Two great agendas that go great together!
In one of those weird things that you don't hear about until it's a done deal (OK, that we didn't hear about until this morning), it turns out that the $900 billion stimulus bill has a nice chunk of change — about $35 billion — for US climate policy tucked into it, according to the Washington Post. Fact Check: We suspect the Post has that slightly wrong, and that the green provisions are actually part of the great big omnibus spending bill that the stimmy bill was bundled with, which is how GreenTech Media is reporting it. Since Donald Trump is getting all pissy about things in the larger spending bill that aren't in the stimulus part of the bill, the distinction became more important last night. (Grist though also reports that it's specifically in the stimulus bill, not the spending bill, which again are two different things.)
Either way, it's good news for the climate, because in addition to a bunch of spending on various green energy programs and tax incentives, the legislation will outlaw an entire class of chemicals, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), that are seriously bad contributors to the greenhouse effect. As Greenpeace 'splained in a 2009 report, HFCs, used as refrigerants in air conditioners and refrigerators, are "'super-greenhouse gases.' Molecule for molecule, some of them have the capacity to heat the planet thousands of times more than carbon dioxide." If the roughly 300 grams of HFC-134 gas in the average modern refrigerator were released into the atmosphere, that's roughly equivalent to "the carbon emissions from driving a Volkswagen Golf, for example, from London to Moscow."
Or worse, now, seeing as how the 2020 Golf gets seven miles per gallon more than the 2009 model. And you certainly don't want the GTI if you're buying used, because some kid has probably driven the hell out of it, to Moscow and back, and probably crashed into a refrigerator we bet. Kids these days!
A climate of serious change.
During the 2020 campaign, Joe Biden said the climate crisis was one of the four "major crises" he intended to take on in his presidency — the others are the pandemic, the economy, and the struggle for racial justice. As of this week, Biden rounded out his climate team with appointments to the EPA, the Council on Environmental Quality, and a brand new advisory position, "National Climate Advisor." Let's take a quick look at the new folks, as well as some of the other appointees we've been kvelling over already!
First Native American Cabinet secretary? Why yes, please!
You want a story that should end your Thursday with a big old grin, as long as nothing too terribly 2020 happens the rest of the day? Well go read the Washington Post's very happy story about Rep. Deb Haaland (D-New Mexico), Joe Biden's nominee to be secretary of the Interior. We were pretty darn excited when, as part of the 2018 blue wave, Haaland and Sharice Davids of Kansas became the first two Native American women elected to Congress. If confirmed, Haaland would make some more history, as the Post 'splains:
A member of Pueblo of Laguna, Haaland, 60, would become the first descendant of the original people to populate North America to serve as a Cabinet secretary. It marks a turning point for a 171-year-old institution that has often had a fraught relationship with 574 federally recognized tribes.
We will now pause zero seconds for Tucker Carlson to be outraged that anyone would see that as historic.
More people who aren't actively trying to break the planet? Weird!
More Biden Cabinet picks! The AP reports that Joe Biden will name former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm to be secretary of Energy, and today, he nominated his former 2020 campaign rival Pete Buttigieg as secretary of Transportation. Both are expected to play big roles in Biden's plan to commit every part of the federal government to fighting climate change.
America, are you sick of competent people in top government positions yet? Neither are we!