“he U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international body made up of the world’s leading climate scientists. Its latest report on the science and consequences of global warming was seven years in the making, writes POLITICO’s E&E News reporter Chelsea Harvey.
“The report clearly notes that the effects of climate change grow worse and worse with every little incremental bit of additional warming,” Chelsea told Power Switch. “So it’s imperative to reduce emissions as swiftly as possible in order to limit even worse outcomes in the future as much as we can.”
The assessment sends a warning that the effects of climate change are already happening. And humanity is not on track to curb carbon pollution from fossil fuel production, agriculture and other sources enough to halt warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius, the most ambitious international target.
In fact, at the rate the world is burning carbon, the 1.5 C threshold will likely arrive in the next decade.
The world has already warmed 1 degree since the preindustrial era. Wildfires, floods, droughts and hurricanes are growing more severe. Sea levels are swelling as coastal communities and island nations face existential threats from encroaching waters.
Intensifying droughts and agricultural disruptions are creating food and water insecurity. Infectious diseases are surging. And people around the world are increasingly being displaced by climate-fueled disasters.
Human mortality rates from climate disasters were 15 times higher in highly vulnerable regions of the world, compared with more developed places, the report found.”
“NEPA itself isn’t really the main problem, former regulators say.
While the NEPA process gets the blame for hold-ups, it’s merely a tracking process for all agency and permitting decisions along the timeline of a project, said Ted Boling, a partner at the law firm Perkins Coie who represents the companies building Cardinal-Hickory Creek.
Delays are more often a result of agency capacity and inadequate information provided by project sponsors, he said. He noted that Congress used the Inflation Reduction Act to provide $1 billion for beefing up agencies’ permitting staff, but that effort has not yet been realized.
“Everyone’s looking for their bright idea on how to make it all taste better and be less filling,” said Boling, who was a permitting official at the Interior Department and CEQ during both Republican and Democratic administrations. “Everybody is in relentless pursuit of improvements to the point where we’re tripping over ourselves.”
In addition, the vast majority of energy projects nationwide fall outside NEPA, so the changes Republicans are seeking would not affect them.”
“he lied. I want to be clear about what I mean by that. He knew what he was saying was not true. He took judgements from the intelligence community that were very uncertain, judgements that we put out there with very clear caveats — “we believe Iraq is continuing its nuclear program, but we have a low degree of certainty, blah blah blah” — he would just come out and state those things as fact. He did this over and over again. Just like Cheney saying that Mohamed Atta met with Iraqi intelligence in Prague, as a fact. When the truth was, there was a great deal of doubt about it. It was our job at CIA to stand fast, to keep those ridiculous notions under control. And we tried. But there was only so much we could do. The White House wanted a justification for the invasion.”
” “people say that Bush was looking to justify the invasion of Iraq. He wasn’t. What he was looking for is something different — selling points. The decision to invade had already been made, and there was not any intelligence that was going to change their opinion. So this was not an effort to justify the war. It was an effort to sell the war publicly. That’s an important distinction. The Bush administration was very explicit about their Iraq obsession almost immediately when they took power. ”
” When nobody knows what the president or vice president knew, or when they knew it, you get a situation where Bush can stand up and say, “Well, there were no WMDs, but we were given false information.” OK, no you weren’t. The trench view is no you weren’t. You demanded faulty intelligence, because you wanted only intelligence that was going to support this big extravaganza of invasion of Iraq, and you got it.”
“Despite the Chinese Communist Party’s strict stance on drugs, the triads — which run global crime networks distributing chemicals needed to manufacture methamphetamine and fentanyl, among other potentially dangerous substances — often curry favor with the CCP by functioning as extralegal enforcers for the government, Felbab-Brown said. The CCP in turn often allows them to continue their operations, though it does not control them.”
“Roughly 75 percent of the $100 billion cannabis market in the U.S. remains illegal, and roughly two thirds of that illicit weed is grown domestically”
“In California, the Department of Cannabis Control says Chinese triads have been nominally involved in illegal cannabis production for decades, but that there’s been a recent increase in the number of actors and money that may have originated in China. The DCC also said that some — but not all — of the Chinese-funded grows they’ve encountered are operated by Chinese triads.”
