It’s tempting to call President Joe Biden’s climate agenda “ambitious,” but it’s only “ambitious” in the sense that no previous administration has even come close to meeting the existential crisis of manmade climate change with policies that would do anything but put the worst of the crisis off for a decade or two. What Biden’s team is proposing, with new infrastructure programs and regulations, is still the minimum necessary action required to keep the climate emergency from boiling into the worst-case scenarios of permanent megadroughts, global crop failures, and rising seas wiping out the vast majority of the state of Florida.
Is it “ambitious” to slam on the brakes when you see that your car is hurtling towards a tree? Only in politics. In politics, they’ll build a whole monument to you, though they’ll probably tuck it behind other monuments dedicated to historic racists, AIDS deniers, and the cigarette industry’s top four lawyers.
Biden’s team is announcing a new step towards keeping the planet vaguely habitable: The Environmental Protection Agency is looking to reduce hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs) use by 85% within 15 years. This is important. While HFCs were themselves the industry replacement for chlorofluorocarbons, the famous ozone-killing chemicals of past decades, they themselves have severe climate effects. Even though these chemicals (used in refrigerators, air conditioners, and even aerosol cans) break down quickly in the atmosphere, they still trap so much more heat than carbon dioxide does that phasing them out worldwide could prevent a half degree Celsius of global warming even without other actions. That is, obviously, huge.
It also means that phasing out the chemicals isn’t so much “ambitious” as “absolutely necessary.” There are few scenarios in which that half-degree of global warming could be tolerated, and zero scenarios in which it can be allowed after the climate has already warmed, today, more than a full degree. The Biden administration will provide $8 million to boost development of replacement chemicals, and claims the move will save over a quarter of a trillion dollars in health-related and other public costs. Industry sounds on board as well.
So there’s no reason not to do this, and every reason it should be done. A rare win-win-win for all involved.
Now if Republican lawmakers could only be convinced to allow the sort of infrastructure reforms that would would help fix many of the other most dangerous climate risks, we might be able to dodge the worst hellscape scenarios. Wouldn’t that be a treat.
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.