Joe Manchin and the Biden Administration's Painful Turn from Climate Action
Nice write up Bill of the NYT piece.
How can true "climate saviors" battle evil "climate devils" such as Manchin, Putin, Etc?
Divestment is a tool - Yes
Renewable Energy Sources are tools - Yes
Nuclear Energy is a tool - Yes
Political Action and Good Candidates are tools - yes.
There are many other tools. So what tools are currently in Bill McKibbens Tool Bag and how do we use them.
Bill, I hope you will consider reformulating the leadership and guidance panel for the Third Act as some of us feel we are not being properly utilized and the job getting done. How many Third Act members are there right now? How many chapters? Source and amount of funding?
We are witnessing the beginnings of a collapse of industrial civilization, not just in the US but in every country largely dependent on fossil fuels. And there is no prospect of getting any binding, enforceable agreement between the US, Russia, China, India, Brazil, Canada, Japan and the EU to rapidly decrease GHG by 50% in 8 years and get to near zero by 2050.
That means that earth's major nations will be fighting increasingly violent resource wars as they struggle to keep dying industrialized societies functioning. The war in Ukraine is the first of these wars but it will not be the last. While these wars are being fought, we will see new pandemics, massive immigration (and demands for walls and increasing violence to keep "them" out). Food shortages, homelessness, civil violence, even warlordism will become increasingly common as the old order breaks down.
We had a chance to become a global solar world at a high level of civilization but we were too addicted to fossil fuels and too under the control of the very wealthy & powerful. So now we will face the consequences: a series of collapses back to increasingly dark ages with far fewer humans on the planet.
Maybe it wasn't a good idea to rest our hopes on a political system designed to further and protect the personal business interests of a few white southerners? Asking for a friend.
Compare the GHG consequences of liquifying the comparable amount of American natural gas on the Gulf coast, shipping it across the Atlantic, and revaporizing and compressing it into European pipelines. How on earth can we possibly be considering this path?
I think it is good to point out the corruption of the Manchin and his dirty energy money, but I think it also distracts from a deeper problem in the Democratic party itself. Big D's talk a big talk in the primaries to get all the progressives on board, then when it comes to pushing through the real legislation, putting serious pressure on holdouts like Manchin and Sinema, they roll over like wet noodles. Who does the democratic party represent, their corporate donors or their constituents? And at what point do we need to say to hell with it all and vote third party?
Yes I know, gotta vote against the big scary republicans, but if this is what we end up with then what have we really gained? I have voted Green Party since ever Obama led the troop surge into Afghanistan, bailed out the big banks, and tried to ram through the secretive Trans Pacific Partnership in his final days in office.
Progressives, if you ever thought Democrats would bring you fundamental climate legislation or green energy policy, I have bad news for you, you've been conned.
Manchin is worse than I thought. Why can't Biden and the Democrats lobby Collins, Murkowski, and Romney to join them, and maybe even Portman and Sasse. These people must have some decent cross-party friendships within the Senate, people who might be able to convince them that civilization depends on it, and that their names will be known to posterity for centuries if they support these efforts. (Or maybe I'm hopelessly naive, but I prefer to think that these five GOPers are susceptible to logic and decency.)
How does Manchin have so much power?
1. The Constitution specifies two senators from each state, regardless of population. Thus, popular opinion is underrepresented in the Senate on every issue.
2. Mitch McConnell has established a stranglehold on the GOP senators. Thus, he can block anything he opposes.
3. The 2020 election resulted in a 50/50 Senate. Thus, Manchin has total power on any issue McConnell opposes.
The Democrats are not the main problem. It is McConnell's refusal to cooperate on climate policy that gives Manchin his power.
It is clear that Manchin is dedicated to petro-interests. Is there anything that would overrule this commitment? How about the fate of his children and grandchildren?
O Bill! May I call you Bill? Not only is this HEARTbreaking, I feel as if I'm going to exPLODE. !! Phenomenally ferocious fury. !! PFF! What can I DO, to help? What can WE do, to help? I don't know... currently older and somewhat dis-abled; however, I have PASSION and can connect via the internet. And so can A LOT of other folks! Grass level organization. How can WE add our voices... I don't know, IS there a group of old farts that is causing a ruckus re saving our beloved planet... and hence, the wee ones we love so much? Asking. LOVE your writing, BTW, dear Bill! Bless you for your voice, your mind and your heart. Grateful. And while we're at it -- how the bloody hell can we get that GINORMOUS sack of GOB from doing FURTHER damage... more grass roots voices of outrage-ness!?! O, my heart! PFF!
Underlying it all:
Remember that Chris Hedges was fired by the NYT;
And for deeper background, have a listen: https://popularresistance.org/michael-hudson-us-dollar-hegemony-ended-abruptly-last-wednesday/
Nuclear isn’t going to happen in any timeframe or scale to make any difference
Not to take anything away from the seriousness of this article, I just find it hard to resist correcting the typos. See https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G0NWd0wNehTfyCBoAtUAyOOkpKW5sfSMy_WNmJwSDxQ/edit?usp=sharing for a corrected version. Bill, you just need to drop your final text into Google Docs because it found all these typos (in red).
The US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources is chaired by Joe Manchin, a coal baron from a mountain top removal coal mining state, lavishly supported by political contributions from the fossil fuel industry. John Barasso of Wyoming, the ranking minority committee member, represents a state whose economy rests on open pit coal mining. Just looking at the economic interests of some of the states represented on the committee - Alaska, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana for example - begs a question:
How do we expect our government to implement energy policy that benefits the nation as a whole, when we empanel committee chairs and members so deeply in the pocket of the industrial interests that are dooming our planet? Should not the Democrats - at least - make committee assignments based more on members' scientific and engineering understanding of the committee area's underlying issues, and their independence from commercial influence?
I totally understand and share the fury and frustration about how single egocentric individuals can have such a deleterious effect on entire systems. We need to make the systems stronger so they can catch dysfunctions before they get too influential.
(For the next iteration, Bill, you might want to fix the typos that may have occurred in the speed of publishing the article: “Obama Biden adminsitration blocked on cliamt gorunds almsot a decade ago” and another in the WSJ title farther down.)
Important to note that @sludge complained (rightly) that the NYT took a lot of the journalistic work that they (@sludge) did last July/August, and gave no credit or links to that work.
Glad the work appeared in the NYT, of course. but not ethical on their part.