Privilege Blog

Temperate Glimmers Of Hope, Or, Saturday Morning at 10:13am

Note: If you were intrigued by the Grae Cove dress I posted about last week, I want to let you know they tell me they are getting a lot of orders and it’s now taking them about 10 days to ship out. Transit time is extra. That said, they’ve been responsive to my inquiries, so I am looking forward to showing you the dress when it arrives.

I’m wondering how you are feeling about the bill that’s on its way to President Biden’s desk. Officially named (in an example of political absurdity, the results of which in this case I do not object but still, please, come on) the Inflation Reduction Act, it’s almost universally referred to as “The Climate Change Bill.” Alternatively, the “Democrats’ Climate and Health Bill.”

Personally, I’m relieved. Exceedingly relieved.

It looks to be, to this layperson, very intelligently designed. Revenue is raised from unpaid taxes, and new taxes are levied on stock buybacks–which are one of the most effective tools for those who have a lot already to get even more. Ripe for taxation. Resources are allocated to incentives to create and purchase new technologies, an area where the US has traditionally excelled. And healthcare changes should benefit the least fortunate.

But economic impacts are tricky, slithering beasts that change shape when pressure is applied. Well, that’s an out-of-nowhere image, isn’t it. I mean to say, we don’t know and we can’t know now how this bill will actually play out in implementation. But I think we can be hopeful that the will to address our climate has finally hit a tipping point.

Have you felt a change where you live? Has it been scary or sad or enraging? None or all of the above?

Here in the SF Bay Area, as I’ve said before, we’re sensitive to the slightest changes in weather patterns, precisely because our climate used to be extraordinarily temperate and consistent. Rains started in earnest come November. They finished in early May. Summers rolled out days upon days in the mid-70s to mid-80s. We knew, in our bones, the difference between 74 degrees and 76.

The recent summers with several weeks of heat, over 90, even over 100, were therefore experienced like hurricanes and floods in other parts of the world. Trees fell. Wildfires up north turned our skies yellow. We lived with the sense of apocalypse. Or maybe that was just me.

So, I’m relieved. And wondering how you all are feeling, there wherever you live. Same planet, in any case.

Have a wonderful weekend.


Note: If you don’t like this bill, your comments are welcome, unless you dispute the science of climate change, in which case I will edit what you say. No disinformation, please. Two notes in one post! A record!

22 Responses

  1. Three days into a four-day heatwave and looking forward to the storm that is forecast. This is not the norm in northern England and drought warnings have been issued. Too hot to go out, stifling within. Unsettling.

    1. Annie, I’ve been reading about England’s drought, and talk to friends over there. Very unsettling, and miserably uncomfortable. I hear it rained down south yesterday, I hope you got some too.

  2. I’m pleased that Biden led his party to successful legislation on the climate.
    I have some doubts about 87,000 new IRS agents. My experience with government agencies is that they are more productive when they’re running on shoestrings, stretching what they have, making incremental changes. Grand plans do not always play out very well, at least in IT spending.
    I wonder whether raising wages over shoveling in bodies in might be better.

    It’s my understanding that bill has changes to Medicare which won’t play out for several years. I saw ads saying the bill cut Medicare to pay for “Obamacare.” Hubs and I spent many years with health coverage on the private market, he was self-employed, and I think the ACA is a good thing for Americans that helps small business and innovators take risks by guaranteeing coverage at with income-based rates.
    Biden may be dottery, but he’s well versed in legislative maneuvers, and he appears to have delivered!

    1. As someone who works with another government agency that’s chronically understaffed, shoestring budgets and low staffing isn’t good. And from what I’ve heard, this will modernize the IRS as a lot of their technology and working methods are from the 70s. I dunno, but 40-50 years is too long to go to updating things within our tax system.

      1. Misti, Thanks for your insider perspective. I agree, 40-50 years is probably too long. I mean, if you live in a house where nothing’s changed for 50 years, you’re likely to struggle with your roofing and piping and electricity etc so at a guess the same is true for government agencies dependent on physical systems.

