forests burn and they tend to burn long and hot. Under normal circumstances, logging is an accelerate not a deterrent for fire. Under these extreme climate conditions, logging has fueled the infernos that have swept the West for the last decade. Last year was the worst fire season in the West in the last 2,000 years. This year will worse. And so, likely, will be the consecutive years of the next several decades. There’s no immediate solution and all of the proposed political responses will only exacerbate the crisis. Welcome to the Pyrocene.

+ In June, about 97% of the West — Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington — was in water-deficit territory, according to the Palmer index. Utah was never drier, while Oregon and California were at their second driest on record. Idaho and Arizona were at their third driest ever, and Nevada was at its fourth driest.

+ While the carbon emissions generated by fewer than four Americans would kill one person, it would require the combined carbon dioxide emissions of 146.2 Nigerians for the same result. The worldwide average to cause that single death is 12.8 people.

+ The current version of the “Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy” (DICE) calculates the social cost of carbon to be about $37 per metric ton. The Obama administration’s estimates put the figure at $50 a ton, but the Trump administration slashed the estimate to a mere $1 per ton. The Biden administration is working on its own social cost of carbon, expected early next year; a preliminary figure released in February roughly matched the Obama administration’s.

+ The Gulf Stream is slowing down, turning into a kind of oceanic trickle. No one knows precisely what the consequences will be if the entire Atlantic settles into a doldrums but they are unlikely to be pleasant…

+ The new “bipartisan” infrastructure bill has largely been stripped of its key climate change and clean energy provisions. Call it the Brown New Deal.

+ If you’re keeping score on your Apocalypse 2021 checklist: Fires, drought, locusts, floods… and now plague.

+ Facing the worst heat wave since 1987, when more than 1,000 people died, Greece is sweltering with a string of record breaking temperatures (116F)  and hundreds of wildfires, several burning in and around Athens. Temperatures soared to 115.3 degrees Fahrenheit earlier this week as Greece recorded its hottest day on record.

+ Brace yourself, PNW, for Heat Dome: the Sequel…opening region-wide on Friday August 13th, at 100F.

+ Years, perhaps decades, too late, the state of California finally banned the pumping of water from the desiccated Sacramento River Delta region.

+ They could thrive in one of the most extreme environments on Earth…but not the Hellscape we made. Emperor Penguins, those astounding beings, appear to be doomed to extinction by the year 2100.

+ Louisiana has just passed four laws making it illegal to step foot on oil and gas industry “property,” a felony punishable by three years in prison. The law applies not just to environmental protesters, but to anyone, including families visiting the gravesites of their ancestors who had been held as slaves.

August 13

+ Global warming will get progressively worse and cannot be stopped over the next 30 years, according to the new IPCC climate assessment, because the world’s nations delayed so long (and continue to delay) in curbing emissions. A hotter, perhaps much hotter, future is now essentially locked in.

+ In the worst of five scenarios detailing how future global emissions may play out, the world faces a catastrophic 4.4°C average temperature rise by 2100, the IPCC concluded. Under all five scenarios, in the next two decades warming reaches or exceed the 1.5°C goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which also set a weaker goal of holding warming to 2°C.

+ How is the new IPCC report substantially different from any of the other IPCC reports? The planet is warming. Human activity caused it. There is only a limited amount of time to take action in order to forestall the most extreme outcome. The report is a prelude to yet another global climate conference, where more non-binding, incremental measures will be agreed upon by the very leaders who profit from inaction, amid much self-congratulatory backslapping about how fraught the process was. Meanwhile, the forests burn, the permafrost melts, the methane percolates, the droughts deepen, the seas rise, the rivers flood, and the hurricanes line up in the Atlantic basin like jetliners over O’Hare.

+ When reading the dire climate report, it’s important to keep in mind that 20 transnational corporations and the Pentagon are responsible for more than 35 percent (480 billion tonnes) of the total global carbon emissions since 1965.

Saudi Aramco 59.26 (billion tonnes of carbon dioxide)
Chevron 43.35
Gasprom 43.23
Exxon-Mobil 41.90
National Iranian Oil Co. 35.66
BP 34.02
Royal Dutch Shell 31.95
Coal India 23.12
Pemex 22.65
Petro Venezuela 15.75
Petro China 15.63
Peabody Energy 15.39
Conoco-Philips 15.23
Abu Dhabi National Oil 13.84
Kuwait National Oil 13.84
Kuwait National Petroleum 13.84
Iraq National Oil 13.48
Total SA 12.35
SonaTrach 12.30
BHP Billiton 9.80
Petrobas 8.68

+ They want us to believe the fault is shared equally, that human behavior can’t change, and thus there’s little or perhaps even nothing that can be done. This is a con. In fact, corporations are making trillions killing the atmosphere and, to this point, have no real economic or political incentive to change. These vast corporate entities don’t succumb to heat waves or perish in fires or get swept away in floods or drowned in hurricanes. They find a way to profit off the planetary catastrophe they’ve inflicted. There are few, if any clean hands, anywhere you look: the US, Russia, China, India, Venezuela. All are implicated. It’s an economic death wish that transcends what we used to think of as mere “capitalism.”

+  You can credit Al Gore for highlighting the climate crisis, if you like. But he can’t escape culpability for the fact that more than 30 years after Earth in the Balance was published, we’re in worse shape now than we were in 1990. As Cockburn & I documented in our book on Gore, he was a chief architect of the neoliberal approach to “environmentalism” (pushed by his partners in profit Fred Krupp at EDF & John Bryson at NRCD/SoCal Edison) which argued that “market forces” should be used to entice corporations to reduce their carbon emissions. This “painless” strategy, which replaced firm regulations and criminal penalties with financial incentives and more tax breaks, was doomed from the start. Gore knew what the planet was facing, knew the consequences of inaction, and still pushed policies that prioritized profit over dramatic action, even going so far as to preach that energy deregulation would insure a decrease in fossil fuel consumption. This is what prosecutors call consciousness of guilt. And Gore doesn’t have much of a defense against charges that’s he’s complicit in the harrowing crisis that has descended inexorably upon us.

