Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

Yes, the Federal Government Is Setting an Example on Climate Action

| Dec. 18, 2021

NPR’s radio show “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” features a weekly quiz on recent news headlines. I idly listen and shout out answers when I can, and if you listen to public radio, you probably do, too. But I’ve never fist-pumped to a quiz answer, at least not until last weekend, when this happened:

During the “Lightning Fill in the Blank” segment, host Peter Sagal stated, “To combat the effects of climate change, President Biden signed an executive order calling for the government to be *blank* by 2050.”

I shouted with a fist pump, “Carbon neutral!”

That’s right, carbon neutral had a pop culture moment, and not a moment too soon. The Biden administration has been on the ropes of late for not aggressively tackling the climate crisis. A week prior, the Interior Department had neglected to support a continued moratorium on new oil and gas leasing on federal lands, or even require climate accounting for such projects. A week prior, the U.S. was panned for arriving at the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow empty-handed.

A closer examination of such failures reveals the true causes, however, and for the most part, they live in the offices of Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and his Republican Senate colleagues, who have a stranglehold on climate action likely due to investments in, or largesse from, the fossil fuel industry. And with a 50-50 party split in the Senate, Democrats can’t even pass budget bills that require only a simple majority vote without Manchin’s support.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Clement, Joel.“Yes, the Federal Government Is Setting an Example on Climate Action.” The Hill, December 18, 2021.