Election Spooktacular | Crooked Media
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October 28, 2022
Election Spooktacular

In This Episode

This week on Hot Take, Amy and Mary pick apart the climate implications and nuances in key midterm races (Fetterman, Booker, Barnes, Beto), plus the upcoming Brazilian presidential election. They look ahead to COP and the conversation around loss and damages (read: reparations), and the Nigeria floods. Oh, and Amy gets crafty for Halloween! 

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Jon Favreau [AD]


Amy Westervelt [AD]


Mary Annaise Heglar Hey, hotcakes. We are planning a mailbag episode. But first we need a bag full of mail. So we need questions from you. Send your questions to hottake@crooked.com. That’s hottake@crooked.com and remember that’s just for questions. Please continue to send all hate mail to Brian Kahn. That’s B-K-A-H-N at protocol dot com.


Amy Westervelt That’s right. And you can send us anything. Questions about policy.


Mary Annaise Heglar Who’s taller.


Amy Westervelt Who’s taller? Actually.


Mary Annaise Heglar It’s me.


Amy Westervelt Movies, TV shows, politics, movement stuff.


Mary Annaise Heglar Mmhmm. What we had for breakfasts.


Amy Westervelt Yeah. Whatever. Our cats.


Mary Annaise Heglar Oh, right. Because you have multiple cats now.


Amy Westervelt Yeah. Yes, I do. Anything you want. Send. If we don’t know the answer and we want to include your question, well, at least try to figure out the answer. So. So. Yeah, don’t be shy. If you want to be anonymous, you can note that in your email too.


Mary Annaise Heglar Send us your questions. We will answer them to the best of our ability. Amy, what’s your Social Security number?


Amy Westervelt No, no. Hot take at crooked dot com. Send them in.


Amy Westervelt Hey, hot cakes. Welcome to Hot Take. I’m Amy Westervelt.


Mary Annaise Heglar And I’m Mary Annaise Heglar. And it’s Halloween week! Are you excited?


Amy Westervelt Oh boy. I actually have to spend all week making costumes for my kids.


Mary Annaise Heglar You make them?.


Amy Westervelt Yes, we do. We have , like me and Archie used to make his together. We’re going to do that again this year. And now Roscoe’s getting in the mix. But it’s exhausting. It takes so much time.


Mary Annaise Heglar What are we talking about here? A nine and seven year old.


Amy Westervelt Ten and six.


Mary Annaise Heglar Ten and six. What are you. What are you going to make them?


Amy Westervelt Oh, that’s the other thing. Like, these are not simple ghost costumes.


Mary Annaise Heglar What are you doing?


Amy Westervelt One is like a character from an anime, and the other one is actually also a character from anime. But better known, it’s like a Pokemon character.


Mary Annaise Heglar Oh, wow. That sounds involved. I didn’t even know you could sew.


Amy Westervelt Yes, I can sew. I can papier maché. I can cut cardboard paint, all kinds of crafts.


Mary Annaise Heglar That sounds involved. And I’m over here just upset that I couldn’t find bat wings  to slap on my cat.


Amy Westervelt Oh, man.


Mary Annaise Heglar I always like.


Amy Westervelt That would be so cute.


Mary Annaise Heglar Right. And Halloween is such a big deal here in New Orleans.


Amy Westervelt Oh, yeah. Its fun there.


Mary Annaise Heglar Like. Yeah, yeah. I’m sure it is. I just don’t have the energy for it. And it’s always. I always do this thing where it’s like Halloween is coming, and I’m like, Oh, I’m going to dress up. I’m going to, like, do a big thing. And then the next thing I know, it’s the week of Halloween and I’m like eh fuck that shit.


Amy Westervelt I’m too tired. Too tired.


Mary Annaise Heglar Too tired? Why? Because there’s so much work to do. And so yet this week, we’re going to be talking about all the things going on climate. So we’re going to talk about the midterms because those are still happening. We’re going to talk about what’s going on in your neck of the woods and Latin America. And we’re going to talk about COP 27, which is kicking off right after Election Day. So without any further ado, I think it’s time.


Amy Westervelt It’s time to talk about climate.


Mary Annaise Heglar Yep.


Amy Westervelt All right. So, Mary, we talked a couple of weeks ago about the strong slate of southern black Democrats on the ballot in November. And we’re going to talk next week in a lot more detail with our favorite wonky policy person who’s not wonky at all. Rihanna, gun rights about the stakes of this election and more. Everything. All the ways that climate is coming up. But today, we wanted to look across the country at where climate is showing up in the midterms, which are happening in like a week.


Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah, just down. Yeah, yeah. It’ll be about a week. And we’re also going to talk about how the media is covering this topic, too, because that’s just as important as anything a candidate says.


Amy Westervelt Yeah, yeah, exactly. I just was reading a Politico story that was like how the midterms could affect the energy industry and climate policy. And it was sponsored by Chevron.


Mary Annaise Heglar I know good and well that you were not surprised by that, but the only thing that surprises me is that you were reading it.


Amy Westervelt I know someone sent it to me. And I was like, Oh, that. That’s good. I want to read that. Like, I got halfway through and I was like, Wait, is that a Chevron ad for bio gas? Yes, it is.


Mary Annaise Heglar There it is. That train’s never late.


Amy Westervelt I feel like it’s worth pointing out this thing because a lot of times when you talk about fossil fuel ads, people get all up in arms and they’re like, well, if you were to ban fossil fuel ads, where would it end? Everything has a carbon footprint, you know, yadda, yadda, yadda. Like The Guardian banned fossil fuel ads a couple of years ago and their their editor in chief had a really good response to this, which was basically, look, it’s very easy to draw the line because oil companies are the only companies that don’t advertise their product when they’re advertising. They advertise like political ideas and ideology and like false solutions and all of that kind of stuff. So, like, it’s very easy to see that as propaganda, as like. Like definitively different from any other type of ad that’s selling a product or service. Like Chevron’s not trying to get you to go to their gas station. That brat like ship sailed in the seventies, you know, like nobody. Has,.


Mary Annaise Heglar Right?


Amy Westervelt Like a, you know nobody has, like a brand, like loyalty to a to a particular gas station. Right. I mean, you go wherever is like the cheapest gas that’s closest to where you are when you need gas.


Mary Annaise Heglar Exactly.


Amy Westervelt So yeah.


Mary Annaise Heglar So, yeah, I’ve seen some interesting stuff about, you know, what’s at stake on climate if the Democrats lose control of the House, which I think and I think that’s pretty useful. The New York Times did something last week on that. It seems like it could motivate folks to vote if they realize what’s at stake.


Amy Westervelt Yeah, yeah,.


Mary Annaise Heglar I hope.


Amy Westervelt I hope so. I think that. There’s been it’s been interesting because like we had a whole episode on this, right? Like the apathy of the young climate voters at the beginning of the year, you know, was like this big conversation that was going on. And I don’t see that happening now. I think that like, you know, post Ira and maybe post some other things that like young climate voters, don’t sound quite as apathetic as they were and they’re certainly not polling that way. So, you know, maybe there’s some some hope there. I also think that for sure, the the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe is is having a big impact on voter turnout. I don’t know. I just I feel like Democrats are just doing a shit job of like making it clear to people what’s at stake here. Yeah, I am not seeing them. I’m seeing them regularly see the narrative to Republicans that like inflation and higher gas prices are all because of Democrats and particularly because of environmental policy. And like, I’m not seeing a lot of like strong messaging to like to the contrary of that, except from like a handful of progressives who, you know, for for some reason the party is still never listening to.


