Welcome to the Overnight News Digest with a crew consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors side pocket, maggiejean, Chitown Kev, eeff, Magnifico, annetteboardman, Besame, jck, and JeremyBloom. Alumni editors include (but not limited to) Interceptor 7, Man Oh Man, wader, Neon Vincent, palantir, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse (RIP), ek hornbeck (RIP), rfall, ScottyUrb, Doctor RJ, BentLiberal, Oke (RIP) and jlms qkw.
OND is a regular community feature on Daily Kos, consisting of news stories from around the world, sometimes coupled with a daily theme, original research or commentary. Editors of OND impart their own presentation styles and content choices, typically publishing each day near 12:00 AM Eastern Time
Greetings from the frontiers of climate chaos
Lee has strengthened into a hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean and forecasters say it's expected to grow rapidly into a major hurricane by this weekend.
In its last advisory, the National Hurricane Center said Lee has winds of 75 mph and is moving toward the Leeward Islands. Forecasters are already using stark language about the storm and its prospects.
"It is becoming a question of when and not if rapid intensification occurs with Lee," the advisory noted. Winds are forecast to reach 150 mph which is a powerful Category 4 'major hurricane' with the possibility of "explosive intensification."
...Lee is the the 13th named storm of what is an above-average Atlantic hurricane season. As researcher Phil Klotzbach notes, only "4 other years on record have had 13+ Atlantic named storms by Sept. 5: 2005, 2011, 2012, 2020."
See also, FishOutofWater’s diary: Hurricane Lee Begins Explosive Intensification in Hottest Tropical Atlantic Ocean on Record
The US interior department has canceled seven oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Arctic national wildlife refuge that were part of a sale held in the waning days of the Trump administration, arguing the sale was legally flawed.
The interior secretary, Deb Haaland, said with her decision to cancel the remaining leases “no one will have rights to drill for oil in one of the most sensitive landscapes on earth”. However, a 2017 law mandates another lease sale by late 2024. Administration officials said they intend to comply with the law.
Two other leases that were issued as part of the first-of-its-kind sale for the refuge in January 2021 were previously given up by the small companies that held them amid legal wrangling and uncertainty over the drilling program.
...Joe Biden, after taking office, issued an executive order calling for a temporary moratorium on activities related to the leasing program and for the interior secretary to review the program. Haaland later in 2021 ordered a new environmental review after concluding there were “multiple legal deficiencies” underlying the Trump-era leasing program. Haaland halted activities related to the leasing program pending the new analysis.
African leaders have proposed a global carbon tax regime in a joint declaration.
The Nairobi Declaration capped the three-day Africa Climate Summit in Kenya's capital.
The document, released on Wednesday, demanded that major polluters commit more resources to help poorer nations.
African heads of state said they will use it as the basis of their negotiating position at November's COP28 summit.
The African Climate Summit was dominated by discussions on how to mobilise financing to adapt to increasingly extreme weather, conserve natural resources and develop renewable energy.
Africa is among the most vulnerable continents to the impact of climate change, but according to researchers, it only receives about 12% of the nearly $300bn (£240bn) in annual financing it needs to cope.
Greece is being lashed with torrential rains which have flooded homes, businesses and roads and left at least one person dead after a wall collapsed in the extreme weather.
Hundreds of millimeters of rainfall have been dumped over some areas in the last 24 hours as a strong area of low pressure passes over the country, leading to dangerous flash floods.
...Red warnings are posted for heavy rain and thunderstorms through Wednesday for multiple provinces, especially eastern facing coastlines which will see continuous bouts of thunderstorms.
Warm sea surface temperatures of 27 to 30 degrees Celsius could allow the storm to strengthen across the eastern Mediterranean over the next day or two.
The storm comes just as Greece has managed to bring under control hundreds of raging wildfires which have devastated parts of the country over the past weeks.
Scientists are clear that the kind of extreme weather Greece has faced this summer, from floods and fires to extreme heat, will only become more common and more severe as humans continue to burn planet-heating fossil fuels.
Greenhouse gas concentrations, global sea level and ocean heat content reached record highs in 2022, according to the 33rd annual State of the Climate reportoffsite link.
The international annual review of the world’s climate, led by scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) and published by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Societyoffsite link (AMS), is based on contributions from more than 570 scientists in over 60 countries. It provides the most comprehensive update on Earth’s climate indicators, notable weather events and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments located on land, water, ice and in space.
