Mar 31Liked by Emily Atkin

Following that same "dating" analogy, I think we're stuck with Biden "until someone better comes along." By better, I mean someone who would do a better job for the climate AND who has more than a snowball's chance in hell of actually winning the election - because obviously the perfect climate candidate won't do us any good if they lose to someone who doesn't even try to address the problem.

That doesn't mean we roll over and say "OK, babe - use me, abuse me, take me for granted, etc. and I'll still be here." Of course not. We can voice our displeasure, point out the shortcomings, and most important, look for a better candidate or a way to improve this one. The goal is successful policy making, not finding the perfect president.

All things considered, I'll be voting to reelect Biden next year - until or unless another electable candidate appears who I'm convinced will do a better job of curbing fossil fuel use. Meanwhile I'll be joining you in pissing & moaning about his failure to uphold his promises - and I'll always be on the lookout for a better prospect.

Maybe we need to invent a political version of Tinder.

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Mar 31Liked by Emily Atkin

I disagree with practically everything you said here. I believe Biden’s options were limited to the one he took, that approving Willow isn’t evidence of anything other than how fucked our choices are in stopping climate change, and that the climate movement or climate concerned voters have their own set of problems that need to be addressed, that matter more than this project.

For your claims that Biden could have just not approved the project I disagree completely

1. An environmental group leading a lawsuit against the project will not undercut that very lawsuit with anything they say, so of course they are going to say Biden could have stopped it because of emission concerns. That is literally the argument their lawsuit is based on. It doesn’t mean anything and point 2 in fact says they are wrong.

2. Paying ConocoPhillips 10s of billions of dollars so they can develop resources elsewhere on other leases or permits they own, isn’t a solution. It just removes this project from the headlines and isn’t even a for sure thing. A judge could have required the Biden admin to hold to the contract and give ConocoPhillips everything they requested for, which is more than what was approved. It just wasn’t a risk the Biden admin was going to take.

2. What Biden is referring to here is a deal with ConocoPhillips to take back some of the leased area in exchange for this project going forward. Not the separate millions of acres Biden made off limits. I think you are misinterpreting what Biden means by “trade off”.

And I’m unclear if it is your intent in your Biden is a “fuckboy” claim to implicitly say that Biden doesn’t actually give a fuck about the climate, and everything was just a “promise” in some sort of “deal” with climate concerned voters to get their votes, and Willow is a betrayal of that “deal”. I think that is completely wrong.

I hate that climate concerned voters are exclusively about your typical climate activist angry about this, and not the 10s of millions of voters in the Democratic party who both rate climate change as a top concern and voted for Biden overwhelmingly in the primary. It does a disservice to those Democratic voters by basically saying they don’t care about the climate and didn’t support Biden for his already held policy views on climate action, which were substantial.

And it is especially aggravating because it is so clearly a deflection from the climate concerned voters, as you conceptualize them, own failure to accurately act within reality. Trump and Republicans are a direct threat to this planet, and Biden even before he was “pushed” by climate activists, already was a strong climate politician.

But to assuage the egos of some people, we all needed to pretend like climate activists pushed Biden from zero on climate action to something barely passable to vote for, which he is now betraying. It was never true and this approval doesn’t change anything.

Trump and Republicans are still a direct threat to life, in every dimension, and I do not care anymore about assuaging the egos of people who do not have a complicated choice at all if they actually care about the climate or literally anything else decent.

And I’m unclear why you mention things Biden really had no control over and minimize what Biden has accomplished

“he auctioned off more than 73 million acres of Gulf of Mexico waters to offshore oil and gas drilling.”

Because he was required to?

“The administration was forced to hold the sale after Joe Manchin added it to the Inflation Reduction Act”

And you chalk these up to excuses. I disagree. I think they are more accurate representations of what is happening.