+ And then there’s Obama, during boasting about his record during the 2012 campaign:

“We’re opening up more than 75% of our potential oil resources offshore. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high. We’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth. So we are drilling all over the place.”

+ According to the IEA, global carbon emissions are expected to hit a record high in 2023.

+ From the IPCC Report: “Human-caused stratospheric ozone depletion was the main driver of cooling of the lower stratosphere” of 0-0.8 degrees “between 1979 and the mid-1990s.” If it weren’t for that ozone-shredding disaster, we’d really be cooking now.

+ House Democrats are “urging” more conservation and transportation funding in the budget reconciliation package. In customary Democratic fashion, these are, of course, contradictory “urges”…

+ At Biden’s press conference, he said he wanted the first “electric” Corvette that rolls off the assembly line, as if electric power wasn’t generated (or the cars themselves assembled) with fossil fuels. The mindset is still Steve McQueen with advancing dementia.

+ Meanwhile, Bezos and Gates have teamed up to start scouring Greenland for lithium to strip-mine for “electric” vehicles…

+ From Pynchon’s Against the Day

“Mine engineers take a dim view [of alchemy],” Merle pretended to explain, “old-time superstition from back in the Dark Ages, nowhere near’s scientific as modern-day metallurgy. But, if you look at the history, modern day chemistry only starts coming in to replace alchemy around the same time capitalism really gets going. Strange, eh? What do you make of that?”

Webb nodded agreeably. “Maybe capitalism decided it didn’t need the old magic anymore.” An emphasis whose contempt was not meant to escape Merle’s attention. “Why bother? Had their own magic, doin’ just fine, thanks, instead of turning lead into gold, they could take poor people’s sweat and turn it into greenbacks, and save the lead for enforcement purposes.”

+ Even with all the blather about electric cars, the Biden administration remains on pace to approve more oil and gas drilling on public lands than any administration since George W. Bush, such drilling practices already account for nearly a quarterof all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

+ Biden’s infrastructure plan calls for $64 billion a year for climate. His budget for the military—the world’s largest institutional producer of greenhouse gases—is 12 times that amount.


+ Thus no incentive for people to drive more fuel-efficient cars, seek out public transit, walk, cycle or just stay the hell home…

+ A day after the release of the latest “dire warnings” on the climate catastrophe, the Biden White House urged OPEC to pump even more oil, beyond the current 400,000 barrels a day monthly hikes the cartel is already implementing. Once you peak behind the curtains, you see how little the real machinery of government changes from one administration to the next.

+ Biden: “I want to make sure that nothing stands in the way of oil-price declines leading to lower prices for consumers.” He’s talking to you, Heat Dome 2!

+ Imagine the political apoplexy if “Antifa” or Al Qaeda (assuming Americans know the difference) were killing this many people?

August 20

+ As Lake Mead fell to new lows, a water shortage was declared for the first time on the Colorado River. They had decades of advance warnings

+ The fact that the anti-vaxx movement has more passion, energy, anger and sway, protesting for the freedom to expose themselves and others to mass death, than the climate movement can come close to generating in its campaign to save life on Earth as we (once) knew it, says pretty much everything you need to know about how royally fucked our predicament really is.

+ 2,700 wells across California are projected to go dry this year, and if the drought continues, another 1,000 more next year. “The scope is much larger than I think anything we heard about before,” said Joe Karkoski of the State Water Resources Control Board“People are still going to lose access to drinking water. And we don’t really have a new plan for addressing that”

+ Julian Lopez, owner Café Beaujolais in Mendocino:

“We’ve grown up in this first-world country thinking that water is a given. There’s that fear in the back of all our minds there is going to be a time when we don’t have water at all. And only the people with money would be able to afford the right to it.”

+ It appears like NASA has developed its own version of the Mayan calendar, predicting the end of Cancun, Cabo San Lucas and Alcapulco.

+ That’s Mt. Lassen (elevation: 10,547 feet) in the lower left and the 40,000 feet tall pyrocumulus plumes from the Dixie Fire towering above it.

+ According to the IPCC Report, India is facing life-threatening heat waves, prolonged droughts and massive flooding from intense storms:

Experts say heavy rain events have increased threefold since 1950, but total precipitation has declined and at least a billion people in the South Asian country currently face severe water scarcity for at least one month annually.

+ Here’s another disturbing nugget buried in the IPCC Report: We should expect the global warming rate for the quarter of a century 2015-2040 to be about double the 0.18°C/decade rate during 1970-2015 (see Figure 2)…”

+ July 2021 was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth.

+ Moreover, the cumulative carbon emissions from the world’s wildfires are on pace to shatter the previous records…

+ Here’s an interview in Scientific American with the great Paul Stamets on terraforming with fungi…

The universe is rich with hydrocarbons. What oyster mushrooms do really well is break down hydrocarbons and dismantle them and restructure them into fungal carbohydrates, into sugars. Sugars are an absolutely essential nutrient, of course, for practically all life forms that I know of on this planet. So the idea of using hydrocarbons as a feedstock for oyster mushrooms makes a lot of sense.

