When Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced on Fox News on Sunday that he won’t vote for the current version of Build Back Better, experts predicted he may have single-handedly killed the world’s best hope of avoiding catastrophic climate change.
In order to avoid breaching the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold that will trigger a cascade of devastating effects, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that global emissions of the greenhouse gasses that cause climate change must be cut in half by 2030, with emissions reaching net zero by 2050.
President Biden committed the United States — the world’s second-largest emitting country currently, and the largest historically — to reaching those goals and laid out a plan to achieve it. It was centered around Build Back Better’s unprecedented $555 billion in spending to subsidize transitioning the country to clean sources of energy and electric vehicles.
Without those actions, according to modeling by experts, the U.S. likely won’t hit its targets. And if the U.S. isn’t on pace to hit its targets, that will undermine the whole global push to switch to clean energy and cut emissions.
“We won’t be acting on the climate crisis if we don’t pass this bill, and there’s not a decade left to waste,” Leah Stokes, a climate polic