Climate Pork-a-Palooza

The massive new $1.2 trillion "Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act" contains $47 billion specifically designated to combat the imagined evils of climate change, the largest sum Congress has ever agreed to spend to fight the weather. This $47 billion that we as a country don’t have targets a problem we don’t have, and is part of H.R. 3684, the infrastructure package that will cost $1.2 trillion we don’t have.

The $47 billion in this hernia-causing, pork-barrel, 2,700-page bill is to foster “climate resilience,” an invented buzzword whose meaning is elastic enough to cover a whole range of programs.

Of course, first there was global warming, then climate change, and now this thing called “climate resilience.” This new and improved label that conveniently skips right over the question of whether there actually is a problem and whether we can do something about it, and goes straight to an assumption that manmade global warming is fact and must be dealt with urgently.

The money is fake but the pigs are real.

One enviro site defines climate resilience as “the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and respond to hazardous events, trends, or disturbances related to climate. Improving climate resilience involves assessing how climate change will create new, or alter current, climate-related risks, and taking steps to better cope with these risks.”

The mainstream media is in on this con, as usual. When the New York Times triumphantly reported final congressional approval of the bill Nov. 5, it lied, claiming the money would help cushion the blow of a fantasized environmental apocalypse that was already in progress.

“There were 22 climate disasters that cost at least $1 billion each in the United States in 2020, shattering the previous record of 16 events, which occurred in 2017 and 2011, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,” according to the Old Gray Lady. The funds will be used “to prepare the nation to withstand the devastating impacts of climate change,” and will “help communities prepare for the new age of extreme fires, floods, storms and droughts that scientists say are worsened by human-caused climate change.”

Here is how some of the $47 billion marked for climate resilience will be spent: $11.6 billion to the Army Corps of Engineers for flood control; $3.5 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Administration for flood mitigation and assistance; $550 million to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for forecasting climate change; $500 million to NOAA to improve mapping and forecast inland and coastal flooding; another $50 million to NOAA to predict, model, and forecast wildfires; $500 million to the Department of Agriculture for wildfire defense grants to at-risk communities; and $216 million to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for climate resilience and adaptation for Indian tribes supposedly affected by climate change.

Custer died for climate resilience.

But according to the people the federal government paid to produce the 2018 National Climate Assessment, this is a small down-payment on what really needs to be done to help people cope with a hyped, theoretical problem. That report estimates that adapting to climate change could cost “tens to hundreds of billions of dollars per year.”

“It’s a big deal,” President Joe Biden said late last month in a speech boosting the bill. “And we’ll build up our resilience for the next superstorm, drought, wildfires, and hurricanes that represent a blinking ‘code red’ for America and the world.”

The lure of easy pork that nobody in the mainstream media will complain about drew in some Republicans, including Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican, who crowed about all the money it will bring to his state. He called the bill “the largest investment in infrastructure and coastal resiliency in the history of Louisiana.”

It’s easy for Cassidy to jump on the blame-storming bandwagon. “There’s people living in Lexington Parish, for example, flooded in 2016, whose lives — everything in their life was destroyed,” Cassidy said. “The pictures of their children, the wedding dress in which they married, the home in which they lived, which had never flooded before — the fact that we are helping our fellow Americans avoid that gives me an incredible sense of satisfaction.”

Cassidy: bringing home the bacon for Louisiana.

"Climate science" charlatans blame more or less everything bad that happens on manmade global warming. They point to anthropogenic climate change as the culprit in the burning down of big chunks of forests in California wildfires, ignoring the important role that government mismanagement of forests played. They blame it for creating Hurricane Ida, too, which in September left more than 80 people dead and millions without electricity in the Pelican State.

The funding set aside for climate-resilience projects is only part of the picture, however. The bill funds hundreds of billions of dollars in improvements to roads and other infrastructure to make them more resistant to extreme weather. It also provides $39 billion to boost low- and zero-pollution transportation sources, $7.5 billion to construct electric vehicle charging stations, $2.5 billion to buy electric school buses, and $400 million curb truck emissions at ports.

The measure further makes available $8 billion for water projects in drought-affected areas, $500 million for energy storage pilot projects, $500 million for curbing industrial emissions, $260 million for renewable energy, and funds a new Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations at the Department of Energy. There's also $5 billion for remediating abandoned oil and gas wells, $5 billion to clean up Superfund sites, and $11 billion to clean up abandoned mines.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island Democrat and an in-your-face leftist who enjoys threatening Supreme Court justices, moaned that the legislative package wouldn’t do much to mitigate the supposed problem of climate change itself. “There’s a lot of good stuff in the infrastructure bill to help us prepare for climate upheaval, but that package does very little to affect emissions, and therefore won’t prevent climate upheaval,” Whitehouse said.

Combatting this “upheaval” will be left to the proposed Build Back Better Act, which is still working its way through Congress but nearing passage. That bill would provide a taxpayer-funded bonanza for global-warmist profiteers. It contains another $555 billion we don’t have that is aimed at mitigating climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions they claim are forcing planet-wide temperatures higher.

Another big helping of pork, anybody?

A Second, Unaccountable EPA for Biden?

