Tuesday ReadsPosted: July 19, 2022
Down in New Orleans, Dakinikat has been dealing with day after day of 90 degree weather for most of the summer. Now New England is going to heat up. So far we’ve had a relatively cool summer here in the Boston area, but today we begin an extended heat wave. WBUR: An extended heat wave begins in Boston on Tuesday.
Boston so far this year has seen two days hit 90 degrees or higher (June 26 and July 1), but that’s about to change. Hot air comes to the region Tuesday, and the heat will be here for an extended stay.
It’s likely the city will be coping with a six-day-long heat wave. That’s nearly a week of temperatures reaching 90 degrees or higher.
Typically, Boston averages about 15 days a year with such highs. In 2021, Boston recorded four heat waves, the longest of which occurred between June 5-9. We also saw 24 days at 90 degrees or higher last year, including a day in which the city hit 100 degrees.
Over 100 years ago, back in 1912, Boston endured its longest stretch of consecutive 90-degree days in history: nine in a row.
The heat is really bad in Europe too. From The Washington Post Capitol Weather Gang:
A historic and deadly heat wave has been scorching western Europe, killing hundreds in Spain and Portugal. Temperatures spiked to 115 degrees on the Iberian Peninsula amid bone-dry conditions, fueling wildfires and displacing thousands of people in France. The mercury topped 100 degrees (38 Celsius) in Britain on Monday and is expected to surge higher Tuesday.
For the first time, the U.K. Met Office has issued a red warning for heat, its most extreme alert. The warning, in effect through Tuesday, includes Birmingham, Oxford, Nottingham and London.
Wales already established its highest temperature on record Monday, and England could be next Tuesday, with temperatures as high as 104 degrees (40 Celsius).
At the same time, another heat wave is brewing across the pond in the United States — one that produced a tie for Salt Lake City’s highest temperature Sunday and could bring readings as high as 113 degrees in Texas and Oklahoma on Tuesday.
A third heat wave is simmering in Central Asia.
These heat waves fit into a pattern of increasingly frequent, intense and prolonged events catalyzed by climate change. Human activities are pushing already high-end heat into record territory.
You can see maps of the high temperatures around the world at the WaPo link.
Britain shattered its record for highest temperature ever registered Tuesday amid a heat wave that has seared swaths of Europe — and the national weather forecaster predicted it would get hotter still in a country ill prepared for such extremes.
The typically temperate nation was just the latest to be walloped by unusually hot, dry weather that has triggered wildfires from Portugal to the Balkans and led to hundreds of heat-related deaths. Images of flames racing toward a French beach and Britons sweltering — even at the seaside — have driven home concerns about climate change.
The U.K. Met Office registered a provisional reading of 40.2 degrees Celsius (104.4 degrees Fahrenheit) at Heathrow Airport in early afternoon — breaking the record set just an hour earlier and with hours of intense sunshine still to go. Before Tuesday, the highest temperature recorded in Britain was 38.7 C (101.7 F), set in 2019.
As the nation watched the mercury rise with a combination of horror and fascination, the forecaster warned temperatures could go higher still.
The sweltering weather has disrupted travel, health care and schools in a country not prepared for such extremes. Many homes, small businesses and even public buildings, including hospitals, don’t even have air conditioning, a reflection of how unusual such heat is in the country better known for rain and mild temperatures.
Unfortunately, Joe Manchin, along with the Republicans in the Senate, refuses to vote for legislation to deal with climate change. Now Biden is considering executive action. The Washington Post: Biden could declare climate emergency as soon as this week, sources say.
President Biden is considering declaring a national climate emergency as soon as this week as he seeks to salvage his environmental agenda in the wake of stalled talks on Capitol Hill, according to three people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private deliberations.
The potential move comes days after Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) told Democratic leaders that he does not support his party’s efforts to advance a sprawling economic package this month that includes billions of dollars to address global warming. If an emergency is invoked, it could empower the Biden administration in its efforts to reduce carbon emissions and foster cleaner energy.
