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The 'pathway to climate safety' is paved with bad negotiations

The dirty debt deal hurtles towards approval by the Senate on Friday


The Joe Biden White House did a better job rounding up House Democrats (165 members) to support Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)’s poison-pill austerity plan known in DC circles as the debt ceiling deal than McCarthy did Republicans (149 members).1 The dirty deal is now hurtling towards approval by the Senate on Friday.

Somehow Democrats have convinced themselves the members of the Grand Old Party were willing to harm the fundamental interests of business and the wealthy with a debt default, so they cut a cruel and unjust deal rather than calling Republicans’ bluff.2

“Okay, the Mountain Valley Pipeline approval is a blow. I get it,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) wrote on Elon Musk’s neo-Nazi website Tuesday. But, he argued, if the administration implements the IRA well and regulates carbon pollution better, “it can get us on a pathway to climate safety. Even though approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline sucks.”


Unlike Whitehouse’s profile in cowardice, a few other Senate climate hawks have taken a clear stand against accelerating the climate crisis lest the Scary Republicans and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-Coal) blow up Wall Street.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.):

I cannot in good conscience vote for this bill. . . . The pipeline itself is an assault against a sustainable planet. We must recognize that fossil gas is just as damaging as coal. Pretending otherwise is leading us to climate catastrophe. Finally, this bill contains changes to bedrock environmental law that will allow fossil fuel companies to evade responsibility and accountability. It allows companies to write their own environmental impact evaluations. It changes the standards for acceptable science and data. It exempts entire pipeline projects from federal environmental protections.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.):

At a time when climate change is, by far, the most existential threat facing our country and the entire world I cannot, in good conscience, vote for a bill that makes it easier for fossil fuel companies to pollute and destroy the planet by fast-tracking the disastrous Mountain Valley Pipeline. When the future of the world is literally at stake we must have the courage to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and tell them, and the politicians they sponsor, that the future of the planet is more important than their short-term profits.

These politicians and their consciences!


Kelly MacNamara writes: “Climate change-driven shifts in the circulation of waters to the deepest reaches of the ocean around Antarctica, which could reverberate across the planet and intensify global warming, are happening decades ‘ahead of schedule,’ according to new research.”

And from last November, Laura Baisas reported: “Climate change’s influence on El Niño and La Niña in the form of ocean surface temperature changes in the eastern Pacific will be detectable in only eight years, close to 40 years earlier than previously thought, potentially causing even more extreme weather events.”

Boy, that pathway is looking arduous. Better wear light clothing and carry a lot of water!

Hill Heat is off tomorrow.

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1 If you’re interested in how the bad-to-wurst was made: Biden knew he had the 94-member New Democrat Coalition (the corporatist bloc), so his team aggressively wooed the 56-member Congressional Black Caucus, boxing out the 101-member Congressional Progressive Caucus. (These are not mutually exclusive caucuses—for example, Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.) is a member of all three.) Forty of the 46 Democratic votes against the dirty debt deal came from the progressive bloc.

2 The premise that the GOP is not the party of business and the wealthy is very strongly contraindicated by the evidence.

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