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US faces extreme heat as Biden’s climate crisis plan stalls – live – The Guardian US

From 4h ago

For the past year and a half, it seemed like Joe Biden would get to sign a major piece of legislation addressing climate change.

The vehicle was at first his marquee Build Back Better spending plan, which would have allocated more than a trillion dollars to addressing a host of Democratic priorities. Then that died, and Democrats quietly began working on a follow-up bill that could pass both the Senate and the House of Representatives, which the party controlled with razor-thin margins.

Now, it seems like Congress won’t act to curb America’s carbon emissions at all. Joe Manchin, the centrist Democrat whose vote is necessary to get any legislation that doesn’t win Republican support through the Senate, has said now is not the time to spend money fighting climate change due to the current high rate of inflation, even as extreme weather continues to batter the United States and world.

The senator’s declaration last week was a major loss for the White House, but Biden may still get to use his pen by signing to-be-announced executive orders intended to keep temperatures from rising.

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It’s a hot day across much of America, with parts of the country enduring a wave of temperatures that will hit dangerous levels in places, however major action against climate change is still stalled indefinitely in Washington. Meanwhile, more allies of Donald Trump are feeling legal heat related to the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.

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Here’s what has happened today so far:

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    \n

  • Jody Hice, a Georgia congressman and 2020 election denier, has been subpoenaed by a grand jury looking into attempts to subvert the election results in the state.
  • \n

  • The trial of Steve Bannon, a former top adviser to Trump, begins today. He’s facing contempt charges for defying the January 6 committee.
  • \n

  • A prominent economist outlined his argument against the relentless pursuit of economic growth in an interview with The New York Times Magazine, arguing it was unsustainable.
  • \n

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Good morning, US politics blog readers. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the real-world consequences of American politics, specifically the collapse last week of Democratic efforts to get Congress’s approval of a plan to fight climate crisis. The United States and the world at large is today grappling with extreme heat and other calamities fueled by rising global temperatures, and experts warn if Washington and other top carbon emitters don’t change something, it will only get worse.

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Here’s more about what’s happening today:

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Key events:

Legal fights over abortion access continue across the US. Today in West Virginia, the state’s lone abortion clinic is asking a judge to toss an 150-year-old state law so that the facility can immediately resume providing the procedure.

The Women’s Health Center of West Virginia suspended performing abortions on 24 June, when the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The 1800s West Virginia law states that obtaining or performing an abortion is a felony, which can result in up to 10 years imprisonment, according to The Associated Press.

The exception is for instances where a woman or other pregnant person’s life is at risk. The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia has contended that the statute isn’t valid because it hasn’t been enforced in more than five decades, and has been superseded by more contemporary statutes on abortion, which recognize the right to this procedure, AP says.

Advocates point to West Virginia’s 2015 abortion law, which permits the procedure up to 20 weeks. The state’s attorney general, Patrick Morrisey, has contended that the old law remains enforceable.

Lawyers for the state contend that the law hasn’t been enforced solely because Roe would have made illegal the prosecution of abortion recipients and providers, per AP.

Democratic Florida congresswoman Val Demings revealed this morning that she has Covid-19. “I’ve tested positive for COVID and am currently isolating with mild symptoms,” Demings has said on Twitter. “Thank you for the many well-wishes, and stay safe.”

Demings, who is campaigning against Republican senator Marco Rubio for the US Senate, reportedly attended Florida Democrats’ Leadership Blue conference in the central Florida city of Tampa this weekend. At the conference, the congresswoman’s husband, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, told Politico that her voice was hoarse from speaking at several events.

Politico notes that it’s not known where Demings contracted Covid-19. Other prominent democrats—including Florida congressman Charlie Crist and Illinois governor JB Pritzker—attended the convention. Politico reports that no other top speakers have publicly disclosed whether they have tested positive for Covid.

Demings, who was once considered as a possible vice-president to Joe Biden, attracted national attention when she worked as an impeachment manager during former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial.

The day so far

It’s a hot day across much of America, with parts of the country enduring a wave of temperatures that will hit dangerous levels in places, however major action against climate change is still stalled indefinitely in Washington. Meanwhile, more allies of Donald Trump are feeling legal heat related to the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.

Here’s what has happened today so far:

  • Jody Hice, a Georgia congressman and 2020 election denier, has been subpoenaed by a grand jury looking into attempts to subvert the election results in the state.
  • The trial of Steve Bannon, a former top adviser to Trump, begins today. He’s facing contempt charges for defying the January 6 committee.
  • A prominent economist outlined his argument against the relentless pursuit of economic growth in an interview with The New York Times Magazine, arguing it was unsustainable.

The Washington Post has published an excellent look at where US emissions are now, and what senator Joe Manchin’s death blow against Biden’s climate agenda means for the fight to stop global temperatures from rising.

America’s carbon emissions are already on the downward trajectory from their peak in 2005, the data says, and thus, Manchin’s decision last week not to support provisions to hasten their decline means the US likely won’t hit goals intended to keep global warming in check.

