Revolutions are always incomplete

Today’s original art for The Phoenix is by Laila Arêde.

Identifying revolutionary periods is very difficult — there are always skeptics, holdouts, and dissidents.

There's no doubt we're in one right now. The revolutionary transition away from fossil fuels also happens to be one of the most important revolutions in the history of humanity.

So, so much is at stake.

The theory of evolution, the sun at the middle of the solar system, democracy, global warming — history shows that major paradigm shifts can take 100 years or more to be generally accepted by broader society, and even then, the holdouts can be extremely powerful for a very long time.

We just don't have that much time, this time.

Joe Biden is not perfect. His "Clean Energy Revolution" climate plan is not perfect. The US Senate is definitely not perfect. This moment is what it is. We will succeed and fail simultaneously. And it will be up to each of us to regroup, join together, and carry on in solidarity and continue the struggle for climate justice.

Last month, I called this "our all or nothing moment on climate" and while that's true in a way — this political moment is likely to be the last one favorable for large scale climate policy for the rest of this decade — what's even more true is that there will be winners and losers after this moment passes, and the shades of gray of this incomplete revolution will percolate throughout society with profound consequences.

News broke late Friday of trouble in the US Senate, where Joe Manchin has voiced opposition to the Clean Electricity Performance Program, the heart of President Biden’s climate plan.

Manchin, who owns a coal company with other members of his family and actively lobbies for ExxonMobil, thinks that the $150b/yr CEPP is too expensive, even though he just voted for a $700b increase in funding for the military. And even though Manchin's home state of West Virginia leads the country in flood risk, according to new data published by the New York Times on Sunday, his friends in the fossil fuel industry are apparently worth more than the habitability of the entire planet.

The reason the CEPP is so important is simple: For the first time in US history it would give utilities a direct incentive to produce zero carbon renewable energy, leading to an estimated 82% reduction in emissions by 2030 and a 100% reduction in emissions by 2035. It's as close to a silver bullet for electricity as we're likely going to get. And it's worth fighting for.

It’s worth making sure your Senator understands what’s at stake here. This is the last best chance we have of passing major climate legislation before the climate emergency escalates to frightening new levels. We have no choice but to make this happen. You can find other ways to get involved: #NoClimateNoDeal

Last month, I wrote: "Climate change isn’t something that’s just happening to us. It’s being done to us. It’s a trauma that’s being inflicted on us against our will."

That trauma is something that may feel especially raw right now, but it's been going on for centuries, which gives us connection to each other across space and time.

This week, we'll be chatting in our Discord chat (for paid subscribers) about revolutions, what they take, and how to live in the messy middle of them and make sure they don't leave anyone behind. On Thursday, we'll have an incredible personal essay from Kiki Dy about her childhood, working for environmental justice, and the joys of living in the moment. I can't wait to share it with you.