Stuck in the Kitchen

In the continuing negotiations to raise the debt ceiling, Republicans want to tie any increase to cuts to clean-energy incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act. This is insane.

Here are only a few takeaways from recent news pieces:

“… global average temperatures are estimated to rise 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels sometime around “the first half of the 2030s,” as humans continue to burn coal, oil and natural gas.” Such is the claim of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of experts convened by the United Nations, as reported recently in the New York Times.

“In India, the increasing extremity and intensity of climate disasters these past couple years, including floods, droughts, and heatwaves, provide just a hint of the climate chaos that is to come as our planet continues to heat up,” said Sandeep Chachra, executive director at ActionAid Association, a humanitarian organisation that also works on climate change-related issues.

I’ve seen reports that the rice harvest is particularly vulnerable.

Heat Wave and Blackout Would Send Half of Phoenix to E.R., Study Says
By Michael Levenson
New research warns that nearly 800,000 residents would need emergency medical care for heat stroke and other illnesses in an extended power failure. Other cities are also at risk.

Rising heat indexes in this country will impact more and more people each year, primarily people who work out of doors for a living. That includes almost everyone outside of hospitals who doesn’t have a desk job. All the people we count on to build new infrastructure, housing, maintain streets and roads, police and other first responders. Mail carriers. Agricultural workers. Old people, handicapped people. Crossing guards.

Across the country and around the world, people will suffer. Many of them will be unable to work at all. Some of them will die trying.

Global warming is not only coming, it is here. Not as bad as it will be. And it will be bad. There is, at this point, very little we can do to stave it off. And we are not prepared. Not at all.

That’s what I see at our own southern border as we find reasons to send so many back. It’s what I see in Europe, as Italy and Greece as well as inland states like Hungary, close their borders to refugees. Great Britain is patrolling its sundering seas for boat people trying to cross from France. It is what I see when countries, including our own, begin to fracture into interest groups, each one clamoring for more of what there is less of.

Will we, the world’s people, settle for a new totalitarianism that promises to conserve all of a nation’s resources to itself? Will we bar everything from our borders to our doors and windows to keep “them” at bay? And will the definition of “them” expand until it means the next town, the other side of the tracks, the people next door?

If we can’t stop climate change in the way we might have hoped a generation ago, can we at least try to meet it by engaging our creativity, our ingenuity, even our humanity in ways that can change the world we live in? Or will we allow ourselves to slide back into another Dark Age of ignorance and fear?

It’s not like that hasn’t happened before.

This just in:
The Supreme Court limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to police water pollution in a ruling on the Clean Water Act.

Thursday, May 25, 2023 11:01 AM ET (NYT)
The decision followed a ruling last year that limited the agency's power to address climate change under the Clean Air Act.

See what I mean?