From the Post’s report:

A major part of the goal can be achieved by riding the ongoing downward trend in emissions, which reflect government policies and actions taken by the private sector, particularly the energy industry, to become more sustainable. For instance, a recent analysis by the Rhodium Group, a research firm that closely tracks emissions policies, found that the United States is already on track to reduce emissions by somewhere between 24 and 35 percent below their 2005 level by 2030.

But that’s nowhere near enough to meet the pledge.

The current blowup of negotiations with Manchin “makes it harder, and it makes any additional actions by the executive branch that much more critical. The stakes are now that much higher,” said John Larsen, a partner with Rhodium.

Several analyses have suggested that policies like those contained in the Senate legislation could have accounted for about a billion additional tons of annual U.S. emissions reductions.

“We estimate the Senate budget deal likely would have cut emissions by roughly 800 million to 1 billion metric tons in 2030,” said Princeton University professor Jesse Jenkins, an energy policy expert and modeler.

In Jenkins’s analysis, there would still be a gap, albeit a small one — of hundreds of millions of tons — to achieve the Biden administration pledge.

Somewhat separate from all of this is what it means for the Earth — after all, every major emitter has to act or else each one’s progress, or lack thereof, will be moot.

Joan E Greve

Joan E Greve

The Guardian’s Joan E Greve has taken a look at a question swirling around Joe Biden as he struggles with both his advanced age and record low approval ratings: could he decide not to run again in 2024?

Joe Biden is having a rough summer. The US supreme court has overturned Roe v Wade, ending federal protections for abortion access. Although gas prices are now falling, they remain high and have driven inflation to its largest annual increase in more than 40 years. West Virginia senator Joe Manchin has finally ended any hopes that the president had of passing a climate bill in Congress. With an evenly divided Senate, Biden’s options for addressing these problems – or enacting any of his other legislative priorities – are bleak.

The American people have taken note. Biden’s approval rating has steadily fallen since April and now sits in the high 30s. A recent Monmouth poll found that only 10% of Americans believe the country is heading in the right direction.

Jody Hice, a Georgia congressman who believes the baseless theory that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, has been subpoenaed by a grand jury investigating efforts to disrupt the results of the polls in the state, Politico reports:

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NEWS: Congressman Jody HICE says he's been subpoenaed by the grand jury in Fulton County, GA. https://t.co/6Gob2KWF1f

&mdash; Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) July 18, 2022

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HICE is seeking to transfer his challenge to the subpoena to federal court. https://t.co/6Gob2KF49H

&mdash; Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) July 18, 2022

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Hice filed this action a day before the subpoena was supposed to compel his testimony. https://t.co/6Gob2KWF1f pic.twitter.com/eDqsfxL6k2

&mdash; Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) July 18, 2022

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In May, Hice lost his bid for the Republican nomination for Georgia secretary of state to Brad Raffensperger, who famously rejected Trump’s appeals to swing the state’s election results in his direction.

Updated at 12.00 EDT

Ramon Antonio Vargas

Trump could soon announce a new bid for president, but a member of the House committee investigating the January 6 attack said this weekend that wouldn’t affect their ongoing probe, Ramon Antonio Vargas reports:

Donald Trump won’t blunt the investigation by the congressional committee investigating the deadly January 6th attack on the Capitol by announcing that he’s running for the Oval Office again, a member of the panel said Sunday.

Elaine Luria, a Virginia congresswoman and one of seven Democrats on the committee, told CNN’s Dana Bash, “The bottom line is that no one is above the law – whether he’s a president, former president or a potential future presidential candidate, we are going to pursue the facts.”

Luria’s remarks were in response to an oft-asked question about whether Trump could simply announce he is running for president again in 2024 and shield himself from the threat of prosecution posed by the evidence presented during the January 6 committee’s recent hearings.

Updated at 12.31 EDT

Sam Levine

Steve Bannon, a former top advisor to Donald Trump, is going to trial today for defying a subpoena by the January 6 committee, as Sam Levine reports:

A federal criminal trial is set to begin on Monday to determine whether Steve Bannon, the influential former adviser to Donald Trump, broke the law by refusing to comply with a subpoena for documents and testimony by the panel investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

Last fall, the congressional committee investigating the deadly Capitol riots subpoenaed Bannon to sit for a deposition and to provide a wide range of documents related to the events of January 6. Bannon refused to comply. The committee cited him for contempt and referred him to the US justice department for prosecution in October of last year.

The justice department pursued the referral, and a federal grand jury indicted Bannon on two counts of contempt of Congress, both misdemeanors, in November. It is extremely rare for the justice department to pursue such charges – before Bannon, the last contempt prosecution was in 1983. Bannon faces between 30 days and a year in prison if convicted on each charge.

Perhaps we are doing this whole development thing wrong. In an interview with The New York Times Magazine, Herman Daly, a lauded economist who was once a senior figure at the World Bank and is now a emeritus professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, argues that modern economics’ obsession with growth is misguided, due in part to the damage done to the planet.

