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Sparks

Mont Blanc Just Shrunk By 7 Feet

Heat is taking a toll on its peak.

Mont Blanc.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 climbers attempt a summit of France’s Mont Blanc each year — a task that will be slightly easier in 2023, as the mountain’s peak has shrunk by more than 2.2 meters, or over seven feet, the equivalent of NBA star Victor Wembanyama, since 2021. Measurements of its height have been taken every two years since 2001 to assess the impact of climate change on the Alps, and this year’s measurement struck surveyor Denis Borel as “somewhat exceptional.” The shrinkage was “quite considerable compared to the measurements of previous eras,” he told French television channel TF1.

Mont Blanc is sheathed in a cap of ice, which shrinks in warmer, drier years, and grows in colder, wetter years. Depending on future precipitation, “Mont Blanc could well be much taller in two years,” according to Jean des Garets, the area’s chief surveyor. However, since 2013, when the mountain reached a height of 4,810.02 meters, its peak has steadily declined. “It is hard to believe we are going to recuperate a few meters over the next two years. There is a lot of variation, but there is a slight downward trend,” Farouk Kadded of Leica Geosystems said. “Normally, Mont Blanc gains one meter from June to September, but that did not happen this summer because [of] several days of positive temperatures, even a record of 10 degrees Celsius.”

Though des Garets said that the team was “gathering the data for future generations; we’re not here to interpret them,” it seems that the iconic mountain's decline is yet one more effect of recent months’ disturbingly — some might say gobsmackingly bananas — warm temperatures.

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Jacob Lambert profile image

Jacob Lambert

Jacob is Heatmap's founding multimedia editor. Before joining Heatmap, he was The Week's digital art director and an associate editor at MAD magazine.

President Biden.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

In an altogether distressing debate in which climate was far from a main focus, the two candidates did have one notable exchange regarding the Paris Agreement. The 2015 treaty united most countries around the world in setting a goal to limit global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius, with 1.5 degrees as the ultimate target.

After Trump initially dodged a question about whether he would take action to slow the climate crisis, he then briefly noted “I want absolutely immaculate clean water and I want absolutely clean air. And we had it. We had H2O.”

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Sparks

What Were Trump’s ‘Environmental Numbers,’ Actually?

Trump claimed “I had the best environmental numbers ever” at the presidential debate. He doesn’t.

Donald Trump.
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Former President Donald Trump has been known, on occasion, to exaggerate. Still, an assertion he made during the first presidential debate on Thursday night is one for the books: “During my four years, I had the best environmental numbers ever,” he said.

It was “unclear” what Trump was “talking about,” The New York Timesdiplomatically said. But Thursday was hardly the first time Trump has claimed to be “the number one” environmentalist president. He’s said that the “environment is very important to me” and that “I’m a big believer in that word: the environment.” And for proof, he’s historically pointed to a book written by a longtime Trump Organization staffer that called him “An Environmental Hero” as well as the fact that “I did the best environmental impact statements.”

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Sparks

FERC Says Yes to the LNG Terminal

Calcasieu Pass 2 has cleared another federal hurdle, but it’s still stuck in limbo.

The Calcasieu Pass project.
Heatmap Illustration/Venture Global

The Department of Energy may not be ready to say yes to more liquified natural gas export projects, but the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is. In a meeting on Thursday, FERC approved plans for a massive LNG terminal project in Louisiana by a 2-1 vote, with Allison Clements, an outgoing Democratic commissioner, as the lone dissenter.

The Calcasieu Pass 2, or CP2, project would install some 20 million metric tons of export capacity in a hurricane-battered coastal Louisiana community near the Texas border. You may have heard of it if you followed the drama in January around the Biden administration’s decision to pause approving new LNG export terminals, which will allow the DOE to reexamine how it assesses whether new energy projects are in the “public interest.” Republicans haven't stopped talking about it since, arguing that the pause chokes off a major American export and that it both was tantamount to a fossil fuel ban and that it undermined the administration's climate goals. Democrats — especially those running for reelection in swing states — have been lukewarm.

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