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The Climate Change thing

by Ron Holdraker
August 15, 2022

Shucks, all this time, all we really needed was a flood of floods throughout the world, a whole bunch of forest fires in the West and Europe, along with crops withering on the vine worldwide. Looks like even many Republicans now believe there is something to this ‘climate change thing’.

Thanks to forward-looking Democrats, the recent proposal that included $375 Billion over the decade is on its path to becoming a reality.

For decades scientists and straight thinking politicians realized the planet was going amuck with fossil fuel energies, especially coal.

Almost a decade ago I began following a transition away from fossil fuels. I first had a quasi-hybrid that ran on two engines, reducing gas usage. My next vehicle was a total hybrid that  again reduced the use of gas and I always watched my gauges.

Almost three years ago I went total electric and followed that up with a second all-electric vehicle for our newspaper deliveries.

Along the way, critics screamed my 260 mileage between charges would leave my stranded. What most drivers do not realize is that they travel fewer than 50 miles per day.

Home charging units, along with electric vehicle costs are coming down fast. I bought vehicles with tax rebates which lowered costs precipitately and more communities, hotels, hospitals and businesses are installing charging units. There are dozens just in Wayne County.

Oh, sure Ron, but what about the fact that coal burning/fossil fuel generators are still producing the electric that charges your cars?

The recent move for most industries towards eliminating coal sources has picked up steam. The new bill would invest nearly $375 billion over the decade in climate change-fighting strategies including investments in renewable energy production and tax rebates for consumers to buy new or used electric vehicles. It’s broken down to include $60 billion for a clean energy manufacturing tax credit and $30 billion for a production tax credit for wind and solar, seen as ways to boost and support the industries that can help curb the country’s dependence on fossil fuels. 

The bill also gives tax credits for nuclear power and carbon capture technology that oil companies such as Exxon Mobil have invested millions of dollars to advance.

The writing was on the wall for major companies, including automakers who will phase out fossil fuel engines, most within a decade.

And yes, old electric car batteries will NOT end up in landfills as critics have bemoaned. Companies are working to reduce costs and increase the number of materials that can be safely reused and also increasing battery life. 

Oh, and the extended mileage for electric vehicles is moving close to   600+ miles on some vehicles and they are working on electric car batteries with 1000 mile range.

For consumers, there are tax breaks as incentives to go green.

 One is a 10-year consumer tax credit for renewable energy investments in wind and solar. There are tax breaks for buying electric vehicles, including a $4,000 tax credit for purchase of used electric vehicles and $7,500 for new ones. 

The bill would impose a new fee on excess methane emissions from oil and gas drilling while giving fossil fuel companies access to more leases on federal lands and waters. Not that they will really want them in the future.

By the way, last year we invested in roof-top solar panels and have cut our home electric bill considerably. (Use GreenSpark, the local installation company)

Our next move will include new water tanks and heat pumps, but more on that later. Currently, I use all battery-rechargeable tools for garden and home use.

The strategy could put the country on a path to cut greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030, and “would represent the single biggest climate investment in U.S. history, by far.”

I have been on the recycling kick for years. I often scold Wife Patti for using too many/too much plastic products in  her life. We now use metal straws and are buying more products using recyclable materials and no plastic packaging.

Yes, not all the plastic that is recycled falls into the hands of real recyclers, but the amount is increasing. Yes, you can make a difference by buying with recycling in mind.

The latest items on the market are laundry sheets that you just toss in, rather than the ‘plastic pods’ that come in plastic containers with tops that are impossible to maneuver.

How successful are these sheets? Proctor and Gamble has now issued a whole line of cleaning products to fill their void in the market in response to competition.

Moving on...

On a sad note, the recent Senate passing of the sweeping economic package that aims to lower health-care costs, along with the aforementioned clean energy package had a sour note.

The law included a provision that would have capped the cost of insulin at $35 a month for Americans with private insurance. The party chose to heed a ruling by the Senate parliamentarian stripping that piece from the bill and tried to reinsert it with 60 votes, needing 10 Republicans to sign on in order to get around the legislative filibuster, which Democrats have opted to keep in place.

While the measure earned 57 yes votes to 43 nos, it was unable to satisfy the rules of the Senate and failed. (The seven Republican senators who supported the capping of insulin copays were Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy of Louisiana, Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi.) The final bill did include a $35 cap for older Americans who are on Medicare but did not include a general cap on drug price increases for those not on the government health care plan.

Over 30 million Americans have diabetes, and more than 7 million of them require daily insulin. But the cost of the drug has risen considerably in the last decade. In layman terms insulin has become an extreme burden for 14% of Americans who use it. It appears the Republicans prefer punishing 14% of Americans over giving the Biden administration a “win” coming towards the mid-term elections.

On a more personal note, the Times has just started its 34th year of our “Telling it like it is, baby” attitude.

We have instituted some new changes and have more coming down the  pipeline for subscribers and readers.

Thanks for reading.

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