How can Manchin

I too keep wondering how Manchin can justify putting his personal political survival ahead of the planet.

Late in the evening on Friday 15 October an alert appeared on my phone that seemed at last to portend the end of the world. Two weeks before the UN climate summit in Glasgow – a make-or-break moment for American leadership and international ambition – Senator Joe Manchin had decided to gut our country’s best, and perhaps last, attempt to save itself. With three decades left to decarbonize the global economy, and a window of Democratic control unlikely to recur for years, Manchin’s benefactors in the coal and gas industry had managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, killing the Clean Electricity Performance Program that would finally have brought their lucrative global arson spree under control.

My rage might consume me if I couldn’t set it down here: not only is Joe Manchin devastating the constituents he claims to work for, consigning them to a future of constant, devastating floods. Not only is he shilling for an industry that has ravaged his home statesnaring West Virginians in a resource trap. Not only is he making a choice that could single-handedly warm the planet by several tenths of a degree, precipitating millions of avoidable deaths and dimming the prospects of my entire generation.

The truly maddening thing is that he refuses to look his decision in the face, hiding instead behind the debunked and convenient lies furnished by his donors, who maintain that they can burn coal into mid-century without risking a catastrophe.

And the even more maddening thing is that he’s doing all this for his own petty self-interest. 7 billion people v one guy, and not even a guy with several more decades ahead of him (he’s 74). 7 billion people plus all the other life forms.

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