A Short Summary and Guide

Biden's Imperialist Climate Bill: The Devil Lies in the Big Picture

Updated

Editor’s Note: The following is both a short summary of—and a preview to—the longer, more in-depth article, "Worse than Fine-Print Trickery... Biden's Imperialist Climate Bill: The Devil Lies in the Big Picture."

This coal-fired plant in Juliette, Georgia is one of the top carbon dioxide emitters in the U.S.

 

This coal-fired plant in Juliette, Georgia is one of the top carbon dioxide emitters in the U.S.    Photo: AP

The world that we know cannot continue in the way it has for decades. Multiple crises—in the relations between nations, in splits between fascist and “liberal” sections of ruling classes, in immigration, in the situation of women (and gender relations more generally), and in the ongoing and intensifying oppression of Black people and people of color—all these are at breaking points. And among the most acute of these crises is the environment. In all of these spheres, things are headed for turmoil and upheaval, and a radical resolution.

The question posed to humanity is, as Bob Avakian has put it, whether that resolution will be a reactionary and enslaving one, or a revolutionary and emancipating one. The basis exists to actually get on the road to resolving all of these towards something truly emancipating—and this is true of the climate crisis as well, a point to which we will return.

Yet the deadly illusions of painless progress die hard. And this is where the new climate legislation signed by Biden comes in.

The legislation contains $369 billion of climate spending measures over the next 10 years. The legislation has been hailed by its Democratic sponsors and its boosters in the mainstream environmental movement as “transformative” and “historic.” The official narrative is that at long last, the U.S. is getting on a trajectory of meeting its obligations to scale back fossil fuel production (oil, natural gas, and coal) and reduce greenhouse gases (carbon and methane that trap heat in Earth’s atmosphere) and set an example for other countries. The U.S. is now said to be on a real transition to a green economy. This is not the case...

USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier in Straight of Hormuz, Iran

 

The United States military is the largest institutional consumer of oil in the world. Every year, U.S. armed forces consume more than 100 million barrels of oil to power ships, vehicles, aircraft, and ground operations. Above: Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier in the Suez Canal, 2019.    Photo: AP

When the Biden climate bill is analyzed and measured against 1) the enormity of the problem of global warming caused by the use of fossil fuels; 2) the outsize role that the U.S. has historically played, and continues to play, in heating up the planet; 3) the scale and speed of measures needed to actually cope with this accelerating crisis; and 4) what is not only necessary but actually possible on the basis of a revolution, and a radically new socialist state power and mode of production, as concretized in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian—it becomes clear that this legislation falls massively and obscenely short of what is needed. Worse, this climate bill actually prolongs the dependency of the U.S. economy on fossil fuels.

In plain words, this bill is part of the problem of global warming, not the solution.

The fact that this takes place at a time in which the old order which brought on this madness is deeply divided, including the ruling class “at war with itself” and that this revolution is much more possible than in “normal” times makes it all the more criminal.

BAsics 1-29

 

Key Points of Analysis in This Article

*There is no explicit charge or comprehensive plan of action in this bill to move quickly to eliminate fossil fuel as the energy foundation of America’s economy. There is nothing in this bill that questions or challenges the U.S. as the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas. Nowhere does this climate bill mandate (set enforceable targets for) fossil-fuel emissions cuts: whether in the extraction of fossil fuels, the industrial use of fossil fuels, the utility-scale generation of electricity, or from transport and agriculture.

But the bill contains several key provisions that allow for and facilitate expanded fossil-fuel production, exactly the opposite of what is needed.

*The bill’s provisions for renewable energy are a drop in the bucket relative to what is actually required to transition to a green economy. The bill provides $369 billion of federal government tax credits and subsidies that go largely to corporations, including fossil-fuel companies, as incentives to adopt solar and wind technologies. But to deeply “decarbonize” the U.S. power grid to produce, deliver, and store renewable energy requires a radical restructuring and immense infusion of investment funds in the trillions, far beyond the financing stipulated in this bill.

*This climate legislation attempts to jump-start the building out of a larger renewable energy component of the U.S. energy mix on the foundation of the strategic fossil-fuel core of the U.S. economy and empire.

*The climate crisis is a planetary crisis that knows no national boundaries—and solving this crisis requires unprecedented global cooperation and coordination. But the Biden climate bill is premised on the needs of the U.S. as the still dominant imperialist nation-state in the world. This climate bill/energy plan is conditioned by and serves the competitive, geostrategic interests of U.S. imperialism, especially its rivalry with China. Maintaining and expanding the U.S. empire takes precedence over saving the planet... and this will continue to be so unless and until this system is overthrown through revolution.

*A truth that must be told: The hype surrounding the Biden climate bill is lulling too many people to sleep who should know better—who should wake up, and who need to be shaken up, to learn about and contribute to the revolution to overthrow this system of capitalism-imperialism and replace it with a socialist sustainable economy and society that puts the whole world first... that gives us the only real chance to save the planet.

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