+ Gina McCarthy, one of Biden’s climate flacks, visited San Diego Gas & Electric this week, as the biggest fires in California history continued to burn out of control, where she was asked about the role of natural gas in Biden’s climate plan: The president’s plan is an all-of-the-above’ strategy. We are looking at every opportunity to get renewable energy into the marketplace as fast as we can but we are not picking and choosing winners.” The stats on the ground tell another story…

Avg. number of onshore oil and gas drilling permits approved per month:

Biden: 369 (through 17 Aug, 2021)
Trump: 300 (FYs 2018-2020)

+ This comes after news that the Biden administration yanked the nomination of Elizabeth Klein as Deputy Secretary of the Interior following complaints from Lisa Murkowski and Joe Manchin that Klein was too hostile toward the fossil fuel industry.

August 27

+ A new scientific model called the Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response (PAGER) developed by the U.S. Geological Survey suggests that the number of fatalities in the recent earthquake in Haiti (now listed around 2,000) may be closer to 100,000 or more…

+ Rising global electricity demand outpaced growth in clean electricity, meaning more coal was burned, pushing power’s CO2 emissions 5% higher than the pre-pandemic levels of 2019.

+ A new analysis of the global oil supplies concludes that emissions from oil refineries while continue to rise in the near-term future.  A global inventory has revealed that CO2 emissions from oil refineries were 1.3 Gigatonnes (Gt) in 2018 and could be as large as 16.5 Gt from 2020 to 2030. Dies iræ, dies illa, Solvet sæclum in favilla: Teste David cum Sibylla.

+ Almost everything Biden told you about his climate plan were lies–most of them transparent to anyone who was paying attention. But after Obama’s policies led to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, this giveaway to Big Oil in the Gulf is really brazen. Will anyone in Gang Green object or are they still just happy that Deb Haaland’s deputy secretaries return their calls…eventually?

+ The announcement of the new Biden leases came just days after a fire erupted in the Gulf of Mexico at a PEMEX offshore oil platform, killing five and injuring 6, with two workers still missing. This was the second massive failure at a PEMEX offshore oil platform in the last two months.

+ Under Andrew Cuomo’s leadership, the state of New York remains at only around 5% wind and solar on the power grid largely because Cuomo pushed fracked gas as a “bridge fuel.” As a result, renewable energy sources flatlined and 16 times more gas power plants were built as wind/solar in his decade in power.

+ 700 homes (and counting) lost in the Dixie Fire barely merits a mention in the media these days. We’ve entered a sinister new complacency about climate change, as if 750,000 acre, town-destroying fires are simply accepted as a routine part of life in the Pyrocene.

+ Smoke from wildfires likely contributed to thousands of additional premature births in California between 2007 and 2012.

+ This flanks of Mt. Shasta (elevation 14,179 ), snowless for the first time in modern history.

+ The killer floods in Tennessee, which killed at least 21 people in rural Humphries County, were fed by seventeen inches of rain in a 24-hour period a new state record, We were getting rainfall rates of 3 inches per hour for three hours straight,” said Krissy Hurley, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Nashville. “It’s an unheard-of, astronomical type of statistic to see after the fact.”

+ The latest research  estimates that global warming has made such extraordinary rainfall events–like those in Germany, Japan and Tennessee this summer–up to nine times as likely as in the pre-industrial age.

+ Biden urged OPEC to increase crude oil production, has approved more new oil leases on federal lands than Trump and is now selling new oil leases in the Gulf of friggin’ Mexico, Bernie. Tell him. You’ve got his number, don’t you?

+ Not sure why neo-Nazis in Idaho felt the need to attack it, since the power grid’s perfectly capable of failing on its own and burning down half the state in the process…

September 3

+ Three decades after the Kyoto Protocols on climate change, the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere is the highest in more than 800,000 years. I don’t think the approach the world’s industrial nations have taken to climate change even qualifies as “incrementalism.”

+ Where Ida went…

+ That 3.14 inches of rain that drenched NYC on Weds. night from 8:51-9:51 PM, shattered the previous record of 1.94–a that record was set a month ago.

+ The worst inland oil spill in U.S. history occurred on the original Line 3 pipeline. And even before oil has begun to flow, the new Line 3 pipeline has experienced 28 drilling fluid spills into 12 river crossings…

+ Biden’s oil envoy, Amos Hochstein, ran a shadowy consulting firm with foreign fossil fuel clients, personally advised an Emirati gas company, and owns stock in companies with horrific human rights records. Is it any wonder that Biden just moved to open 80 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico to oil drilling?

+ Is Biden getting any political credit from the holy “moderates” for opening 80 million acres of the Gulf to new oil leases? No. So why do it? Perhaps because he’s always supported the oil industry, wants their $$$, and knows that Gang Green will stick with him no matter how egregious his betrayals.

+ The flow of the  Colorado river has declined by nearly 20 percent from its flow throughout the 1900s. If the current rate of warming continues, the loss is likely to be 50 percent by the end of this century.

+ The number of steelhead returning from the Pacific Ocean to the river this year is the lowest ever recorded. As of this week, just over 29,000 steelhead passed Bonneville Dam since July 1, less than half the average of the past five years.

+ Caldor Fire as it crossed Echo Summit and descended on South Lake Tahoe…

Photo: Caltrans.

+ Not sure that firefighters should be risking their lives to protect huge homes built in fireprone forests (which is basically all forests west of 100th Meridian). But it’s another example of “socialism” at work that’s never acknowledged as such by the “I support the first responders” crowd.

September 17

+ The earth’s atmosphere is unlikely to see a monthly carbon dioxide value below 400 ppm ever again, according to Oceanography’s carbon dioxide monitoring program, and the planet’s hurtling toward 450 ppm by 2032.

+ The Paris Accords are largely toothless and riddled with loopholes for industrial nations to exploit, but the good news is that since their signing plans have been scrapped for three-quarters of the previously scheduled new coal burners.