Mary Annaise Heglar I mean, seriously, even though they keep, you know, winning and energizing, not just winning, but energizing their base in a way that nobody else really seems to even be doing that.


Amy Westervelt I think it’s it’s incumbent on us and on anyone listening to this. And, you know, anyone who cares about climate to actually really. Do the like fucking get out the vote thing. Like, I feel like I have never been a big, you know, I’m going to go knock doors and get people to vote kind of person. And I completely understand why people feel a bit cynical about the power of of the vote these days. But right now, it is the absolute only line of defense when it comes to climate. If we lose the House, that is 100% going to be bad news for climate. Does that mean that like all is lost and you just give up and go home if that happens? No, there are still things that can be done.


Mary Annaise Heglar That’s never going to happen.


Amy Westervelt That’s never going to happen.


Mary Annaise Heglar Let’s be very clear. That’s never happening.


Amy Westervelt Yeah, but it’s like, yeah, the easiest way to avoid a bunch of bad shit is to get out there and vote for candidates who don’t want to do bad shit.


Mary Annaise Heglar Right. And also


Amy Westervelt Especially now, like with all of the voter suppression and everything else, it’s like the only way to combat that shit is in numbers. That’s it?


Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. And also, voting is not a one stop, you know, action.


Amy Westervelt No.


Mary Annaise Heglar And no one is suggesting that it is right. So. Well, I don’t know. I don’t know what everybody is really saying.


Amy Westervelt But unfortunately, some people do do that and I think it’s unhelpful. Yeah.


Mary Annaise Heglar And also, you know, the Democratic leadership does tend to get frustrated when you vote them into office and then tell them what to do. It’s just like,.


Amy Westervelt Yeah.


Mary Annaise Heglar I don’t know what kind of relationship you thought you had with your your constituents. But anyway, voting is a really important thing to do if you are able to do it and you should do it, it just shouldn’t be the only thing that you do.


Amy Westervelt That’s right. That’s right.


Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah.


Amy Westervelt Yes. So I have been working on a piece for The Guardian about this. They asked me to look at where climate is showing up in the midterms. And I so I was looking into it and honestly, like, I was like, oh yeah, I could write that off the top of my head. But I started looking into it more and there were a bunch of races that I had kind of like kind of forgotten about, including ones that will probably seem obvious to you when I mentioned them, but I was like, Oh yeah, that’s also important. So, for example, Ohio, J.D. Vance is running against Tim Ryan to be a senator from Ohio. Yeah, this guy is bad news.


Mary Annaise Heglar Really? I thought you and him were like friends from Way Back?


Amy Westervelt Bros? No.


Mary Annaise Heglar From your days in. Because I know he did venture capitalism out in San Francisco.


Amy Westervelt Oh, yeah.


Mary Annaise Heglar You guys were like, buddy, buddy. Because of that, he was like the hillbilly venture capitalist. That’s why.


Amy Westervelt Yeah, exactly. That’s actually come up in some of the the campaign stuff and debates and whatnot that like because the he he keeps bringing up Nancy Pelosi and how much his opponent loves Nancy Pelosi and all of this stuff. And so his opponent, Tim Ryan, who’s a Democrat in Ohio, was like, you’re running against me. If you want to run against Nancy Pelosi, you should move back to San Francisco.


Mary Annaise Heglar Oh. I mean, he walked right into that, but. Okay. So there for our listeners who don’t know J.D. Vance at all, in all seriousness, this is the dude who wrote Hillbilly Elegy, and he sucks for a lot of reasons, right?


Amy Westervelt Yeah. Yeah, he does. He wrote this book about Appalachia that conservatives really loved because it sort of propped up a bunch of, like, bullshit, romanticized nostalgia about the past and about, like, poor, working class white people. But, like, he is not a poor working class person at all. And like a bunch of people who are from Appalachia, we’re like, this book is like so not representative of actual Appalachian communities. You know, he did grow up in Ohio, but like he went to Yale Law School. He worked as a venture capitalist in the Bay Area. This is not like the traditional trajectory of like working class poor people in Appalachia.


Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. And but also, didn’t a bunch of left wingers kind of love him for a minute and they kind of use his work to understand why Trump became popular?


Amy Westervelt Yes, there was a lot of that. There was a lot of like, oh, see, like the left has forgotten about the white working class, like all his that his book was like a real, I don’t know just kind of center for a lot of that conversation happened post Trump. Yeah yeah. So yeah. And just for the record, the guy who’s running against him, Ryan, like, not my favorite either, by the way. He has been, you know, pretty supportive of gas in Ohio. He is not a climate candidate by any stretch of the imagination.


Mary Annaise Heglar Would you say that he wants to pass gas?


Amy Westervelt He does want to pass gas in a big way. He loves it. So, you know. It’s not like it’s definitely not one of those where, like, we have, you know, an anti fracking candidate against like a super industry guy. It’s sort of like it’s definitely one of those lesser of two evils races. But I think, you know, there’s a chance that like, you could get a Tim Ryan to to actually do some stuff in terms of of like holding utilities accountable. Ohio is where there was this massive utility scandal a couple of years ago where they caught like a utility was paying a politician there to like well to ram through legislation that would keep a bunch of old coal, coal fired power, power plants alive and would make it harder to to get solar going. And yeah, I mean, it was like it was like out of some kind of true crime documentary or something, like FBI vans pulled up to his house and harassed. It’s very bad. So yeah.


Mary Annaise Heglar But I want to underscore, they’re choosing between the lesser of two evils. It’s actually a really important thing to do. I know it’s like, well, they’re both suck, so I’m just not going to choose between the two of them. It’s like, Yeah, you know, if I’ve got a choice between getting tapped with a car or getting run over by a car, I’m choosing the tap every day. I don’t want to do either one of them.


Amy Westervelt That’s right. That’s right. Good metaphor. Yeah, yeah, yeah.


Mary Annaise Heglar I think one is survivable and one is not. So I’m going to pick the what I can survive. It kind of reminds me of this James Baldwin essay called The Notes on the House of Bondage. And it was an endorsement. You wouldn’t know it until like two thirds of the way through the essay. It was an endorsement of Jimmy Carter and it basically was like, choose voting for Carter buys us time. And that’s what you’re doing in a lot of these elections. That’s not voting for the victor. You’re voting for the chance to have the victory in the future. So and that’s important.


Amy Westervelt Definitely.


Mary Annaise Heglar Anybody who’s like, you know, wanting to know more about that line of thinking, I highly recommend Googling James Baldwin Notes on the House of Bondage. It is still online today, I think he published in Esquire magazine.


Amy Westervelt That’s awesome. Awesome. Yeah, that’s exactly right. It buys you time and especially on climate. You know, any any candidate that represents less fossil fuel development across the board is a better choice, you know? Yeah. So, yeah, a big kind of throughline in that race. And in I would say every certainly every like federal government race that I’ve looked at is this narrative that the Republican Party is pushing, which is basically like Biden and environmental policies are responsible for high gas prices. And.


Mary Annaise Heglar Oh, boy.


