President Biden couldn’t persuade Congress to pass major climate legislation in 2021, and it looks like his plans to slash America’s planet-warming pollution could face an even harder path this year.
That’s because the Build Back Better Act, the president’s top legislative priority, faces an uncertain future in Congress. Experts say the $555 billion in clean energy tax incentives the bill currently includes will be necessary to meet Biden’s target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions this decade by at least 50 percent from 2005 levels.
Democrats have pledged to push for the climate package. Midterm elections are coming up, making negotiations difficult. The chances of passing major climate legislation will be shattered if Republicans, who are opposed to the package unanimously, win a majority either in one or both chambers of Congress in November. The Supreme Court this year also could move to restrict the government’s authority to cut emissions from power plants, potentially wiping out a powerful regulatory tool.
Those challenges will make the next few months critical to secure the safety of the planet as well as Mr. Biden’s climate legacy, analysts said.
Quotable: “If they can’t pull this off, then we failed; the country has failed the climate test,” said John Podesta, a former senior counselor to President Barack Obama.
From the Opinion section
Climate change is already here. It’s just not evenly distributed yet, The Times editorial board writes.
Wildfire control: A real-life lesson
Writing about Western wildfires and climate change in recent years, I’ve spent some time in burned-out forests. They look the same: dead trees everywhere, soil covered with ash, barely a living thing in view.
I was surprised to discover that there were some things that were different when I visited an Oregon Nature Conservancy preserve that had been destroyed in the huge Bootleg fire. While there were some stands that had been almost incinerated, in other areas, green, living trees outnumbered the burned ones.
Officials at the Conservancy are conducting research to determine why some areas do better than others. But they’re pretty sure they already know a large part of the answer. They have been conducting controlled fires in the preserve for over two decades as part of a program that aims to better understand how forest treatments can reduce wildfire intensity. The experiment was a success, with the exception of one area that was both burned as well as thinned.
My article gives more details. You should also check out the drone videos by Chona Kasinger that show untreated and treated forests side-by-side. It is amazing to see the transformation from black to green.
Why it matters Global warming makes it more difficult for forests to burn due to extreme heat and drought.
Coming soon to one coal stronghold, lots of solar power
Appalachia’s history of dependence on coal mining might make it seem less welcoming for a large green energy farm. In Eastern Kentucky, Martin County is the best place to find a large green energy farm. a big solar projectApproved for the top of an abandoned strip-mine.
The project’s developers, which could be the largest coal-to-solar project anywhere in the country, have also promised to hire ex-coal miners to help with the installation. While the overwhelming majority of the jobs will be temporary, the developers say there’ll be other opportunities as other new solar sites come to the region.
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Biden’s climate agenda in peril. President Biden faces an More narrow paths to fulfill his ambitious environmental goals with the Build Back Better Act — which contains $555 billion in proposed climate action — Capitol Hill in limbo.
Many ex-coal miners from the county, which is plagued by high unemployment and poverty, supported the new solar farm wholeheartedly. They agreed that any type of investment is good. One former miner stated that he liked the idea of it helping to combat climate change. You can Read the article.
Quotable: “I would’ve been run out of the coal fields had I tried to do this six to 10 years ago,” said Adam Edelen, the local developer for the solar project.
Science has become so politicized, that the descriptors used to describe Katharine, an evangelical Christian and climate scientist can register as paradoxical.
Despite this, Hayhoe is the chief scientist of the Nature Conservancy, a professor at Texas Tech University and a leader in climate activism. He also advocates for communication across ideological, political, and theological divides.
“For many people now, hope is a bad word,” Hayhoe told our colleague David Marchese at The New York Times Magazine. “They think that hope is false hope; it is wishful thinking. But there are things to do — and we should be doing them.”
Hayhoe talked to Marchese on science and faith, the politicization and abuse of religion in America, as well as other topics. You can You can read their conversation here.
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