A Climate Change Truth from Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building
“There’s a thin line between civilization and chaos, and that line is electricity.” ~Charles Haden Savage, played by Steve Martin in Only Murders in the Building
The wildly popular Only Murders in the Building series on Hulu often lays down hard truths in the wake of its comedy. The most recent episode had our favorite podcasting crime-solving trio face a blackout along with the rest of New York City. As usual, pandemonium ensues. The cell phone towers are jammed so there’s no available signal, panic and chaos flood the streets, elevators stop working, and crime breaks out.
**Spoiler alert*** When the lights come back on, everyone rejoices and hugs. All is right with the world for a hot second. You don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone. Because we have short attention spans, a minute later we’re back to our old shenanigans. Ah, humans. We’re a special bunch.
But this kind of crisis, civilization coming apart at the seams when electricity is ripped away from us, is what we’re facing with the looming energy crisis. We can’t keep burning fossil fuel and keep the planet cool enough to avoid the worst climate catastrophe. Our transportation and power grids are not transitioning to green energy fast enough. The train is heading straight for us and we’re hanging out on the tracks like time is on our side when it absolutely isn’t. Without electricity modern civilization will devolve, and at lightning speed. With fossil fuel, the same is also true at just a slightly slower pace.
This week President Biden will sign a historic climate action bill dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act, the largest single investment the U.S. has ever made to mitigate climate change. There’s plenty in it to celebrate: more green jobs (some estimate as many as 9 million in clean energy and manufacturing), lower and greener energy costs for Americans, and the potential to reduce U.S.-generated greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 2005 levels by the year 2030. 10% shy of President Biden’s goal of 50% but a decent start.
The Inflation Reduction Act also makes us safer in many ways:
- reduces our dependence on foreign fuel and bolsters electric transportation and and power generated from renewables such as solar and wind
- makes a $60 billion investment in environmental justice programs and efforts
- provides $21 billion to farmers to make crops more resilient and safeguard our food supply
- offers $2.6 billion for coastal areas to shore up their shore lines against storms, flooding, and extreme weather events
- supports the EPA to set limits on dangerous emissions such as methane and from fossil fuel companies
Now, are these guarantees? No, they’re not. We now have to make sure these funds are spent wisely and efficiently, and used for the purposes intended. Are they the only funds we’ll need to fight climate change? Not by a long shot. This is just the beginning and we have to push for more.
Businesses also have a vital role to play by changing the way they do business and how they operate. The changes they can make will be much faster to implement, have wide-reaching impacts, and could potentially have an even bigger impact than further legislation.
We all have a part to play, as consumers, employees and business leaders, voters, and policy makers. Saving the planet from human activity and ensuring that civilization continues and evolves is an all-hands-on-deck effort. A few weeks ago, hope was at an all-time low for many Americans. Now with the Inflation Reduction Act, we see a bit of light in the distance and it’s powered by clean energy.