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How Inflation Upended Biden’s Climate Agenda

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Washington — The day after the leftovers of his legislative agenda for fighting climate change collapsed in the Senate and appeared to be burning, President Biden flew to Saudi Arabia to bring more crude oil to the region’s oil giants on the global market. Ready to send to.

Mr. Biden has promised to pull the United States away from fossil fuels such as oil and coal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a pace that causes catastrophic global warming. Surrounded by experienced and active advisors on international and domestic climate politics, he has set an ambitious goal of accelerating energy transformations that affect every corner of the US economy. He spent nearly 40 years in the Senate and established himself as a master negotiator who was able to build a coalition under the big law.

A 24-hour span at the end of this week showed how dissatisfied Mr. Biden was with his efforts. His climate goals are stalled in democratic combat and changing economic priorities caused by rapidly rising inflation, including soaring gasoline prices caused by the Russian war in Ukraine.

After more than a year of debate, West Virginia senator Joe Manchin III, a coal nation democrat, gave the party leader Thursday a $ 300 billion tax incentive until he saw more promising government inflation data. He said he couldn’t support. Help power companies and other companies move to cleaner energy sources such as wind and solar. This was the president’s last hope for aggressive climate change measures before the November midterm elections, jeopardizing the outlook for the package.

Manchin is negotiating with New York Senator Chuck Schumer, leader of the majority, on an energy and climate proposal that is a reduced version of the climate initiative that Byden failed to sell to Manchin last fall. rice field. .. Manchin told West Virginia radio host Hoppy Kirshval on Friday, enjoying the repetitive and repetitive nature of the negotiations, that he is still engaged in those negotiations and may support energy law. He said he hung the idea that he didn’t. It’s September, but not before that.

But Manchin is also wary of tax increases for businesses and high-income individuals so far to offset energy and climate credit when inflation is rising at the fastest pace in 40 years. He said he was. He said he told Schumer that he wanted to see the next set of inflation rates issued in August before moving on.

“Inflation is definitely killing a lot of people,” Manchin said on a radio show. “They can’t buy petrol and have a hard time buying groceries. Everything they buy and consume for their daily lives is difficult for them. And nothing to add to it. Can’t wait to make sure it’s not? And I can’t make that decision — basically all kinds of taxes, and also energy and climate. To the clean technology I endorse. There is a tax on paying for your investment, but I’m not going to do anything more problematic or overkill. “

Experts who have been working on climate packages for months, which is part of a broader bill that government officials say reduce health and electricity costs by reducing the federal deficit and ease inflationary pressures, negotiated. With Manchin, who said there was no illusion that there was more to do.

Christie Goldhus, Senior Vice President of Energy and Environmental Policy at the American Progress Center, a liberal think tank, said: “I just don’t want to admit that he’s been trying to stop this all the time, and as soon as this conversation ends, his power and influence diminish,” Manchin said.

White House officials did not comment on the news that came at a particularly difficult time for Mr Biden on Thursday or Friday morning. The president was flying from Israel to Saudi Arabia on Friday. We hope that Saudi Arabia and its oil-rich neighbors will help increase production and lower gasoline prices, which helped prevent Mr. Biden’s approval rating this year.

Biden’s top aides, Steve Ricchetti and Bruce Reed, will meet at the White House on Friday afternoon with the leaders of the country’s largest environmental group.

The bill’s death is up-to-date, but arguably the worst, and it hits Biden’s climate agenda as his tools to tackle global warming are removed one by one.

Varshini Prakash, Managing Director of the Sunrise Movement, an environmental organization that represents many young climate activists, said:

“I want to make sure Biden and his administration hear this loudly and clearly,” Prakash said. “They need to create a response across all government agencies at all levels over the course of two and a half years in order to do everything in their power to deal with the climate crisis, otherwise there is a risk of major failure. There is, especially disappointment with Americans and young people. “

Goldfuss said he believed it was time for an “honest conversation” about how difficult it would be to reach Biden’s climate goals without Congressional action.

Economists generally agree that there are two basic ways to reduce emissions and control global temperature rise. One is to reduce the cost of developing and deploying low-carbon energy sources such as wind, solar and nuclear while improving energy efficiency. The other is to make the use of fossil fuels more expensive by pricing carbon emissions or raising the price of fuel.

Biden seems to have lost his best chance to further promote clean energy, at least for now. He was able to pursue administrative measures to regulate emissions in several sectors of the economy, but his option was to limit emissions from the second power plant in the United States by the Environmental Protection Agency. A recent Supreme Court ruling that restricted authority narrowed the front line. The biggest cause of global warming pollution.

According to legal experts, this decision is likely to set a precedent that could constrain the federal government’s ability to more tightly regulate other heat-trapping sources, such as cars and trucks. ..

At the White House, Biden’s climate team is currently building a suite of smaller, less powerful tools to combat global warming. Biden has pledged to other parts of the world. He promised that the United States would cut greenhouse gas emissions by about half by the end of the last decade.

Over the next few months, the EPA will issue stricter regulations to control methane, a powerful greenhouse gas leaking from oil and gas wells, and more conservative rules to reduce emissions from utilities. intend to do something.

Many economists have long urged the government to tax fossil fuels to reduce emissions, but Biden and his advisers want to lower gasoline prices rather than raise them. Repeatedly stated. The president is aware of the impact of gasoline on households and the political sacrifices that soaring gasoline prices have put on him.

Biden admitted that last fall, when gasoline prices were rising, the United States was on average $ 1.50 a gallon lower than it is today, a contradiction in its position.

“On the surface,” he said at a press conference following the 20 summit conferences in Rome. We can move to renewable energy overnight, but we can’t. From this moment on, it is unreasonable not to use oil, gas, or hydrogen. “

When gasoline goes above $ 3.35 per gallon, “just getting in and out of work can have a huge impact on working-class families,” he added.

A clear collapse of climate law occurs as Mr. Biden’s best environmental consultants are said to be heading for the exit. Mr. Biden led the White House’s Climate Policy Department, bringing together a team of dreams of many experts, including Gina McCarthy, who was head of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama.

McCarthy has indicated his intention to resign this year, but he said he wanted to resign with high praise after the climate law was passed.

John Kerry, Secretary of State of the Obama administration, is the Supreme International Envoy of Biden, who will resign after the next UN climate change negotiations in Egypt in November.

But with few suggestions from the United States, Mr Kelly will have a hard time encouraging other countries to reduce climate pollution, experts said. Doing so is important for stabilizing the planet at a warming of about 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. This is a threshold that greatly increases the likelihood of catastrophic droughts, floods, fires and heat waves. The earth is already warming to about 1.1 degrees Celsius or about 2 degrees Fahrenheit on average.

Historically, as the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, the United States plays the only role in the fight to mitigate global warming. President Donald J. Trump has abandoned that role, but when Mr Biden was elected, he declared the United States “returned” and crushed the pollution that endangers the planet. Will lead.

Now, the United States “if we can’t take the first step here, it will be very difficult to lead the world,” said Nat Keohene, chairman of the Environmental Group’s Climate Energy Solutions Center. “The honeymoon is over.”

Emily Cochrane Report that contributed.

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