Hello? – Fossil fuel craze – Methow Valley News

Solveig Torvik

What do Joe Manchin and Vladimir Putin have in common?

Nothing, except this: they both want to burn fossil fuels.

The would-be West Virginia Democrat cheated on his fellow Democrats for 18 precious months, running out of time while eviscerating Joe Biden’s climate bill.

Senator Manchin finally confessed: He won’t vote for any of the bill’s urgent climate measures because they tax the wealth and hardship of fossil fuel suppliers. Manchin also reneged on his earlier support for the international effort to prevent corporations from evading taxes by hiding their profits in tax havens.

There is no longer any doubt about whose interests Manchin serves. It is certainly not that of the taxpayers. They are expected to subsidize their own demise.

Globally, taxpayers provide the fossil fuel industry with $16 billion in subsidies every day, according to the International Monetary Fund. Meanwhile, the industry’s daily global profits over the past 50 years have averaged $2.8 billion in today’s dollars, according to World Bank data.

Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Manchin has received more money from fossil fuel interests than anyone else in Congress.

Manchin insists that inflation will occur if Congress passes measures to stem climate change. Apparently, he doesn’t care how bad inflation – a cyclical and built-in feature of our economy – is if we do nothing.

Last year, weather disasters alone cost the United States $145 billion. Who pays for this?

Manchin claims he wants to prevent his constituents from paying more for, well…electricity. All anyone really needs to know about Joe Manchin is this: when he was a state legislator, he helped a company called AmBit get a license for a coal-fired power plant, then s went into business as the sole supplier of ‘gob’ coal waste for this plant. He facilitated a tax credit, an air pollution permit, and a rate increase for it.

AmBit is partly owned by domestic and foreign energy companies. They are lobbying the Manchin Senate Committee on industry-wide climate-related regulatory issues that could affect AmBit.

Potential conflicts

This situation raises potential conflicts of interest, notes the New York Times. Manchin’s family business gets a 1% cut in gross factory revenue from AmBit – on top of profits from gob sales.

Here’s the thing: The utility that bought power from AmBit paid $117 million more than it would have if the power hadn’t been generated with Manchin’s gob, according to the 2021 utility filings with the State Civil Service Commission. (The contract expires in 2036.)

The gob factory business made Manchin rich. And who paid for the extra cost of this electricity? Manchin’s own voters, whose finances are of such concern to Manchin that he will sacrifice a habitable planet to spare them from inflation.


Manchin clumsily argues that Congress should wait to see if this wave of inflation abates before doing anything about the climate. He admits to telling Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, “We can just wait. How much more and how much [more] will it be harmful? »

Last week London’s temperature hit 104 F. Last summer, just over 100 air miles north of the Methow, the town of Lytton, B.C. recorded 121 F. before being cremated. It was the hottest temperature ever recorded north of the 45th parallel.

This heat dome killed hundreds of people in the Pacific Northwest. At my house near Winthrop, it reached 114 F. When I briefly stepped out, sharp pinpricks stabbed my exposed arms as moisture ripped through my pores.

How hotter does it have to be? Is there a number on the thermometer that can persuade Congress to act? Hello?

Congress has never passed a climate bill. Greed and myopia have always triumphed, not the public interest. It is a total failure of autonomy. And it’s compelling evidence that as a species, we may be too dumb to survive.

“It seems odd,” mused John Podesta, founder of the Center for American Progress, “that Senator Manchin should choose as his legacy to be the one man who single-handedly doomed mankind.”

Putin’s delusions

Manchin is not the only candidate for this distinction. The depth of Vladimir Putin’s delusions is hard to read. But given its Ukrainian invasions, its strategic objectives are becoming increasingly clear. He, like Hitler, needs more “Lebensraum” – this time for a world dominated by fossil fuels and dominated by Russia.

Russia has, by far, the largest supply of natural gas in the world. Fossil fuels are the source of Russia’s wealth. But if they become worthless, what happens to Russia?

For Putin, a wronged, insecure and murderous tyrant, it is an existential question.

In addition to taking over Ukraine – we kindly indulged in his Crimean land grab, so here he is again – Putin has recently changed his tactics.

It has begun to threaten its Scandinavian neighbors along the strategic Barents Sea passage, home to Russia’s offshore oil reserves and its northern nuclear submarine fleet.

Putin recently warned Scandinavians that they had to choose between Russia and NATO. Clumsily, the former Norwegian Prime Minister, at the head of NATO, helps Ukraine. Also an exporter of fossil fuels, Norway borders Russia.

Meanwhile, Europeans have abdicated themselves by relying on Russian natural gas to fuel their economies. Careless. Now Putin’s military gas deliveries to demonstrate his power over Europe.

“The West will not directly intervene or help Ukraine to a point that could lead to Russia’s military defeat,” predicts Tatina Stanovaya of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

So what? Putin understands that he has everything to lose if fossil fuels become useless. We have to understand that he is a sore loser.

Solveig Torvik lives near Winthrop.


Comments are closed.