Monday, March 20, 2023

Last Call For The Late, Great, Planet Earth, Con't

The latest UN report on climate change gives us a decade at most  to stave off catastrophic global warming that will kill millions, and doing so will require massive changes to current human standards of living, or we will reach a positive feedback loop that will eventually fry most life on this rock.

Earth is likely to cross a critical threshold for global warming within the next decade, and nations will need to make an immediate and drastic shift away from fossil fuels to prevent the planet from overheating dangerously beyond that level, according to a major new report released on Monday.

The report, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of experts convened by the United Nations, offers the most comprehensive understanding to date of ways in which the planet is changing. It says that global average temperatures are estimated to rise 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels sometime around “the first half of the 2030s,” as humans continue to burn coal, oil and natural gas.

That number holds a special significance in global climate politics: Under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, virtually every nation agreed to “pursue efforts” to hold global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Beyond that point, scientists say, the impacts of catastrophic heat waves, flooding, drought, crop failures and species extinction become significantly harder for humanity to handle.

But Earth has already warmed an average of 1.1 degrees Celsius since the industrial age, and, with global fossil-fuel emissions setting records last year, that goal is quickly slipping out of reach.

There is still one last chance to shift course, the new report says. But it would require industrialized nations to join together immediately to slash greenhouse gases roughly in half by 2030 and then stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere altogether by the early 2050s. If those two steps were taken, the world would have about a 50 percent chance of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Delays of even a few years would most likely make that goal unattainable, guaranteeing a hotter, more perilous future.

“The pace and scale of what has been done so far and current plans are insufficient to tackle climate change,” said Hoesung Lee, the chair of the climate panel. “We are walking when we should be sprinting.”

The report comes as the world’s two biggest polluters, China and the United States, continue to approve new fossil fuel projects. Last year, China issued permits for 168 coal-fired power plants of various sizes, according to the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air in Finland. Last week, the Biden administration approved an enormous oil drilling project known as Willow that will take place on pristine federal land in Alaska.
So no, there doesn't seem to be any chance that countries will act in the next decade, and future generations will curse their ancestors who did nothing.
Those that survive, that is. 

Increasingly, we're headed for author William Gibson's "Jackpot Theory", where the odds of compounding climate change, resource shortages, nuclear war, viral pandemics and biological collapse means simply surviving the future will feel like "hitting the jackpot".

Maybe those who do survive will be able to turn the human race around, but there's no reason at all to believe the next several decades will be anything other than abject misery for the vast majority of us.

At the very least, Gen Z and whoever comes after will have every reason to despise those who came before them. I don't want to be right about this, but I don't think I'm wrong.

The Circus Of The Damned, Con't

House "Speaker" Kevin McCarthy and the GOP Circus of the Damned are sending the flying monkeys after Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, planning to subpoena him and force him under oath to answer questions about his active investigation (and possible indictment) of Donald Trump. Team WIN THE MORNING:
This morning, we can report two things:

1. In the short term, Republicans are discussing firing off letters summoning employees of the Manhattan DA’s office for sworn testimony, according to a GOP official familiar with the plans. The potential request comes amid speculation about why the hush-money case was suddenly resurrected after being back-burnered by both state and federal prosecutors.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans are not final, noted that McCarthy, a longtime Trump ally and close friend, is “fully supportive and pushing folks to be aggressive here.”

2. Manhattan DA ALVIN BRAGG himself is in the GOP’s crosshairs, though it’s not clear if he’ll be immediately summoned. “He should come testify before Congress,” Rep. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-Ga.) told us and other reporters, launching into a lengthy tirade about “fake charges” meant to be “used in Democrat ads” against Trump.

Greene’s not alone: “This is a [GEORGE] SOROS-backed, crazy, left-wing prosecutor … and he is doing this purely political sham,” Jordan told Playbook. (Note that Bragg told his employees over the weekend that he would “not tolerate attempts to intimidate our office or threaten the rule of law in New York.”)

