Manchin, Republicans lambasted as ‘deeply hostile’ to clean energy by New York Times columnist

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A New York Times op-ed accused Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., of siding with Republicans in being “deeply hostile” to the Biden administration’s green climate agenda.

Author Paul Krugman criticized Manchin for “pulling the plug” on what he calls the Biden administration’s “last chance to do something meaningful about climate change,” referring to the West Virginia senator’s decision last Thursday to withhold his support for key Biden agenda elements, including tax increases for America’s wealthiest and support for climate programs.

“[Manchin] represents a state that still thinks of itself as coal country, even though mining is now a trivial part of its economy, dwarfed by jobs in health care and social assistance — with much of the latter paid for by the federal government,” Krugman wrote.

He went on to cite Manchin’s political contributions from the energy industry and a “conflict of interest” stemming from familial ownership of a coal business.

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In this Nov. 15, 2010 photo, Sen. Joe Manchin talks with family members after being ceremonially sworn in at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

In this Nov. 15, 2010 photo, Sen. Joe Manchin talks with family members after being ceremonially sworn in at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. (Reuters)

“Yet my guess is that his Lucy-with-the-football act has as much to do with vanity as with money. (And nothing at all to do with inflation.),” Krugman wrote, adding, “His act has, after all, kept him in the political limelight month after month.”

He went on to rail against Republicans as well, tying in their “unified” opposition to actions limiting global warming. 

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U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) talks with Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) in the Senate subway at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., December 15, 2021.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) talks with Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) in the Senate subway at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., December 15, 2021. (REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz)

“This opposition has only grown more entrenched as the evidence for looming catastrophe has grown — and the likely financial cost of effective action has declined,” he said, trudging along to lament that most American voters are reluctant to pay the “short-run costs” necessary to prevent a “long-run disaster.”

Krugman then pointed to Manchin’s reluctance to support a carbon emissions tax and focus instead on the Biden administration’s agenda goals of offering incentives for encouraging green energy transitions, something he lambasted Republicans – and Manchin – for failing to support.

“I don’t think they were solely motivated by the desire to see Biden fail. They’re just deeply hostile to clean energy,” he wrote.

Tying in pandemic politics, Krugman listed Republicans’ contempt for mask and vaccine mandates, creating parallels between their stances on key pandemic issues to their less-than-enthusiastic support for climate programs.

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“The answer was, much of the G.O.P. Vaccination became and remains an intensely partisan issue, with deadly consequences,” he said. “The fact is that one of America’s two major political parties appears to be viscerally opposed to any policy that seems to serve the public good. Overwhelming scientific consensus in favor of such policies doesn’t help — if anything, it hurts, because the modern G.O.P. is hostile to science and scientists.”