climate change

Suddenly Joe Manchin's Playing Ball On Climate, Healthcare, Taxes?

Is it Kyrsten Sinema's time to shine?

Surprise news from Washington last night: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D?-West Virginia) announced that they had reached an agreement on a bill that will address climate change, limit healthcare costs, hold down inflation, and put a little dent in the federal deficit, too. Since it includes measures that the Senate has been working on for months, the bill text is ready to go.

In a nod to the thing Manchin kept saying prevented him from supporting any version of Joe Biden's Build Back Better agenda, the bill is named the "Inflation Reduction Act," although it would be terribly cynical to suggest that just renaming it was enough to get Manchin on board. But if that was what did the job, then Schumer clearly needs to do one more reconciliation bill that would extend the expanded Child Tax Credit for a full 10 years, pay for it (and then some) with another whack at the Trump tax cuts, and call it the Deficit Reduction Act.

The bill includes $369.75 billion for fighting climate change — mostly in the form of tax credits and incentives — so if it passes, it'll be the biggest investment in climate action the federal has taken to date. Dollar-wise, that total falls short of the more ambitious $555 billion for climate action in the House version of Build Back Better that passed last fall, but it's also $369.75 billion more in climate spending than we were looking at yesterday morning. A Senate fact sheet estimates the measures in the bill will "put the U.S. on a path to roughly 40% emissions reduction by 2030," helping to boost the US transition to clean energy and transportation.

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Nice Time

Hey, Remember How The World Actually Fixed The Ozone Hole? And Acid Rain? ​

And Y2K? And HITLER?

Professional Internet Troll Matt Walsh, who may actually be an artificial brain in a box grown from Ben Shapiro's fingernail clippings, trotted out an extremely stupid reply to news that President Joe Biden is likely to declare the climate crisis a national emergency, which would allow Biden some latitude in using executive orders to address greenhouse gas emissions. As Evan already noted, Walsh's bleatings were part of a sudden spasm of rightwing pundits touting long-debunked climate denial tropes, as if the prospect of Biden taking action on climate had bonked them all simultaneously on the kneecaps. But we'd like to linger on what Walsh said on Twitter, not because it's all that worth debunking, but because the debunking provides a timely reminder that not only is international cooperation to address an environmental crisis possible, it used to be the norm and it can be again.

Read More:

Joe Biden To Meet Climate Crisis Behind Gym, Punch It Right In The Snoot

Fox News Sorry You Snowflakes Can't Handle A Little Heatwave, WHAR'S YER GLOBAL WARMIN' NOW, LIBS?

Walsh, who's probably smart enough to know he was lying and cynical enough to know his readers don't know or care, tried to imply that the climate crisis is just a big liberal lie,like other environmental crises of the past, as long as you ignore a few tiny details like science, law, and history.

Remember when they spent years telling us to panic over the hole in the ozone layer and then suddenly just stopped talking about it and nobody ever mentioned the ozone layer again?

This was also back during the time when they scared school children into believing that "acid rain" was a real and urgent threat

And then, as is the ritual, the rest of Twitter jumped in to remind Walsh that ozone depletion and acid rain were both very real threats, and that both had been addressed and largely solved by international action by governments, including that bane of rightwing ideologues, regulations on businesses. It's that "Hey, we fixed it!" part of the discussion I'd like to focus on, so now we'll leave Matt Walsh alone to stand there in his wrongness and be wrong. He's not worth discussing, for the most part — except insofar as how science deniers like Walsh tried and failed to prevent action in those cases, too.

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climate change

Joe Biden To Meet Climate Crisis Behind Gym, Punch It Right In The Snoot

Also, no, he didn't say he has cancer, stop that.

President Joe Biden yesterday called climate change "literally, not figuratively, a clear and present danger" that has to be addressed with "urgency and resolve," and announced several executive actions he's taking. Biden stopped short of formally declaring the climate crisis a "national emergency," a move that would allow more aggressive executive powers, but made clear that's also very much on the table, and soon, holding out the slim chance that Congress might act first.

Biden spoke in Somerset, Massachusetts, at the site of a former coal power plant that's now manufacturing components for offshore wind power, to emphasize the energy transition that's needed to slow global warming. Here's video of the speech (oh, and a transcript, too):

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Texas Manages To Avoid Grid Collapse This Time, Yay!

Way to go, creaky old power grid!

In the midst of dangerous high temperatures caused by an atmospheric "heat dome" that's affecting much of the Southwest, Texas's power grid operator, the whimsically named "Electric Reliability Council of Texas" (ERCOT), called on Texans to cut back on electricity use in hopes of avoiding rolling blackouts. And while the agency says Texas hit a new unofficial peak in energy demand Monday, it also told the Texas Tribune that it now doesn't expect any rolling blackouts for the rest of the week.

Because of the high temperatures — over 100 degrees in much of the state — ERCOT on Sunday night asked Texans to set their thermostats a little higher and to avoid using major appliances and pool pumps from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. local time Monday. That seems to have been enough to avoid worse consequences. It probably also helped that, as Bloomberg News reported, most of Texas's bitcoin miners shut down their power-hungry computers in response to the call to conserve energy, freeing up one percent of the grid's capacity. The move's impact on the value of stupid low-resolution "art" is of no interest to us whatsoever, so let's move on.

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