climate

The pending massive climate legislation to reduce U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions 40 percent by 2030 as outlined by President Biden is still being held hostage in the Senate. The $369 billion package that is thicker than a New York phonebook contains 725 pages of text.

Like any well-made sausage, the bill includes a myriad of bits and pieces of other components. If passed as presently reformed, it would be the largest appropriation for climate funding in our history. But unless it gets the required number of sponsors to vote for it, it won’t pass. The new Build Back Better reconciliation bill is now retitled the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

With its new title, the bill now, besides climate change legislation, includes other provisions such as healthcare, a new 15% minimum corporate tax, more funding for the IRS and a deficit reduction provision. In its latest iteration, even Joe Manchin (D-WV) agreed to sign on after he received some climate unfriendly provisions that he negotiated for in exchange for his support. One last holdout however is Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) who has yet to be convinced to sign on based on her interest in seeing changes more to her liking.

To pass the bill, every Senate Democrat must vote for it before it can be returned to the House for final approval. Without belaboring the subject, it is important to know that besides the usual backroom negotiations, there is a grassroots effort on the part of many independent individuals and activist groups urging senators to vote for passage.

One such individual was seen outside the entrance to the Dirksen Senate Building holding several homemade climate crisis signs that he changed periodically. His objective in being there was to intercept staff members on their way to work with his informative signs hoping they in turn would relate the messages to their respective senators. One poignant sign among the many on offer called upon the “Young Senate Staffers” reminding them of the generation climate crisis they face and for them to consider it as a meaningful if not imperative personal challenge.

While it is important to physically be present to impart such information, another front in the war on reversing climate degradation are the posters, signs and stickers that can be found across the city reminding everyone of what looms in our collective future should such warnings fail to exact real and significant action on everyone’s part to save our world as we know it.

It doesn’t take too much awareness in today’s world with 24-hour news and internet access to realize that “once in a 1,000-year storms” are now occurring on a sometimes monthly basis. The increase of droughts, the rapidly melting of glaciers and the polar ice caps and heatwaves along with massive fires across the world are now occurring more frequently and with greater intensity to fully appreciate just what a dilemma we are all now facing.

The time for action has already passed us and we have a great deal of catching up to do but it’s never too late to being trying to make a difference, individually and collectively to save our world for ourselves and future generations.

(This article has previously appeared in Nuzeink.)

Phil Pasquini is a freelance journalist and photographer. His reports and photographs appear in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Pakistan Link and Nuze.ink. He is the author of Domes, Arches and Minarets: A History of Islamic-Inspired Buildings in America.


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