+ The Biden administration is exploring the creation of a strategic uranium reserve, which would “effectively subsidize” uranium mining across the Southwest and create further demand for mining claims in environmentally fragile and culturally significant landscapes like the Bears Ears.

+ Have we already hit “Peak Lithium“?

+ According to a new report from the UN, 90% of agricultural subsidies end up backfiring and harming both people and the environment.

+ Last week passing over the Cascades around 8 PM, Rainier and St. Helens never looked more beautiful–the skies painted by smoke from distant fires, burning up magnificent old-growth forest canyons many of us had spent much of the last 30 years trying to save. A surreal sensation.

Mt. Rainier at sunset. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

+ I didn’t know it at the time I was flying by Rainier, but much of the smoke in the air that night was coming from a fire 250 miles south in the Bull of the Woods Wilderness. On my first visit Oregon, I climbed Silver King Mountain and along the crest of the ridge to the Bull of the Woods lookout, then down Battle Axe Creek through magnificent old-growth forest. It was as close to a religious experience as I’ve ever had. Now the Bull of the Woods has burned, as last year Opal Creek and Breitenbush burned and before that Big Bottom and Roaring River and Eagle Creek. More than 11 percent of the forest on the west slope of the Cascades has burned in the last three years, much of it old-growth and irreplaceable.

+ Oil and coal companies have been writing environmental policies under administrations from both parties for decades, Monsanto hacks have run the Agriculture Department since the Clinton Administration approving one carcinogenic compound after another and this CDC official is ousted for “colluding” with the teacher’s union on safety in schools? No wonder we’re fucked as society.

+ The rate of global warming is likely to double in the next 25 years, according to former NASA climate scientist James Hansen. The reason is slightly ironic. A steep reduction in sulfate aerosol emissions from industrial sources, especially shipping, will render many cloud formations less reflective, thus enabling more solar radiation to reach and warm land and ocean surfaces.

September 24

+ You look for small signs of change amid the smoke (which is pretty thick here this morning), any little encouragement, and then you just have to face the reality that the driving force of capitalism is just going to use up every existing energy source to the last drop and dirty tonne, regardless of the consequences, and there’s no real mechanism to stop it, even if the end result is self-annihilation…

+ The new Glasgow climate commitments would result in a 12 percent emissions cut by the decade’s end, well short of what is needed to curb global warming and that’s if they’re implemented and met, which they won’t be…

+ In its drive to expand offshore oil drilling, the Biden administration has declared that the IPCC climate change report “does not present sufficient cause” to halt its plan open 82 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico to oil companies.

+ Exxon’s internal assessment of its $210 billion investment strategy shows yearly carbon emissions rising 17 percent by 2025.

+ A study published this June in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that climate warming over the last few decades has exposed an additional 31,400 square miles of U.S. forests to fires at higher elevations. It also found that between 1984 and 2017, fires in the Sierra Nevada climbed in elevation by more than 1,400 feet, overrunning some previously impassable moisture barriers.

+ From June through August, California fires emitted 75 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, twice as much CO2 as during the same period last year, and far more than any other summer in nearly two decades. In total, fires in the Western United States released 130 million tons of CO2 this summer, according to he Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service, including about 17 million tons in Oregon, more than 10 times the amount released last year.

+ 98% of fires in the western Oregon are caused by humans, the other 2% are apparently ignited by beavers destroying man-made infrastructure.

+ The world’s koala population has declined by 30% since 2018, many of them burned to death in Australia’s climate-fueled wildfires.

+ 74% of likely Arizona voters oppose the proposed Resolution Copper mine, which would destroy Oak Flat, a sacred Native American site in the Tonto National Forest. Opposition is strong across party lines and among both urban and rural residents.

+ The world’s whitest paint has been created in a lab at Purdue University. Scientists say it’s so white that it could eventually reduce the need for air conditioning. They’re thinking of calling it the Tucker…

+ The latest Colorado River projections from the Bureau of Reclamation predict a loss of hydropower production at the rapidly receding Lake Powell is likely within the next nine months.

October 1

+ It’s been a big week for Manchinisms, perhaps none more buffoonish than this planet-wasting oxymoron: “natural gas needs to be part of any clean energy climate package.”

+ Today’s kids will see twice as many wildfires, 1.7 times as many tropical cyclones, 3.4 times more river floods, 2.5 times more crop failures and 2.3 times as many droughts as someone born in 1960.

+ In the last 10 years alone, wildfires have more burned more than 12.7 million acres in California, one out of every eight acres in the state–twice the acreage burned in the previous decade.

+ A new report in Nature Climate Change suggests that a rapidly warming Arctic could unleash buried nuclear waste, undiscovered viruses and antibiotic resistant bacteria. The study’s lead author, Arwyn Edwards (a microbiologist at Aberystwyth University in Wales), said:

“Changes in the Arctic’s climate and ecology will influence every part of the planet as it feeds carbon back to the atmosphere and raises sea levels. This review identifies how other risks can arise from the warming Arctic. It has long been a deep-freezer for a range of harmful things, not just greenhouse gases. We need to understand more about the fate of these harmful microbes and pollutants and nuclear materials to properly understand the threats they may pose.”

+ Thanks to an infusion of bitcoin “funds”, coal waste power plants in Pennsylvania are thriving…

October 8

+ California alone has experienced 40 major pipeline leaks a year since 1986. That’s about 1400 oil and gas leaks, spills ruptures, blowouts, and blowups. One spill every nine days. The economic damage exceeds $1.2 billion. The human toll has been more than 230 injuries, 53 deaths and who knows how many cases of cancer and leukemia. The ecological costs are incalculable.

