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The New York Times published a newsletter Wednesday which argued that the United States did not spend enough money to combat climate change during the pandemic. 

Titled “What if we had spent more money on climate?”, the piece was written by David Wallace-Wells, who “explores climate change, technology, and the future of the planet and how we live on it” in his columns. 

Wallace-Wells argued that “the opportunity flashed brightly for climate action” because of the “crazily expansive period of public expenditure” during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“For a moment, with free spending and loose money in wealthy capitals suggesting that Modern Monetary Theory had initiated a whole new steroid era of Keynesianism, something like a Green New Deal seemed not just conceivable but potentially the basic model for public investment the world over,” he wrote. 

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WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 22: The fire department uses a ladder truck to remove an environmental activists with the group Extinction Rebellion DC after they scaled the Wilson Building as part of an Earth Day rally against fossil fuels on April 22, 2022 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images) 

Wallace-Wells recalled an increased focus by some on climate change pre-pandemic. “There was just so much money that was going to be spent, and given that the world had seemed to reach a fever pitch of climate alarm just before the first lockdowns, it was easy for those who’d spent years or decades trying to squeeze water from a stone on climate policy to imagine that the outlines of a new playbook might be finally emerging,” he wrote.

He criticized the Biden administration for not including climate change policies in COVID relief funds, instead bundling it in the Build Back Better bill. 

“With both choices, the signal was there: The pandemic represented a different kind of emergency, requiring a different scale of ambition and urgency, and climate, while important, could be tabled now for debate in a more conventional political setting,” he argued. 

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Gas station prices in New Jersey sky-rocketing (Megan Myers/Fox News Digital)

Gas station prices in New Jersey sky-rocketing (Megan Myers/Fox News Digital)
(Fox News )

He lamented that the Biden administration did not handle climate change funds and regulations with the same grandiosity. 

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Despite what he views as a missed opportunity to combat climate change during the pandemic, Wallace-Wells expressed hope that policymakers can utilize the Russia-Ukraine war as an “opportunity” to expedite the world’s energy transition. 

“But if you’re inclined to regard the pandemic as a uniquely tragic missed opportunity for climate, the invasion of Ukraine presents, possibly, a sequel: a climate test that is also a climate opportunity,” he wrote. 

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