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It’s Been a Bad Week for Build Back Better. Here’s What It Means.

It’s Been a Bad Week for Build Back Better. Here’s What It Means.

Lisa Friedman

Senator Joe Manchin III may have single-handedly torpedoed President Biden’s climate change and social spending bill this week when he announced that he would not support the measure.

That’s because the Senate is evenly split and Mr. Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat with strong ties to the coal industry, holds the swing vote.

As This week I wrote with Coral Davenport, without the legislation, and the estimated $555 billion in clean energy incentives that it contains, the United States will very likely miss the president’s goal for emissions reductions. The chart below, created by Brad Plumer and Nadja Popovich, shows the estimated U.S. greenhouse gases trajectories without and with Build Back Better. You can read the full article here.

The consequences are dire for the planet. It will be difficult to convince other countries to cut emissions if the United States is not the largest emitter in history. This increases the risk of exceeding a dangerous temperature threshold, 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Quotable: “I don’t think we can tackle the climate crisis at the scale that’s necessary without passing this law,” said Leah Stokes, a professor of environmental policy at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Despite the legislative setbacks, the Biden administration is moving forward with other climate measures that don’t require the approval of Congress. Here are two examples from the past week.


Maybe you don’t feel like rewatching that holiday show you’ve already seen 900 times. If so, you’re in luck, because we’ve updated Our list of climate and natural documentaries. And don’t worry about spoiling the festive mood: Most of them end on an inspiring note.


The question of whether to restrict the use of natural gas has become part of America’s culture wars.

New York City joined blue states like Massachusetts, Washington, and California in banning gas hookups in new buildings. This is in response to the fact that natural gas releases carbon dioxide which causes global warming. New York City developers will be required to install electric heat pumps in new buildings and electric kitchen ranges.

But the push to electrify homes is triggering a political backlash. At least 20 red states including Arizona and Florida, Florida, Ohio, Texas, and Florida have passed laws that ban cities from restricting their gas use. These bills were supported by the natural gas industry as well as local gas utilities and passed most of them within the last year.

Quotable: “The message was: ‘You don’t want these California liberals telling you that you can’t have a gas stove,’” said Mary Boren, an Oklahoma state senator, describing the reaction to proposed restrictions in her state.

You can Read the entire article here.


Extreme weather that swept through Midwest last week was exceptional on many levels. 100 million Americans were under weather alert.

Some of those alerts were triggered in part by hurricane force winds and the first-ever December tornades observed in Minnesota, western Iowa.

“It was so unusual for the month of December,” said Grady Dixon, who teaches geosciences at Fort Hays State University in Kansas. “It has to make you ask questions.”

One of the key questions is how global warming may have contributed to such extreme weather events. Scientists believe it will be difficult to unravel the exact connections between storms and climate change. However, there is evidence that the United States can anticipate. As the planet heats up, we will see more severe weatherPotentially striking in unexpected places or at unexpected times.

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Roger Worthington framed by fall yellow leaves with the law school and Hayward Field torch tower in the background

Quotable: “We do expect an increase in favorable conditions for severe storms,” said John Allen, an associate professor meteorology at Central Michigan University. “And that means we have to be aware that we can have these extreme events in places or at times that we haven’t necessarily thought of before.”

Google’s recent promise to stop placing ads on climate denial sites has had limited effect so far, new research shows.

According to the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a nonprofit group based in London, ads placed by Google were still running on scores of articles last week, including ones on major right-wing sites like Breitbart, that falsely called global warming a hoax and described the United Nations climate conference last month as “a gigantic eco-fascist gaslighting operation.”

That’s a concern because the ad revenue that these denial sites earn by running Google ads then helps to fund more denial content, said Imran Ahmed, the center’s chief executive. “The more ad revenue they get, the more they can pump out articles and they can get it in front of as many eyeballs as possible,” he said.

These findings highlight how Google has struggled with climate denialism even in the most extreme cases. You can Read the entire article here.


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