By Mathew Carr
Dec. 24-26, 2021 — Now, to one of my favorites on Linked In, Tim Williamson, former renewable energy specialist and official under President Obama.
He’s got some interesting ideas about how to overcome Senator Joe Manchin’s holding up of the governing Democrats’ Build Back Better social justice and climate law.
This is important because I doubt China is going to get more aggressive on its climate action until the USA, which is most to blame for the global climate crisis, puts “meat on the bones” — (that is, details and legislates for) its 2030 target under the Paris climate deal for a 50% emissions cut.
“So, isn’t it time for coastal Democrats to get strategic?” Williamson asks on the Social media platform.
“Put some meat on the bone? Throw some earmark money in Build Back Better (BBB) bill for West Virginia, and then canvass the state? The good people of West Virgina are afraid of what they have heard.
“Democrats need to show up, prove and explain to the people of West Virginia what they have heard is mostly wrong (for one thing that coal jobs are at stake bigtime – they may be but new jobs are already here and many more are coming).
“Then the good people of West Virginia can explain to Senator Manchin why he must vote for the BBB bill, if he wants to fulfill his wish that his swansong is to be next Governor of West Virgina.
“BBB passes? Earthlings everywhere breath a sigh of relief? Sen. Manchin helps turn West Virgina a little more blue, with a better path for himself leading back to West Virginia Governor’s Mansion? That sounds like a win-win-win-win, all around.” (I’m taking the fourth win as the climate’s.)
I’m also taking Tim’s word about the governor thing, although Manchin was apparently interested in that role back in 2019 (see below), before deciding to hold the senate seat that gives the Democrats their majority (for some legislation at least). Isn’t 74 years old a bit old for a swansong? Wait, the President — the other Joe — is 79!
These two Tweets show some of the polar opposites of how Manchin is portrayed:
Nuclear power could also be super important in the US’s energy transition, and Manchin is supportive. That industry could be a jobs bonanza, making up somewhat for those lost in coal. See this Manchin retweet from a couple of days ago:
And that brings us to the key planks of BBB — social justice and climate justice. They are not quite present enough in the BBB bill, Williamson said. See here for November version that I think is now rejected.
So a rewrite early in 2022 will need to address the justice side.
Social and climate justice is important because the gap between rich and poor continues to rapidly widen in the USA amid the pandemic. See this chart from Williamson:
For a link to the Williamson post: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/timwilliamson2_coal-miners-union-urges-manchin-to-reconsider-activity-6879530391947108352-WgXw
I found this on Manchin’s 2019 governor consideration: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/03/joe-manchin-wont-run-for-governor-of-west-virginia-1479602
(Adds Tweets, smooths some language)