…it’s not as though it’s exactly new…but all the same…joe “I’ll be dead before it goes to hell” manchin looks to be getting his way
The almost certain demise of the clean electricity program at the heart of Mr. Biden’s agenda — which comes as scientists say forceful policies are needed to avert climate change’s most devastating impacts — has prompted outrage among many Democrats and has led several to say now is the moment for a carbon tax.
But a carbon tax can be politically explosive. Industries could pass along their higher costs, leaving President Biden and fellow Democrats vulnerable to claims that they are raising taxes on the middle class, at a moment when inflation and energy prices are rising. Environmental justice advocates say a carbon tax permits companies to continue polluting, albeit at a higher cost, which disproportionately harms low-income communities. And it is unclear if Mr. Manchin, whose vote is crucial to Mr. Biden’s legislative agenda, would support a carbon tax.
As a result, the White House is scrambling to come up with alternatives to replace the $150 billion clean electricity program that had been the centerpiece of Mr. Biden’s climate agenda until just days ago, when Mr. Manchin indicated he strongly opposed it. That program would have rewarded utilities that stopped burning fossil fuels in favor of wind, solar and nuclear energy, and penalized those that did not. It was intended to push the nation’s electricity sector to generate 80 percent of its power from clean energy sources by 2030, from 40 percent now.https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/16/climate/democrats-carbon-tax-climate.html
In recent days, as White House officials were trying to forge a deal, Mr. Manchin told them he would not support any legislation that includes a clean electricity program. Mr. Manchin, whose state is a major coal producer and who has financial ties to the coal industry, has said that abandoning fossil fuels will harm the country’s energy independence and would make climate change worse.
…& you know what…he did not appreciate bernie running an op-ed in a local paper
In America today, the very rich are becoming richer while millions of working families are struggling to put food on the table or pay their bills. We now have the absurd situation in which two multi-billionaires own more wealth than the bottom 40% of Americans; the top 1% owns more wealth than the bottom 92%; and the gap between rich and poor is wider than at any time in the last 100 years.
And then there is the existential threat of climate change. With the planet becoming warmer and warmer, with unprecedented forest fires, drought, floods and extreme weather disturbances, and when scientists tell us that we only have a few years to avoid irreparable damage to our country and planet, this legislation begins the process of cutting carbon emissions and transforming our energy systems away from fossil fuel and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy.
This reconciliation bill is being opposed by every Republican in Congress as well as the drug companies, the insurance companies, the fossil fuel industry and the billionaire class. They want to maintain the status quo in which the very rich get richer while ordinary Americans continue to struggle to make ends meet.
Poll after poll shows overwhelming support for this legislation. Yet, the political problem we face is that in a 50-50 Senate we need every Democratic senator to vote “yes.” We now have only 48. Two Democratic senators remain in opposition, including Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.https://www.wvgazettemail.com/opinion/op_ed_commentaries/sen-bernie-sanders-lets-stand-together-to-protect-working-families-opinion/article.html
The column provoked swift pushback from Manchin. “This isn’t the first time an out-of-stater has tried to tell West Virginians what is best for them, despite having no relationship to our state,” he said a tweet.
Manchin’s home state is the second largest producer of coal, after Wyoming, according to the US Energy Information Administration, and Manchin has argued that utilities should not receive federal funds for an energy transition they are already making.
Manchin is also chairman of the Senate energy and natural resources committee, and holds power over energy components in the bill. He has indicated he aims to reduce the $3.5tn price tag of the spending bill to $1.5tn.
But simply dropping the clean energy provision from the proposed legislation would come as major embarrassment to the administration ahead of Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow next month, where Biden will be in the spotlight over matching verbal commitment to climate initiatives with legislative action.https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/oct/16/manchin-sanders-democrats-biden-spending-investment
…& I know this is a surprise to basically nobody…& I get that in addition to the fact that he’s making considerable money off the whole coal thing joe’s job is arguably about his state…but…damn it all that isn’t how the climate thing works…not even a little bit…which is apparently all it’s ok to do about it…despite the fact that…well
The analysis, which was done by the Environmental Defense Fund and McGill University, found that there are 81,283 documented orphan wells across the country that were drilled and then improperly abandoned by oil and gas companies. That’s nearly 1.5 times the previous estimate of roughly 56,000 wells from the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, a quasi-governmental organization.
– The analysis also found that about 9 million Americans live within one mile of an orphan well, including 4.3 million people of color and 550,000 children younger than 5 who are especially vulnerable to health problems tied to air pollution.
– The findings come with a map showing the locations of orphan wells in all 50 states, including “hot spots” in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York.
The number of undocumented orphan wells could be as high as 3.4 million, according to recent estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency.
“We can plug all these documented wells, but there are still going to be undocumented wells that are causing problems,” Kang told The Climate 202. “So we might just be scratching the surface.”https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/10/15/abandoned-wells-are-huge-climate-problem/
…still…joe is…for better or for worse…with the emphasis very much on worse…somewhat of a known quantity…whereas
But while Manchin has consistent (conservative) positions and has been negotiating in good faith with the White House, Sinema chose this week to fly off to the land of Marie Antoinette.
Yes, Sinema is in Paris — doing a fundraiser, the New York Times reported. The peasants need a child tax credit, Internet access and tuition assistance, and Sinema responds: Qu’ils mangent de la brioche.
