climate change

I Shouldn’t Have Called Joe Manchin an Asshat, he’s actually the Darth Vader of Climate Change

Oh glorious day! The United States is on the verge of passing billions of dollars for funding for renewable energy and climate change programs after Joe Manchin, the swing-vote in the U.S. Senate, abruptly changed his mind and said that he would vote for climate change legislation after months and months of refusal!

The new climate change bill will be called the ‘Inflation Reduction Act of 2022’! It’s a bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce prescription drug costs! Does the bill’s name make a shred of sense? No! But who cares? They could call it ‘Alex Colvin is a Sonofabitch and a Terrible Writer Act of 2022′ and I’d still be every bit as thrilled and sharing the news with everyone I know! As Shakespeare once said, a rose by another other name can still reduce the United States’ emissions by 50 percent of 2005 levels by 2030! So sure, whatever, call the bill whatever makes Joe Manchin feel good about it! After delays, and delays, and rejections, and delays, and further rejections, meaningful climate change legislation is going to hit one of the largest emitters in the world, the United States!

So this is terrific news. The senate still has to vote on it, pass it, and Biden has to sign it. But it looks like it’ll happen. However, we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves. Political deals and compromises can fall apart at a moment’s notice, even when everything looks peachy, and this isn’t a done deal until everyone has signed it. At which point, I suggest treating yourself to a dinner out or an ice-cream or something to mark the occasion. I am, however, quite optimistic. Which is not my default setting. Because when Joe Manchin hasn’t wanted to vote for a bill, he’s always said so. So I think this marks a shift and a real victory for climate action.

Which brings me back to Joe Manchin, someone I have spent the last year and a bit viewing as the major roadblock for a new wave of climate legislation for the United States, who is a millionaire several times over because of the coal industry and has been accused of pandering to fossil fuel lobbyists while stringing Democrats along as he pretended to support previous versions of climate legislation. A selfish and callous man too concerned with his own wealth and power to do anything meaningful, or anything at all, for the wellbeing of the planet. Fun fact, he once released a political ad where he loaded a bolt-action rifle and shot Obama’s Cap-and-Trade bill while promising to repeal parts of Obamacare and support gun rights. Neat. I previously called him an asshat in my last column. While I think there is a strong case to be made that he is a deeply unpleasant man and he has been threatening billions of people with disastrously climate change due to his own selfishness and appalling stubbornness, it was not kind or fair of me to throw nasty words around about Mr. Manchin. For the record, it was not just of me to call him an asshat.

Instead, he’s more like Darth Vader of Climate Change. An evil, warped, and cruel arm of a broken system, who ultimately does the right thing (throwing the emperor off the balcony/agreeing to climate change legislation) at the very last possible moment when it looks like all is lost and any hope for a prosperous future is gone. Only then does Darth Vader decide to do the right thing and overthrow the monstrous evil he helped create, and only now has Joe Manchin decided to vote yes for legislation that will phase out coal powered energy and gives the world a fighting chance at keeping climate change under a manageable threshold.

I hope the history of climate change doesn’t paint Joe Manchin as some kind of savior. He isn’t one, but he is someone who has finally decided to do the right thing and allow the hard work of millions of people to go ahead and work tirelessly for a better future. Which is something to be tremendously thankful for, and I also hope this means I’ll never see Darth Manchin’s name in the headlines of the New York Times ever again.

… that asshat.

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