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An existential threat runs into the political reality of American democracy


The existential threat of our lives is infiltrating the political reality of our democracy again. The fact that the clock is ticking to tackle climate change has been played over and over again, with increasing intensity. But when those alarm bells ring, the warnings about continue to threaten This republic, nearly a year after riots swept the US Capitol, as well as threats to Americans’ pockets during the dense holiday season, thanks to the ongoing pandemic, continues. disrupts so many global systems and threatens public health. Every day is a dizzying assault of headlines stamping out the permanent threat of climate change until an extreme weather event like this weekend rekindles the discussion.
“This will be the new normal,” FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell told CNN’s Jake Tapper Sunday, talking about extreme weather in general. “The impacts that we are seeing from climate change are the crisis of our generation.”

To be clear, we don’t know that climate change is what causes tornadoes; Research on the role of climate change in tornado formation and intensity is not as robust as it is for other extreme weather patterns such as droughts, floods, and even hurricanes. But inclement weather is here to stay.

It’s far beyond the strange fact of snow in Hawaii this month, but very little in Denver. Floods and forest fires are becoming more and more serious. Devastation in Kentucky suggests a possible tornado.

The solution for the world is to cut carbon emissions. The solution for Biden, although he has little control over it, includes lower gas prices. It is ironic that the President’s political fortunes depend on facilitating something that can affect the climate.

Government restrictions

The coronavirus pandemic – the headline that has consumed Americans for the most part for nearly two years – shows how difficult it is for the government to force behaviors that could lessen the threat. Amid bitter disagreements over the mandate to vaccinate, Americans will have to learn to live with the coronavirus, in part because many will not get vaccinated themselves. Likewise, Americans may have to learn to live with a more unpredictable and dangerous climate because the tough federal system is making it incredibly difficult to deal with.

Biden wants the Environmental Protection Agency to look into the specifics of climate and tornadoes.

The head of FEMA said strong storms & # 39;  new normal & # 39;  in the era of climate change

“All I know is that widespread weather intensity has some impact as a result of planetary warming and climate change,” Biden said at the White House on Saturday. “The specific impact on these specific hurricanes, I can’t say at this point. I’ll ask the EPA and others to look into that.”

As CNN’s climate research team notes, the short and small scale of tornadoes, along with an extremely clear and unreliable historical record for them, makes the relationship to climate change worse. The long-term human-caused effects have become very difficult to determine.

Criswell said tornadoes happen in December. What’s different in Kentucky is how tornadoes work.

“With this magnitude, I don’t think we’ll ever see an earthquake this late in the year,” she said. “But it’s also historic – even the severity and length of time these tornadoes stay on the ground is unprecedented.”

A plan with no votes yet

Many elements of Biden’s climate agenda are in the Rebuild Better bill, which faces uncertainty on Capitol Hill.

It will invest billions of dollars to promote greater use of renewable and cleaner energy to meet Biden’s goal of carbon pollution-free electricity sector by 2035.

It would take billions of dollars more to subsidize Americans to buy cars and e-bikes.

The climate sections, downsized to the delight of Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, are flanked by unrelated social safety net elements that he has yet to support.

Democrats put all of their proposals – climate and otherwise – into a single bill to create an end around filtering Republicans and exploiting budgeting rules book. It is a risky strategy that could leave the country without a new climate strategy if Manchin, who represents a country with a rich history as a coal producer, don’t get on the train. But in a 50-50 Senate, where Vice President Kamala Harris broke ties, and the Democrats didn’t have any blank votes, the West Virginia senator wielded enormous influence.
While working with that narrow margin, Biden struggled with the perception that his efforts to remake the social safety net were driving up costs. There are signs that supply chain bends could be eased, and gas prices have has started to fall, but those realities have not yet entered the public consciousness. Government report tracking registered consumer prices 39-year high for inflation when data for November is released on Friday.
According to a New ABC/Ipsos poll.

Threats to democracy

The perceived squeeze on Americans’ pockets has eclipsed the climate, but there is another distraction in the flash threat to American democracy posed by former President Donald Trump and his allies. he caused.

Latest revelation: Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff, said in an email that the National Guard would stand ready to “protect Trump supporters” against the Capitol uprising, according to a disdainful report. usually published on Sunday night. House Select Committee investigating January 6.

Meadows said the National Guard will be ready & # 39;  protect Trump supporters & # 39;  Before the Capitol Uprising, House Investigators Say

The resolution comes after a panel informed Meadows last week that it “had no choice” but to launch criminal proceedings against him because he had decided not to work anymore.

The House had previously pursued a similar effort against Trump’s unofficial adviser, Steve Bannon. His will to test go this summer, which puts the high-profile case at the center as the 2022 midterm campaign gets underway.

After previously agreeing to cooperate with the committee, Meadows appealed and sued House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the committee members, asking the federal court to block the enforcement of the subpoenas the committee had issued. for him as well as the subpoenas Verizon issued for his phone. File.

But the former North Carolina congressman delivered about 6,000 pages of documents, including information from his personal email account and personal cell phone, to the committee. That also includes a PowerPoint document details ways to cancel the counting of votes for the 2020 election. An attorney for Meadows said the former White House chief of staff was the recipient of the 38-page document but did nothing with it, according to a report. New York Times on Friday. CNN has not independently verified the content of PowerPoint.

Walk around the Senate

Democrats want to put their massive climate change and safety net bill into law using budget rules.

Republicans do the same with through major tax cuts in 2017.

To control the budget, they push the proposals on a temporary basis and then assume that Americans won’t want to give up the new privilege.

Republicans did it with tax cuts for individuals, technically will expire in 2025, but is expected to be extended to most people. Democrats are sticking to their social spending bill. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has said it will be expensive more than 3 trillion dollars more than 10 years if the programs are issued in perpetuity. Democrats say they will offset the program in the future.

Wherever the evolving form of American government poses obstacles, politicians will eventually find a solution, but whether it will be fast enough to tackle climate change is up to the question. A question has come.

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