‘Tis the season to be jolly, they say. This is unless climate Grinch Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinStanding with Joe Manchin Biden is not on the same page as Black voters Last week, Manchin stated to the White House that he would support a version of the billionaire tax. LEARN MORE(D.W.Va.), takes all hope of solving the climate crisis away just when you least expect. Cashing inCorporate donations are encouraged.
I’m sure I’m not the only one whose jolliness fled pretty quickly on Sunday after hearing Manchin had TelledFox News reported that he would not vote for the Build Back better (BBB) Act. Not only does the BBB deliver on the key promises Biden ran for president on, the backbone of the Democratic Party platform — but more importantly, it would be the most comprehensive climate change legislation we’ve ever seen — even after Manchin whittled it down over many months of negotiation. When the vast majority of Americans voted to put Congress and the White House in the hands of democrats, it was to accomplish this agenda put forth in the BBB — to tackle the climate crisis and rebuild our economy through clean energy investments that will put people back to work. For the Maserati drivingSenator who A yacht is a place where you can live your life.Receive and send The most fossil fuel money in the Senate, to thwart the goals of the majority of Americans is reprehensible — not to mention for his state of West Virginia that Rankings near the bottomIn public health, education, and infrastructure
Manchin is justifying this Grinch-like behavior by doubling down on inflation and claiming parents who receive the child credit will use it to Buy drugs.
He also Claims that if he can’t go home to West Virginia and explain it, he can’t vote for it. Perhaps he hasn’t checked in with them a while from his yacht in D.C. A coal miner’s unionHe was asked by West Virginia to reconsider his decision and vote for BBB.
Despite how disappointing this development may be, it is not fatal. Many Capitol Hill members believe there is a way forward that can save the legislation.
But if not, or if not soon, it’s also an important time to remember that Congress is not the only climate show in town. Venture capitalists invested $40 billionIn 2021, clean tech start ups. This will be the first half of 2019. 92 percentThe majority of the new energy capacity that was built in the U.S. was made from renewable sources. Clean energy jobs ContinueDespite the slowdown in other sectors, it is one of fastest-growing jobs. The two highest-valuedU.S. automakers are Rivian and Tesla, both electric car manufacturers. So many states and cities have committed to 100 per cent clean energy that one third of Americans Get it nowLiving in a place where renewable energy is a priority
Even the Biden administration seems to be starting to recognize that the executive branch can do some executing of its own. Two weeks ago they announced a CommitmentTo see the federal government completely decarbonized before 2050. It is remarkable. (Of course, this was only a few weeks after they allowed it. The largest oil and natural gas drilling lease saleIt was approved, opening up 80,000,000 acres in the Gulf of Mexico. It was less than a year since Biden returned from UN climate summit COP26.
The point is, don’t let Manchin suck all the air out of the room. We’re making progress on climate, despite Washington’s antics, and it’s important to remind ourselves of what’s working at times like this.
The problem is more than Manchin
I was struck by something about the latest round of political sparring regarding climate. I’m not much of a pro-wrestling fan, but there’s an interesting parallel here. There are good and bad guys in wrestling, which is more like a soap opera than a sport. The bad guys are portrayed as evil and incite boos from their fans. The good guys are depicted as sweet, endearing and likeable, although they may not be aware of the bad guy behind, who is about hitting them with a chair.
With this in mind, it’s pretty clear who is who in the political arena — at least when it comes to climate. The Democrats seem to have the moral high road and appear to mean well. But somehow there’s always a rotating villain thwarting their best of intentions — whether it’s Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money — Democrats seek to scale back Build Back Better Manchin gets a flirtatious response from the GOP Citizenship before partisanship – Is Manchin the ideal choice for 2024’s presidential election? LEARN MORE (R-Ky.), former Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBiden holiday caller: ‘Merry christmas and let’s get Brandon’ Biden’s confusing trade policy The United States deserves a 21st Century Supreme Court LEARN MORE, or now Manchin (the list goes on) who are somehow able to single-handedly stop the Democrats from delivering on their promises, even when they’re in control of the Executive and Legislative branches of the government. We all sigh in frustration. We sigh in frustration and shake our heads in dismay. We even foster a bit of sympathy for the poor Democrats who were so close to getting it done this time, but just couldn’t seem to catch a break.
What a boring story.
Manchin isn’t the problem. He’s just the latest character to play the Grinch. The problem is that the system was created to allow the Manchins to exist and have so much power.
Sherrilyn Ifill, president & director of the NAACP legal defence fund, was recently Tweet, “Manchin is Manchin. What kind of healthy democracy can allow a man elected by 290,000. voters in one of the most populous states to block the agenda of his party, and the President elected with 81. million votes? We need structural change.”
It’s not like this is some sort of mystery as to what’s behind all this. As I mentioned, he’s the highest recipient of oil and gas money in the Senate. The Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling made corporate money in politics fair game allowing its tentacles to influence our laws in countless ways — from killing the BBB to subsidizing more fossil fuels, from increasing the already bloated military budget to reducing corporate taxes.
It will take more than just electing Democrats to win federal climate legislation. It’s going to take changing the rules so that the guy who Exxon Mobil brags about meeting with every week can’t singlehandedly block the last best chance we have to keep a livable planet. We must continue to support communities, local governments, entrepreneurs, investors and civil society in order to make the transition to clean energy as smooth as possible. This group is someone to whom we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude for keeping us fighting these battles over the last few decades as our democracy struggles to wake up from its sleep.
Andreas Karelas is author of the book “Climate Courage: How tackling climate change can build community, transform the economy, and bridge the political divide in America” published by Beacon Press. He is also the executive director and founder of RE-volva non-profit climate justice organisation that assists fellow nonprofits go solar. Follow him on Twitter @AndreasKarelas