Economic growth is considered a major barometer of a country’s health, both for wealthy nations and the developing world. In the interview, Daly argues that we are viewing growth incorrectly, and that it’s implausible all nations can continue expanding their GDP endlessly. From the interview, here’s an encapsulation of his argument:

It’s a false assumption to say that growth is increasing the standard of living in the present world because we measure growth as growth in G.D.P. If it goes up, does that mean we’re increasing standard of living? We’ve said that it does, but we’ve left out all the costs of increasing G.D.P. We really don’t know that the standard is going up. If you subtract for the deaths and injuries caused by automobile accidents, chemical pollution, wildfires and many other costs induced by excessive growth, it’s not clear at all. Now what I just said is most true for richer countries. Certainly for some other country that’s struggling for subsistence then, by all means, G.D.P. growth increases welfare. They need economic growth. That means that the wealthy part of the world has to make ecological room for the poor to catch up to an acceptable standard of living. That means cutting back on per capita consumption, that we don’t hog all the resources for trivial consumption.

The article only briefly gets into what Daly would propose to change the growth paradigm across the world, and indeed, his ideas would be a tough lift for many countries:

Daly’s policy prescriptions for how this would happen include, among many ideas, establishing minimum and maximum income limits, setting caps for natural-resource use and, controversially, stabilizing the population by working to ensure that births plus immigration equals deaths plus emigration.

Many parts of the United States will today also face blistering heat, particularly in the south and southwest, and the Great Plains.

The New York Times has published a map looking at where temperatures will be highest. The good news is that the heat will cool later this week. The bad news is that for the next few days, much of the country will face heat levels that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says warrant “extreme caution”. And the worst affected areas will face temperatures at the “danger” level, when heat cramps or exhaustion are “likely” and heat stroke is also a possibility.

Britain is weathering a record-breaking heat wave that just saw Wales endure its hottest day on record. Follow The Guardian’s live coverage for more:

Sam Levin

Sam Levin

The unhoused are one group bearing the brunt of the climate crisis – particularly in California. Sam Levin reports:

In a remote stretch of southern California desert, at least 200 unhoused people live outside, battling the extremes: blazing hot temperatures in the summer, snow in winter, rugged terrain inaccessible to many vehicles, a constant wind that blankets everything with silt, and no running water for miles.

For Candice Winfrey, the conditions almost proved deadly.

The 37-year-old lives in a camper in the Mojave desert, on the northern edge of Los Angeles county, miles from the nearest store. During a record-breaking heatwave in July 2020, she found herself running out of water. The jug of a gallon she had left had overheated, the water so hot it was barely drinkable. It was more than 110F (43C), and no one was around to help. She recalled laying in her tent, trying not to think about the heat exhaustion and dehydration overtaking her. “I thought I was gonna die. I was seeing the light. I was just waiting it out and praying to God that I’d make it.”

Fiona Harvey

Fiona Harvey

“Collective suicide”: that’s what the UN secretary general said humanity is facing due to rising temperatures, as The Guardian’s Fiona Harvey reports:

Wildfires and heatwaves wreaking havoc across swathes of the globe show humanity facing “collective suicide”, the UN secretary general has warned, as governments around the world scramble to protect people from the impacts of extreme heat.

António Guterres told ministers from 40 countries meeting to discuss the climate crisis on Monday: “Half of humanity is in the danger zone, from floods, droughts, extreme storms and wildfires. No nation is immune. Yet we continue to feed our fossil fuel addiction.”

He added: “We have a choice. Collective action or collective suicide. It is in our hands.”

For the past year and a half, it seemed like Joe Biden would get to sign a major piece of legislation addressing climate change.

The vehicle was at first his marquee Build Back Better spending plan, which would have allocated more than a trillion dollars to addressing a host of Democratic priorities. Then that died, and Democrats quietly began working on a follow-up bill that could pass both the Senate and the House of Representatives, which the party controlled with razor-thin margins.

Now, it seems like Congress won’t act to curb America’s carbon emissions at all. Joe Manchin, the centrist Democrat whose vote is necessary to get any legislation that doesn’t win Republican support through the Senate, has said now is not the time to spend money fighting climate change due to the current high rate of inflation, even as extreme weather continues to batter the United States and world.

The senator’s declaration last week was a major loss for the White House, but Biden may still get to use his pen by signing to-be-announced executive orders intended to keep temperatures from rising.

America’s plan to fight climate crisis stalls as extreme heat batters US and the world

Good morning, US politics blog readers. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the real-world consequences of American politics, specifically the collapse last week of Democratic efforts to get Congress’s approval of a plan to fight climate crisis. The United States and the world at large is today grappling with extreme heat and other calamities fueled by rising global temperatures, and experts warn if Washington and other top carbon emitters don’t change something, it will only get worse.

Here’s more about what’s happening today:

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