As Biden takes climate victory lap, new threat emerges in American West
Welcome to Callaway Climate Insights. America’s most ambitious climate strategy yet starts today.
In today’s issue:
— Biden’s climate victory lap short-lived as water cuts ordered in West
— The under-the-radar renewables set to boom under IRA
— How an EV charger that drops from the sky could be a gift from the gods
A dead zone, or hypoxic zone, is an area of low oxygen that can harm fish and marine life. There are hundreds of dead zones in coastal waters around the world but the Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone is one of the largest. NOAA reports this year’s measurement is about 3,275 square miles, equivalent to more than two million acres of habitat potentially unavailable to fish and bottom species. This measurement brings the five-year average to 4,280 square miles. The record of 8,776 square miles was set in 2017. Satellite image: NOAA.
President Biden took a well-deserved victory lap in signing the Inflation Reduction Act today. with his often-scorned strategy of compromising on Capitol Hill bringing about the Schumer-Manchin climate bill just in time for the mid-term elections.
But even as he signed what represents the biggest-ever U.S. effort to fight global warming and reduce emissions, the federal government was ordering drastic water cuts out West, tied to threateningly low levels in the Colorado River. Arizona, Nevada and Mexico are expected to see cuts, the second time in two years. With no end to the drought in site, few are expecting them to be temporary.
Overall, the scenario is set to shift the climate fight in the U.S from one of reducing emissions to prevent future crises to rapid and painful mitigation of the catastrophes that have already been caused. Indeed, as we can see in Europe, where hosepipe bans, air-conditioning rationing and drastic energy usage restrictions are emerging, the mitigation phase of the climate fight will be far more painful and controversial than the engagement and de-carbonization phase.
For Biden and the Democrats, today’s signing is a timely benefit as elections loom. But as the water cuts and heatwaves grow, and we move from a climate culture war to a real-life scramble for resources, it’s becoming clearer how quickly time is running out.
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