Odds and ends

And a puppy picture.

Heya, Volties. I don’t have anything big for you today, but I thought I’d share some odds and ends, some thoughts, and what I’m working on.

First, I mentioned last week that I was interviewing Saul Griffith for Seattle’s Town Hall. Lots of you have probably heard the electrify-everything brief before, but if not, this is a great intro. Here’s the video:

Second, I was on The Big Picture with Edwin Eisendrath, a progressive radio show, talking about climate and politics and Manchin and all my other usual junk. It was a fun time (I come in at around 1:43):

So, thoughts.

Negotiations among Democrats in Congress seem to finally, at long last, be reaching their conclusion. For those of you who haven’t been following the drama, after Manchin stripped out the Clean Electricity Performance Program and Sinema killed the boost in corporate taxes — both indefensible acts that benefit no one but their donors — there was forward momentum on the rest of the Build Back Better (BBB) bill.

Biden is now telling Democrats that he will get Manchin’s vote on the final package, so progressives have agreed to vote through both the bipartisan infrastructure framework (BIF) and the BBB. “The President said he thinks he can get 51 votes for this bill,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the leader of the House progressive caucus. “We are going to trust him.”

I can’t say I fully understand this decision. Progressives’ ability to hold up the BIF was their only leverage against Manchin, if it was ever any leverage at all. Now it’s gone. All based on a promise from Biden, who has never been the world’s best negotiator.

Meanwhile, Manchin was out bad-mouthing the BBB this week. He’s arrogantly telling reporters that he has no idea what the House is doing and he’ll probably just ignore it and strip the bill down however he likes all over again. Jerk.

At this point, we have only Biden’s assurances that Manchin (and Sinema) will vote for any bill at all.

Nonetheless — in a last-minute bid to have something, anything in his hands when he attended COP26 in Glasgow — Biden released a new BBB framework this week. He basically presented it to the international climate meeting as though it were US policy, despite the fact that neither house of Congress has passed it yet.

It is an extremely perilous balancing act. Saving him from it is probably why progressives, always the good soldiers, have agreed to push the legislative process forward.

Lots of energy journalists rushed to write up the BBB framework (Rob Meyer’s piece is good), but not me! Manchin has sapped too much of my psychic energy already. He’s taken up too much space in my head. I’m not writing about this damn bill again until he has signed it!

Okay, that’s probably a lie. I’ll probably write about it next week when there’s some modeling out of the new framework. But it is very irritating.

Reader, I will confess, in this intense political season, I have found it difficult to concentrate on anything else but the drama in DC — or on anything, period. All I seem capable of is outraged tweets.

I can’t wait until they pass this bill so I can assume a semi-permanent state of hopelessness about politics (the Virginia race did not help) and turn my attention elsewhere.

All that said, I am getting back into energy as we speak. I’ve just got going on a deep dive into one of the hottest trends in clean energy these days: companies trying to reach, not just 100 percent clean energy, but 100 percent clean energy 24-7, every hour of every day of the week, all year. That’s a different and much more stringent goal.

There are tons of ins and outs to this story and tons more people to talk to (email me if you have thoughts!), so it may be a minute before it’s up, but it is all fascinating. This will be a fun one.

That’s it! See you next week with some more substantial content.

I don’t have any new dog pictures — the Volts family has been extremely busy moving back into our newly renovated home (hallelujah) and we are living amidst boxes and chaos — so here’s a picture from ten years ago, when Forest was a puppy.