Enormous Thanks to All Who Helped
Win a Big Heat Pump Victory Today
Earlier today, President Biden signed the above order, which mandates the use of the 1950 Defense Production Act to sput the production of heat pumps, because, as he puts it in the text, “ensuring a robust, resilient, and sustainable domestic industrial base to meet the requirements of the clean energy economy is essential to our national security, a resilient energy sector, and the preservation of domestic critical infrastructure.”
Readers of this newsletter played a big role in making this happen. I broached the idea here on February 27, 3 days after the Ukraine invasion, in an article called Heat Pumps for Peace and Freedom. Within a couple of days, a group called Rewiring America had fleshed out the plan, and Third Act had begun to push it out across the country, getting older Americans to write letters by the score. Between you all, the effort paid off. Biden’s order isn’t precisely what we’d called for, since the heat pumps are destined for U.S. homes instead of European ones—but that may well be more politically palatable, and in any event, as we’ve pointed out over and over, oil is a global market. If we can suppress demand here by giving people efficient technology, it will help drive down the windfall that rising oil prices have provided Putin.
In any event, three cheers
One is for the Biden administration, which has done something admirable. I was talking to a Wall Street Journal reporter over the weekend, lamenting that Manchin had managed to bottle up the Biden climate program—this is a sign that the president’s team is finally uncorking that bottle. And they did it quickly—late February to early June is unprecedented speed in DC time.
A second is for Substack. As with most platforms, this one can be used for unpleasant infighting. But it also allows people to surface plans and ideas before they’re fully formed and vetted. If I had proposed that piece to some editor, they might well have said: ‘does anyone else care about this?” Which is the kind of smart and useful question that makes one happy to have editors. But sometimes it’s useful to be able to just get something out fast so that others can begin to react: if traditional journalism is the first draft of history, Substack in this fashion serves as the sketchbook for that first draft.
And the third cheer is for all of you. Ideas do absolutely no good unless lots of people get behind them and make noise. That’s what movements are—people making impossible things possible. I’m immensely grateful to everyone who wrote and pestered their politicians about this; it worked.
This single measure obviously doesn’t solve our problems, in Russia or in the atmosphere. But it’s a hopeful sign that we can still get something done. Stay tuned.
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