Forward, Not Sideways, on Climate

In August 2022, climate history was made when Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act. This legislation allocated $369 billion for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting climate justice. Unfortunately even before this progress will materialize, it is at risk due to a “Dirty Side Deal” made between Senator Manchin and Democratic leadership. MNIPL Climate Justice Organizer, Joshua Lewis, offers this reflection.

Who will lead us? 

The Dirty Side Deal to the Inflation Reduction Act is a potential parasite, infecting the blankets we need to stay warm, smog in the air we need to breathe, oil in the water we need to drink, poison in the food we need to live, and damage to the shelter we need for protection. 

The IRA side deal works against our ability to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change, by creating a parasitic feedback loop; that both adds carbon to our atmosphere, and creates communities of power that will be opposed to moving towards zero emissions.

The IRA is a necessary step in the right direction.

The side deal is a step back.

While mostly positive reviews have come out of the IRA being signed into law, not enough attention is being put on the side deal put forth by Senator Manchin (D).

Significant facts to consider are:

#1: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)(established in 1988 by United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization) declared that we need to reach a 45% reduction of gas emissions by 2030, and zero emissions by 2050, in order to avoid the most devastating impact of climate change.

#2: Gas and mining projects will increase carbon emissions, destroy wildlife landscapes, and work against both our local and specifically our global emissions goal set by the IPCC.

#3: Investing in fossil fuels builds up a socioeconomic infrastructure of communities, wealth, power, and voters that will be incentivized to oppose mandates that curb fossil fuels and their impact on the climate.

We must ask: are other options possible? 

Won’t America invest in its spacious skies, amber waves of grain, and fruited plain? 

Won’t America invest in its people, infrastructure, and renewable energy manufacturing? 

During World War II, brave decision makers and soldiers fought a great demise and led the world with hope.

Won’t America be the lighthouse needed to preserve its “ship?” 

Won’t America be the leading exporter of hope so that we can protect and improve our home without destroying it?

Right now we are doing the hokey pokey; one foot in, making the changes that are drastically needed, one foot out. As the music winds down will we be faced with a climate that keeps going in the wrong direction, while we are spinning around?

The IRA side deal is the result of leading based on fear—fear of standing strong for what we know we need to do because it will be too difficult to succeed.

The current and future well-being of our society, our wildlife, and most immediately our front-line communities—communities of the impoverished, the climate refugees, and Indigenous peoples—needs champions who will refuse to take our destruction as an acceptable compromise.

We need leaders whose love of winning is greater than their fear of losing. 

Who will lead us?

Take Action

The Manchin Side Deal is up for a vote in the U.S. Senate on September 27, 2022. Take action by calling Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office before the vote. Click here for details on why she needs to vote no and suggestions on what to say.