Overnight Energy & Environment — Manchin raises hopes on climate spending

Welcome to Tuesday’s Overnight Energy & Environment, your source for the latest news focused on energy, the environment and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup

Today we’re looking at Manchin’s latest comments on the Democrats' climate and social spending bill, Democrats signaling they’re open to changes to get the bill across the finish line and a new study indicating that the Northeast could see more hurricanes.

For The Hill, we’re Rachel Frazin and Zack Budryk. Write to us with tips: frazin@thehill.com and zbudryk@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @RachelFrazin and @BudrykZack.

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Let’s jump in.

 

Manchin expresses openness on climate 

Sen. J Manchin (D-W.Va.) addresses reporters to discuss Covid-19 on Tuesday, January 4, 2022. He also took questions regarding Build Back Better and other legislative issues.

Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBiden to meet with CEOs to discuss Build Back Better agenda Hoyer says 'significant' version of Build Back Better will pass this year Gallego went to New York to meet Sinema donors amid talk of primary challenge: report MORE (D-W.Va.) said Tuesday it’s likely Democrats will have an easier time coming to an agreement on climate change than on other areas of President BidenJoe BidenDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors On The Money — Vaccine-or-test mandate for businesses nixed Warner tests positive for breakthrough COVID-19 case MORE's proposed climate and social spending bill.

Manchin, who last month said he would vote against the Build Back Better Act in its current form, seemed relatively open to its climate components in the first workweek of the new year.  

“The climate thing is one that we probably can come to an agreement much easier than anything else,” he told reporters.  

Asked about the climate provisions, he said, “There’s a lot of good things in there.”  

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“We have a lot of money in there for innovation, technology, tax credits for basically clean technologies and a clean environment,” the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chairman said.  

But... he also expressed some hesitance, saying the country has to be “realistic.” 

“We have to have enough energy to run our country, and we have to have a transition as it happens as we move from fossil dependency,” he said.  

And he’s still not a fan of BBB in general: The climate comments come as Manchin reiterated opposition the package overall, saying there have not been new talks

“I’m really not going to talk about Build Back Better anymore because I think I’ve been very clear on that. There is no negotiations going on at this time,” he said. 

Read more about Manchin’s comments here.

CLIMATE WORLD REACTS

Many climate hawks and advocacy groups responded with optimism to Manchin's comments. 

“Senator Manchin supports climate and clean energy. I support climate and clean energy. We are in agreement on addressing the greatest crisis and economic opportunity our world has ever known. Let's get it done and pass these provisions in Build Back Better now,” tweeted Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyBiden comments add momentum to spending bill's climate measures  Overnight Energy & Environment — Starting from 'scratch' on climate, spending bill Overnight Health Care — White House boosts mask availability MORE (D-Mass.).   

“With Manchin’s support for these climate investments, we can and must get them done,” said a statement from Jamal Raad, executive director of the advocacy group Evergreen Action. ”For our best chance at a liveable future and a thriving clean energy economy, the climate investments in the Build Back Better Act must become law by any means necessary.” 

Others were more skeptical: “There have been enough compromises made, and it is frankly surreal that we should be asked to make any more,” said John Paul Mejia, a spokesperson for the progressive Sunrise Movement. “There is no way that the BBB will reduce to a crummy climate bill, especially if that climate bill is to be trusted and designed by a coal baron.” 

And Rep. Jared HuffmanJared William HuffmanIn their own words: Lawmakers, staffers remember Jan. 6 insurrection Overnight Energy & Environment — Manchin raises hopes on climate spending Energy & Environment — Advocates look for Plan B climate legislation MORE (D-Calif.) told The Hill he wasn’t reading too much into the latest comments.  

“It is time for some votes, he said. “I’m not going to get too excited by him saying that he could support the climate provisions. I’m not going to get too discouraged by him dropping these ambiguous hints about other parts of the package. I just think the Senate needs to get moving.” 



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Democrats say they’re open to changes 

Ahead of Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) comments on Tuesday, Democratic lawmakers indicated that the package could change amid negotiations with the swing vote senator.  

Asked specifically about its climate sticking points, Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzNew Mexico Democrat tests positive for COVID-19 breakthrough case Warner tests positive for breakthrough COVID-19 case Forced deadline spurs drastic tactic in Congress MORE (D-Hawaii) acknowledged that the package could change from its current form. 

“We are starting to arrive at a package that can achieve 50 plus one votes,” he told reporters on a press call. “Whether or not the package as we currently envision it will pass exactly as-is, I think, remains to be seen.” 

Sen. Tina SmithTina Flint SmithOvernight Energy & Environment — High court will hear case on water rule Biden comments add momentum to spending bill's climate measures  Democrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans MORE (D-Minn.) made similar comments when asked about Manchin’s apparent opposition to some of its social spending.

“We have to find a package that’s got votes from 50 senators,” Smith said. “That’s the negotiation that we’re going through right now.”

And asked about timing, Schatz said lawmakers will get the bill across the finish when the votes are secured.  

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“We’ll get this done as soon as we have the votes, and if that’s tomorrow morning that’s when we’ll do it. If it’s Feb. 7, that’s when we’ll do it,” he said. “When you have the votes you take the vote and when you don’t have the votes, you delay the vote.” 


STUDY: NORTHEAST COULD SEE MORE HURRICANES

Climate change could lead to hurricanes expanding their reach further north into the Atlantic, potentially affecting cities such as Boston and New York, according to research published in the journal Nature Geoscience. 

Researchers wrote that warming temperatures could lead to tropical storms moving further north when they form in the Northern Hemisphere. This could mean more storms like 2021’s Hurricane Henri, which did about $550 million worth of damage and became the first tropical cyclone to touch down in Rhode Island in three decades. 

Meanwhile, if the same forces push storms north in the eastern Pacific Ocean as well, they could lead to similar impacts on cities in the region such as Beijing and Tokyo, according to the researchers. 

“This represents an important, under-estimated risk of climate change,” lead author Joshua Studholme, of Yale’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, said in a statement. “This research predicts that the 21st century’s tropical cyclones will likely occur over a wider range of latitudes than has been the case on Earth for the last 3 million years.” 

Read more about the study here.

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WHAT WE’RE READING

 

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s energy & environment page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.