Amy Westervelt I do not understand why Democrats aren’t out there like. I don’t know. I don’t understand why they even let that get said before they respond. You know, like I don’t I don’t like Katie Porter this past week did a great job of kind of illustrating how corporations are responsible for inflation. Ro Khanna has been pretty good at explaining. How oil companies are responsible for high gas prices. And I don’t understand why Democrats aren’t just like running ads with that shit 24 seven and like starting their debates by being like, Yeah, you know, this candidate needs to answer why they’re not cracking down on the corporations that are causing high gas prices and inflation.


Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah, I mean, being reactionary, like, why if you know where they’re going, beat them. They’re basically.


Amy Westervelt Exactly. Exactly


Mary Annaise Heglar I hope Democrats get better at responding to that. Actually, Biden just last week gave a press conference to let everyone know that six oil companies pocketed $70 billion in profit over the past 90 days. And so that seemed to get some attention.


Amy Westervelt It did. It really did. And I. I was like, God, why weren’t why haven’t you been saying this every day for the last month? You know what I mean? I just I’m just like, yeah, yeah. I don’t I really don’t understand why they’re why they’re not, like, being more proactive with with that shit. So far, not so much.


Mary Annaise Heglar So what other races should we be watching?


Amy Westervelt Well, definitely. Charles Booker in Kentucky, as you pointed out last time we talked about the midterms, of course, ousting Mitch McConnell would be amazing. Booker is also like a truly great climate candidate. Yeah, like he has really great policies, but he’s also able to do this thing that I think is kind of the key for a lot of of candidates when they’re talking about climate, which is to talk about things that are climate without like beating people over the head with climate rhetoric. You know, so like he can go out and talk to farmers in Kentucky about how floods and unpredictable weather have impacted their harvest and how the soil is worse now than it used to be. And, you know, things like that, which is totally a climate conversation. But he’s not going out there being like, you know what, about 1.5 degrees, you know?


Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. Yeah. He’s saving the jargon for the wonks, you know. So I love to hear it when a candidate takes their job as a communicator seriously and, you know, doesn’t just meet people where they are and leave them there, that drives me insane. It’s like, well, they don’t care about climate change, so I’m not going to talk to them about climate change. Like ugh.


Amy Westervelt Yes!


Mary Annaise Heglar Kind of.


Amy Westervelt That’s a great way to put it. That’s such a good way to put it. Meet people where they are and leave them there. Yes, yes, yeah.


Mary Annaise Heglar So, yeah. Big fan of Charles. He’s so good at connecting all the dots on climate and economy and the equality and. Yeah, really, really hoping for him.


Amy Westervelt Yeah. Yeah. The other one is Mandela Barnes in Wisconsin.


Mary Annaise Heglar Fuck! He just texted me today, like, me personally.


Amy Westervelt Really?


Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah.


Amy Westervelt To get um.


Mary Annaise Heglar a $3 donation.


Amy Westervelt Oh, okay. Yeah. Yeah. His his race is really interesting, too. He’s also running for Senate, as is John Fetterman in Pennsylvania. Those those are both really like pretty big, big deal elections. They’re swing states. They’re, you know, they’re they’re important not just for climate, but also for a lot of labor policy, education policy, health care, like a lot of that stuff.


Mary Annaise Heglar The Electoral College.


Amy Westervelt The Electoral College, yeah. A lot of that stuff will really change dramatically depending on who’s elected in those in those states. And both of them have also done this thing that I talked about before, which is pointing out that the real enemy on gas prices and inflation and climate change are oil executives. So like, yeah, someone made this point to me the other day that that, you know, oil executives are basically stealing money from the American people and that people should be as mad at them as they were at Wall Street during the financial crisis in 2008. And I was like, that is so true. But the oil companies have done such a good job of convincing people that, like, they’re the common man.


Mary Annaise Heglar Mm hmm. Kind of like JD Bands.


Amy Westervelt Like people don’t think of them on Wall Street. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So both Barnes and Fetterman. And Charles Booker to you are all really good on kind of making it clear who the actual enemy is. And it seems to be really resonating with like labor unions, you know, working class folks who are like, yeah, why are these guys making a bunch of money while we’re, like, struggling to make ends meet? And the other thing I want to say about that is like the reason that these candidates are good at connecting those dots and are good at relating climate to like what people are experiencing day to day is because for the most part, they’re all people who have you know lived that experience or at least seen it up close for long enough to understand what it means when you’re living paycheck to paycheck. And all of a sudden your household electricity bills are double. Like, you know, I’m like, I’m sorry, but Nancy Pelosi does not have that lived experience.


Mary Annaise Heglar No she’s got


Amy Westervelt And she’s never gonna get it.


Mary Annaise Heglar Ice cream. She’s got an ice cream freezer. Okay.


Amy Westervelt I know. I’m like, I’m I’m sorry, but, like, that makes a difference. When you can talk to someone about what it’s like to not be able to buy as much food for your family from one week to the next and to not know how you’re going to make it all work and actually know what that is like. That makes a really big difference in how you connect to voters. And I think that’s like a consistent thing that I’m seeing in these candidates that are able to like connect the dots on climate and also to kind of battle some of these right wing talking points in an effective way is that they’re all they’re all able to to actually relate to people who have kind of normal lives.


Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. Yeah. And so what I’m also hearing is that it seems like maybe Democrats have gotten over this whole. You can’t talk about fracking in Pennsylvania thing. Yes. But also I know some climate folks, myself included, have been a little skeptical of Fetterman.


Amy Westervelt Yeah. Yeah. So Fetterman, a lot of people are a little like with about him because he at one point was all for a fracking ban and then he kind of went back on that.


Mary Annaise Heglar That’s where he lost me. So that’s.


Amy Westervelt Yeah. But I think that, like. I think that the reason he stopped talking about it as a fracking ban was that he was hearing from a lot of people who were misinterpreting that as meaning we’re going to turn off the spigot from one day to the next and everyone’s going to be out of a job with no plan. And that’s not what he was proposing or really what anyone talks about a fracking ban has ever been proposing.


Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah.


Amy Westervelt But that’s what people hear when they hear a ban. Right.


Mary Annaise Heglar Right.


Amy Westervelt So he’s like, I’m all for getting us off of fracking. I just want there to be a plan. And like so that kind of like.


Mary Annaise Heglar Has he proposed a plan?


Amy Westervelt Ummm. I don’t know if he has yet, but he’s hit like first step of his plan is holding gas company executives accountable for all of the shit that they’ve gotten up to in Pennsylvania. So he’s proposing like that, which I like because I’m like, okay, yeah. Because he’s basically like he’s like, well if you if you hold people accountable and you don’t make it so easy to just take land and poison water and, you know, get past communities and, you know, just do a bunch of stuff that local communities don’t want you to be doing. If you actually do your job as a government official and regulate those things, then all of a sudden. You know, the like the the financials don’t work is great for these companies and you have an immediate reduction in projects right out the gate just by like enforcing the regulations that you already have on the books and going after the bad actors who are sort of flagrantly ignoring any kind of regulations and dumping waste here and there. So, you know, he’s kind of walking that line. The other candidate in Pennsylvania who’s also doing that is Attorney General Josh SHAPIRO, who’s running for governor now. He’s kind of doing a similar thing where he has actually litigated against some of the oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania. And he is very into the idea of accountability for oil and gas. But he’s kind of talking about that and not about, you know, a fracking ban, because I think then so I’m kind of like, you know, all right. Well, not perfect, but I spent way rather see people who were like, we need to tread a careful line around fracking while still talking about it versus even two years ago, it was like, don’t even mention fracking or else you can’t run for anything.


Mary Annaise Heglar Right. So that’s that’s definitely some progress right there.


