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Saved by the bill

17 Aug 2022 | OP ED Watch

And another thing. We went away for two lousy weeks (not that the vacation was lousy) and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin switched sides on the massive U.S. climate-and-all-good-things bill. And for now the usual suspects are in a state of rapture over how it will save the planet. All done, right? Can we now talk about something else? No, look for them to switch back to claiming America is the leading climate stinker and needs to finally take action faster than a summer tan can fade.

In an email teaser not available online, Canary Media called it “the most important and far-reaching climate legislation in U.S. history” and predicted, well, everything good short of walls of jasper and streets of pure gold, from a “big boost” for “Clean energy” to “environmental justice” plus “Energy storage would win long-sought victory with Inflation Reduction Act” and “Climate bill could spur ‘market transformation’ in home electrification”. And down it rolls like waters: “The new climate bill could help clean up air travel”.

The Atlantic’s “The Planet” joined the Hallelujah chorus with “History’s Greatest Obstacle to Climate Progress Has Finally Fallen”. Yes folks, it’s not China’s runaway coal plants. It’s not natural changes. It’s not the oil industry. It’s the United States Senate, which “has been the invincible obstacle. But now, on a broiling August day 34 years after [James] Hansen spoke [to a Senate subcommittee in June 1988], that record began to change. After an all-night session that stretched from Saturday evening into Sunday afternoon, Democrats voted along party lines to pass the first comprehensive climate law in American history.” It just doesn’t get any better than that, apparently.

The New York Times got full partisan as well as millennial satisfaction with an email “The Senate passed a bill over full G.O.P. opposition to fight climate change, cut drug costs and raise taxes, in a major win for Democrats.” And naturally when you spend without restraint, only good things happen, so the story to which the email pointed claimed “The measure, large elements of which appeared dead just weeks ago amid Democratic divisions, would inject more than $370 billion into climate and energy programs. Altogether, the bill could allow the United States to cut greenhouse gas emissions about 40 percent below 2005 levels by the end of the decade.”

Probably you should read that last bit again. The bill could allow the US to cut GHGs by 40% from 2005 levels in the next 7 1/3 years. If, that is, we repeal the laws of economics and physics. Although we probably also need to invade China and India so this unlikely achievement won’t be pointless even if it miraculously happens. But as you know, plans are for losers. All you need is political will and a very large pile of someone else’s money. And a weasely “could” for good measure.

NBC also high-fived itself, with “Senate Democrats narrowly passed a sweeping climate and economic package on Sunday, putting President Joe Biden and his party on the cusp of a big legislative victory just three months before the crucial November midterm elections.” And the once-venerable Economist chortled that “Despite being less ambitious than the original programme because of the compromises with Mr Manchin, many of which benefit fossil-fuel interests, it will still be the largest package of climate spending in American history.” And while there was a time in our youth when that publication did not regard government spending as a key metric for achievement, those days are long gone.

In an earlier piece cheering this ugly lumbering omnibus bill on, Robinson Meyer at “The Planet” explained that:

“The Inflation Reduction Act, the surprise deal that Senator Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer struck last week, would significantly reduce greenhouse-gas pollution from the American economy. If passed, the bill would cut annual emissions by as much as 44 percent by the end of this decade, according to a new set of analyses from three independent research firms. That would make the Inflation Reduction Act, or IRA, the most significant climate bill ever passed by Congress. No law has ever made such a big dent in U.S. emissions, or cut them as rapidly”.

Um guys it hasn’t happened yet. And when the results trickle grimly in we just know what you’re going to say. And it won’t be yes, I was there with the high kicks and pompoms.

One comment on “Saved by the bill”

  1. In addition to having zero impact on the world’s climate, at least the western world (or any part that enjoys the benefits of the modern medicine miracle) will now have to live mostly on what medicines are already in the pipeline. The medicine innovation is almost completely funded by the US due to onerous pricing rules everywhere else that essentially prohibit any other nation providing the necessary profits to fund drug development, and the US has now also decided to cut the price drug companies may charge to below the cost of R&D. So enjoy what we now have, nothing new will be coming out in the coming decades…

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