Once again — like a broken record it seems — it’s hotter-than-shit this noon Sunday here in California’s Central Valley. And once again, too, we join a huge chunk of the rest of humanity.
The earth is boiling in record temperatures from America’s sea-to-shining-sea and all across Europe, Asa, and beyond — the whole, entire freaking world.
Another day in the life:
Extreme heat warnings stretch from California to Miami with temperatures nearing 130°F in the hottest spots. ?
In terms of historical context, this might be the hottest day across the U.S. since last year.
Unvelievably hot 89.1°F national average high temperature. 157… pic.twitter.com/L15kHuwFdv
— Ryan Maue (@RyanMaue) July 16, 2023
Nutshell details via Reuters a short time ago:
Nearly a quarter of the population in the U.S. is under warnings for extreme heat on Sunday, while an already rain-soaked New England braces for more downpours, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.
The heat warnings spread from the Pacific northwest, down through California, through the Southwest and into the Deep South and Florida.
Temperatures of over 115 Fahrenheit (46 Celsius) are forecast for areas of southern California’s high desert, along with Arizona and Nevada. The NWS said widespread record-breaking high temperatures are likely to be recorded across the Southwest, in the western Gulf Coast and also in south Florida.
Temperatures between 100 F and 110 F are forecast for portions of the Pacific Northwest. That could be particularly dangerous for an area unaccustomed to excessive heat, as many homes do not have central air conditioning, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The extreme heat in the U.S., with warnings for over 80 million people, is being caused by a mass of high pressure air sitting like a dome atop impacted areas, which blocks any rain storms from moving in to provide cooler weather, the NWS said.
Further from The Washington Post, also minutes ago: ‘Smoke from the ongoing Canadian wildfires had reached Chicago and the Corn Belt on Sunday morning, and blanketed most of the Northern Plains, Upper Midwest and western Great Lakes. Ten states were partially or completely plastered in air quality alerts. The smoke was particularly dense in South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.‘
Meanwhile, in my neck of the woods-on-fire:
Dangerous heat in most of Central California today and Monday will result in a major to extreme risk for heat-related illnesses for much of the population, especially those who are heat sensitive and those without effective cooling and/or adequate hydration. #CAwx pic.twitter.com/sqXegP9TsG
— NWS Hanford (@NWSHanford) July 16, 2023
A bit of a horrid, ugly reminder: ‘The National Weather Service also wanted to remind people, in California, it is illegal to leave children or animals in a hot car alone. According to a study from San Francisco State University’s Department of Geosciences, a car heats up by 19 degrees Fahrenheit after just 10 minutes in the sun.‘
Of course, the culprit is climate change, although Republicans think it’s just summer.
Even disaster for their own:
— Prof Michael E. Mann (@MichaelEMann) July 15, 2023
Despite the reality, big oil is still after the big bucks even if it kills all of humanity — a couple of views on this perspective and how we’re being played for hot-shit suckers getting stomped in the sweltering heat.
First, fossil fuels and climate reporter Dharna Noor at the Guardian this morning:
Amid record-shattering warmth this February, BP scaled back an earlier goal of lowering its emissions by 35% by 2030, saying it will aim for a 20 to 30% cut instead. ExxonMobil quietly withdrew funding for a heavily publicized effort to use algae to create low-carbon fuel. And Shell announced that it would not increase its investments in renewable energy this year, despite earlier promises to dramatically slash its emissions.
Climate-fueled extreme weather persisted through spring and summer. But fossil fuel companies have only doubled down on their oil- and gas-filled business models. Shell promised to cut oil production by 20% by 2030, but then this year said it already met that goal by selling off some operations to another oil company –thereby not reducing emissions in the atmosphere. BP has also expanded gas drilling. And Exxon’s CEO, Darren Woods, told an industry conference last month that his company plans to double the amount of oil produced from its US shale holdings within the next five years.
But Dan Cohn, global energy transition researcher at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, said that the oil industry’s climate plans should not be taken at “face value”.
“They have left no doubt that their pledges were deployed for cynical political purposes, only to be ditched when they no longer suited the industry’s strategic position,” he said.
That strategic position was to avoid being governed, said Timmons Roberts, professor of environment and sociology at Brown University.
“The climate commitments … were almost certainly made to give the impression that they don’t need to be regulated because their voluntary pledges are adequate,” he said.
He said climate pledges became popular while fossil fuels were becoming less profitable years ago, but since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, gas prices have risen – in fact, fossil fuel companies saw record profits last year.
And noted climate activist and writer Bill McKibben:
The temperature in China hit 126 degrees F today (52.2 C.)
That beats the old record by an almost inconceivable 3 F. The world is on fire. pic.twitter.com/im63ghNGWf
— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) July 16, 2023
McKibben at The New Yorker this morning, concluding Republican/oil business lovers are indeed letting humans perish in the heat:
The Earth’s temperature is going to go higher, no matter what we do: this month’s all-time records will almost certainly be broken in the coming year, as the new El Niño gathers strength. Many scientists predict that we will at least temporarily pass the 1.5-degree-Celsius increase that nations vowed, in the Paris Climate Agreement, to try to avoid. But how much higher is still an open question: a rapid end to burning fossil fuel would arrest the heating; and that rapid end is possible, because solar and wind power and batteries to store it are now cheap and available. Texas got through an epic heat wave in the past few weeks largely because it has increased its solar and wind capacity, which kept air-conditioners running even as conventional power plants faltered.
But, in Texas, the Republican-led legislature spent much of the past year at work on laws that would discourage the use of renewables and prop up oil and gas. In Congress and on the campaign trail, the G.O.P. is expending far more energy in defending gas stoves than in doing anything about this growing crisis. So far, there’s no real political penalty for that kind of reckless behavior. Indeed, Sawan told the BBC that, while there are not currently any plans, Shell wouldn’t rule out moving its headquarters from the United Kingdom to the United States, where oil companies get higher market prices for their shares. (Britain has also implemented a windfall-profits tax on energy companies. ) This suggested to him that the U.S. is more supportive of oil and gas companies, and, as he has told investors, he wants to “reward our shareholders today and far into the future.”
That is pretty much the definition of “business as usual,” and it’s precisely what has generated this completely unprecedented heat. If the disasters we’re seeing this month aren’t enough to shake us out of that torpor, then the chances of our persevering for another hundred and twenty-five thousand years seem remote.
And of course, the ‘usual‘ end result:
In respect to Bill Faulkner, a long (never-ending), hot summer or not, yet here we are once again…
(Illustration out front found here.)