Hope - yes, hope - for our planet

Posted: 09/01/2021 11:35:15 AM Last month struck us in the face of the current climate crisis: its intolerable heat and pollution, t...

Posted: 09/01/2021 11:35:15 AM

Last month struck us in the face of the current climate crisis: its intolerable heat and pollution, the scientific and meteorological certainty emanating from the experts, and the possibility of solutions.

We sweated and felt all motivation dissolve in the face of roughly 90-degree misery under a sky turned gray by climate change-related fires that burned thousands of miles away. On August 9, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed the source of our suffering: that in 2019, we infused higher levels of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. than those present for more than 2 million years, causing average surface temperatures to rise catastrophically more rapidly since 1970 than in any other 50-year period in the past 2,000 years at least.

But as a country, we have also taken steps to meet the challenge. And, I’ll tell you something. The last point is what directs my attention. At last.

Hope was born in the House last Tuesday when Democrats passed the $ 3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill. He didn’t create any programs or allocate any money, but is essentially a preview and a gateway for future plans. It’s a Congressional document that opens up a longer legislative process for Democrats, a tactic that allows them to draft a tax and spending bill that can bypass Republican filibuster.

And what is proposed for this bill which has not yet been drafted? A lot, but not enough, with a few missteps, in the battle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a fair and equitable manner.

In addition to promising to expand Medicare to include essentials such as hearing aids, glasses and dentures (in which I now have a vested interest) and lower the age of eligibility ; providing universal preschool education for all 3- and 4-year-olds, child care for working families, a tuition-free community college, paid family and medical leave, and the creation and preservation of affordable housing – all of that would be enough to cry out about – it “drills” on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fighting certain historical environmental injustices.

A short list of democratic promises understand :

■ Pave the way for rapidly achieving 100% clean electricity by implementing a Clean Electricity Payment Program (PEPP) it would pay utilities for exceeding strict clean energy targets and penalize them for failure. There would also be clean energy tax incentives to shift investment to renewables from fossil fuels;

■ Expand access to clean transit, union-built electric vehicles, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure;

■ End fossil fuel subsidies and clean up abandoned mines and wells;

■ Replacement of all lead water pipes;

■ Renovation for energy efficiency and electrification (thanks to the new greener network) of all social housing, schools and hospitals;

■ Create a Civil Corps for the climate to implement the potential of the plan; and

■ Protect the National Arctic Wildlife Refuge from drilling and mining.

It would be a colossal first step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, there are also caveats, the most notable being that what is defined as “clean electricity” at this point may include that derived from natural gas with and without carbon capture and storage; incineration of waste and biomass; unproven hydrogen technologies; nuclear power and sleight of hand “offsets” to cover the continued burning of fossil fuels.

The bill has such potential, it deserves our intense pressure on Congress not only to pass it, but to boost investment in true renewables and eliminate the corporate greenwashing that hinders it. If we combine this work with a similar effort to adopt the two-party $ 1.2 billion infrastructure plan without its climate errors (proposed funding of fossil-fuel buses and a gas pipeline in Alaska and its weakening of scrutiny environment of potentially polluting and unhealthy projects), we have taken a big step towards stopping global warming.

It is time to put on our hats as citizen lobbyists.

The other major climatic event, rarely referenced in this way, is the end of the 20-year war in Afghanistan. The Pentagon is the largest industrial consumer of oil and gas. Although its peacetime broadcasts are appalling, war is its pinnacle of pollution. According to a report from Brown University, between 2001 and 2019, the United States’ war in Afghanistan caused the emission of 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases and resulted in deforestation and toxic combustion of munitions. I won’t go into my own opposition to his conduct except to say that President Joe Biden earns my respect for his pledge to leave.

He loses it, however, for his plan to increase a military budget that will only worsen climate change, suffering and our opportunity to invest in a sustainable future. The reduction in Pentagon funding must be a source of funding for our aggressive climate plans, along with an end to fossil fuel subsidies and the taxation of massive, rich corporations. Young people should be able to see a future in the Civilian Climate Corps by restoring wetlands and installing solar panels, rather than simply risking their lives and souls carrying a gun in a foreign land.

Marty Nathan is a retired physician, mother and grandmother who writes a monthly column on climate change. She can be reached at columnist@gazettenet.com

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Newsrust - US Top News: Hope - yes, hope - for our planet
Hope - yes, hope - for our planet
Newsrust - US Top News
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