+ By coincidence, 1986 was the year the planet first exceeded the “safe levels” of atmospheric carbon, set at 350 ppm. The new peak was hit this July, when atmospheric carbon levels hit 416.9 ppm. Over the same 25-year period, the California Air Quality Board estimates that toxic air in Los Angeles County alone has caused 315,000 deaths (about 9,000 per year).

+ The next spill is coming, coming very soon, probably within a few days. It’s inevitable. It’s also criminal.

Map: Center for Biological Diversity.

+ Andraes Malm’s even-tempered and well-argued book How to Blow Up a Pipeline is getting vilified as a kind of Anarchist Cookbook for radical enviros, yet there’s no outrage from the same people when the pipelines blow up all by themselves, despoiling vast stretches of the California coast…

+ People near Huntington Beach started smelling oil on Friday night. Through Saturday, state and local officials said there was a small oil slick, but it was nothing to worry about. Only on Saturday night did they admit that a major environmental disaster was unfolding.

+ The Keystone XL pipeline, cancelled by Biden for climate reasons, would have emitted 51 coal plants of carbon a year. Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline, which Biden permitted to come online on Friday, will emit 50 coal plants of carbon a year and leak who knows how many thousands of gallons of spilled oil.

+ According to a new study by the IMF, the fossil fuel industry is burning through $11 million in government subsidies every minute, totaling more than $5.9 trillion a year.

+ Meet Shaheen, the first cyclone to ever enter the Persian Gulf…

+ Cyclone Shaheen dumped  five years’ worth of rain on Oman in just a three days.

+ Global CO2 emissions have now rebounded to pre-COVID levels. CO2 emissions in August 2021 were 1% higher than in August 2019 and 6% higher than August 2020.

+ Meanwhile, global coal demand is set to increase by 4.5% this year, exceeding 2019 levels.

+ If all of the national pledges made so far were fulfilled, global emissions would be reduced by only 1% by 2030, from 2010 levels. Scientists have said a 45% reduction is required in the next 10 years to restrain global heating to no more than 1.5C.

+ June, 2021 experienced the largest annual global methane growth rate yet recorded at 157.0 ppb. Reductions in methane emissions were meant to be some of the easiest to achieve.

+ Which countries bear the historical responsibility for climate change?

Share of cumulative CO2 emissions from fossil fuels, land use and forestry, 1850-2021

1 USA: 20%
2 China 11
3 Russia 7
4 Brazil 4.5
5 Indonesia 4.1
6 Germany 3.5
7 India 3.4
8 UK 3
9 Japan 2.7
10 Canada 2.6

+ The rate of global ice loss is now a path to meet or exceed the worst case scenarios predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The rate of ice loss has accelerated by 57% in the last 30 years, from 0.8 trillion tonnes a year in the 1990s to 1.2 trillion tonnes a year by 2017.

+ 50-year Fall climatology change trend reveals that every county in the U.S. shows a positive warming trend, with only 1 county in the US shaded in gray (Van Buren County Iowa is +0.48°F).

October 15

+ The Alisal Fire near Santa Barbara as it closes in on Refugio Beach, as seen from an oil platform near the drilling rigs which spewed crude on the very same beach 6 years ago…

+ According to the International Energy Agency, global carbon emissions will decline just 40% by 2050 under the industrial countries’ current pledges, if they even manage to meet those.

+ Hey Joe, where you going with that black death in your hand…Coal usage under Biden has spiked higher than it ever did under Trump. U.S. power plants are on track to burn 23% more coal this year than last, the first increase since 2013, despite Biden’s pledge to eliminate carbon emissions from the power grid. The rebound comes after coal consumption by utilities fell by 36% under Trump, who gutted environmental regulations in an unsuccessful effort to boost the fuel.

+ 50% of all new solar power in the world is being produced in China. In 2020, China’s solar power generation reached 142 billion kWh. 

+ The production of steel, cement and ammonia alone emit about one-fifth of all human-caused CO2.

+ So far, 2021 ranks only behind 2020 for having the most billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in a year. The first nine months of 2021 saw 18 separate disasters that claimed 538 lives and cost $104.8 billion. Hurricane Ida’s cost alone will top $65 billion, which is almost half the cost of Biden’s entire Clean Electricity Plan. Ida took a week to inflict its damage. Biden’s plan will be doled out across a decade, in the unlikely event it even passes.

+ Forest firefighter Kristen Allen, a 25-year veteran, on this summer’s Dixie Fire: “15 years ago, a 100,000-acre fire would be the largest fire of your career. Now, we have one-million-acre fires. It’s hard even for us to comprehend.”

+ This week Deb Haaland announced the Interior Department’s ruinous scheme to erect wind “farms” along nearly the entire US coastline. Instead of democratizing soft energy production, the Biden administration is intent industrializing it, keeping it firmly in the corporate grip with all the attendant economic, environmental and social justice inequities that entails.

+ Sometime in the next five years, the earth’s atmospheric CO2 will top 427 parts per million, surpassing the peak of the mid-Pliocene warming period 3.3 million years ago, when temperatures were 3 to 4C hotter and sea levels were sixty feet higher than today.

+ In 2015 California endured its hottest winter on record. In 2020 California experienced was hit with its hottest fall on record. And now, in 2021, California has just experienced its hottest summer on record.

+ A small Alabama company called Diversified Energy now owns more oil and gas wells than Exxon. It acquired this empire by buying up old gas wells cheap, that other companies off-loaded because they’re spewing out methane. Diversified Energy doesn’t seem overly concerned about this environment liability…

+ According to the World Nuclear Industry’s own annual report, nuclear power is becoming increasingly inconsequential on the global grid. Nuclear capacity is up, but production is downward spiral. “Put out the light, then put out the lights…”

+ 2.1 million Kenyans are at risk of starvation, as a prolonged drought has scorched more than half the country, killing livestock, wilting crops and drying up water supplies.