Jordan didn’t answer questions about whether he’d subpoena Bragg. Even if he does, it’s almost impossible to imagine Bragg or his subordinates answering questions about an ongoing probe or prosecution. While Republicans could threaten to hold him in contempt of Congress, the Justice Department would be unlikely to press charges in a partisan dispute.

Regardless, Trump’s future will continue to be a major discussion point as House Republicans huddle today on the biggest policy issues facing the country. As GOP lawmakers prepped for sessions on border security, the ongoing banking scare, public safety and the looming debt ceiling deadline, Trump kept venting on Truth Social, calling on Bragg to “BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE CRIME OF ‘INTERFERENCE IN A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.’”

In a way, it’s a back-to-the-future moment for Republicans who spent years dodging questions about the Trump controversy du jour — and could well be doing so for months or years to come. And yet for many of them, it’s still a bummer. “Yet again, his ego gets in the way and he feels the need to suck the oxygen out of the room,” one senior House GOP aide vented.
Bragg's message to his office yesterday that he "would not tolerate" intimidation attempts just got its first major test.  The clown car will demand Bragg stop his case and deal with weeks, maybe months of House subpoena bullshit, even if it's sitting in front of Jim Jordan's committee on national TV and saying "I cannot comment on an ongoing criminal investigation" 371 times. 
It does represent however massive, massive interference in Bragg's case, with the plan being running out the clock (and making Bragg and his office targets of MAGA stochastic terrorism). The GOP will do anything and everything they can to protect Trump.

Personally, I hope Bragg absolutely indicts Trump and perp-walks him at 3:30 AM tomorrow, but that's probably why I'm not Manhattan DA.

Orange Meltdown, Con't

Everyone seems convinced that Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg will indict Trump this week, and Tuesday, specifically, to hear Trump cream it in all caps on social media. Regardless of the timing however, Bragg's grand jury investigation is still active and continuing, with more testimony scheduled for today.
A Manhattan grand jury that is expected to vote soon on whether to indict Donald J. Trump may hear testimony Monday attacking the prosecution’s star witness, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The testimony would come from a lawyer, Robert J. Costello, who would appear at the request of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, the people said. Mr. Costello was once a legal adviser to Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former fixer, who has been a key witness for the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

Mr. Costello and Mr. Cohen had a falling out, and Mr. Costello would appear solely to undermine Mr. Cohen’s credibility, the people said.

Under New York law, a person who is expected to be indicted can request that a witness appear on his or her behalf. Mr. Trump’s lawyers have asked that Mr. Costello testify, but the final decision rests with the grand jury; it is unclear whether they have made a decision. The grand jury has been hearing evidence about the former president’s involvement in a hush money payment to a porn star.

Mr. Costello’s appearance would come soon after Mr. Cohen concluded his own grand jury testimony. If Mr. Costello testifies, there is also a chance that Mr. Cohen will be asked to return to rebut some of Mr. Costello’s assertions.

A spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office declined to comment, as did Mr. Costello. A lawyer for Mr. Cohen, Lanny J. Davis, declined to comment.

The district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, a Democrat, is expected to seek an indictment of Mr. Trump as soon as this week. There have been several signals that charges may be imminent: The prosecutors gave Mr. Trump an opportunity to testify, a right given to people who will soon face indictment. They have now questioned nearly every major player in the hush money saga in front of the grand jury.

Mr. Cohen made the $130,000 hush money payment to the porn star, Stormy Daniels, to bury her story of an affair with Mr. Trump.
Seems odd that testimony is still continuing if Bragg is going to supposedly arrest Trump tomorrow, but then again it's entirely possible that Donald Trump is lying his ass off and is trying to sabotage Bragg's case in the court of public opinion, just a hunch. 

It's almost like Trump is saying one thing, and then is doing another, in this case responding to Michael Cohen's grand jury testimony with testimony from Costello, prolonging the grand jury proceedings and then leaking as much as he can get away with to the press in order to muck up the case.
Weird how he always seems to do that in general.
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