Future historians — 'if there are any' — will be 'astonished' we let the planet burn to protect coal: Paul Krugman

Future historians — 'if there are any' — will be 'astonished' we let the planet burn to protect coal: Paul Krugman
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) // CBS News

Somewhere along the line I got the impression that humans were smart. You know, tool use and written communication and reduced fat Corn Nuts and all that. Unfortunately, just because Grandma can open a can of Chef Boyardee without throwing it against a big tree like an ape or Donald Trump might doesn't mean we're going to save our planet in time to secure a viable future for humanity.

Of course, the solutions for combating climate change are available to us—in theory, anyway. That's because we do have many brave, smart people working on these things. But you have to take those solutions off the shelf and implement them, and that's when we start breaking drill bits trying to get to the gooey nougat center of Joe Manchin's head.

The world is burning, but as long as the wildfires don't touch Manchin's scattered piles of coal cash, he's more than willing to let it burn. The West Virginia senator is defying his own constituents' wishes when it comes to his party's potentially transformative Build Back Better agenda, and one of his biggest sticking points is the climate change portion of the reconciliation package. Manchin opposes the bill's Clean Electricity Performance Program, which many climate activists say is the linchpin of President Biden's climate change plan. Why is he holding up meaningful climate action based on a dying industry with no future?

Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is wondering the same thing:

For the nontweeters:

KRUGMAN: "Future historians — if there are any future historians, that is, if civilization doesn't collapse — will be astonished that we let the planet burn for the sake of an industry that employs less than 3 percent of workers even in West Virginia"

I mean, I get it. I've poured untold resources into dying relationships with no future, but eventually I smartened up. And I was just hurting myself, not every other person on the planet. But somehow I get the feeling that Manchin isn't exactly looking to the future. He is the blithe, noxious farter whom everyone else on the elevator has to deal with, and his legacy will linger for decades even after he leaves.

And sadly, as Krugman and others know, because of the fundamentally undemocratic way our Congress and Electoral College are set up, big money and narrow interests are, for the moment at least, carrying the day.

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