Amy Westervelt Yeah. Yeah.


Mary Annaise Heglar Okay. So we’ll be keeping an eye on that one. Are there any other races that you’re watching?


Amy Westervelt There’s actually a lot of races where I feel like the impact for climate will be pretty big. Rebecca Lieber did a really good write up in Vox of all the kind of down ballot elections that are important for climate. Like, for example, if Republicans pick up five more seats in the North Carolina state government, they will be able to get past even a governor veto. So that’s fucking terrifying. Like they will have total control of the government.


Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah, I saw that. It definitely really freaked me out. And that is, I don’t know what part of that is supposed to be democratic, but.


Amy Westervelt Yeah. Yeah. And you know, actually, the North Carolina governor is a Democrat who has a pretty strong climate policy that he’s been trying to implement. But like he it’s going to be impossible for him to do anything. He won’t even be able to get, like, appointments through if that happens.


Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. Yeah. North Carolina is the only southeast state with a climate plan.


Amy Westervelt Yeah.


Mary Annaise Heglar And that would just render it, you know, useless.


Amy Westervelt Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. And then there’s just so much that could change in Texas in this election that I feel like it’s it’s important to spend a little bit of time on it. So right now, you have governor, attorney general and Texas railroad commissioner all up for grabs in the midterms.


Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. And I feel like, you know, folks who aren’t diehard climate folks might hear a Texas railroad commissioner and be like, what on earth does that have to do with me? But action is pretty important. And can you break that down please.


Amy Westervelt Totally. It sounds like the Texas railroad commissioner. Like, when I think of it, I think of someone in like, I don’t know, an old timey like a railroad engineer cap.


Mary Annaise Heglar Can I tell you what I think of?


Amy Westervelt What? Tell me.


Mary Annaise Heglar I think of Monopoly? *laughs*.


Amy Westervelt Like a top hat and a monocle?


Mary Annaise Heglar Right and weren’t there like railroads in monopoly?


Amy Westervelt Yes, totally. Yes. Oh, my God. That’s hilarious. Yes. Yes.


Mary Annaise Heglar But it’s not that?


Amy Westervelt It’s not that. No, the railroad commission does. Yes. Handle railroads in the state, but it’s basically the oil and gas regulator in Texas. So the Texas Railroad Commission decides how much oil and gas can be produced by each. Well, they actually created kind of a blueprint for what eventually became opaque. Oh, they’ve been around. Yes, they’ve been around since like 1919. They created this thing called the pro rating system, which was the whole intention was to sort of like manage the resource of oil in Texas so that it was a little bit less erratic, you know, so that they didn’t have this huge like, swing back and forth in pricing and production and all of that stuff. And, and so they didn’t have like a giant swing in jobs that matched that because what was happening was like, you know, someone would strike oil and they’d hire a bunch of people and then they would like fire them three months later, you know. So anyway, they actually did regulate the industry for a long time. But starting in the seventies, during the initial kind of oil embargo crisis, they started to become more and more like an arm of the industry and pretty much ever since then. They have just kind of done the oil and gas industry is bidding.


Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. Does this have anything to do with the oil and gas that moves by rail?


Amy Westervelt It does. Yeah. They they do also have a say in like, you know, stuff like what you’re allowed to transport by rail and not.


Mary Annaise Heglar Okay.


Amy Westervelt So things like that and.


Mary Annaise Heglar A ton of oil and gas does move or just fossil fuel products move by rail.


Amy Westervelt By rail. And like probably the bigger component of that that they would get involved with is spills. So they’re the people who like find companies for oil spills. And in Texas, a lot of times you’re talking about, yes, spills by rail and also by pipelines and things like that so there are three commissioners on the Texas Railroad Commission. They have all been Republicans for the past 25 years.


Mary Annaise Heglar Wow.


Amy Westervelt Yeah.


Mary Annaise Heglar For a generation.


Amy Westervelt Yeah. Yeah. So, like two years ago was the first time that that like, almost changed. There was a Democrat who came close. Now there’s another Democrat who is running. And like he’s he’s interesting. His campaign has kind of gotten a lot of attention on climate Twitter because he had like a good ad where he explain what the railroad commission is and why it was so integral in the Texas kind of grid failure in 2021.


Mary Annaise Heglar Mm hmm. What’s his name?


Amy Westervelt His name is Luke Warford, and he is running against a guy named Wayne Christian. The last time I heard that name was when someone sent me some tapes of a gas industry conference where a bunch of oil and gas people were talking in Texas. And Wayne Christian in particular was whining about how his kids were learning that like oil and gas back in school and that they needed to find a way to combat this.


Mary Annaise Heglar Oh, wow.


Amy Westervelt Yeah.


Mary Annaise Heglar So it shook.


Amy Westervelt Yeah. Actually, a lot of the newspapers in Texas have endorsed him, too, which seems interesting. Like The Houston Chronicle. You know, Houston is like the hub of oil and gas in Texas. So for them to endorse the Democrat for Texas Railroad Commission is kind of a big deal. Yeah. You know, and yeah. Yeah, he’s. He’s definitely an interesting guy. I think it’s really hard to know if if any Democrat has a shot at becoming railroad commissioner in Texas. But, you know. Well, they’re going to keep trying. Yeah.


Mary Annaise Heglar Is this one of those positions that, you know, Democrats just haven’t even bother running a candidate in for a decade or so because that that really is the case with a lot of these offices in the south from like local government all the way up to the U.S. Senate to the governor, seems like often the Republicans will just run unopposed because the Democrats gave up on the South.


Amy Westervelt I’m not sure if they’d never run a candidate. All I know is that the first time I heard about a like a serious Democratic challenger was 2020. So I would I think it’s probably true that the first time they started to actually put money into that race was 2020. And yeah, we’ll see. We’ll see if this guy can swing it.


Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah.


Amy Westervelt Yeah,.


Mary Annaise Heglar I yeah. I know there’s more to talk about with the midterms, but we need to pay a couple of bills first. So we’ll be back after some ads. But before we go, everybody in the climate world is talking about soup these days. So I’m dying to know Amy what’s a ghost’s favorite soup.


Amy Westervelt A ghost’s favorite soup?


Mary Annaise Heglar There are a couple of acceptable answers.


Amy Westervelt Booo-ccoli cheddar?


Mary Annaise Heglar That wasn’t one of them. No scream of broccoli.


Amy Westervelt Oh, scream of broccoli. That’s good. I like it


Mary Annaise Heglar Which is actually really funny because there’s science saying that broccoli is sentient enough to actually let out its slightly audible scream when you bite into it.


Amy Westervelt Oh my god!


Mary Annaise Heglar Which I will tell you.


Amy Westervelt That’s terrifying


Mary Annaise Heglar Cauliflower too, which I will tell you as a vegan makes it more delicious.


Amy Westervelt Ahhha. That’s crazy.


Mary Annaise Heglar We’ll be right back.


Mary Annaise Heglar [AD].


Mary Annaise Heglar All right so obviously, Beto O’Rourke is running for governor in Texas. He’s done a pretty good job of running against the state’s crazy gun laws, especially in the wake of the Uvalde shooting. He’s a good climate candidate, too, and I don’t think he really gets enough credit for that. He was one of the first candidates to roll out a comprehensive climate plan when he ran for president in the 2020 election remember that?


Amy Westervelt Yeah. Feels like a decade ago, but. Yeah,.


