In June, high temperatures broke records across the country but as millions of Americans are being impacted by extreme heat waves, which are growing in intensity, frequency, and duration due to climate change, the Democratic presidential campaign is really about to start heating up.
July is shaping up to be the planet’s hottest month on record as global warming, El Niño, and regional heat waves conspire to push civilization into uncharted thermal territory, say experts who fault world leaders that have ignored the scientific evidence about the urgency of the climate crisis.
President John F. Kennedy said, “In a time of domestic crisis, men of goodwill and generosity should be able to unite regardless of party or politics.”
Whether his campaign is simply short on men of goodwill and generosity or those words no longer apply, President Joe Biden and his advisors have decided to abandon the strategy of ignoring his rivals and have begun openly denigrating them instead.
Biden only stands to lose support in the 2024 primary elections from a fair comparison with his Democratic challengers—Marianne Williamson and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.—since voters hold different opinions on a wide range of issues.
But just as the nation’s oldest president missed his mark on climate action, he has failed to articulate a positive reason for his reelection and he has begun attacking the Democratic alternatives with the bitterness that defined his 2020 match with former President Donald Trump.
Obviously, the two rivals are not genuinely deserving of that kind of scorn but they are capable of returning fire at the disappointing incumbent, who has been supplying them with plenty of fodder.
Last year, the Biden administration launched Heat.gov, a website with information about the health risks of extreme heat but while making some investments in clean energy and climate resilience, the White House continued to approve investments in fossil fuel infrastructure that are accelerating planetary warming.
Less than three weeks after Biden greenlighted ConocoPhillips’ $8 billion Willow drilling project in Alaska, he put 73 million federal acres in the Gulf of Mexico up for oil and gas lease auctions.
Biden contradicted his “no more drilling on federal lands” campaign promise in March, the same month in which the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said, “There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all,” in a call for the world to immediately move away from fossil fuels.
In April, the administration approved a $39 billion Alaska-based gas export project, which aims to ship liquified natural gas (LNG) from the Arctic to Asia. In 2022, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued permits for two LNG export terminals in Texas and Louisiana.
Biden induced Sen. Joe Manchin III to support the debt ceiling bill by adding a provision that fast-tracked approval for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), a controversial 300-mile project that would connect the fracking fields of West Virginia to central Virginia.
U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar filed an amicus brief in support of the MVP’s emergency request asking Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to intervene after the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia issued a stay on the construction of a section of the pipeline. Experts estimate annual greenhouse gas emissions from the MVP’s lifecycle would be comparable to the operation of 26 to 37 new coal-fired power plants.
Biden’s continued support for increased spending on oil and gas has angered many of his core voters — particularly younger ones — by what they view as his acquiescence to the fossil fuel industry.
As a sizzling heat dome spread misery over the American Southwest, and hospitals reported increasing numbers of heat-related illnesses, government officials reported that it is very likely that July would rank as the hottest month ever recorded, and that 2023 and 2024 may end up being the hottest years ever.
Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is starting to break through a barrage of government censorship supported by corporate-owned media outlets that shun heterodoxy that threatens to upset Reaganomics—or Bidenomics—the economic system that has enriched and empowered America’s new aristocracy.
Through their corporate-owned media outlets, America’s oligarchs have sought to defame Kennedy, the contender running against an incumbent president who is ideologically incompatible with the vast majority of voters in his party.
Kennedy is an environmental lawyer who offers Democrats extraordinary cross-party and independent appeal that makes him a far stronger candidate than Biden if he were to gain the nomination, although they share the same positions on many issues such as gun violence, abortion, LGBT rights, and labor issues.
“Why aren’t we talking about the disappearance of the middle class?” asked Kennedy, who also
“We are seeing unprecedented changes all over the world — the heat waves that we are seeing in the U.S., in Europe, in China are demolishing records left, right and center,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
“This last June was the warmest June on record, and we anticipate, with the understanding of what’s going on on a day-by-day basis, that July is likely to be the warmest absolute month on record.”
Schmidt said he put the odds that 2023 will be the warmest year on record at about 50-50, but noted that others have suggested it’s more like an 80% chance based on current data.“We anticipate that 2024 will be an even warmer year because we’re going to be starting off with that El Niño event,” he said at a Thursday news conference.
El Niño, a climate pattern in the tropical Pacific associated with warmer global temperatures, is still developing, but forecasters are increasingly confident that it will be a very strong El Niño. 2016 and 2020 — currently tied for the hottest years on record — both came after El Niño events.
But while El Niño will likely boost temperatures over the next two years, the root cause of increasing global average temperature is humanity’s burning of fossil fuels.
“A lot of this is expected — it is what our models predicted would happen,” said Kristina Dahl, a principal climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists. “But I think the impacts are more severe than I would have anticipated. … Just seeing how it actually plays out, I think, is really heartbreaking.”
In the coming weeks, huge swaths of the U.S., including New Jersey, are expected to see warmer-than-average temperatures, according to the latest forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
There’s no telling if Williamson or Kennedy will be able to overcome Biden’s advantages but they are very appealing candidates for the Democratic Party electorate even if the majority of political establishment insiders pretend that they are not.
The sudden change from ignoring them is likely to elevate their status among voters and with the many reasons to reject Biden, we can expect the contest to heat up very soon.