Alas, we have seen entirely too much Sinema vérité of late.
During a climactic moment in negotiations a couple of weeks ago, as Biden, the House and Senate desperately tried to reach agreement on the Build Back Better package so the infrastructure bill could pass, Sinema flew home to Arizona — to see a foot doctor, an aide explained. (They don’t have podiatrists in Washington?) It turned out she also attended a spa-resort “retreat” in Phoenix with high-end donors while the frantic negotiations continued in Washington. A few days before that, her fundraising entity held a D.C. event with five corporate lobbying groups at which participants contributed up to $5,800 apiece.https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/10/15/what-does-sinema-want-biden-agenda/
…& much as it seems clear that the last thing we really need is more money trying to tip the political scales…there’s…well…more money than ever flying about
A dizzying amount of money is already pouring into the battles for the House and the Senate more than a year before the 2022 elections, as Republicans are bullish on their chances to take over both chambers in the first midterm election under President Biden, given the narrow margins keeping Democrats in power.
The two parties’ main war chests for the House total a combined $128 million — more than double the sum at this point in the 2020 cycle and far surpassing every other previous one. Top House members are now raising $1 million or more per quarter. And more than two dozen senators and Senate candidates topped that threshold.
Candidate after candidate, and the parties themselves, are posting record-breaking sums, even as the shapes of most House districts nationwide remain in flux because of delays in the once-a-decade redrawing of boundaries.
Money alone is rarely decisive in political races, especially when both parties are flush with cash. But the glut of political funding, detailed in Federal Election Commission reports filed on Friday by House and Senate candidates and announced by the parties, shows the growing stakes of American elections, where a single flipped Senate seat can shift trillions of dollars in federal spending.
The avalanche of cash could expand the 2022 political battlefield and result in an unrelenting wave of advertising aimed at Americans who live in swing districts and states.
The ad wars have, in fact, already begun. Democratic- and Republican-linked groups are spending millions of dollars to shape public opinion on the spending package currently being debated in Congress.Money Floods the Race for Control of Congress, More Than a Year Early [NYT]
…it seems like a wasteful way of doing things…but…well…that does seem to be the way things work even when you’d think it was obvious enough they shouldn’t?
The United States is wasting millions of Covid-19 vaccine doses even as shortages plague many parts of the world.
At least 15m doses were scrapped in the US between March and September, according to one analysis of CDC data. A separate investigation found 1m doses were discarded in 10 states between December and July.
States continue tossing unused shots. Louisiana has thrown out 224,000 unused doses of the Covid vaccines – a rate that has almost tripled since the end of July, even as a deadly fourth wave of the virus gripped the state. Some of the lost doses came from opening and not finishing vials, but more than 20,000 shots simply expired.
Thousands of doses are reportedly wasted each day in Wisconsin. In Alabama, more than 65,000 doses have been tossed; in Tennessee, it’s almost 200,000.
But the news comes as millions of people around the world wait for their first doses. Only 1% of the populations of low-income countries had received first shots as of July, compared with more than half of those living in a handful of high-income countries.
Many of the discarded doses came from pharmacies. In May, two pharmacy chains had wasted more doses than US states, territories and federal agencies combined, for almost three-quarters of tossed doses. Now, at least 7.6m discarded doses come from four major pharmacies: Walgreens, CVS, Walmart and Rite Aid.https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/16/us-throws-out-millions-doses-covid-vaccine-world-shortages
…though of course…context can be tricky
This week, China took charge of hosting a major UN environmental conference for the first time, at the opening of Cop15 in Kunming. The world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter and largest consumer of natural resources might seem a strange choice to host talks to stop the destruction of ecosystems and mass extinctions of wildlife, but the conference marks a tipping point in China’s development and an international debut for “ecological civilisation”, a little-known phrase outside its borders with big implications for the planet.
“We shall take the development of an ecological civilisation as our guide to coordinate the relationship between man and nature,” Xi said in his keynote speech at the largely ceremonial opening of Cop15 in the southern province of Yunnan on Tuesday, where he announced a $233m (£170m) fund to protect biodiversity in developing countries. Governments are expected to reach a Paris-style UN agreement for nature during phase two of the summit next year by agreeing targets on reducing pollution, halting the spread of invasive species and increasing protected areas.https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/16/ecological-civilisation-empty-slogan-cop15-or-will-china-act-on-environment-aoe
But what does ecological civilisation mean for China and the world? Superficially, it is the slogan for Chinese efforts to embrace environmental sustainability and move on from four decades of rapid economic growth that have come at great cost to nature, say experts. Beijing’s 2060 carbon-neutrality target, commitment to reach peak emissions by 2030 and decision to end financing for coal-fired power stations overseas are part of it, they add, but it also covers traditional medicine, the wildlife trade, hydropower dams and farming methods. Ecological civilisation is an axiom of “Xi Jinping Thought”, the Chinese president’s political ideology, now enshrined alongside Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory in the Chinese Communist party’s constitution.
…& much like manchin…the rest of us could certainly do with china shifting over into the doing-something-about-it column where the climate change thing is concerned…but…well…it’s not exactly clear that making the world a better place is the way they’re leaning
…still…whichever way the wind blows…it’s probably all right to take it easy for today…day of rest & all that?