15 Comments
Jun 1, 2023Liked by Emily Atkin

Whitehouse says: "The other misdirection built into that language is the proposition that replacing one set of carbon emissions with another set of carbon emissions is going to help us solve the climate problem." But isn't he doing the same thing by trying to offset the MVP Pipeline emissions with the hoped for methane reductions coming from prospective administration enforcement actions? Don't we need both to end the MVP type of projects and plug leaks? He should just be honest that Republicans in the House and the Senate, including those two sort of Democrats Manchin and Sinema, have forced him to vote to avoid economic catastrophe. But he is a good guy and I hope he keeps fighting.

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Jun 1, 2023·edited Jun 1, 2023

Senator Whitehouse certainly doesn't go easy on the delayers and fossil fuel enablers, both outside and in Congress. Check out this awesome podcast in which he is the second person interviewed. Every part of this whole podcast is very useful to listen to: Outrage and Optimism -

Lifelines VS Deadlines: The Need For Science-Based Policy - https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9vdXRyYWdlYW5kb3B0aW1pc20ubGlic3luLmNvbS9yc3M/episode/MzlkYWZhNjctZGIxYy00MzNlLWJkOTItYzU3NTE2YTU0NmNm?ep=14.

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Jun 1, 2023Liked by Emily Atkin

This is real journalism. Senator Whitehouse is one of the most credible, knowledgeable and effective senators we have. Your questions were really on point on the contentious environmental provisions in the debt ceiling deal - as were the Senator's answers. Sadly, there are limitations and trade-offs on what can be accomplished on climate change, climate justice etc., given the current political reality. This is without doubt one of the more helpful pieces I have found in explaining the how and why of it. Very well done. Thank you.

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Jun 1, 2023Liked by Emily Atkin

My favorite senator is spot on about climate! There is always the hope that the pipe line can be stopped after the fact. But....since when does a bill/law get to dictate the terms and location of a challenge to that law? That's just wrong and Democrats should not let that go. We need more climate serious people in government....it is the issue of our lifetime...we also need to derail the fossil fuel industry by either making it a public utility or by cutting off all subsidies or by limiting their profits. And, of course, we need to ditch Citizens United and fix SCOTUS! This was a GREAT interview...more people need to read it!

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founding
Jun 1, 2023Liked by Emily Atkin

Great interview Emily. You're in the big time. Definitely frustrating but like many things in life (and many people) you take the good with the bad. Preserving the IRA is huge for climate.

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So the unasked question is what are the prospects for the 4 counter proposals actually becoming active policy and what can we do to lobby for their implementation? Another question is if NEPA input is reduced to 2 years time how can groups step up their game to provide effective input? Or is the primary function of NEPA just to buy time and make a project less economically attractive?

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author

Totally. Lots of questions I wanted to ask, but very limited time.

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This is a fantastic interview, well done. It does leave me utterly baffled (and I'm not American so maybe this is just naivety) that fast tracking environmental permitting of a project can be codified into a bill meant to avoid a default. At that point, why bother having environmental permitting if the outcome is effectively predetermined through legislation?

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Good to see Sheldon Whitehouse explain the big-picture realities requiring support for the #debtceiling package, even with those frustrating provisions attached. As he says, "all net, the prospect of a pathway to climate safety emerges." It's too facile to say, Bernie says he's voting against it, so why won't you? Sanders' no vote is a safe vote - giving him space to retain his Progressive standing. You can be sure Whitehouse has thought this through given his climate track record, explored here: https://revkin.substack.com/p/exxon-beware-students-and-a-senator-21-08-19

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I mean I *sorta* said that at the end!

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Jun 1, 2023·edited Jun 1, 2023

The remedy to address all the unfortunate approvals that are happening is a carbon price on fossil fuels where they enter the market. If we take the profit out of selling fossil fuels by accounting for the costs of their pollution in their price, the market won't value the stuff. Banks will stop lending to projects. Pension funds will stop investing in the stuff. Producers will shift away from the stuff. Let's stop playing whack-a-mole and join together to do what the IPCC says is required to achieve the Paris target: put a strong, global price on carbon. It's progressing globally, but when the US gets involved progress will be greatly accelerated: https://www.greenenergytimes.org/2022/12/carbon-pricing-is-inevitable/. Other complementary policies are needed as well, but without carbon pricing we are virtually guaranteed to fail, and with carbon pricing in place many of the others will be much easier to put in place.

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Fabulous interview Emily. Thank you. Keep on following Whitehouse. He is one of the knowledgeable and caring ones. I hope what he said is right.

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founding

Bailing water from a sinking ship will only succeed when the source of the leak is found and sealed. We know the source, but no one has the courage to repair it. Thank you Emily- for continuing to call out those who are able to make the repairs on their indecisive and elusive behavior.

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founding

Great questions and I'm looking forward to the rest of the interview next week. I'm glad Whitehouse mentioned the social cost of carbon as something he and the Biden admin are working on. It was talked about very early in Biden's term but I haven't really seen much come of it, so I appreciate it being mentioned.

I think if we can get that right, a lot of fossil fuel projects and those connected to fossil fuels, will have a much more stringent environmental review process to go through, which may help undercut their approval where other legal means may be limited.

And I don't know if it was your intention to draw an explicit contrast of Whitehouse's position to Sanders comments and position on the bill, but to be honest Sander's perspective is hollow. I know for a fact climate scientists have told him what a mistake his absolutist anti-nuclear stance means for the climate, so I don't give his statements like that much credit. I am much more concerned about absolutist stances like his, than stances like Whitehouse's which seem to be genuinely grappling with all the information and nuance, to make a final decision, even if it means "approving" a fossil fuel pipeline.

So sorry if that wasn't your intention, and excellent questions as always.

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Love him but he's between a rock and a hard place. I don't think he'll get off Biden's case about it though...he's so knowledgeable and doesn't get ruffled when you hold his feet to the fire. Good interview, Emily.

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