““This notion that you now have Chinese actual funding for illicit cannabis, it’s definitely new, and it cuts directly across the interests of Mexican drug trafficking groups,” said Felbab-Brown. “It’s interesting to see whether it continues growing, [and] how that’s going to affect relations between the Mexicans and the Chinese [criminal groups].””
“The annualized inflation rate for February fell slightly to 6 percent, but the underlying numbers show that prices continue to grow at a stubbornly high rate.”https://reason.com/2023/03/14/inflation-isnt-going-away/
“Unsheltered homelessness, meaning sleeping somewhere at night that’s not primarily designed for human residence — like a car, a park, an abandoned building, or a train station — has risen sharply over the last seven years, and at a faster rate than homelessness overall. The unsheltered homeless now account for 40 percent of all homeless people in the country, up from 31 percent in 2015.
While encampments are most common in big cities, on the West Coast, and in areas with high housing costs, tents have also sprung up in places where housing is broadly available and homelessness is going down — like Houston, which saw a 63 percent drop in homelessness since 2011 but still has hundreds of encampments throughout the region.”
““Mayor [Sylvester] Turner believes addressing tent encampments is key to maintaining support for the housing-first model because the public didn’t believe with their own eyes that homelessness was actually decreasing in the city,” said Marc Eichenbaum, the special assistant to Houston’s mayor on homeless initiatives. In the past few years, Houston leaders have “decommissioned” 59 tent encampments, including the city’s largest last month. In Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser stressed that her support for encampment clearing was rooted in her commitment to the housing-first model.
“I could build half a million units of housing,” newly elected Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass told the Los Angeles Times, “and if there are still tents, people will not believe that you did anything except to steal their money.””
“researchers say the primary cause is a lack of affordable housing, stemming from both a shortage of units, and from rents rising faster than wages. They say encampments have also increased because people can’t access shelter beds, or have objections to the requirements at local shelters, like the need to relinquish their pets and personal belongings. Other people see tent encampments as offering more opportunity for privacy and safety than shelters.
Some encampments have established governance procedures and residents take on day-to-day responsibilities, while others are more informal and more fractious. Though inhabitants have a diverse range of ages, races, and gender, research suggests most tend to be men with multiple barriers to housing like mental illness, a history of evictions, or a criminal record.
In recent years, court rulings have made it more difficult for cities, especially on the West Coast, to clear encampments. In 2018, the US Ninth Circuit Court found people experiencing homelessness can’t be punished for sleeping outside on public property if there are no adequate alternatives available.
The decision only formally applies across the West, in areas under the Ninth Circuit’s jurisdiction, but when the US Supreme Court declined to hear this case, Martin v. City of Boise, in 2019, cities nationally were left to debate how they can respond to encampments in ways that will avoid new constitutional challenges. Boise says that as long as sleeping indoors is not an option, “the government cannot criminalize indigent, homeless people for sleeping outdoors, on public property, on the false premise they had a choice in the matter.””
“City responses have typically fallen into four broad categories, ranging from quickly “sweeping” the tents and providing no services to the unsheltered living there, to formally permitting people to camp out, and even providing bathrooms, areas to prepare food, and other social services. HUD research published in 2020 found the most common strategy cities have embraced was encampment “clearance and closure with support” — meaning deploying trained outreach workers to provide people with weeks of notice that their encampment would be shutting down, working to connect them with housing and services, and making longer-term storage of their belongings available.”
“Earlier studies have suggested that clearance with no support, or a so-called “tough love” approach, does little to drive people to shelters or mitigate the broader problem of encampments. Typically the homeless often just pick up and relocate somewhere else nearby. “Clearance with little or no support may actually reduce the likelihood that people will seek shelter because it erodes trust and creates an adversarial relationship between people experiencing homelessness and law enforcement or outreach workers,” a HUD report published in 2019 concluded.”
“Amid growing community frustration, some leaders have started to pursue tougher measures on encampments, including ramping up criminal penalties on people pitching tents on public land. In at least half a dozen states, lawmakers have pushed bills based on templates from the Cicero Institute, an Austin-based think tank opposed to housing-first. The bills propose to permanently ban tent encampments and penalize cities that permit them.”