Boiling hot this late-afternoon Saturday here in California’s Central Valley — right now nearing 6 PM PDT and it’s 108 degrees with evening and darkness just a short burst of heated time away. Real-hot times.
This morning started hot and it has stayed hot as shit on an anvil all day. In this atmosphere, the air is way heavy.
And once again this afternoon another look at Joe Manchin’s bullshit from this past week and the horrible result in our scorching-hot environment, which soon will get even hotter. Across the pond, the UK is roasting: ‘Red “extreme” heat warnings have been hoisted in parts of Britain for the first time on record where the hottest weather is forecast Monday and Tuesday. Britain’s Met Office is describing the situation as a “national emergency,” warning that the heat will have “widespread impacts on people and infrastructure.”‘
Shit is only going to get worse. Bill McKibben, noted environmentalist, author, and journalist, looks at bitch-ass Manchin and our probable future with the getting-worse climate:
Big Oil's Manchinian candidate keeps Congress's record intact: no real climate legislation ever.https://t.co/bWGNnQwC6B
— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) July 16, 2022
McKibben at The New Yorker today goes through the recap of America’s attempts at addressing climate change — efforts in 1997, again in 2009, then this past week with Manchin — three strikes and we’re out. A conclusion:
Manchin didn’t do Biden the favor of saying no up front. Instead, he got the President to strip the sticks from the bill (the clean-energy pricing plan that would have forced utilities toward clean energy) and then he nibbled away at the carrots.
He used the hope of his vote to get the more fossil-fuel-friendly Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed, and he used the fear of his rejection to keep Biden from invoking executive authority to block federal oil leases and pipelines.
Although the sentiments of Senator Kyrsten Sinema, of Arizona, are always hard to read, it appears that there was a solid forty-nine-vote bloc for the climate actions in the bill. But forty-nine gets you precisely nothing.
So now we’ve struck out three times. The country that historically has put more carbon in the atmosphere than any other, and whose scientists played the lead role in figuring out the climate crisis, has refused to do anything about it.
Our Congress — the place where, in 1988, Jim Hansen sounded the first truly public alarm about global warming — has never passed major climate legislation. The most distressed person in all this might be John Kerry, who is now the President’s global climate envoy.
He’s been using the prospect of serious American action to try to rouse the rest of the world to action, and without that card in the deck he’s left mostly with jokers. (You think that Xi Jinping isn’t fully aware of what Joe Manchin just did?)
But there are plenty of other people mourning, too. The policy analysts who have spent the past two years recasting the legislation every time Manchin made another demand, only to see their work be for nought. The engineers and entrepreneurs who were counting on the infusion of money from the bill (a tiny fraction of the subsidies that have been extended over the decades to fossil fuel) to jump-start the rapid transition to renewable energy. The young people who have to live in what geologists may someday dub the Manchinian epoch.
There is no chance now that the U.S. can meet even the modest targets for emissions reduction that Biden had promised for this decade, and hence the temperature will rise far higher than it must. Most of the bad decisions that politicians make are forgotten in the fullness of time — there have been Manchins before, and there will be Manchins again.
But this Manchin, in 2022, will never be forgotten, not as long as humans are grappling with the most fundamental challenge we’ve ever faced.
There doesn’t seem any way out of this predicament, and the climate/environment situation is only going to get even worse. As I repeat myself ad infinitum. And sooner, too.
And like yesterday, and the day before, once again here we are…
(Illustration out front found here.)