October 22

+ Joe Manchin pulled in hundreds of thousands of dollars from donors in the energy industry in the third quarter, including some from contributors who normally back Republicans, according to his latest FEC filing. Oil & Gas “donors” accounted for a quarter of his $1.6 million haul. Manchin has now received more campaign donations from the oil, coal and gas industries than any other senator.

+ A new report from the John Muir Project and the Center for a Sustainable Economy details how provisions in Infrastructure & Reconciliation bills would increase annual CO2 emissions from logging by 48%, pushing these annual emissions well over 1 gigaton per year. So perhaps Manchin and Sinema are unwittingly doing the planet a favor by blocking this bill…

+ Doing something simple that would have almost unanimous support from fiscal conservatives and environmentalists like getting rid of the oil depletion allowance would almost certainly do more for the environment than all the “work-ready” projects stuffed into the bill.

+ David Sirota: “What stage of capitalism is it when surviving the climate crisis relies on arguing the merits of environmental policy to a coal baron who lives on a yacht?”

+ The Squid Game Stage of Capitalism?

+ The change in West Virginia’s reliance on coal-fired power in the last 10 years: 95% to 91%.

October 29

+ Biden’s reconciliation package looks like a catastrophe for the environment and not just on climate. The new language codifies “collaboration logging” projects on the national forests, providing $14 billion in funding for clearcutting public forests, a destructive bailout of the timber industry, which the timber industry will promptly pocket and then campaign like hell to take Biden down in 2024.

+ Way to go, Democrats! Your brand-new climate package is stuffed with more bailouts of the fossil fuel industry! Something to brag about in Glasgow!

+ How about dropping a $775 million grant on some non-profit environmental law firms to sue these m-fers into compliance–or better yet–out of existence?

+ Obsessed with abortion to the near exclusion of all other social teachings of the Catholic Church, researchers at Creighton University have found that Catholic Bishops in the US have largely ignored the Hippie Pope’s radical treatise on the environment and climate change and have “collectively snuffed out the spark of Laudato Si’.”

+ According to a sobering new report, The Pathway to Net Zero Emissions, from the global policy group DNV, the mid-term aim of “the Paris Agreement to halve emissions compared to 2017 levels by 2030 is out of reach.” And the goal of hitting the 1.5° climate target will require developed nations to go net-zero by 2042 and become net-negative thereafter.

+ In yet another indication of just how serious the Biden administration is in tackling climate change, the world’s number one climate menace (the Pentagon) opts to skip the Glasgow Climate Summit.

+ Jan Polderman, Mayor of Lytton, British Columbia, a town that was incinerated by this summer’s wildfires:  “I’m 60, and I thought climate change was a problem for the next generation. Now I’m Mayor of a town that no longer exists.”

+ With the world’s leading government’s taking only incremental steps to combat climate change, will it be up to the insurance cartel to pull the plug on big coal?

+ According to data from Berkeley Earth, land areas are warming twice as fast as oceans…

+ What’s driving escalating food prices? Not supply chain failures, but climate-driven droughts.

+ The level of Lake Oroville rose 10 feet after the first blast from the cyclonic bomb. Of course, this is also the “lake” formed by Oroville Dam, which was already on the brink of failure.

+ What the atmospheric rivers meant to the Sierra Nevada…

Images of the Central Sierra Nevada Mountains, the week before and after the Cyclonic Bomb event. Images: NASA.

+ Bomb Cyclone Scoreboard: 159 mph winds, 16.53 inches of rain, 42 inches of snow, barometric pressure of 942 mb…

November 12

+ Saudi negotiators have moved to block the negotiations taking place over the creation of the so-called ‘cover decision’ for the final text Glasgow climate agreement. The cover decision is the top line message coming out of a COP that signals what the final outcome means for the world and is a vital part of any successful summit. Many countries, especially those facing existential risks, have been attempting to ensure that Glasgow’s cover decision focuses on accelerating action to keep 1.5C alive.

+ 50% of global emissions are emitted by just 10% of the population. 90% of global emissions by 50% of the population.

+ The richest 1% (a population smaller than Germany) – are on track to be releasing 70 tonnes of CO2 per person a year if current consumption continues. In total they will account for 16% of total emissions by 2030, up from 13% of emissions in 1990.

+ An investigation by the Washington Post reveals that the gap between what industrialized countries have pledged, in terms of CO2 emission reductions, and what they’ve actually done is startlingly wide. The gap ranges from at least 8.5 billion tons of CO2 equivalent to as of underreported emissions.  Because since pledges often rest on this data, these shortfalls have huge implications for potential success of the COP26 Glasgow Accords.

+ Boldly announcing something is bad for the environment (like oil and gas sales), then quietly doing it anyway pretty much sums up Biden’s environmental policy. But he’s in good company, because that was also the way Clinton and Obama played the game and people largely fell for it. Call it Click-Bait-and-Switch Politics…

+ 750%:  amount US crude oil exports increased after Obama signed the Paris accords in 2015.

+ The catch-phrase “phase out” (as in fossil fuels and gas-powered cars) is the new “clean coal,” just as “net zero” is the new “sustainable development”…

+ While the climate pledges in Glasgow are “aspirational,” Biden’s gifts to the oil and gas industry come ready to drill

+ Here’s another example: In “restoring” critical habitat for the Northern Spotted Owl, the Biden Administration actually slash 205,000 acres from the original designation, a designation made when the owl’s population was higher than it is now!