And if you want to talk about a “deal” that was betrayed let’s talk about the IRA. What we were told was that if Democrats passed climate legislation the wider climate movement would be there to help get Democrats reelected based on achieved climate wins. And speaking personally, what I found within the climate movement after the IRA passed was infighting based on the pound of flesh Manchin got with the bill, and a total lackluster desire to help Democrats win off the bill. So much so that apparently the majority of people were unaware that the IRA even passed.

“Notably, only 27 percent of voters under 45 know the Inflation Reduction Act has been signed into law by President Biden — a significant knowledge gap among a group of voters who are notoriously difficult to turn out in midterm election years. Though over half of young Americans say the U.S. has not done enough to address the climate crisis, a majority of voters under 45 are unaware of the landmark investment in clean energy that was passed into law this summer.”


What is the result? Democrats now don’t have the House.

I fucking hate the arrogance the most. Why does someone like AOC think she has the authority to speak on this, when she supported the closure of Indian Point, which coincidentally puts a similar annual amount of emissions to Willow? And that is even worse, because it was replacing clean power with fossil fuels, not oil which will continue to be used for the foreseeable future.

“The impact of the Willow Project is so extensive and expansive. It is really hard to imagine a way to make up for the carbon emissions,” Ocasio-Cortez said, adding that the approval broke trust with young and progressive voters.”

How are we going to make up for the carbon emissions of Indian Point? No one fucking cares about that because it never made the headlines Willow did.

No one fucking cares about the continual breaking of trust among young and progressive voters like me from the climate movement and their catastrophic anti-nuclear stance.

“Remember the mantra: If he wanted to, he would.”

Or these are choices he is limited to making and a failure to recognize that only misinforms about what is really happening.

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Mar 31Liked by Emily Atkin

I understand the idea that the president could just refuse to follow the law or what his attorneys think the law says in this matter and then just pay the cost of that behavior to Conoco Phillips, but I for one think it is good that Biden is choosing to do the legally most defensible thing here and approve the project. Activists don’t have to like or support this action but they should be trying to change the law that governs the National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska. Barring such a change the president must follow the law. That is the oath he has taken. The fact that Trump and some other presidents have shown us a model of legal impunity is not an argument for pursuing such a strategy just because it advances good ends. The laws ultimately protect the most vulnerable. I would like to see a world where more of our laws were structured to support our environment and the migratory bits and caribou who rely on the reserve for their habitat. But we must uphold an understanding of the law that doesn’t just protect what we want but a much broader set of interests because again that is what ultimately provides the greatest protection for the most people, and particularly the most vulnerable.

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LOVE that you're pointing this out. This is 100% fuckboy behavior and that requires similar solutions. We've got needs and though we're stuck with him (for now), he's also stuck with us and if those campaign contributions and other nice gifts we give him dry up, and we keep engaging we can teach him to behave better.

"but we can fix him" is I guess my stance on this? Maybe this piece can be coupled with "The climate movement's insecure attachment style"?

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Mar 31Liked by Emily Atkin

Was I expecting to see "f*ckboy" in a HEATED column? No, but I am here for it and find the use more than apt.

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I am completely with Emily on this. This was another "sellout" from Biden. The consumate"let's make a deal" who talks endlessly about their convictions and principles, then tosses them out the window without a fight.

How quickly you all seem to forget his betrayal of the Railworkers just last November. When he shut down their planned strike in order to "save Christmas".

Biden "hated doing that" because he "believes passionately in the Right to Strike. However, this wasn't a good time politically for a economic disruption.

So, eat your shit sandwich and get back to work slaves. Be comforted the Uncle Joe "feels" for you.

I despise Biden.

Why is anyone surprised he did this shitty deal to get Murkowski's support. She might even flip party choice. Maybe...

It wasn't worth it.

Because here's the thing you stupid, short sighted, gullible fools don't seem to EVER GRASP.

Corporations are IMMORTAL.

Every "compromise" with them is another bite they take. You can make a deal today and give them something in exchange for a PROMISE to take land off the table forever.

In 10 years they will be back for more. Another compromise, another bite. Maybe they "trade" old reclaimed land for unused land this time.

