Joe Manchin's Clean Energy Coal Company Climate Change Grid Sandwich Of LIES
Ryan Zinke campaign ad, Twitter

Yr Doktor Zoom was enjoying his weekend when the news about Joe Manchin's assassination attempt on the Build Back Better bill broke on Sunday, and for the sake of protecting our mental health, we immediately went into Cats-Only Internet Mode for the rest of the day. But now we have to do what we laughingly call around here "work," so we took a look at Manchin's own statement on why he and Build Back Better will never ever ever get back to better, and found his comments about the bill's climate measures every bit as full of made up nonsense as his assertions that we can't make working families' lives better because deficit, inflation or, somehow, the coronavirus pandemic.

As Robyn noted Sunday, no, not a bit of it is right. We'll just look a bit more closely at exactly how wrong it is!

Says Manchin,

If enacted, the bill will also risk the reliability of our electric grid and increase our dependence on foreign supply chains. The energy transition my colleagues seek is already well underway in the United States of America. In the last two years, as Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and with bipartisan support, we have invested billions of dollars into clean energy technologies so we can continue to lead the world in reducing emissions through innovation. But to do so at a rate that is faster than technology or the markets allow will have catastrophic consequences for the American people like we have seen in both Texas and California in the last two years.

Grid Lies!

Fact Check Numero Uno: Risk the reliability of the electrical grid? Hell no it won't. As Manchin should damned well know because he spun it off from Joe Biden's American Jobs Plan, the already-passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes $65 billion to upgrade the nation's power grid to help it better manage the addition of more wind and solar generating, and getting energy from one part of the country to the other — making sure late-afternoon solar from Arizona and Nevada can help power the East Coast in the early evening, for instance.

Texas and California Lies!

Fact Check Numero Two-O: As that last sentence about "Texas and California in the last two years" makes clearer, Manchin is simply repeating flat-out lies about renewable energy. Let's Truth Sandwich this: When California introduced rolling blackouts in 2020, it wasn't due to too much reliance on wind and solar; rather, there was a heat wave, resulting in increased demand for air conditioning, but the problem was compounded when at least two emergency natural gas generating stations failed. Other gas generating stations were down for maintenance or had been decommissioned because they were losing money due to low electricity prices. Now, it's true that the problem wasn't helped by a long drought that reduced availability of hydroelectric power and caused less wind. As the tech for grid scale battery storage improves and more renewable plants come online, such surges in demand can be met more effectively — and the failure of the fossil-fuel parts of the grid hardly make a case against wind and solar.

Fact Check Numero We're Tired Of This Gag Already: As for Texas, let's all just remember that it was primarily failures of fossil fuel plants that led to the failure of the power grid last spring, no matter what rightwing politicians claimed. The problem was also compounded by the nature of the state's weird Texas-only power grid, which was designed to avoid federal regulation but made it extremely difficult to tap emergency electricity from the nation's two other large electrical grids.

A Sandwich of LIES!

Joe Manchin is lying at the beginning and the end of his comments on clean energy. Now, about the middle: He is also lying! Manchin repeats his baseless claim that there's no point in spending taxpayer dollars on the transition to clean energy, because after all, private industry is already headed toward cleaner energy already. The main problem here is that, hooray, a lot of utilities are indeed stepping up their adoption of renewable energy, but no, it's not happening quickly enough to reach the goal of reducing US greenhouse emissions by 70 to 80 percent by 2035. It simply isn't. As energy and climate maven David Roberts points out, the current rate of green energy adoption will only get us to carbon emission reductions of 17 to 25 percent by 2035.

To get there, we'll need to electrify just about everything that now relies on fossil fuels, as quickly as possible, and the "free market" just won't move quickly enough. We need to spend far more on grid upgrades and aggressive incentives to phase out fossil fuels. The $555 billion in climate spending in Build Back Better would go a long way toward that goal, as would the now-scrapped Clean Electricity Performance Program, which would have sped the transition to clean electricity even more aggressively by paying utilities to exceed emissions-reductions goals, and fined them for missing 'em. Manchin had argued that it was unfair to incentivize clean energy while not helping out the dirty kind, you see.

The New York Times reported yesterday that not only did Manchin's tender feelings for his beloved coal industry help sink the clean energy plan — the Times also, rather surprisingly, thoroughly covered his coal company, which it explains is in a trust that's hardly "blind" if the company is "coal" — but he also was still being pushed by the fossil fuel lobby to oppose the roughly $320 billion in total tax incentives that would have helped producers and consumers of clean energy (including EV tax credits), as well as funding to replace gas-burning appliances with electric ones. Research and development for advanced clean power is clearly a waste of money, after all, since our grid can't handle it unless we upgrade the grid, and it's wasteful to upgrade the grid when there's not enough demand for clean power, and, also let's pretend we can keep coal and gas in the mix without zipping right past the tipping point for climate disaster, OK?

And Now Here's This Asshole

Speaking of which, there's also this stupid thing from Donald Trump's former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who worries that we'll "run out of wind," and no, that's not a science thing either.

I'm all for clean energy - and solar and wind must be part of our energy mix where it makes sense - but we need other affordable and reliable options to power our current energy needs.

You see, dipshit, the wind won't run out, and while it may vary in strength and even stop blowing sometimes in one place, you prepare for that with an improved power grid, more green generating capacity, battery storage, and if need be, nuclear maybe.

As of yet, the wind generated by rightwing lies is not yet economical to harvest, but we suppose it may someday become cost-effective.

Open thread!

[Atlantic Council / NPR / Vox / Grist / NYT]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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