Mary Annaise Heglar I know. I know. And in his run for governor, I think he’s done a good job of this thing you were talking about before. We’re talking about it in terms that make sense to his audience. So it’s all about energy, leadership and jobs. You know how I feel about the whole solving climate is a job fair thing. I don’t love it. But this this actually makes sense to me. He’s created a clean energy jobs plan that will that he says will maintain Texas’s role as a global energy leader, which, let’s face it, is a big part of the state’s identity, and it’ll create over a million high paying, clean energy jobs, which is, you know, that’s fantastic. This is where I think the Democrats should be talking about the IRA, because in order to actually get some of the financial incentives in that bill, you need politicians who know how to navigate it. And Beto does. Just like Stacey Abrams from last week. What we’re talking about.


Amy Westervelt Exactly. Exactly. Yeah, that’s exactly right. And of course, Greg Abbott, the current governor of Texas, is.


Mary Annaise Heglar Boooo.


Amy Westervelt 1000% in the oil companies’ pockets he’s actually passed laws that ban the state from doing business with companies that are like remotely anti fossil fuels. And he kind of like gets involved in whatever lawsuit Exxon wants him to get involved with. He’s just the worst. The worst.


Mary Annaise Heglar Any idea how much money he takes from Exxon?


Amy Westervelt I don’t know. But I would guess a lot a lot, a lot. And then, of course, the other big one is Attorney General Ken Paxton. Who is just a word on the butt of humanity. He is. The absolute worst. You know. He. He intervenes on Exxon’s behalf in a bunch of things. He’s constantly filing just bullshit. Like he’s the one who got all the Republicans together to file a suit to try to force a recount of the last presidential election. He I don’t know. I’m on his office’s mailing list and I feel like I get like four or five emails a week about some dumb suit that he’s filed. That’s like, you know, it’s unfair to let people get gender reassignment surgery. You know, or it’s terrible to have immigrants in this country. Like he’s just the worst.


Mary Annaise Heglar Ayyye. And remind me who’s running against him.


Amy Westervelt Her name is Rochelle Garza. And that is a super, super close race. And of course, she is out funded like 2 to 1 by Paxton’s campaign. So. So definitely like one to watch, one to donate to if you have money and like to donate to political things. It is it’s just a it’s a big deal there. Again, like the AG of Texas has been Republican for decades. And they’re a very, very central part of the whole like right wing judicial apparatus. So yeah. So, yeah, it’s it’s really, really, really important. Yeah.


Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. And the other big thing, of course, is just that Democrats are really in danger of losing control of the House, which would make it that much harder to pass climate policy like you were talking about earlier. And I just read this piece in The New York Times last week about how energy lobbyists are already getting ready to make good use of the GOP House. So that’s depressing. The plan is basically to fight against the aspects of the IRA that support clean energy.


Amy Westervelt Yes, of course. It’s it’s genius. The American Gas Association is really leading the charge on that, which is interesting because they were kind of like not on anyone’s radar a few years ago, but just in the last like 3 to 5 years. They’re sort of like right up there with the American Petroleum Institute, kind of setting the agenda for the fossil fuel industry. And they’re very much like, all right, let’s make sure that we can get everything we can that’s pro gas out of this bill and shut down everything that’s for clean energy. Yeah, not great.


Mary Annaise Heglar Yes. But it is not a foregone conclusion that the Democrats will lose the House again. That’s why the midterms are so damn important. So if you can vote votes, keeping the House and gaining seats in the Senate will make a huge, huge difference in our ability to act on climate. And we really don’t have time to waste going backwards.


Amy Westervelt That’s right.


Mary Annaise Heglar But also, what’s the hometown of Broth?


Amy Westervelt The hometown of Broth? Oh, God, i, i the only thing. I can think in my head is the bone zone.


Mary Annaise Heglar Where is that supposed to be?


Amy Westervelt Bone broth. I don’t know.


Mary Annaise Heglar But where’s?


Amy Westervelt That’s all I can think of.


Mary Annaise Heglar What’s bone zone a pun of?


Amy Westervelt I don’t know. It’s not. It doesn’t work. I can’t explain to you why these phrases pop into my head, Mary. They just do.


Mary Annaise Heglar This is adorable. It’s Stockholm.


Amy Westervelt Oh Stock-holm? That makes sense.


Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah.


Amy Westervelt That makes sense. I like. I like it.


Mary Annaise Heglar So with that, let’s take another quick break and talk about another big election coming up.


Mary Annaise Heglar [AD].


Amy Westervelt Another pitch for folks to send in their questions to hot take at crooked dot com. We need them. We’re doing a mailbag episode. Can’t do it without a mailbag.


Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. Need a bag full of mail.


Amy Westervelt Yeah. If you are confused about anything from dad jokes to.


Mary Annaise Heglar Just. Just ask us whatever. Okay. You listen to the show, you know, the shit we talk about, ask us your question. If we don’t know the answer. We’ll make it.


Amy Westervelt Yeah. Or we’ll. We’ll ask someone who might know.


Mary Annaise Heglar Amy, might. I’ll make it up.


Amy Westervelt Send it to hot take at crooked dot com.


Mary Annaise Heglar All right.


Amy Westervelt Okay.


Mary Annaise Heglar Moving on to policy, which you can definitely talk about.


Amy Westervelt Oh, God. Latin America, man. Okay. So I think like the other big election based thing that a lot of climate folks are talking about right now is what is going to happen in Brazil. Yeah. When they have their runoff election on Halloween. So in just a few days, which is looking way closer than anyone was anticipating like a month ago.


Mary Annaise Heglar Can we talk about the fact that it’s on Halloween and that makes me uneasy.


Amy Westervelt I just all I can think of is Boo Sonaro.


Mary Annaise Heglar I just had a full body cringe over here.


Amy Westervelt Yeah. No, it’s actually genuinely just, like, really kind of a depressing election. I was just going to say, like Bolsonaro has done, I mean, it’s pretty smart. He’s like, because he is still the president, you know until the election happens.


Mary Annaise Heglar Unfortunately.


Amy Westervelt He has rammed through like a bunch of really popular social programs to kind of like get money in people’s pockets before elections. And they’re all like, Yeah, Bolsonaro’s great. So he’s polling really well right now. Yeah, of course, like Brazil under Bolsonaro would be absolutely terrible for climate. Yeah. But again, I feel like this is another one of those situations where, like, like Lula was not great on climate. Lula was like very pro beef, very pro beef industry. He has now kind of changed his tune and has, you know, has said that he wants to do better on climate policy, like a little bit of like, you know, kind of doing penance sort of thing, almost where he’s like, I was wrong. And actually this is really important and whatever, but it’s kind of like, who knows? You know what? Yeah, if he was in office.


Mary Annaise Heglar So to be clear, Lula being pro beef is bad for climate, both because of the methane emissions from the actual beef. From the cattle. Yeah. But also because it, it definitely leads to deforestation with those big ranches that people have. So that’s not good either. However, while he might have been pro beef, Bolsonaro was actively anti indigenous people. And actively.


Amy Westervelt Yeah in a big way.


Mary Annaise Heglar Anti-planet. So.


Amy Westervelt Yeah.


Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. He, Bolsonaro has increased deforestation on a massive scale, and it’s gone hand in hand with absolutely trampling indigenous land rights, some nearly 4000 square kilometers of the Brazilian Amazon that’s like an area the size of New York City was lost in the first month of this year alone.