+ It’s the same shake-and-fake everywhere you look. Last week, the UK announced a plan at COP26 to require businesses to submit plans to bring emissions to net-zero, but firms won’t be compelled to follow them

+ While Biden wants $14 billion to continue clearcutting US public forests, he and his fellow oligarchs are chiding the rest of the world to stop “deforestation“. This has always been the case at these wine-and-cheese confabs, dating back to the Rio Earth Summit, where Al Gore chastised Brazil for logging the Amazon–then 70 percent intact–without mentioning the US had eliminated 95% of its own old-growth forests and was aggressively logging the fragments that remained…World governments made “exactly” the same pledge in 2014 and deforestation has increased by 40% in the last 7 years.

+ The Pacific Northwest could see little to no annual snowpack by the 2070s, according to a new analysis of scientific research by the Lawrence Berkeley National Labs.

+ By its 100th birthday, a single Douglas fir can store 14 tons of carbon. Of course, the Forest Service doesn’t want most Doug-firs to live past 80.

+ The troposphere–the lowest level of Earth’s atmosphere, has been growing warmer and gaining thickness at a rate of 53 meters per decade since 2000…

+ In October 2021, the Arctic was +4.03°C warmer than the average October of 1951-1980.

+ A World Bank report released in September predicts that more than 200 million people are likely to migrate over the next thirty years because of extreme weather events or the accelerating degradation of their environments. Most will be displaced within their home country, but about a fourth of the people will ultimately flee cross borders seeking safer conditions.

November 19

+ The biggest challenge for the impresarios of these climate summits is to appear to take some action to avert the crisis that envelopes us, while doing almost nothing at all. Less than nothing really, since over the course of the summit the catastrophe will have deepened by more than the meager measures adopted to ameliorate it. When the first COP (aka, Conference of the Polluters) was held in Berlin in 1995, the atmospheric carbon level hit 395.92 parts per million. This year the monthly average topped 419 ppm. Net less than zero reduction.

+ When the carbon footprint of holding your summit is greater than the aspirational pledges for carbon reduction made at the summit, maybe you should consider skipping the next summit so you can claim some real carbon savings.

+ Fortunately for the US delegation, they wrapped things up in Glasgow in time to return home to conduct one of the largest offshore oil lease auctions (82 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico) in American history. Go team!

+ 14 million tons: the amount of coal still burned every day by China and India.

+ Half of all carbon dioxide emissions have occurred since 1991. Since the release of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” in 2006, cumulative global emissions have increased by about 40 percent. More than 15% of all US greenhouse gas emissions have occurred in the last 15 years.

+ Industry and politicians want you to believe that climate change is our fault and that they path to “net zero” is through individual changes in behavior. But even under the rosiest scenarios of electric cars, more sweaters and eating vegan less than 8% of the needed reductioncan be achieved through individual behavior changes.  92% of  the reductions, according to the International Energy Agency, will have to derive from industry itself switching to low carbon technology.

+ More than half of all greenhouse emissions in the US (over three billion tons of CO2 a year) come from transportation and electricity generation, inflicting more than $150 billion in long-term damage each year.

+ According to the EPA, the animal agriculture’s the prime industrial source of methane emissions in the U.S. Yet, Biden plan includes no actions to regulate methane emissions from slaughterhouses, factory farms and confined feeding operations. None.

November 26

+ Biden’s infrastructure package contains more than five times the climate spending Obama put into the 2009 Recovery Act. But that’s still 5 times less than what it will take to decarbonize the U.S. economy.

+ According to a new study published in Global Change Biology, climate change is accelerating the risk of bubonic plague in the American west:  “Due to the changing climate, rodent communities at high elevations have become more conducive to the establishment of plague reservoirs—with suitability increasing up to 40% in some places—and that spillover risk at mid-elevations has increased as well, although more gradually.

+ Nebraska has experienced two “500-year floods” in the last decade. More are coming.

+ A new study from researchers at the University of Wisconsin shows a causal link between heat and violence. Using weather data from Mississippi, the researchers found that when the average temperature is hotter than 80F the number of acts of violence in jails and prisons in the state were about 20 percent higher than on other days.

+ The OECD now estimates that $6.9 trillion a year is required to help poorer nations fight climate change by 2030. The rich nations of the world have only pledged $100 billion. And, predictably, they’ve failed to deliver on that promise.

+ A mere week after COP26, Biden is releasing 50 million barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Reserve, in a purely performative action that will have no measurable effect on gas prices, but will prompt the US to drill more to refill the “reserves.”

+ As fires burn near Rocky Mountain National Park, no measurable snow has fallen in Denver since April 21.

+ The melting of the Antarctic Ice Sheet may have already passed a point of no return, and could contribute to sea level rise over coming centuries and possibly millennia.

+ 500 gigatons: the amount of ice lost in Greenland last year, the most in 35 years of satellite records.

+ Even Barron’s has been forced to admit that the cost of producing fossil fuels combined with paying for carbon capture and storage will make fossil fuels more expensive than renewables. Plus, carbon capture simply doesn’t work…

December 3

+ Heat records falling across the northern Hemisphere. Here in Oregon City (45.3556° N) it’s been in the mid-60s…

+ John Kerry reiterated his claim this week that he “believes the private sector has the ability to win this (climate battle for us.” Clearly, Kerry’s swift boat has sailed right off the edge of the Flat Earth…

+ A piece in Gizmodo on the Pentagon’s attempt to exploit climate change to maximize its budget and justify new weapons purchases concludes by saying: “There’s a real risk to letting the military dictate so much of U.S. priorities, particularly around climate change….”

+ In America, our priorities are dictated by the Pentagon, cops and banks. So pick your poison, which will, of course, be provided by Big Pharma.

