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Why This Matters: Americans, according to recent polling by Yale University’s climate communications project, overwhelmingly want to see Congress and the administration take bold action on climate change. Members of Congress could be persuadable — in a little-discussed move, the Congress is now willing to allow “earmarks” for projects — so Members can ensure that their districts get a share of the benefits of all this spending. Both parties (Republicans voted by secret ballot) supported restoring earmarks and maybe that will mean the long-awaited, infrastructure bill finally has a chance.
Green Groups Say Go Big
Here is what the major ones are saying:
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Joe Manchin suggested back in January that spending as much as $4 trillion on infrastructure would be acceptable because infrastructure is a priority, and that led Sunrise to say, “At this point, [President] Biden should realize that if his proposal is milder than what Joe Manchin is calling for, it does not go far enough,” Sunrise Movement spokesperson Ellen Sciales said in a statement yesterday.
Ben Beachy, director of the Sierra Club’s Living Economy Program, said “there are precious few moments when all the requirements for big structural change line up — broad public support, strong organizing, elected leaders we can work with and cross movement unity. Now is one of those unicorn moments where those ingredients for big structural change are in fact lining up.”
LCV wants Congress to spend $2 trillion on climate-related efforts in the legislation, with priorities in economic recovery, reducing emissions and addressing racial disparities caused by pollution and climate change, according to their leg directior, Matt Davis, who said “This infrastructure package is our best, last chance of making sure that we tackle the climate crisis.”
Stephanie Gidigbi Jenkins, NRDC’s lead on infrastructure wants to see something bold, saying “The biggest piece is just addressing the inequities built into our infrastructure system overall, making investments that will cut carbon pollution, and build in a way that ensures that we don’t leave our investments vulnerable to severe weather conditions.”
In order to keep things from getting too porky — the lawmakers put sideboards on the use of earmarks — they must each publicly disclose the earmark, include a written justification for the project and verify that they have no financial stake in it, among other requirements. What kinds of projects would get an earmark? The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote about this one involving untreated sewage that flows into Pittsburgh’s famous “three rivers” because its aging sewer system is too expensive for the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority to repair — the fixes are estimated to cost more than $2 billion. Republican and Democratic Representatives supported lifting the earmarks ban because, as one Republican put it, “Congressionally directed spending allows representatives to more effectively serve their districts and fulfill their constitutional power of the purse.”
Today the Biden administration unveils its American Jobs Plan and it is chock full of actions that will create jobs and address climate change and environmental justice issues. At the same time, the Wall Street Journal reported last night that Presidential Climate Envoy Kerry is traveling later this week to the United Arab Emirates and then on to India.
Why This Matters: Climate policy is central to both the Biden foreign and domestic agendas.
by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer A new report, published Wednesday found that the world’s largest commercial and investment banks have altogether put $3.8 trillion into fossil fuels from 2016 to 2020. This report — a collaboration between the Rainforest Action Network, Bank Track, Indigenous Environmental Network, Oil Change International, Reclaim Finance, and Sierra Club […]
Protecting nature and maximizing the capacity of land and water to sequester carbon is one of the best tools to help fight global climate change. Yet many of Earth’s most biodiverse ecosystems are in serious jeopardy: for example, a first-of-its-kind study from Frontiers in Forests and Global Change revealed that the Amazon rainforest emits more […]
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