The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Lisa Nurnberger,

Senate Progress on Climate and Environmental Justice in Question

Statement by Johanna Chao Kreilick, President, Union of Concerned Scientists


West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, whose vote is needed to pass a reconciliation bill that addresses climate change and environmental injustices, is waiting to see July inflation numbers next month before deciding whether to support investing in those areas.

Below is a statement from Johanna Chao Kreilick, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

"I am frustrated and primed to fight because failure is not an option. When it comes to climate, when it comes to environmental justice, what must be done hasn't changed. Immediate action is crucial for getting our nation on track. But instead, Congress is waffling about whether to set those changes in motion. We need policies now to put the nation on course to reach net-zero carbon emissions before 2050 while addressing the historic injustices that have sacrificed Black, Brown and Indigenous neighborhoods to oil and gas pollution zones.

"Inaction today wastes time we don't have. Delay increases the costs of reducing emissions and the toll that climate change takes. Devastating wildfires, heat, hurricanes and flooding have become commonplace. The harm will continue to be borne inequitably by low-income people and communities of color.

"Failure here would not be due to one person's decision on one bill. It shouldn't be lost on the public that an entire party has refused to take any action on climate change. This is not about a short-term political fight, it's about a willful decision to impose suffering on future generations through a disaster of our making.

"We must also hold accountable the fossil fuel industry, which has intentionally worked to confuse the public for decades about the causes of climate change and is still blocking action.

"It's not too late to do the right thing. The Senate - specifically the short-sighted senator from West Virginia and all the Republican members who have refused to act - must pull their heads out of the sand and protect their constituents, not to mention all of our children and grandchildren.

"At the same time, the administration must use every tool at its disposal, expediting critical rulemakings for cleaning up vehicles and power plants, driving down methane emissions, speeding power grid upgrades, and driving investments in the communities that have been forced to bear the brunt of fossil fuel pollution."

The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.