The news is good for a change but this is only the beginning of what must be done if we are to avoid the worst of climate change effects. Many in the US and worldwide are already feeling significant changes due to climate change. Record temperatures, record rainfall, record drought and record forest fires have all become common occurrences in the past few years. The legislation passed by the US Senate is less than what we need to fully halt rising carbon dioxide levels, but it is a giant step in the right direction. Two things of note: Not a single Republican voted for this legislation. They have put politics above the public interest, above the consensus of science and above the devastating changes we are seeing happening before our eyes.
Furthermore, to get this legislation to pass, provisions that continue to supplement the fossil fuel industry were included. At a time when it is clear that fossil fuels have gotten us into the predicament we are facing, when it has come to light that the petroleum industry knowing downplayed the dangers of greenhouse gas emissions and when the legislation was very nearly sabotaged by one senator from a state that is heavily dependent on the coal industry as is the wealth of that same senator, we need to be eliminating the burning of fossil fuels, not subsidizing them. Compromise is how things get done in this society but there are some things which are beyond compromise, and it is shameful that such provisions had to be included in order to get the hold-out senator to support any legislation despite his previous promises to do so.
Politics is a dirty business, but it need not be that way. Disagreements about how to accomplish the things that government must do to serve the people who pay taxes and vote for representation need not get nasty. Greed and hunger for power have made it seem necessary to ignore what science and our own observations are telling us. They have driven some to find it acceptable to put themselves ahead of the common good and justify the pursuit of wealth at the expense of others. In the light of day most agree what is important and espouse that we are all equal and deserving of the fruits of our labor and a modicum of understanding and kindness. What happens when the light subsides and we justify the greed of today and ignore the costs of tomorrow? We all have to find it in ourselves to remember the truths we see in the light of public discourse.
Celebrate the good things that the Inflation Reduction Act will bring us but do not let up on the pressure to do what science and our collective values tell us must be done to bring climate change under control and equity for all. As the human population has grown, the planet has not and that means we are all closer to each other and must find empathy and understanding if we are going to survive and thrive collectively. It can be done if we all find a way to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.