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Our Take: What’ll it take for Americans to get Action on Climate?

Oliver Milman, writing for today’s July 12, 2021 The Guardian, reports on a new study that found President Biden’s climate plan would reap almost twice the monetary benefits of the plan’s cost, while saving thousands of lives. Those findings should be the topper, the deal clincher. Yet will they be? 

The West is in a record drought, it’s experiencing its second or third record heat wave, and is already ablaze with what is almost sure to be a record fire season. Now a new study by professors from Harvard, Syracuse, and the Georgia Institute of Technology say Biden’s clean energy plan would save over 300,000 lives. 

You’d think all that would be enough to galvanize Congress into action. Yet Biden, still pursuing his impossible dream of bipartisanship, seems willing to sacrifice the climate; the Democrats are squabbling among themselves, with the progressives pushing for a greater commitment to climate while moderates cringe at the cost;  conservative Republicans still want Trump in 2024 even though he persists in claiming he won in 2020; and Joe Manchin continues to hold out for the filibuster on principle while he rakes in big money from coal companies he represents and partly owns.

Folks, we have a crisis on our hands. It’s called the climate crisis. If we don’t move fast to wean ourselves off fossil fuels for transportation, agriculture, manufacturing, heating and cooling, chemicals, plastics, as well as for budgetary support for our schools and state governments, the crisis will only get worse. 

The fossil fuel industry is deeply embedded in our economy and society. Freeing ourselves from our dependency on it will not be easy, but if well planned, adequately funded,  and well implemented, as Biden’s proposed Clean Energy Revolution is, the lasting gains will make the birthing pains of a new America seem transitory and insignificant.  What are the Democrats and Republicans in Congress waiting for? Hurricane Elsa was a softy, never rising above Category 1, yet still did damage in Florida to New England. Do we need a Category 5 to hit Washington to get Congress to act? If that’s what it will take, then bring it on.

image. https://www.csis.org/programs/global-food-security-program/climate-crisis

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