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Kyrsten Sinema’s support for the Inflation Reduction Act is yet another reason to be hopeful about the climate emergency

August 5, 2022, 11:03 AM UTC

Good morning. David Meyer here in Berlin, filling in for Alan.

It looks like the Democrats have now convinced Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema to back the Inflation Reduction Act, a blockbuster package of climate, health, and tax reforms that won West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s approval last week.

I’m not going to get into the compromises that were made to get to this point, or indeed the many parts of the bill that don’t relate to climate: I’m not American, and my only personal stake in this is the same that is shared by everyone on the planet; that is to say, a stake in our shared global environment, which cares nothing for borders.

On that basis, and on the assumption that the bill will now pass Congress, I will say this: Thank you, America.

It’s a flawed package, but it nonetheless represents by far the strongest U.S. climate legislation yet—and to me, it represents hope.

Like many people, I have recently found myself tempted by climate “doomerism”—an easy trap to fall into, given the very visible onset of the emergency’s symptoms in the past couple of years, and several worrying signs that we might be on the edge of an irreversible slide into an uninhabitable world.

These things could yet happen, and we must do everything we can to avoid that fate. However, we are making significant progress, and it is incredibly important to recognize that.

As leading climate scientist Michael E. Mann tweeted in response to the Sinema news, this is “why we don’t give up.”

The Inflation Reduction Act should over the next decade reduce the U.S.’s domestic carbon emissions by as much as 45% compared with their peak in 2005.

Meanwhile, over in Australia, another country that is somewhat late to the mitigation party, a new climate bill will also target a cut of at least 43% by 2030.

China, whose levels of pollution climate inactivists love to cite as some kind of perverse reason not to try harder in the West, may actually be on track to beat its own 2030 emissions-reduction goals.

Last month, Bloomberg reported that the U.S. had crossed the “critical EV tipping point” at which 5% of new car sales were those of electric vehicles. Europe and China were already there; mass adoption of electrified transport is now firmly in our sights.

It is also encouraging to see in Manchin’s Damascene conversion a hint of a new mentality that recognizes the economic opportunities that are currently manifesting, and that no politician should ignore; he wants to keep his state an energy state, and he seems to finally recognize that this will only be achievable by opening the door to non–fossil-fuel energy sources.

There’s so much that still needs to be done, and so much pressure and innovation that will be necessary to get us where we need to go, but—with my eyes firmly and still nervously on the science—I believe it is achievable.

We’ve dealt with acid rain and the hole in the ozone layer, and we can deal with this, too. That won’t mean a return to the climate of a couple decades ago—it’s too late for that, and things will definitely continue to get worse from here—but there are many reasons to believe humanity can still avoid a hellscape future. It will be a hard grind, but we can do it.

More news below.

David Meyer
@superglaze

david.meyer@fortune.com

TOP NEWS

Musk vs. Twitter

Elon Musk has countersued Twitter, claiming the company misrepresented its health and user metrics ahead of the ill-fated $44 billion takeover agreement. The suit alleges that Twitter had around 65 million fewer users seeing ads than the 238 million it claimed to have. Twitter chair Bret Taylor called the allegations “factually inaccurate, legally insufficient, and commercially irrelevant.” Wall Street Journal

Gas competition

Asia and Europe are racing one another to secure natural-gas supplies before the winter, and the result will likely be a further rise in prices. Liquefied natural gas supplies were primarily heading to Asia, but Russia’s gas squeeze is forcing Europe to grab all the LNG it can get its hands on. (Incidentally, Germany reportedly has its gas storage levels up to the usual level for this time of year, despite Russia strangling supplies.) Financial Times

Recession for women

Pipeline CEO Katica Roy has penned a passionate plea for gender-based impact assessments as the U.S. battles inflation. Indeed, she writes, the recession is already here if you’re a woman: “Women habitually and disproportionately suffer during economic downturns because of centuries of pent-up inequity…We should start figuring out what we’ll do to ensure women and the millions of families that depend on them for their financial security aren’t swept away when the tide goes out.” Fortune

AROUND THE WATERCOOLER

‘Cracks beginning to show’: Wells Fargo senior economist is spotting signs of weakness ahead of July’s U.S. jobs report, by Associated Press

‘We’re stuck with this white elephant’: A Wisconsin town’s big bet on electronics maker Foxconn hasn’t panned out as planned, by Grady McGregor

Several U.S. states are giving residents up to $1,500 to counter inflation, but the IMF is telling Europe don’t even think about it, by Colin Lodewick

The other supply-chain crisis: The Rhine is drying up, and it could become the ‘Achilles’ heel’ of European energy, Deutsche Bank warns, by Alena Botros

Tesla and Pfizer are among the world’s 20 fastest-growing big companies, by Paige McGlauflin

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

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