You know how you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time.

No more Biden's. No more compromises. Stop the Madness.


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Thanks a lot for this piece : very well thought (as usual), very well written (as usual), punchy (as usual), very climate-conscious (obviously), very witty (as often), a great and contemporary analogy (Like!), hilarious-and-awakening like a sweet-and-sour dish I wish I had more often.

You are shining environmental stars.

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The sure-proof way to measure whether a country is taking climate pollution seriously is to look at the scope and price of carbon emissions from fossil fuels.

IPCC minimum required global price for 1.5˚C target: $135/tCO2e on 100% of emissions in 2030 (IPCC SR15)

EU: $100 today on 40% of fossil fuels and spreading and rising, CBAM starting in 2026

Canada: $50 on 80% of fossil fuels today rising steadily to $135 in 2030

US: $0 (CA and RGGI in several northeast states have low prices and restricted coverage)

How experts say the US should do it: Carbon Cash-Back with CBAM (http://carboncashback.org/carbon-cash-back).

Carbon pricing is inevitable. But how and when we do it matters - https://www.greenenergytimes.org/2022/12/carbon-pricing-is-inevitable/.

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"But thinking like this only benefits the climate fuckboy. Because the longer you believe you can’t get anything better, the longer his disappointing behavior will continue."


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He's doing the same thing with COVID https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/3924782-senate-votes-to-end-covid-19-national-emergency/ “‘The President strongly opposes HJ Res 7…If this bill comes to his desk, however, he will sign it, and the administration will continue working with agencies to wind down the national emergency with as much notice as possible to Americans who could potentially be impacted,’ a White House official said.”

https://thehill.com/homenews/house/3925090-house-democrats-vent-frustration-after-biden-reversal-on-covid-19-emergency-measure/ "House Democrats are sounding off against the White House after President Biden indicated he’ll sign legislation to lift the national emergency declaration surrounding COVID-19 — a move that came less than two months after Democrats had opposed the same measure en masse at the administration’s request. "

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Pieces like this are why a paid subscription is 1000% worth it. It illustrates why I couldn't support Biden in 2020 - he takes full credit for any success he was even marginally involved in, but passes the buck rather than take accountability for mistakes.

To continue the metaphor, as a young millennial, I see so many people my age or younger choosing to opt out of dating altogether rather than deal with a sucky dating pool. I think that rationale similarly explains how politically engaged younger people are.

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Biden was never going to be the end all be all for climate issues and this decision is a disappointment. A bigger question might be, where is John Kerry in all of this? Special Counsel for Climate? When he was chosen, I knew this administration was going down the political path of playing it safe. A Special Counsel for Climate should not be another politician in my opinion, but a scientist who can challenge the administration's political position versus what is just morally right! Maybe we wouldn't win those battles, but it would make me feel better that an effort which was non-politically based was attempted.

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The f-bombs are warranted.

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Thanks for the analysis (although it would have been just as worthy without the analogy). In any event, typo alert (it's/its): "It’s original meaning is simply a man who sucks; who is weak; who is a poser."

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Ha Ha Ha……I know its hard for you climate change religious fanatics to take ……. but now and then some world reality kicks in… and our government must do what it must to keep the lights on!!

Lets hope we get the reality real deal soon and have Trump back in the white house so we can eliminate the climate change emergency fantasy from our politics.

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I love this analogy and enjoyed learning exactly what "fuckboy" means! To elaborate on some other comments, isn't every American politician (with possible exceptions of Jay Inslee, AOC, and Ed Markey) a climate fuckboy? This reporting reinforced what I really want: someone to vote for who will treat the climate crisis like the planetary emergency that it is and take a hard line on climate progress every time they are faced with a consequential decision. This person is not a radical climate activist who has no chance as getting elected, but a rational. skilled politician who will view everything through a climate lens and not let comparatively petty concerns ("but gas prices!") get in the way of making good climate policy happen, over and over again.

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