Call For National Climate Legislation

Call your national legislators
There has never been more important climate legislation before our national representatives than the current Build Back Better legislation. As stated in this 7 Oct. 2021 Sierra Club newsletter: “

The Senate and the House are actively negotiating the most important clean energy legislation in a generation. The Build Back Better Act offers historic climate investments that will put our nation on a path to 100% clean energy by 2035.”
     Americans must call, text, email, write, and talk with their national legislators—Democrat and Republican—and pressure them to pass the Build Back Better legislation. People disagree on parts of Build Back Better, and those parts can be worked on later, but the fundamental Build Back Better—with its necessary-to-our-survival national government backed push to revamp our energy system and our economy to one that doesn’t produce greenhouse gases—must occur.

Multiple organizations provide means to contact your legislators. Here are a few:

Sierra Club (https://www.sierraclub.org/)
Text clean energy to the number 69866 or simply dial 202-684-2465 to be connected to your senator

Evergreen Action (https://www.evergreenaction.com/ )
To send an e-letter to your legislators, go to https://www.evergreenaction.com/ and click on “Take Action Now.” (note: Evergreen Action has many former staffers of Governor Jay Inslee who had worked on Washington State climate plans and who now are working on national climate plans.)

Calling for Climate (https://www.call4climatenow.com/)
Call 202-951-7780 to telephone your senators and your representative

Leadership, courage, and action
American’s courage and action (or lack of) now will affect the courage and action of other nations at November’s Glasgow meeting of world leaders. Passing (or not passing) America’s climate legislation will encourage (or cause to be apathetic) other nations.
Among America’s national leaders now, we need some men and women with the faith and courage of Abraham Lincoln, some with the foresight and commitment to action of Theodore Roosevelt, and some with the compassion and deal-making abilities of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Ours is a crucial period of human history that requires such leadership.

We could fail
We could fail (Maxine Joselow, with research by Alexandra Ellerbeck, “The Climate 202: Democrats’ central climate program is in trouble,” Washington Post climate newsletter, 13 Oct, 2021 [no link was posted with this newsletter]). We must not fail, for the more greenhouse gases in the air, the more cost and pain there will be. It’s an unforgiving equation and nature doesn’t forgive fools.

Climate legislation on the chopping block
That climate legislation is being considered for the chopping block means two things. First, that some still, still, still are not listening to the world’s scientists (As someone sagely said, “This life’s hard, but it’s harder if you’re stupid.” Second, that some—the fossil fuel companies trying to undercut this existentially important climate legislation—are evil)
     Evil is not too strong a word. Evil applied to those who kept wages dirt low and conditions dangerous during the early years of the industrial revolution; it applied to those who labored ten-year-olds in their factories until child labor laws stopped that, and it applied to those who actively obscured the truth of how tobacco causes cancer and therefore delayed tobacco regulation for ten years so they could squeeze out more profits. The fossil fuel companies that are undercutting climate legislation today will sacrifice today’s youth to a future of pain and chaos to maximize their profits now. That’s evil greed.
(also see https://michaelmaddoxconservation.com/2021/10/01/fossil-fuel-companies-doing-evil/)
(also see Tosin Thompson, “Young people’s climate anxiety revealed in landmark survey,” Nature, 22 Sep. 2021, https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02582-8
Note: This article by Thompson describes how youth “worldwide worry about the future and feel let down by governments, a huge study on attitudes towards climate change has found.”

American men and women in October; world leaders in Glasgow in November
Now is the time for we voters to phone, text, write, and talk to our legislators—Democrat and Republican—to pass the climate legislation being debated now. This legislative period will determine whether we use our national power to move our (and consequently the world’s) direction towards a survivable future.
     As Washington Governor Jay Inslee, one of America’s climate leaders wrote, “President Biden is slated to head to the Global Climate Conference in Glasgow at the start of November, and he can’t show up on the world stage without proving that the United States will be a world leader on climate action. Here’s what that’ll mean: investing majorly in clean electricity, cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and slashing tax subsidies for fossil fuel companies. All while funding environmental justice programs in our most vulnerable communities. Big Oil and their lobbyists are already doing all they can to kneecap this unprecedented and necessary bill. To pass the bold, transformative package that our country needs, we must come together and speak loudly in support.”   ⸺ source: Jay Inslee for Washington (https://jayinslee.com) fundraising letter, 12 Oct. 2021.

What will the climate legislation do?
The following article summarizes the key points:
Brad Plumer and Winston Choi-Schagrin, “Major Climate Action at Stake in Fight Over Twin Bills Pending in Congress,” New York Times, 10 Oct. 2021, Major Climate Action at Stake in Fight Over Twin Bills Pending in Congress

Per this article: “President Biden has framed this moment as the country’s best chance to save the planet.” We know that global climate action is urgently needed, as the article states, to prevent the danger of “deadly heat waves, water shortages, crop failures and ecosystem collapse” from growing immensely.
     The climate legislation before Congress now—if passed—will be America engaging our national government’s will and resources into the huge effort that’s needed.

