Counting in billions

Some numbers are bigger than others; a snake is still in the catbird seat

PRESENTED BY THE CATBIRD SEAT

BILLIONS! EPA Administrator Michael Regan is testifying on his agency’s budget request this morning for $11.9 billion for next year, less than half of the $33 billion President Biden is asking Congress to spend on additional military support for Ukraine over the next five months, which is not quite one Twitter’s worth. Money is weird!

Democrat-cum-coal-baron Joe Manchin of West Virginia, continuing to enjoy sitting in the catbird seat, has dismissed another plank of President Biden’s Build Back Better climate agenda. His new stance is that tax credits for electric vehicles are “ludicrous.” Manchin has previously nixed the clean electric generation standard, then the social infrastructure components (with the argument that poor families would use financial assistance to buy drugs), then the fee on methane pollution. There’s not much left to fight for here!

I’m pretty sure these claims are contradictory:

  • Joe Manchin is a good Democrat

  • The Democratic Party represents the climate movement

It behooves climate hawks to argue that the Democratic Party needs to represent the climate movement, which leads to the conclusion that they must make the case that Joe Manchin is not a good Democrat.

The ball is in your court, Charlie-Brown climate-lobbying team Christy Goldfuss, Melinda Pierce, Tiernan Sittenfeld, David Kieve, Jamal Raad!

BILLIONS, PART DEUX: In case anyone is still wondering where the money from the higher gasoline prices has gone, the answer is: into the pockets of the fossil-fuel shareholders.

Chevron announced its profits nearly quadrupled to $6.5 billion in the first quarter of 2022 compared to last year. Chevron also reported revenue of $54.4 billion, an increase of 70% from a year earlier. It rewarded shareholders with $1.25 billion in stock buybacks.

Exxon earned $5.5 billion during the first quarter, up from $2.7 billion in the same period during 2021, after having to write off $3.4 billion in Russian investments. Revenue came in at $90.5 billion, up 53% from last year. Exxon tripled its stock repurchase program to up to $30 billion through 2023, from its prior plan to buy back $10 billion in stock.

By the way, many Democrats have proposed taking some of that money away from the oil companies, but Democrat-in-good-standing Joe Manchin doesn’t exactly seem excited about that. Maybe some of the official representatives of powerful climate organizations should make the argument he’s not a good Democrat!

BILLIONS(?): As you may have noticed from the above graphics, it’s too damn hot in India and Pakistan, thanks to our friends at Exxon and Chevron. One-tenth of the world’s population, one-half of a billion people, is facing at least a week of temperatures above 104°F, including days over 110°F. India’s power grid is under extreme strain, with cut-offs, brownouts, and blackouts. The wheat harvest is catastrophically bad, following record drought in March. “Forecasts for Jacobabad, known as one of the hottest cities on Earth, are as high as 122 degrees (50 Celsius), which could test major records.”

Biden has asked Congress for $1.6 billion contribution to the international Green Climate Fund.

Grist staff writer Yvette Cabrera has joined the Center for Public Integrity as a senior reporter tackling investigations focused on inequality, including the environment & climate change. I’m excited to see what she cooks up.

Over the weekend, we’ll be running the Climate Politics Almanac’s preview of key May primary elections, featuring a wild mix of Green New Dealers, crypto bros, climate deniers, and environmental-justice champions. Tell your friends to subscribe!

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