Liberals continue to fret about how the Biden Administration will enact Joe's climate agenda without complete Democratic control of Congress. For the latest example of this genre, here's Derek Brower writing in the Financial Times:

More than 81 million Americans and a majority of electors backed a candidate who said he hoped to “transition from the oil industry” and put clean energy at the centre of a US$2 trillion green plan to decarbonize American electricity in 15 years and create a net-zero-emissions economy by 2050....

Yet as the dust settles on Biden’s victory, the political realities are starting to set in too. Despite retaining a majority, Democrats lost seats in the House of Representatives and at best can hope to split the Senate 50:50 by winning two run-off elections in Georgia in January. For all the enthusiasm of his supporters — and despite the mandate from the popular vote — the full gamut of Biden’s transformative US$2 trillion energy plan has little chance of progressing through such a divided chamber.

Brower goes on to lament "an increasingly conservative judiciary will be an obstacle to federal bodies acting expansively" (translation: Trump-appointed judges will make it difficult for Biden's White House to work around the Constitution), and consequently it will likely take a few years to fully undo Trump's efforts at rolling back onerous regulations on the resource sector.

He is hopeful, however, that a few key administrative actions will have big impact nationwide. These include toughening up fuel economy standards and granting California a new Clean Air Act waiver (Trump revoked the previous one) which will allow the state to impose significantly stricter emissions standards than the federal government, an act which (because of the Golden State's size) could have a ripple effect on the entire auto industry.

Brower is also encouraged by Biden’s announced appointments of "several heavyweights to key energy positions" which he feels denote a "bold climate agenda," the lack of Congressional support notwithstanding. He mentions a few of these appointments, including new international climate envoy John Kerry and domestic "climate czar" Gina McCarthy. These names are, in fact, pretty striking, especially considering the roles they've accepted. Kerry, former Democratic presidential nominee and former secretary of state, and McCarthy, a former EPA chief, have both been cabinet members and now they're content with newly created positions which sound pretty meaningless. What gives?

The Daily Caller's Larry Behrens thinks he's figured it out. His contention is that Biden's object is to create what is effectively a second EPA within the White House, one whose officials aren't confirmed by the Senate and whose actions won't require congressional oversight.

Kerry and McCarthy are perfect choices for that type of role. They're big names who will get the liberal media excited, but who might be shy of Senate confirmation hearings. According to Behrens, McCarthy would be especially reluctant to answer questions about her most recent job as head of the Natural Resources Defense Council, "an environmental organization that faced scrutiny for their relationship to Chinese entities." Of course, as Behrens points out, this is an appropriate background for her new job, which is to undermine America's resource industry while pushing solar panels that are manufactured in China.

Framed that way -- a president creating powerful executive branch positions for people who are unlikely to get through a senate confirmation to enact a policy agenda that he didn't campaign on for the benefit of a foreign power -- this all is a perfect encapsulation of modern American governance.

The Green Covid 'Relief' Bill

On Sunday, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and minority leader Chuck Schumer announced that they had come to an agreement on the details of a second Covid-19 relief package. There had been a lot of public wrangling over what the bill should look like, with senators Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) calling for $1,200 payments to Americans to compensate them for the economic disruption of the government-imposed lockdowns, a provision which President Trump supported but which was ultimately thwarted by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.).

There was debate about whether businesses should be granted immunity from Covid-related lawsuits (to which the Democrats objected), and whether state and local governments adversely effected by the pandemic should be bailed out (to which the Republicans objected). In the end, after a number of compromises, senators were left with a neat, tidy bill which they could all be happy with.

Or at least, that was what leadership expected them to say. In fact, the text of the bill was more than 5,000 pages long, and wasn't released until two hours before it was to be voted on. For once, AOC is right:

Not reading it didn't stop Congress from passing the $2.3 trillion legislation by huge margins on Monday. To echo AOC's leader on another massive bill, I guess they had to pass it for us to find out what's in it.

That's exactly what we're finding out now, and there are quite a few howlers, from $10 million for Pakistani "gender programs" to the creation of a committee to combat performance enhancing drug use in horse racing. But the surprising provisions which feature the most prominently in the actual text of the bill are all climate related. This is from an AP report entitled "Congress takes aim at climate change in massive relief bill":

The huge pandemic relief and spending bill includes billions of dollars to promote clean energy such as wind and solar power while sharply reducing over time the use of potent coolants in air conditioners and refrigerators.... The energy and climate provisions, supported by lawmakers from both parties, were hailed as the most significant climate change law in at least a decade. “Republicans and Democrats are working together to protect the environment through innovation,” said Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

The sprawling legislation also extends tax credits for solar and wind power that are a key part of President-elect Joe Biden’s ambitious plan to generate 100 percent “clean electricity” by 2035. Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware... said the bill would cut pollution from school buses, air conditioners, refrigerators and more, while creating thousands of American jobs and helping “save our planet from the climate crisis.″ “Make no mistake,″ he said, the new legislation “will soon be some of the most significant climate solutions to pass out of Congress to date.″

For all of the hand wringing over this being the second largest bill in American history, as well as attempts by  Johnson and others to trim down benefits to individual Americans, Republicans and Democrats conspired to shower taxpayer dollars on questionable and controversial green priorities which have nothing to do with the virus, without saying a word about it in public.

It's almost as if the pandemic is just an excuse to do whatever they already wanted to do to begin with.