Forget Manchin, American voters are ‘biggest, most reliable killer’ of climate agenda: Washington Post column


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In her latest piece, Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell argued that critics shouldn’t solely focus the blame on Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., for current inaction on climate change, it’s the fault of American “voters.”

Rampell’s Tuesday column, titled, “Manchin wasn’t the only one to kill climate action,” declared that “voters” are “the biggest, most reliable killer of climate action,” and as a result, “The planet is burning, and we’re running out of time to douse the fire.”

The piece began by scrutinizing the political invective being lobbed against Manchin for rejecting “every iteration of Democrats’ safety-net-and-climate bill.” Rampell observed, “Some of Manchin’s Democratic colleagues suggest he deliberately ‘sabotaged’ the party’s climate agenda because of his longtime ties to the fossil-fuel industry,” and added that his behavior is “aggravating and inscrutable.”

However, “he didn’t kill America’s chance at curbing climate change. At least, he didn’t do it alone,” she claimed. “We Americans all did it. Together.”

She continued by including Republicans as “co-conspirators” in this neglect of the planet, writing, “There is an entire political party — the GOP — that has shown roughly zero interest in addressing climate change, assuming its leaders even recognize that the planet is warming.” 

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Americans angry at lack of climate action have themselves to blame argues Washington Post's Catherine Rampell. 

Americans angry at lack of climate action have themselves to blame argues Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell. 

She added, “Manchin’s vote wouldn’t be so crucial if just one Republican senator were willing to break ranks and work with Democrats on a compromise.” 

The columnist argued that the media has given the GOP a “pass” on this one and “framed legislative sclerosis as a Manchin-centric phenomenon.” Though Rampell mused, “Perhaps this is just the bigotry of low expectations: Republicans haven’t produced an agenda for any other significant policy challenge, so why pressure them on the biggest challenge of all?”

But again, it can’t be only the GOP and Manchin’s fault. Rampell lumped Democratic Party members in with the co-conspirators, writing, “When only one political party apparently cares about keeping the planet habitable, that party had better deliver a solution. Unfortunately, the Democrats have failed spectacularly. Once again, that’s not solely because of Manchin.”

The article followed that with heavy criticism of the Party’s own climate agenda and their ability to pursue it. “Democrats more broadly have squabbled over their policy agenda. Even when they do agree, sometimes their choices would hurt climate objectives, by making the transition to renewable energy sources slower and more expensive,” Rampell claimed. 

There are several examples of Democrats being counter-productive to meaningful climate action, Rampell argued, “Last week, for instance, the Democratic-majority House passed legislation that could devastate investments in wind energy.” 

In another instance, “lawmakers voted for new nationality requirements for crew members working on offshore energy projects,” which Rampell claimed, would ultimately “delay critical investments in wind energy and make them more expensive.”

A Washington Post column argued that Sen. Manchin is hardly the only one to blame for thwarting the government response to climate change.

A Washington Post column argued that Sen. Manchin is hardly the only one to blame for thwarting the government response to climate change.

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She slammed Biden for opting to “make solar energy more expensive, too,” before admitting, “it has been hard to make sense of some recent choices.”

The column then noted that if Biden got more aggressive on climate action, especially in the wake of Manchin’s stonewalling, The Supreme Court has provided another obstacle. “After this ruling, the policies the administration can pursue are likely to be less efficient, and therefore more costly, to implement,” Rampell wrote, describing the Court’s ruling against the EPA’s power to mandate carbon regulations in the West Virginia v. EPA case. 

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Rampell rounded out her column by claiming that American voters are the “biggest” killer of climate action, writing that “However much we say we care about climate, it always takes a back seat to other, more immediate concerns,” such as addressing “short-term fluctuations in gas prices.”

“A pox on all our houses. Given rising temperatures, sea levels and natural disasters, that curse already appears to have arrived,” the column concluded. 

Rampell argued that the Supreme Court's recent ruling against EPA power in the West Virginia v. EPA case might hamper Biden's climate change policies going forward.

Rampell argued that the Supreme Court’s recent ruling against EPA power in the West Virginia v. EPA case might hamper Biden’s climate change policies going forward.
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)



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