We would be remiss if we didn't offer a quick mention about the new climate bill that is currently making its way through Congress and likely going to pass in the House today. The nearly $370 billion clean energy and climate package is the largest climate investment in US history, and the biggest victory for the environmental movement since the landmark Clean Air Act. (source) As you know, climate change is not new news and some politicians (and activists) have been sounding the alarms for decades. However action has been thwarted by mostly economic reasons. There are some drawbacks in this new bill, but many benefits as well. You can read more about it in the paper but here are some brief highlights:
It would invest nearly $400 billion over 10 years in tax credits aimed at steering consumers to electric vehicles and prodding electric utilities toward renewable energy sources like wind or solar power.
It would expand tax credits for carbon capture technology that could allow coal or gas-burning power plants to keep operating with lower emissions. (A necessary compromise that kept this bill alive.)
The tax credits include $30 billion to speed the production of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and critical minerals processing; $10 billion to build facilities to manufacture things like electric vehicles and solar panels.
There is $60 billion to help disadvantaged areas that are disproportionately affected by climate change, including $27 billion for the creation of what would be the first national “green bank” to help drive investments in clean energy projects — particularly in poor communities. The bill would also force oil and gas companies to pay fees as high as $1,500 a ton to address excess leaks of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, and it would undo a 10-year moratorium on offshore wind leasing.
Obviously the news is exciting, but also shows that real change doesn't happen overnight. Environmental groups have been pushing for these moves for decades. Just because we don't see instant results with our new habits, or activism, doesn't mean that things won't eventually change. For example, electric cars didn't exist when I was a child and they are becoming more and more common. As our solar panels and composting in larger urban areas.
For these reasons, we should look towards the November elections. Do the research in your area. Who are the candidates that most strongly advocate for the environment? How can you help support them in a way that's sustainable to you? Maybe that's money, door-to-door canvasing, or taking some time to write some postcards. One senator, as seen with Joe Manchin, can make or break progress. Every vote and political appointment matters.
PS Local folks, have you seen the lotus plant that is covering White Park Pond? The city now works yearly to remove it, in order to prepare for the winter and iceskating season. The problem is an example of invasive species that don't belong here in New Hampshire and would've been killed off by colder winters. Now it's becoming a recurring and costly problem.