In anticipation of a potential announcement, Biden is set to travel to Somerset, Mass., to deliver a speech on climate change on Wednesday. The president intends to speak on “tackling the climate crisis and seizing the opportunity of a clean energy future to create jobs and lower costs for families,” the White House announced Tuesday morning.
Two of the individuals with knowledge of the discussions said also they expect the president to announce a slew of additional actions aimed at curbing planet-warming emissions. The exact scope and timing of any announcements remain in flux.
“The president made clear that if the Senate doesn’t act to tackle the climate crisis and strengthen our domestic clean energy industry, he will,” a White House official, who requested anonymity to describe the deliberations, said in a statement late Monday. “We are considering all options and no decision has been made.”
Jared Bernstein, a top White House economic adviser, emphasized to reporters at a news briefing earlier in the day that Biden would work “aggressively fight to attack climate change.”
“I think realistically there is a lot he can do and there is a lot he will do,” Bernstein said.
The prime time January 6 hearing is coming up on Thursday at 8PM. Unfortunately, Chairman Bennie Thompson has tested positive for Covid and won’t be able to preside. As of now, the hearing will go ahead as planned. I sure hope he didn’t pass the virus on to other committee members at recent in-person meetings.
The chairman of the congressional committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol by extremist Trump supporters has contracted Covid – but Thursday’s primetime hearing will proceed, according to a statement from the chairman, Mississippi congressman Bennie Thompson.
“While Chairman Thompson is disappointed with his Covid diagnosis, he has instructed the select committee to proceed with Thursday evening’s hearing. Committee members and staff wish the chairman a speedy recovery,” committee spokesperson Tim Mulvey said….
Meanwhile, two former White House aides are expected to testify at the hearing as the panel examines what then president Donald Trump was doing as his supporters stormed the US Capitol, according to a person familiar with the plans.
Matthew Pottinger, former deputy national security adviser, and Sarah Matthews, a former press aide, are expected to testify, according to the person, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter and requested anonymity.
Pottinger and Matthews resigned immediately after the January 6 insurrection, which interrupted the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in the election.
Lawmakers on the nine-member panel have said the hearing will offer the most compelling evidence yet of Trump’s “dereliction of duty” that day, with witnesses detailing his failure to stem the angry mob.
“We have filled in the blanks,” Illinois Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger said on Sunday. “This is going to open people’s eyes in a big way.”
He added: “The president didn’t do very much but gleefully watch television during this timeframe.”
Kyle Cheney and Nicholas Wu at Politico: ‘Sprint through the finish’: Why the Jan. 6 committee isn’t nearly done.
The Jan. 6 select committee once envisioned a single month packed with hearings. Then a fire hose of evidence came its way — and now its members have no interest in shutting or even slowing the spigot.
As its summer hearings show some signs of chipping at Donald Trump’s electoral appeal, select panel members describe Thursday’s hearing as only the last in a series. Committee members, aides and allies are emboldened by the public reaction to the information they’re unearthing about the former president’s actions and say their full sprint will continue, even past November.
The only hard deadline, they say, is Jan. 3, 2023, when Republicans likely take over the House.
Thursday’s hearing will focus on Trump’s hours of inaction on Jan. 6, 2021, while a mob ransacked the Capitol and supporters, aides and family members begged him to speak out. But beyond that, the committee is pursuing multiple new avenues of inquiry created by its investigation of Trump’s scheme to seize a second term he didn’t win, from questions about the Secret Service’s internal communications as well as leads provided by high-level witnesses from his White House.
“It’s been amazing to see, kind of, the flurry of people coming forward,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), one of the panel’s two Republican members. “So it’s not the time to wind it down.” [….]
A major reason to continue, for many select panel members, is the public discussion they’ve driven about what they see as an ongoing threat to democracy posed by Trump and his allies. With every new hearing, particularly as White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson described an enraged Trump directing armed supporters to the Capitol and trying to join them there, the panel has seemed to get further under the skin of the former president as he contemplates a third bid for the White House.
What else is happening? What stories are you following today?