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It's Time For A Climate Vote - on the Record

Dan Delurey's picture
President Wedgemere Group

Dan is the President of Wedgemere Group. Established in 2002, "http://www.wedgemere.com" Wedgemere is a DC-based consulting group with a focus on demand response and distributed energy and a...

  • Member since 2016
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  • Jan 20, 2022
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The New Year started out for me with a negative test – but that came after a positive one (plus some symptoms) the previous week between holidays. After all the vaxxing, masking, and boosting, the little devil managed to sneak inside somehow. Oh well … I will assume that I am even more “boosted” than before and all-the-more prepared for the next wave.

Speaking of waves ….

If you remember my Blog last October about Build Back Better (BBB), I talked about how “One of These Things is not like the Other”. I talked about how the legislative strategy of bundling a lot of different things in one Congressional Bill is on the one hand tried and true but on the other hand doesn’t always work. Putting a lot of things in one bill (especially a spending bill) may make it too big in terms of a price tag. Putting something in that one bill that too many people end up being opposed to can result in that “something” being a poison pill.

In that pre-holiday Blog, I talked about how climate change was more important than the other things in BBB because of the one-chance-only timeliness of addressing emissions, not to mention taking steps on adaption and resilience. I said that I was personally in support of all the other provisions in BBB but that they were different in terms of urgency.

Back to that wave…. It came from West Virginia, and it swamped BBB.

So now what?

My take is that it is time to put a Climate Bill to a vote in both Houses of Congress. Not a Bill with Climate in it, but a Climate Bill. 

When BBB was a big bundle, it was easy for those in the Minority to not support BBB. They were not put in the position of voting against a climate bill. 

I have heard for years from reliable sources that many Minority members will admit in private that they recognize climate change and the need to do something about it. 

Hmm…

Polls on climate change that show that 6 out of 10 Americans (all parties combined) are alarmed or concerned about climate change, and

It is a fact that 1 out of 3 Americans was somehow touched by weather disasters in 2021 (hurricanes, tornadoes, floods – take your pick), and

In 2021 more than 40% of Americans live in counties hit by climate disasters, and

Over 15% of the U.S population live in a county that was affected by wildfires, and

Many Senators could go a website and see which of them represent localities that set all-time temperature records or they could go to this website and get an idea as to temperature increase in their localities over the rest of this Century, and

Hotter temperatures in late spring and summer were associated with higher rates of emergency-room visits for children (also known as future constituents) across the United States, and

Senators could take a look at this analysis of what the BBB means to trying to keep future temperatures down, and

There is also a way for a Senator to see what the climate will be for a locality in their state in the year 2080 under a high emissions scenario. For example,

  • In Alexandria, Louisiana the climate in 2080 will feel most like today's climate near Ciudad Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, Mexico. The typical summer in Ciudad Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, Mexico is 6.6°F (3.7°C) warmer and 40.4% drier than summer in Alexandria.
  • In Omaha, Nebraska the climate in 2080 will feel most like today's climate near Enid, Oklahoma. The typical winter in Enid, Oklahoma is 13.1°F (7.3°C) warmer and 30.8% wetter than winter in Omaha.
  • In Fairbanks, Alaska the climate in 2080 will feel most like today's climate near Kenora, Canada. The typical winter in Kenora, Canada is 11.6°F (6.5°C) warmer and 19.8% wetter than winter in Fairbanks.

Every Senator in the U.S. Senator has constituents that fit into one if not more of the above categories. Each of them will at some point likely be asked about climate change during a press conference, campaign stop or media interview. Perhaps after a climate-related event that harms their constituents they will be asked about what they have done – or not done.

So … will every Minority Senator vote against a Climate Bill? Would not at least a couple of them respond to their current and future constituents and cross the aisle to offset any “no” Senators in the Majority and ensure passage? Would they really want to be on record at this point as being a “no” vote on a plan to address and adapt to climate change?

Do they want to be on record as filibustering climate change?

As I write this the Bill on Voting Rights is headed to the Senate floor. It is going to a vote even though the vote count shows defeat. Thus, it may not pass but there will at least be a record of who voted for it and who voted against it. That is the kind of vote that climate change requires now, and then again and again going forward. We don’t have time for Kabuki theater any longer. People need to speak up, sign up, and ante up – and if they are an elected official, they need to vote as the people who they represent would like them to and need them to.

Anyway …. Just a thought.

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jan 20, 2022

Now we're seeing Biden discuss breaking up the BBB plan so the climate-focused aspects can be debated and voted on untethered from the other parts of the program. Do you think this is a good move? 

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