    2. RoseAG, I only have experience with government agencies as a consumer. I did see an article, in the NYT or Washington Post, that showed the IRS systems. I agree about grand IT migration schemes, they can be disastrous. On the other hand, given how absolutely obsolete what they are working with seems to be, there may be no choice if we really intend to collect taxes from those with sufficient resources to cheat the system.

  3. I burst into tears when I first read about the climate and health care bill. I thought, “Finally, someone in government is doing something good for the environment.” I’ve had fears for my grandchildren and their grandchildren about the horrible world they will be living in, if indeed living is possible. The bill, however imperfect it is, shows a few people with power have the will to be effective enough to produce laws that will help all people.

    1. Carol, “laws that will help all people.” Exactly. I too got very emotional. I want my kids to have access to a planet as beautiful and welcoming as the one I’ve lived on.

  4. The climate bill is a start and has calmed my anxiety. I definitely notice climate change in Missouri but it can feel isolating to realize that many do not share my concern. It is of the utmost of importance and such a good start. How it all plays out remains to be seen.

    1. Luci, I can imagine how isolated someone with your understanding might feel in Missouri. I’m glad you are feeling less anxious xox

  5. I’m pleased to see some movement in Congress with getting things done. Hopefully this bill will make changes that are worthwhile. The Republicans have been such contrarians.

    1. DKZody, The constant butting of heads has been very frustrating, especially on issues where the country, as a whole, largely agrees.

  6. I’m in Texas, near the Gulf Coast. We are hearing reports of “crunchy lawns” all over the state, which is the heast of it. We are having heat waves that are severe even in Texas, and we are haunted by remembering the power outages and freezes of early 2021. We also are extremely wary of tropical weather systems, especially knowing that late August and September are the most common for these storms in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

    I drive a Prius, have done so since they were introduced, and conserve in other ways as much as I can. I’d trade for an EV if I didn’t live in a condo complex where there is no easy way to recharge.

    1. Barbara, Yes, lawns are harbingers, and should be gotten rid of in our dry state, at least. I wish you good luck for some rain along the Gulf Coast, but not too much and a manageable storm season.

  7. Northern New England here, near the new epicenter of Lyme disease. It’s crept up in just a couple of decades because of climate change. We’re warmer and — worse — more humid than we used to be. I see beautiful colorful birds that I never used to, and I’m horrified because I know why they’re able to live here now. Any legislation to alleviate this crisis is welcome.

    The additional IRS staffing is great news, or at least a good start. People who need answers are on hold forever, waiting ages for their returns to be processed, and we think operating leaner is a good idea? I don’t hear anyone volunteering to drive a car with only three of its four tires. Government agencies are being gutted by those who want to prove they don’t work.

    1. Maria, So interesting and terribly sad, what’s happening with Lyme disease. Here in my part of California, it’s mosquitoes that we never used to have, and plant fungi. I agree that at some point a certain segment decided that government is bad, and of course there are times when it’s frustrating to deal with regulation, but taxes and the planet simply have to be dealt with.

  8. While I fear we are behind the curve ball and too late to save ourselves from significant climate change, I welcome any bill or program which may help.

    We’ve had a terrible summer in Texas. Very high heat, worry about our electric grid, and not much promise of our elected officials pulling out all the stops to improve things. They are too busy controlling women’s bodies and worrying about people fleeing violence in Mexico.

    Climate uncertainty HAS added to our stress levels. And yes, we also notice just a few degrees change. 98 degrees is a lot more comfortable than 104.

    1. Susan, I’m so sorry about Texas. Some of my favorite people are Texans. I do have hope that, although it will take a while and things will get a lot worse before they get better, we are finally starting to give the planet what it needs to heal.

  9. Hello Everyone “Crispy Lawns”. There is so much an individual can do to help with the current ecological apocalypse happening. Lawns are not naturally occurring on this continent; they are an imported bad idea. Wherever you live get rid of your lawn and restore native habitat. Plant native oaks, shrubs, Perennials. You will save water provide for all the insects and pollinators that keep our world going. No fertilizer needed, fertilizer causes its’ own set of problems also. Make a pocket prairie. Go to National Wildlife Federation website; Native plant finder, enter zip code and find your plants for your area.

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