“This report is a truly international effort to more fully understand climate conditions around the globe and our capacity to observe them,” said NCEI Director Derek Arndt. “It is like an annual physical of the Earth system, and it serves present and future generations by documenting and sharing data that indicate increasingly extreme and changing conditions in our warming world.”
“People are causing the largest known change in global climate since our transition to agriculture thousands of years ago,” said Paul Higgins, associate executive director of the American Meteorological Society. “The State of the Climate in 2022 report — an ongoing collaboration between NOAA and AMS — helps us understand the climate system, the impact people are having on climate and the potential consequences. The report can help inform the decisions needed to enable humanity and all life to thrive for generations to come.”
Since former Vice President Al Gore filmed his latest TED Talk this past July, here are just a few of the record-breaking extreme weather events that have happened:
Catastrophic flash-flooding in Vermont. Punishing drought across the Midwest. Unrelenting heat waves in Arizona and Texas. Devastating wildfires in Maui, Hawaii. Dangerous smoke pollution across the Eastern United States. A havoc-wreaking freak tropical storm in Southern California. A rain bomb in the Nevada desert during Burning Man. And that’s just within the United States.
For years, climate scientists have told us that the more carbon we put into the atmosphere, the worse extreme weather events like these would get. So why haven’t we acted more quickly to draw down those emissions?
In his latest TED Talk, Al Gore convincingly argues, it’s not because the technology to draw down carbon pollution isn’t ready.
It’s because the people who profit from carbon pollution aren’t ready—and will never be, until regular people apply enough pressure to make them.
Tropical Storm Hilary tore across Southern and Central California during peak harvest time for table grapes. Over a quarter of the crop was lost.
As California produces 99% of the table grapes grown across the nation, experts warn of shortages and price hikes.
"This is a devastating, devastating impact on the industry as a whole," Kathleen Nave, president of the California Table Grape Commission, told FOX 58. "So it is a big significant hit to the industry, to all the rural communities that are supported by grape growing, to the individual companies, to the farmworker community. It's a big economic hit."
..."Rain is not good for any fruit that is full of sugar," Nave said. "There can be decay."
That is what farmers are seeing – grapes literally rotting in clusters on the vine. Clearing out the decay to protect the rest of the fruit is time-intensive, which means higher labor costs.
...A cold, windy and wet winter pushed back Mexico’s grape harvest. As Chile’s grape season ended, shelves at stores were bare until late spring when Mexican grapes ripened.
... Wandering college campuses in the aftermath of that novel in 2014, flooded with invitations to speak on climate change, I realized I knew fuck all about the subject from a drilled-down, personal angle. For years, I’d contributed to causes. And yes, I’d hiked through the wilderness to report back on the particular tilt of a bobcat’s head taking in a backdrop of blue teal ducks rising from a lake. Who cares? But then I wrote a book that made people come up to me and say it’s why they entered environmental science or became a biologist. Annihilation also spawned a thousand takes on topics ranging from “global weirding” to the permeability of organisms to plastic. Every possible ecological metaphor, washing up like sea wrack.
The novel couldn’t cure climate change, but it had unexpected agency, and the cynic in me panicked. If this fiction actually infiltrated the real . . . then what was I doing in my real life?
...In 2022, I contributed to local campaigns and spoke about ecological issues for national organizations. Often I was presenting my view of rewilding to people who had 30 or 40 years of experience, whereas all I had was fame from a book signifying that what I said carried weight.
But I liked rewilding as a concept, and perhaps that enthusiasm of the newly converted meant something, too. Rewilding was egalitarian. You could spend $10 and plant wildflowers on your balcony, or you could let dead logs lie where they had fallen and help insects, woodpeckers, and ground-foraging birds. Every week, my hashtag #VanderWild converted new rewilders. This felt, in aggregate, like it made a difference.
Mexico’s Supreme Court decriminalized abortion nationwide Wednesday, two years after ruling that abortion was not a crime in one northern state.
That earlier ruling had set off a grinding process of decriminalizing abortion state by state. Last week, the central state of Aguascalientes became the 12th state to decriminalize the procedure. Judges in states that still criminalize abortion will have to take account of the top court’s ruling.
The court’s sweeping decision Wednesday comes amid a trend in Latin America of loosening restrictions on abortion, even as access has been limited in parts of the United States.
House GOP lawmakers are signaling potential moves against Speaker Kevin McCarthy during leadership's frantic September push.
Why it matters: McCarthy is going to have to dodge multiple landmines to retain his gavel, with Congress having until Sept. 30 to pass legislation to avoid a government shutdown.
- Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) told Axios: "I think it's [motion to vacate] in the back of everybody's mind … If somebody brings that it wouldn't take much, you know, it just takes a couple of votes."
- "When we get back to Washington in the coming weeks, we have got to seize the initiative. That means forcing votes on impeachment. And if Kevin McCarthy stands in our way, you may not have the job long," Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fl.) said during an appearance on The Todd Starnes Show.
Between the lines: Multiple GOP sources told Axios that not all conservatives are on the same page on a spending plan, with some supportive of a stopgap funding bill — called a continuing resolution (CR) — if certain concessions are met, including funding for border security.
MSNBC — Alabama exposes a new constitutional landmine on abortion
...Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe, abortion opponents have floated a number of proposals to target travel to and services offered in progressive states. Some limits on these proposed bans seem clear, as far as current law is concerned. If an antiabortion state authorized lawsuits against a resident who traveled to a pro-choice state for abortion, modern legal rules seem to forbid it: They focus on where the relevant conduct took place — and where a purported injury occurred — not on where the plaintiff or defendant live. It is therefore likely unconstitutional to prosecute an Alabama resident for having an abortion in California.
A conservative state could claim that it has more skin in the game because both the abortion seeker and the fetus are based there. But the Supreme Court has not yet recognized a fetus as a separate, rights-holding person. Nor can states prosecute crimes that take place entirely outside of their state lines.
But states can prosecute elements of a crime that occur within their borders. This is the theory Marshall is banking on: He is threatening to charge abortion funds and clinics based on the plans they make in Alabama to help others seek legal abortions elsewhere. Even if planning takes place entirely within Alabama, though, states generally have to have a reason under current law to regulate conduct that takes place outside of state lines. Alabama tries to address this issue by claiming an interest in protecting the rights, life and even personhood of the fetus.
But Marshall’s argument is hardly a slam dunk. In seeking to help an abortion seeker travel to a state where reproductive rights are respected, the plaintiffs would be conspiring to do something that is legal, and conspiring something to do something legal is not a crime. Even if Alabama stresses that it has a legitimate interest in protecting the fetal person, that might not be enough. In 1975, the Supreme Court ruled in Bigelow v. Virginia that a “State does not acquire power or supervision over the internal affairs of another State merely because the welfare and health of its own citizens may be affected when they travel to that State.”
Community solar and storage could help power California toward its goals for clean energy, grid reliability, energy equity and affordable housing — but only if regulators don’t allow the state’s biggest utilities to undermine it.
That’s the argument a sprawling coalition of solar industry groups, consumer advocates, environmental justice organizations, labor unions and the state’s homebuilding industry has been making before the California Public Utilities Commission over the past few months.
The fight has centered around a new proposed payment structure for community solar called the Net Value Billing Tariff (NVBT), which the coalition says is crucial to revamping California’s moribund community solar market and would make community solar in the state both economical and effective. A structure for community solar payments was ordered up by AB 2316, a state law passed last year.
Now, as the state comes up on a September 26 deadline to apply for its share of $7 billion in federal community solar grants, the coalition is pressing the CPUC to lock in the NVBT program — and not allow it to be derailed by arguments from utilities Pacific Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison.
Anderson Clayton understands why young people have problems with the Democratic party. She does too.
"I used to joke with people that if I didn't run for something else, I was going to be leaving the Democratic Party," she told the audience at a recent event in Washington, D.C.
So she ran for something. Now, it's been more than six months since Clayton was elected chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party, a promotion after leading her county's party. And at 25 years old, she's the youngest state party leader in the country.
...In the lead-up to the 2024 election, Clayton is spending her time commuting around the state from Roxboro and hammering home a two-part message: Democrats have neglected rural communities like hers, and taken young voters her age for granted.
But as she leads North Carolina's Democratic party, she's determined to show voters that Democrats are working to earn back their trust.
"My own people are the ones that I've got to figure out a way to motivate and mobilize and get energized around building this thing up from the bottom," she explained.
The new vaccine will likely be one shot and available in mid-to-late September, “pending regulatory action by the FDA and recommendation from the CDC,” explained Belsie González, a senior public affairs specialist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over email.
On Sept. 12, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet to discuss the new vaccine. This group is tasked with advising the CDC on whether or not to move forward with using the updated formula. Once the advisory committee votes and the CDC's Director Dr. Mandy Cohen approves it, the dispersal of the vaccine will likely happen rapidly.
...It’s time to stop thinking of new COVID vaccines as boosters, explained Wallach, and instead view them like the annual flu vaccine—an updated formula that targets what’s circulating at the time.