Amy Westervelt Yeah. That’s true. It’s outrageous. I mean,.


Mary Annaise Heglar It is.


Amy Westervelt Absolutely outrageous. And he has also been totally fine with what’s called wildcat mining, which is basically people just mining for shit wherever they want to, which there, again terrible for water, land, no respect for indigenous land rights.


Mary Annaise Heglar Right.


Amy Westervelt It’s bad.


Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. It’s basically like if you can make it there, you can do whatever the fuck you want with it if you have enough guns. Mm hmm. Right. Like, that’s just like bringing back the gold rush.


Amy Westervelt Oh, yeah, that’s right.


Mary Annaise Heglar You know, we already know where that leads to.


Amy Westervelt Yeah.


Mary Annaise Heglar And he pulled Brazil out of the international climate conversations entirely. Yeah. He reneged on the country’s offer to host Cop25, which instead went to Chile, which then instead went to Spain because Chile went into crisis. Remember that?


Amy Westervelt That was so crazy. Yes, yes, yeah. Yeah, totally. Oh, so like one really interesting thing for Americans in particular to note about Brazil’s elections is that voting is mandatory for everyone who’s over 18. There it is mandatory. It is mandatory. You get the day off paid like it is like honestly, I’m like, I wish we had that. I wish we had that. I mean, so even if people are not very excited about either candidate, they can’t stay home. They have to go vote. You can leave the ballot empty, but only it’s like less than 5% of people ever do that. So.


Mary Annaise Heglar Right, because you’re there, you might as well pick somebody.


Amy Westervelt You might as well pick one, you know. Yeah. It’s also really, really interesting, just in the context of Latin America right now, because you have Brazil, that’s a giant question mark. But otherwise you have a pretty significant swing left in most of Latin America right now. Colombia and Chile both elected very far left progressive presidents who are very committed to acting on climate. Panama and Chile both recently incorporated rates of nature into their constitutions. They’re all very pro indigenous rights. Ecuador is actually enforcing indigenous rights for the first time in like decades. All of that is happening amidst some pretty serious economic challenges. You know, obviously, Latin America is not immune to inflation or these high gas prices or any of that. So it’ll be really interesting to see kind of what happens there in the next year in general.


Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah,.


Amy Westervelt But yeah. And also I think it’s. To be really interesting to see how all of that kind of plays out as we head into the 27th 27th conference of the Parties or COP in Cairo early next month.


Mary Annaise Heglar Yep. So I know we’ve talked about COP on this show before, but in case you don’t know, COP stands for Conference of the Parties. As Amy just said, for the U.N. F.C.C., the UN Framework on the Convention for Climate Change, it’s basically like the big international climate talks. And the big thing on everybody’s mind this year is something called loss and damages, which I would just give to explain reparations. It’s reparations.


Amy Westervelt Yes. Climate reparations. That’s right. Yeah. Yeah, I’m not sure why it was rebranded as loss and damages accepted. It sounds more legal.


Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah, I guess so. I mean, we talked about this a little bit on the episode that we did with Abrahm Lustgarten, so please go back and listen to that. If you want to learn more about, you know, climate reparations or or all of that. But I do know that a good handful of states in the Global South are considering not paying their debt anymore as a result of the the brunt of climate change that they’re burying.


Amy Westervelt Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. Yeah. But it becomes really complicated because a lot of those countries are also historically oil producing countries. So this is where I think the whole conversation around national emissions really falls apart, because when you’re talking about, for example, Nigeria, where there are massive floods, millions of people affected. 600 people dead already, I’m sure that that death toll will increase as time goes on, right?


Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah, that was just last week that they said 600 people and it always increases as it goes on.


Amy Westervelt Always. And this is, you know, again, one of these like once in a hundred year floods. Nigeria also has had a bunch of problems with sea level rise, coastal erosion, soil erosion, all these things that make a flood worse when it does happen, you know. So it’s just like this confluence of things that are really, really devastating. And then at the same time, Nigeria has been an oil producing country for a long time. But you cannot look at Nigeria and say, oh, they got rich off oil. You know, like no multinational company has got rich off of Nigerian oil. So how do we solve for that? How do we like, you know, like and I think I keep seeing this coming up over and over again. Like I’m working on this story about oil drilling in Guyana. It’s happening in Namibia, Mozambique, all over the place. And, you know, a lot of countries are looking at the cost of climate adaptation and saying we need money. We’re not getting money from this international body. We’re not getting money from any of these countries that claim that they care about climate change. No one is paying us to be a carbon sink. We’re just doing that for the world, you know?


Mary Annaise Heglar Mm hmm.


Amy Westervelt And and so they’re. They’re looking at oil as one way to do that. So that’s where I’m just like, you know, I don’t know. I just I feel like if we’re going to talk about what global South countries need in terms of of the finances needed to both adapt and to transition to clean energy and why are we not talking about that money coming from oil companies?


Mary Annaise Heglar Exactly.


Amy Westervelt Heading in to COP like what, mostly what we’re hearing from global north countries is like what we heard from John Kerry at Climate Week in New York a couple of weeks ago, which was, you know, who has the money to pay for this stuff. And we have our own climate disasters to worry about. And I just think that you’re you’re going to hear more of that until this conversation becomes one about accountability, not just for governments, but also for companies.


Mary Annaise Heglar Mm hmm. You know, I’m also reminded of what Joe Biden said recently about those billions of dollars in profits for the oil companies. So, you know.


Amy Westervelt That’s right.


Mary Annaise Heglar They got money,.


Amy Westervelt That’s right? Mm hmm. Yeah. Or, like, you know, a lot of countries, sovereign wealth funds, Norway’s sovereign wealth fund holds more than $1,000,000,000,000. That is all oil money. Start there. The IMF, I’m sure a lot of that money is oil money.


Mary Annaise Heglar Mm hmm.


Amy Westervelt So, like, when we talked to Abrahm, he suggested, you know, that some folks were talking about using that money to fund loss and damages. I think that would be an excellent an excellent option. You know that for a long time. A lot of those the. Those funds and the World Bank and a lot of development funds and whatnot helped to fund fossil fuel development as a way to get global south countries onto the, quote unquote, cheap fossil fuel energy faster. And I don’t know. I talked to this one lady in Guyana who was like, you know, I’m really tired of people like Michael Shellenberger says this all the time and and various kind of green tech libertarian types will often say, like, oh, the climate movement, they’re elitists because they don’t want to let the Global South countries have fossil fuels for longer. And she said, You know, the way I look at it as someone who’s from the Global South, who cares about, you know, the water and the ecosystem of my country, I would rather that the world pay us to be a carbon sink and help us to transition past fossil fuels instead of insisting that we we make the same mistakes you did. And then leading us in the past, for 50 years. You know. So yeah. But yeah, I don’t anticipate these talks being anything but like pretty disappointing and ugly, to be honest.


Mary Annaise Heglar I mean, it’ll be interesting to watch how the discourse has changed over the years. And, you know, the interesting thing about cop is that it goes over like about two weeks. So we’ll definitely be talking about it again and watching it as it unfolds. But while I don’t expect, you know, the heads of state of the global north to make any sort of meaningful decisions. COP does serve as a useful place for peoples of the Global South and marginalized people to confront power directly. So that’s always an interesting thing to watch. And and it’s also an important space for them to meet each other and to organize with each other. So that is one useful thing that comes out of cop. So we’ll be keeping an eye on that. But first, what are ducks put in their soup?