+ Not exactly breaking news, but a new study published by the Department of the Interior  has definitely concluded that the duration and intensity of Western fires is driven by climate change. Scientifically speaking: “Our results suggest that the [western] US appears to have passed a critical threshold & that the dominant control on the fire weather variation…has changed from natural climate variability to anthropogenically forced warming.”

+ Ajay Singh Chaudhary on the “extractive circuit“:

Some states may want extractive frontiers within their boundaries for a measure of geostrategic leverage. Some local actors (a diverse array of some workers, surrounding communities, and social movements) are pitted against others. Extractivism is one of the only paths available to material development at many nodes along the circuit, towards some hope of relief. But it also promises destruction and exhaustion in its wake. While many fully aware of this reality in the Global South are rendered dependent on resource exports, in Pennsylvania, families similarly enroll in the latest fracking initiative or otherwise sign away mineral rights as one of the last remunerative games in town. Capital profits off the mine drainage, the freshwater depletion, the emissions, the social strain and desperation alike.

+ The Arapaho Glacier, Colorado’s largest (and last) alpine glacier, has melted away, and is now considered merely a “permanent” (and I use that word advisedly) “ice field.”

December 10

+ Stand-replacing forest fires are far from typical in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado (around 8,000 foot elevation) in late November. But as a consequence of  record warmth and dry conditions, that’s exactly what happened last week.

+ When John Kerry talks about corporations saving us from climate change, these are the kinds of “carbon neutral” “forest credits” schemes are the kinds scams he’s pitching…

+ The world’s largest oil and gas companies generated a combined $174 billion in profits in the first nine months of 2021 as gasoline prices climbed in the US. Exxon alone recorded a net income of $6.75 billion in the third quarter, its highest profit since 2017, and has seen its revenue climb by 60% on the same period last year.

+ Meanwhile, Amin Nasser, CEO Saudi Aramco, warned of global “social unrest” unless “key stakeholders” in industry and politics agree to continue to invest in fossil fuels.

+ One state burns more than half of the oil extracted from the Amazon: California.

+ Jason Kinney, premier of Alberta: “Last month was the highest month of oil production, shipments, and exports ever for Alberta. Great news for Alberta, and for Canada!” What’s “great news” for Alberta is dismal news for the planet.

+ At least 26 million people are at risk of starvation following consecutive poor rainfall seasons in the Horn of Africa. Yet Sub-Saharan Africans are responsible for just half a % of historical greenhouse gas emissions!

+ When researchers matched the electricity outage statistic with Medicare claims for death and hospitalization, they found that nearly 28,000 nursing home residents, 65 and older, lost power during Hurricane Irma in 2017. Those who lost power were subject to a 25 percent increase in deaths the first week and a 10 percent increase a month after the power loss.

+ Meanwhile, insurance companies operating in Louisiana will be charged at least $100 million to cover the claims of two failed property insurers who went bankrupt in the wake of Hurricane Ida.

+ Colorado just had a dust storm more than 200 miles long that traveled more than 300 miles. In the deserts of Sudan they call such an event a haboob. Colorado hasn’t seen anything like this since the Dust Bowl. But with the desertification taking place across half of the state under maximal drought conditions, haboobs are coming to become much more frequent.

+ Last week a prairie fire swept across the Montana’s Judith Basin, burning 25 buildings and nearly incinerating the town of Denton. How’d a fire like this breakout in December? Gale force winds, extreme drought, down sparking powerlines, flaming tumbleweeds, burning hay bales, grain elevator infernos, flying embers, lack of water…

+ Having made rich sport attacking Critical Race Theory, conservatives have now turned their gunsights on Critical Energy Theory, the alleged outbreak of climate “wokeness” in schools, universities, businesses and financial institutions…

December 20


+ Jennifer Granholm, Biden’s Energy Secretary, handed “an olive branch” to oil executives this week when she pronounced that a ban on crude oil exports is now off the table. The Biden administration has handed so many “olive branches” to the oil industry they’ve had to import them from Israeli settlers who’ve chopped down 500-year-old Palestinian plantations to build illegal compounds…

+ The Biden administration argued in court filings in August that it was not legally compelled to hold last month’s oil and gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico, despite the ruling overturning the leasing pause. But it went ahead with the sale anyway because they wanted to.

+ The old pitch from the desert boosters used to be: let them come and the water will follow. That doesn’t seem to be turning out as advertised in Scottsdale, Arizona, where hundreds of new homes in the Rio Verde Foothills will have no running water.

+ The eastern ice shelf of Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier could fail within the next five years, a vast expanse of melting ice that already accounts for about 4 percent of annual global sea level rise. Once considered the most stable part of the Florida-sized glacier, new data shows that the warming ocean is rapidly eroding the eastern ice shelf of the so-called Doomsday Glacier from below.

+ In 2020, the Arctic surpassed 100° F, prompting the World Meteorological Organization to create a new category of extremes: highest temperature at or north of the Arctic Circle.

+ The old normal will soon be the new anomaly…

+ The Amazon, the world’s largest tropical rainforest, is being rapidly transformed into a savannah, with dire consequences for the atmosphere of the planet. “‘We are about to collapse,” Luciana Gatti of Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, told the New Scientist. We are in an emergency, we need action now. It’s a nightmare.’”

+ Alex Jones is getting ripped for suggesting that Joe Biden had sparked the Ohio Valley storms with “weather weapons.” The accusation is not as outlandish as it seems given the record number of oil leases on federal lands and in the Gulf of Mexico Biden has approved…

+ They wouldn’t lie, would they?

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is An Orgy of Thieves: Neoliberalism and Its Discontents (with Alexander Cockburn). He can be reached at: or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3