Unlike last year, the fall vaccine is a monovalent vaccine, meaning that it was designed based on one version or variant of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. If you didn’t get boosted in the past, you are still eligible for the fall monovalent vaccine.
American support for unions is at its highest level in generations, from 70% (general population) to 88% (Millenials) – and yet, American unionization rates are pathetic.
That's about to change.
The National Labor Relations Board just handed down a landmark ruling – the Cemex case – that "brought worker rights back from the dead."
At issue in Cemex was what the NLRB should do about employers that violate labor law during union drives. For decades, even the most flagrantly illegal union-busting was met with a wrist-slap. For example, if a boss threatened or fired an employee for participating in a union drive, the NLRB would typically issue a small fine and order the employer to re-hire the worker and provide back-pay.
Everyone knows that "a fine is a price." The NLRB's toothless response to cheating presented an easily solved equation for corrupt, union-hating bosses: if the fine amounts to less than the total, lifetime costs of paying a fair wage and offering fair labor conditions, you should cheat – hell, it's practically a fiduciary duty
This past weekend The Daily Progress — a newspaper in the Charlottesville, Virginia, area where I live — published a story that disturbed me.
The paper, along with other publications, republished a piece originally from The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Stateline titled, 'Plastic Roads' Are Paved With Good Intention. It outlines how state transportation officials across the U.S. are testing out discarded plastic in pavement.
As I read the article, two thoughts came immediately to mind: The old proverb, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” and the old Peter, Paul and Mary line “Oh when will they ever learn” in their classic song “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”
I have studied the human and wildlife effects of chemicals that leach from plastics for more than 30 years. I actually provided invited testimony on December 15 before a U.S. Senate subcommittee on chemical safety about plastics and health. You can watch that below.
Adding plastics to roads, even with the best of intentions, is guaranteed to create a massive source of nano- and microplastics, which leach into every nook and cranny of the environment, and all parts of human and wildlife bodies. We have a hard time managing big plastic waste items — once they become micro- or nano- they are impossible to recover.
They will pollute for hundreds of years, if not a lot longer. While I’m all for science, the testing being done at the University of Missouri, as described in the article, is not necessary. We already know what will happen.
Tyson claims that Brazen Beef lowers cattle emissions by 10 percent. That’s a pretty hefty claim. It is possible to lower livestock emissions—the UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that improved diet and manure management could cut methane emissions by 30 percent. So naturally, I wanted to know: is Tyson actually lowering their cattle emissions? Or is Brazen Beef a clever marketing scheme that greenwashes a major climate polluter?
After a week of research and interview requests, I came up with more questions than answers. But Emily and I thought those questions, and the mystery of climate-friendly beef, were important enough to start raising.
So instead of writing a traditional article, today we’re going to let you into the meeting where I explained all my reporting and remaining questions to Emily. We’ll keep exploring this story as we attempt to gain more clarity. And if you’d like to hear our full conversation—or if you simply prefer to listen rather than read—we’ll release a subscriber-only audio version.
You may recall that my family visited Disney World last month, and we enjoyed short lines because of the brutal temperatures. People stayed away in droves! Turns out climate change is bad for business, who could possibly have guessed?
(We dealt with the heat by getting there early, riding as much as we could, and then leaving the parks by early afternoon and removing to the ironically named Typhoon Lagoon to cool off in the lazy river. We also got the chance to unique experience of body-surfing in the wave pool as Hurricane Idalia’s gathering clouds darkened the skies.)
... The largest theme park companies — Six Flags (SIX), SeaWorld and Cedar Point-parent Cedar Fair — all were upended by extreme weather, including deadly flooding in the Northeast, record-breaking heat in the Southwest and California, and wildfires in Canada. Extreme heat in Florida also disrupted attendance at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando this summer.
These attractions are dependent on weather and climate change poses significant risks to their businesses. Theme parks are building indoor rides and changing ticket policies to respond to brutal weather conditions.
...“When we have a good day versus a bad weather day, the attendance lift is notable,” Six Flags finance chief Gary Mick said on an earnings call last month.
Six Flags is adding more shaded structures, water misters, splash zones and air-conditioned areas. As the weather “continues to be hotter every year,” Six Flags will build more indoor and air-conditioned rides and restaurants, Mick said.
...Theme parks are also beginning to change their policies to offer free return tickets when temperatures hit extreme levels, a sign that parks believe heat waves could hurt attendance in the future.
What are YOU wearing tonight? Tell us all about it in the comments!