Amy Westervelt Hmm.


Mary Annaise Heglar It is right there, right in front of you.


Amy Westervelt I don’t know. What a duck’s put in their soup? Goose? *laughs*.


Mary Annaise Heglar Ugh. I have questions but I’ll text them to you. Ugh, the answer is quackers. What the fuck?


Amy Westervelt *Laughs*. I don’t know. Duck, duck, goose. That’s all I could think of.


Mary Annaise Heglar What do YOU put in your soup?


Amy Westervelt Salt.


Mary Annaise Heglar Okay. Wow.


Amy Westervelt Okay. So, Mary, we haven’t surprised each other with stories recently, but we’ve. We’ve brought some surprises today.


Mary Annaise Heglar I prefer the term ambush, actually.


Amy Westervelt Ambush? Yes, I have. I have one about a new newsletter media enterprise. That launched recently.


Mary Annaise Heglar I know what this is, but go ahead.


Amy Westervelt So this is something called semaphore, which I don’t know. I’m sure there’s some clever background to that name, but it sounds dumb.


Mary Annaise Heglar It sounds like Synanon, you know, the drug rehab slash slave labor program.


Amy Westervelt Yeah. Yeah, it really does. Semaphore. It was started by a bunch of people who sort of decamped from big national outlets. There’s Ben Smith, who was at BuzzFeed for a long time. Then he was the media opinion writer, columnist for The New York Times. Also David Weigel, who was the political columnist and reporter for The Washington Post forever. And lots of other people like that, like definitely a lot of names that you kind of would recognize. They my first kind of raised eyebrow with them was they sort of made this grand announcement a few weeks ago of like who all of their hires were and who all of the reporters were going to be that were running different beats. And I was like, Oh, good, they have a climate person. And then I looked and it was like, you know, someone who had been a reporter for the Wall Street Journal for a long time. And I was just like, Hmm. Like The Wall Street Journal does do occasionally some pretty good reporting. They occasionally do some good climate reporting. But I’m not sure that that’s like where I would go looking for me or if I was starting something new.


Mary Annaise Heglar This person did they cover climate when they were at the Wall Street Journal?


Amy Westervelt Yes. Off and on. Yes. Yes. But they had and they had been there for a long time. And, you know I haven’t read anything that they’ve done yet, so maybe that will go well. The reason that I’m bringing it to you today is that they sent out their first climate newsletter today. And lo and behold, guess who it was sponsored by?


Mary Annaise Heglar Umm. Who was it sponsored by? Ugh, Better Help?


Amy Westervelt No, no. It was sponsored by the favorite sponsor of every climate newsletter, Chevron.


Mary Annaise Heglar Okay, but, you have to have Chevron on your climate newsletter, Amy. Everybody knows that


Amy Westervelt It’s crazy. So so we now have Politico, Axios and Semaphore all being sponsored by Chevron.


Mary Annaise Heglar Because that’s the reliable climate action organization that I trust.


Amy Westervelt It’s crazy. It is crazy. So, you know, we’ll see. I’m sure they’ll have some explanation or whatever, but.


Mary Annaise Heglar It’s a typo.


Amy Westervelt Yeah, it was. Oops. To be honest. I mean, I honestly like this came up. I did a story recently on on fossil fuel money in academia, like funding academic research. And the big question that always comes up there is like, well, if they’re not funding it, if oil companies aren’t funding, you know, some of these like big public policy centers or climate science research centers or whatever, it’s not like there’s some giant pot of funding, like waiting in the wings to replace it. So, you know, it’s this sort of like, well, like what if what if if a school says no to fossil fuel funding, will that mean that they have less funding for research in general and that’s like a net bad and the way that a lot of the organizers who are against fossil fuel funding and research kind of answer that is like, well, yeah, there probably would be less funding and like, that’s okay. Like, I would rather have less fun like less research than have half of it be compromised. And I kind of, I’m starting to feel that way about media. Like I would rather there be fewer climate verticals, but none of them are sponsored by Chevron then, like an explosion of climate coverage and it’s all sponsored by oil companies.


Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. Yeah, I’m with you.


Amy Westervelt Yeah. So, yeah. What about you?


Mary Annaise Heglar Well, I am going to break, at least temporarily, my personal rule about not arguing with or critiquing a black woman in public. Because I got two stories I need to talk about once, but I won’t do it once by a black woman. They’re saying the same fucking thing. So the first story is called The Climate Justice Movement is helping neither the climate nor justice, nor is it a movement, actually. That is by Jonathan Chait in New York magazine. I don’t care if I’m mispronouncing that name, actually. And then the other story is by a woman named Jerusalem Decimus in the Atlantic. And it’s called Not Everyone Should Have a Say. And I don’t really feel like I need to go much further than this, but let’s let’s fucking do it. All right. So these articles are arguing that the climate justice movement is just like completely a reactionary and irrational and is only only out to stop things because the climate justice movement is all about among many other things. It’s all about allowing communities to have a say in what happens to them, and that can require things like environmental impact statements. It can require the usage of NEPA, the.


Amy Westervelt National Environmental Protection Act.


Mary Annaise Heglar Which allows people to like go to public hearings, to make public comment, to actually say, I don’t want Formosa in my community, or to actually say I don’t want Exxon or a fracking operation in my community. So I’m just going to read you a couple of passages from here in the night desperate for your reaction. So this one is from the New York magazine piece. It says, In a narrow sense, this shows the climate justice movements misplaced belief that empowering local communities to block infrastructure projects is a positive force for justice. But it also reveals the larger conceptual problems with the climate justice movements, worldview as a whole, which has devolved into a simultaneously reactionary and radical program that does more to inhibit the green energy transition there. To help facilitate him, the movement has proceeded to draw the conclusion that the only viable solution to climate change is to shut down fossil fuel production rather than enable the creation of carbon free energy that can replace it. And while the climate justice movement presents the stance as an authentic position of oppressed minorities, it mainly represents the beliefs of its funders and professional activists. So, first of all, fuck you.


Amy Westervelt WOW.


Mary Annaise Heglar Second of all. Second of all, I would like to read you this little tidbit from not everyone should have a say and this one breaks my heart because this is from a black woman. So she says Massa’s loss was hardly a win for the climate. However, she’s talking about the mansion and permitting bill that that that the Democrats stopped from passing because it was full of shit. Anyway, keep it going. The demise of permitting reform reveals that many people within the environmentalist movement are undermining the nation’s emissions goals in the name of localism and community input. The aforementioned, quote, Green groups empowered at the expense of permitting reform aren’t just national organizations. They’re grouchy people with time on their hands and communities large and small. And they’re not just blocking fossil fuel into infrastructure. They’re blocking everything.


Amy Westervelt Yeah.


Mary Annaise Heglar So what I hate about these pieces is that they are taking the concept of NIMBYism, which stands for Not in my backyard. These are basically people who support things like homeless shelters but don’t want a homeless shelter in their backyard. They’re basically accusing climate frontline communities of being NIMBYs and trying to take that logic and say like, well, the benefits of reducing emissions by having carbon capture and storage on this on this coal fired plant or whatever sort of fossil fuel plant infrastructure near you, the greater benefits of that are so much more than what happens to your specific community. And all of us should have a say in that because that affects the whole world. So fuck you and your little concerns. And it’s like these aren’t people who are like, Oh, I don’t want, you know, the stuff in my backyard because it blocks my view. I don’t want the stuff in my backyard because it’s poisoning me and my children. That is really fucking different.