Plumer and Choi-Schagrin detail some of the tools the climate legislation will use:

– “The climate provisions are designed to quickly transform energy and transportation, the country’s two largest sources of greenhouse gases, from systems that now mostly burn gas, oil and coal to sectors that run increasingly on clean energy from the sun, wind and nuclear power.”

– “It also contains hundreds of billions in tax credits for companies that build wind and solar power or retrofit polluting facilities to capture and bury their carbon dioxide emissions before they enter the atmosphere. And it expands tax incentives for Americans to buy electric vehicles, giving consumers as much as $12,500. It would also penalize oil and gas companies if they leak methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

– “The most potent climate measure in that legislation is a $150 billion Clean Electricity Performance Program, which would reward utilities that generate an increasing amount of electricity from wind, solar, nuclear, or other clean energy sources and penalize those that do not. The policy aims for the United States to get 80 percent of its electricity from sources that don’t generate carbon dioxide by 2030, up from 40 percent today.”

– “The second big bill in Congress, a $1 trillion infrastructure plan has bipartisan support. It would provide the largest single infusion of money to prepare communities for extreme weather fueled by climate change that is already underway. It includes $47 billion over five years in resilience funding to improve the nation’s flood defenses, limit damage from wildfires, develop new sources of drinking water in areas plagued by drought and relocate some communities away from high-risk areas.”

A busy legislative session
The details of current legislative negotiations changes day by day (see reference below), details which this post doesn’t pretend to go into. The bottom line: we must pass national legislation that significantly helps us accelerate our reduction of greenhouse gases. The hard reality of parts per million CO2 (and its real effects) will grade how well we do.
⸺ reference: Carl Pope, “Tip O’Neill’s “bipartisan” politics are long gone — but Democrats can still forge a path forward,” Salon, 6 Oct. 2021, https://www.salon.com/2021/10/06/tip-oneills-bipartisan-are-long-gone–but-democrats-can-still-forge-a-path-forward/ (note: Carl Pope is the former executive director and chairman of the Sierra Club, and he is co-author with Michael Bloomberg of Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet.)

Strong government action is needed.
The newspaper article “Fossil-Fuel Use Could Peak in Just a Few Years. Still, Major Challenges Loom,” (referenced below) discusses the International Energy Agency’s annual report, the World Energy Outlook. That report says that because the world is changing to renewables, a historic turning point will occur by the mid-2020s (the peaking of carbon dioxide emissions), but that the change needs to happen bigger and faster—and that necessitates strong government actions. Per the article: “The transition away from coal, oil and natural gas still isn’t happening fast enough to avoid dangerous levels of global warming, the agency said, at least not unless governments take much stronger action to reduce their planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions over the next few years.”
     What’s being debated in Congress now will determine that essential strong (or not) government action.
     ⸺ reference: Brad Plumer, “Fossil-Fuel Use Could Peak in Just a Few Years. Still, Major Challenges Loom,” New York Times, 14 Nov. 2021, Fossil-Fuel Use Could Peak in Just a Few Years. Still, Major Challenges Loom

America now; Glasgow in November
The world meets in Glasgow to chart nations’ courses to fight the climate crisis. If America’s national representatives act now with courage, foresight, and will, and they pass this major climate legislation, we can—through our actions and example—move the world towards a new energy era, one that will save this blue-green planet for our children and grandchildren, and for other species. Our blue-green, life-filled planet is a special gift that we—during this critically important time in human history—can steward well, or not.
See the video: David Streitfeld, “Back on Earth, Shatner and Bezos have a Kirk-Spock moment,” New York Times, 13 Oct. 2021, Back on Earth, Shatner and Bezos have a Kirk-Spock moment

How to phone, text, write, talk to our legislators—Democrat and Republican—to pressure them to pass the climate legislation before them:

Sierra Club (https://www.sierraclub.org/)
Text clean energy to the number 69866 or simply dial 202-684-2465 to be connected to your senator

Evergreen Action (https://www.evergreenaction.com/ )
To send an e-letter to your legislators, go to https://www.evergreenaction.com/ and click on “Take Action Now.” (note: Evergreen Action has many former staffers of Governor Jay Inslee who had worked on Washington State climate plans and who now are working on national climate plans.)

Calling for Climate (https://www.call4climatenow.com/)
Call 202-951-7780 to telephone your senators and your representative

What our legislators do (or don’t do) now profoundly impacts us all. What we do now, impacts our legislators.

            ⸺ MRM

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