The torrid summer is reminding us of the perils of the slow but steady climate change on the planet. Cities across the world are being engulfed by a heat wave, and records are getting set in Africa, America, Asia, and Europe. It is no longer someone else’s problem.
While all of us contribute to global warming, America’s role is singular. By some estimates, America has accounted for the most cumulative greenhouse gas emissions since 1850 at about 20% of the total. At present, America’s contribution per capita is among the highest at about 10 times that of India.
In a recent poll, 65% of Americans express grave concern over the climate. Yet only 1% rate climate change as the decisive issue when asked about their vote in the upcoming American midterm elections in November. Only 3% of those under 30 rate the issue as the most pressing. Perhaps this is not surprising. Even as we muddle through a persistent pandemic, legitimate concerns over rights and riots to inflation and oil prices dominate the news cycles and public thinking. So it is also not surprising that after more than a year at it, the US Senate is no closer to agreeing on a climate bill to bring the country closer to meeting its commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement. Climate change is on the back burner for the public and the Congress.
While there are still those who refuse to believe that human actions contribute to climate change, among the vast majority who support action to reduce our impact, disagreements in various forms stop any progress. The current discord in the US Senate is an example. Incentives for EV cars is one key point of contention.
EV cars are insufficient as a long-term solution for the fossil fuel problems facing America or the rest of the world which needs to look to EV public transportation, electric and conventional bicycles, plain walking, and city planning for affordable and lasting energy solutions. These are many questions about EV car incentives: Is additional stimulus needed for the already growing EV market? Don’t incentives for EV cars disproportionately benefit those rich enough to afford such cars? Can incentives be graduated or structured? But remember progress comes in bits and pieces. There was talk of a gas tax increase to cut fuel consumption not long ago! Today’s hybrid and electric vehicles are important milestones along the path toward progress.
Senator Manchin and fellow Senators, without the incentives and investment in EV cars in the 2009 Obama era stimulus plan, would the EV progress be where it is today? So agree on a climate deal with some, any incentive for EV cars with whatever constraints, because that will spur benefits beyond what we can imagine now! Also help the state of West Virginia and other similar states both in making coal plants cleaner for the short term and in retraining coal miners for the long term. By the way, the current inflation rate has little to do with investments phased over the next several years for the climate.
Global warming is not waiting. End the endless climate bill debate and get a deal done this summer. It is not complicated!
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