Amy Westervelt Yeah. Yeah. Well, and even beyond like the, you know, the carbon capture project at a fossil fuel plant, it’s like the solar project that might happen across the country in someone else’s neighborhood because of this permit reform negates the cancer that you and your family are going to get. It’s like the very definition of a sacrifice zone. Is that the argument that they’re making is like really what these should be called? Both of them is why sacrifice zones should exist.


Mary Annaise Heglar Honestly, that’s really what this boils down to.


Amy Westervelt That’s what they’re saying.


Mary Annaise Heglar Right. And, you know, they to Jerusalem’s credit, she did talk to some environmental justice advocates and not many. But they were saying, like, we can’t replace big oil with big renewables. And she did not seem to get that. Like she didn’t seem to understand that this isn’t just about reducing emissions. There’s a big part of what the climate justice movement is about, but the justice is just as important as the climate. So it’s about building a new world and rebuilding it with justice at the core of it. So there are problems with renewable energy that we need to be careful not to repeat because we can wind up with the exact same problem with just a different source. You know, again, it reminds me very much of reconstruction. After slavery.


Amy Westervelt Yeah. Yeah, I think. I don’t know. I just. Well, I have a couple of, like, big issues with I mean, I have a lot of issues with both those. Couple of, like, specific things. One is that this permitting thing that Manchin suggested is not the end all be all of permitting reform like eight. Nowhere has anyone said that. Like, they’re not going to try to pass other types of permitting reform. No. Where. Like, I wish she had talked to some actual permitting reform advocates because none of them thought that Mansion’s bill was good. Like, you know, like, I know a lot of people who would like to see NEPA reformed who were like, Oh, but not like this. And the other thing is that neither one of them engaged with the biggest problem that everyone had with Manchin’s proposal, which was ramming through the Mountain Valley pipeline and importantly blocking any further legal challenges to it and changing the jurisdiction of any future legal challenges to it, like making it so that even if there was some sort of related legal challenge that did, you know, managed to get through the various barriers put in place by this bill that it would be handled by a court. Nowhere near where the pipeline is, which is insane. Like to give the federal government that power as a precedent would be so damaging to so many other things like the idea that the federal government will dictate where different court cases get heard. It’s just weird, like why? And it’s just it was like a weird part of that whole bill that didn’t need to be there and that that entire piece around Mountain Valley Pipeline was the number one thing that that environmental justice people were fighting that permitting reform bill. I did not see. Anyone walking around carrying, you know. Keep NEPA onerous signs.


Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah.


Amy Westervelt Like that was not the argument. So the other thing is I’m like, you’re not even engaging with the actual argument that people were making. You’re like, assuming what their argument is and then reacting to that. And then you’re also like not even like in the few cases where you did actually talk to someone, you’re not understanding what they’re saying. Like you’re not taking the time to actually understand what they’re saying. You’re just it felt very much like everyone she talked to was like only in the service of making her argument. There was. Yes, like there was no intention of actually learning anything. You know?


Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. Yeah. There was one particular part that I wanted to get your opinion on. So she says, of course, Democrats should not trade away anyone’s civil rights in the name of efficiency, but that’s a false dichotomy. Community input processes are undemocratic by nature, and the costs of delay is immense.


Amy Westervelt Mm hmm. Okay, so this is. This is what I thought was really interesting slash dangerous in this article is that there are definitely reasons to reform NEPA. Like, no one is actually arguing with that. There are definitely reasons to take us take another look at how public comment processes work. And what she is saying there is that like, oh, well, actually the people who have time to comment on these projects are not the frontline community members. They’re like rich people who, you know, work for these organizations or who like have time to show up to the public comment periods or whatever. That is largely true. However, the way that you deal with that is not by limiting the amount of public comment out of across the board and at the same time increasing the ability of fossil fuel companies to have input, which is what this Manchin proposal would have done. It’s making public comment like less onerous and more accessible for for people in general and condensing the time frame. You can do those things, you can do those things. And that like that option was like not even it’s like she presented the problem, but she didn’t actually get into what environmental justice people actually think the problem is. She just sort of again like did this thing where she like assumed what they want and then responded to that without ever engaging with what people are actually asking for you know, which is not not. Literally no one is like I want public comment period to be extra long so that, you know, projects take the absolute longest amount of time. No. The only reason people are even concerned about the length of time is that what what often happens is that like a public comment period is announced, nobody in the community actually hears about it. You know?


Mary Annaise Heglar Mm hmm.


Amy Westervelt And then they don’t really have the ability to weigh in because, you know, they don’t find out about it in time or they have to, like, actually show up in person to give comment or they don’t know how to navigate the public comment system or any of those things. So it’s like people are concerned about access and actually about addressing this problem that she’s brought up about, you know, the the inequality that’s baked into the public comment process. But the solution to that is not chucking the public comment process right.


Mary Annaise Heglar I think in both of these cases, they’re like, here’s something that doesn’t work. Let’s make it worse. What?


Amy Westervelt Yeah. Or like, let’s just get rid of it altogether. And it’s like, no, that’s not reform.


Mary Annaise Heglar Right?


Amy Westervelt Yeah.


Mary Annaise Heglar And also Jerusalem has written about the same thing several fucking times. Like she’s got an article that says Public comment is bad actually. So somebody seems to have a pet issue. And I wanted to blame this on Twitter so bad I have that shot. I have a social media policy where I don’t argue with black women in public, but god damn girl. Good deal. Really. And also Atlantic, I’m looking at you kind of sideways because I remember when you launch your ethnic planning vertical and then ship, give one person a newsletter on a regular basis. And this is the other this is a climate story that you’re publishing.


Amy Westervelt Oh, absolutely. And in fact, I would say that they have done, they have given more room to like contrarian, anti-climate movement columnists than to their usual supposed climate vertical. But when there was another story in the Atlantic a couple of weeks ago or maybe a month ago or something, that was basically like, you know, progressives are getting in the way of climate progress. Similar kind of argument.


Mary Annaise Heglar Yeah. Yeah. And if you go to the Atlantic Planet Home page, which is supposed to be their climate vertical, this story is not listed so. But it is very clear that publishing this is a choice and it was a choice not to have better climate content on your site. So do better.


Amy Westervelt Yeah. Do better.


Mary Annaise Heglar And also, I’m not sure if you saw, but in on the heels of the soup protest last on the on the sunflowers, there’s been another protest involving more potatoes this time. So, yes, what’s a potatoes favorite song to dance to at a Halloween party?


Amy Westervelt Oh, God. The Monster Mash.


Mary Annaise Heglar *Airhorn* Thank you. I was going to be worried if you didn’t get that one.


Amy Westervelt Yes!


Mary Annaise Heglar That was a throw away.


Amy Westervelt Yes, I got it.


Amy Westervelt Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next time. Hot Take is a Crooked Media production. It’s produced by Ray Peng and mixed and edited by Jordan Kantor. Our music is by Vasilis Fotopoulus. Leo Duran is our senior producer and our executive producers are Mary Anniase Heglar, Michael Martinez and me. Amy Westervelt Special thanks to Sandy Girard. Ari Schwartz, Kyle Seglin and Charlotte Landes for production support. And to Amelia Montooth for digital support. You can follow the show on Twitter at Real Hot Take. Sign up for our newsletter at Hot Take Pod dot come and subscribe to Crooked Media’s video channel at YouTube.com slash Crooked Media.


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