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Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Geologists identify two methane-emitting strips hundreds of miles long in Siberia - The Washington Post

Geologists identify two methane-emitting strips hundreds of miles long in Siberia

"A 2020 heat wave unleashed methane emissions from prehistoric limestone in two regions stretching 375 miles, study says

"The difference is that thawing wetlands releases “microbial” methane from the decay of soil and organic matter, while thawing limestone — or carbonate rock — releases hydrocarbons and gas hydrates from reservoirs both below and within the permafrost, making it “much more dangerous” than past studies have suggested.

Nikolaus Froitzheim, who teaches at the Institute of Geosciences at the University of Bonn, said that he and two colleagues used satellite maps that measured intense methane concentrations over two “conspicuous elongated areas” of limestone — stripes that were several miles wide and up to 375 miles long — in the Taymyr Peninsula and the area around northern Siberia.

The study was published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Surface temperatures during the heat wave in 2020 soared to 10.8 degrees Fahrenheit above the 1979-2000 norms. In the long stripes, there is hardly any soil, and vegetation is scarce, the study says. So the limestone crops out of the surface. As the rock formations warm up, cracks and pockets opened up, releasing methane that had been trapped inside.

The concentrations of methane were elevated by about 5 percent, Froitzheim said. Further tests showed the continued concentration of methane through the spring of 2021 despite the return of low temperatures and snow in the region.

“We would have expected elevated methane in areas with wetlands,” Froitzheim said. “But these were not over wetlands but on limestone outcrops. There is very little soil in these. It was really a surprising signal from hard rock, not wetlands.”

The carbonates in the outcroppings date back 541 million years to the Paleozoic era, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

“It’s intriguing. It’s not good news if it’s right,” said Robert Max Holmes, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center. “Nobody wants to see more potentially nasty feedbacks and this is potentially one.”

“What we do know with quite a lot of confidence is how much carbon is locked up in the permafrost. It’s a big number and as the Earth warms and permafrost thaws, that ancient organic matter is available to microbes for microbial processes and that releases CO2 and methane,” Holmes said. “If something in the Arctic is going to keep me up at night that’s still what it is.” But he said the paper warranted further study.

The geologists who wrote the report usually study things such as tectonic plate boundaries and the way those geologic plates fold over one another. But they have worked in the Arctic and that has piqued their interest.

The biggest sources of methane in the world are agricultural, such as rice growing, and leaks from hydraulic fracturing in the U.S. Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico. But Froitzheim said that in the permafrost “the question is: how much will come, and we don’t really know.”

Normally the frozen permafrost acts as a cap, sealing methane below. It also can lock up gas hydrates, which are crystalline solids of frozen water that contain huge amounts of methane. Unstable at normal sea-level pressure and temperatures, gas hydrates can be dangerously explosive as temperatures rise.

The study said that gas hydrates in the Earth’s permafrost are estimated to contain 20 gigatons of carbon. That’s a small percentage of all carbon trapped in the permafrost, but the continued warming of gas hydrates could cause disruptive and rapid releases of methane from rock outcrops.

“It will be important to continue to compare methane in future years to really pinpoint how much additional geologic methane is being emitted to the atmosphere as the permafrost thaws," said Ted Schuur, professor of ecosystem ecology at Northern Arizona University. “We know the heat wave was real, but whether it triggered the methane release cannot be determined without additional years of methane data."

The Arctic has also delivered other sobering news. Polar Portal, a website where Danish Arctic research institutions present updated information about ice, said last week that a “massive melting event” had been big enough to cover Florida with two inches of water."

Geologists identify two methane-emitting strips hundreds of miles long in Siberia - The Washington Post

Opinion | ‘Freedom,’ Florida and the Delta Variant Disaster - The New York Times

‘Freedom,’ Florida and the Delta Variant Disaster


Credit...Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Opinion Columnist

Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, isn’t stupid. He is, however, ambitious and supremely cynical. So when he says things that sound stupid it’s worth asking why. And his recent statements on Covid-19 help us understand why so many Americans are still dying or getting severely ill from the disease.

The background here is Florida’s unfolding public health catastrophe.

We now have highly effective vaccines freely available to every American who is at least 12 years old. There has been a lot of hype about “breakthrough” infections associated with the Delta variant, but they remain rare, and serious illness among the vaccinated is rarer still. There is no good reason we should still be suffering severely from this pandemic.

But Florida is in the grip of a Covid surge worse than it experienced before the vaccines. More than 10,000 Floridians are hospitalized, around 10 times the number in New York, which has about as many residents; an average of 58 Florida residents are dying each day, compared with six in New York. And the Florida hospital system is under extreme stress.

There’s no mystery about why this has happened. At every stage of the pandemic DeSantis has effectively acted as an ally of the coronavirus, for example by issuing orders blocking businesses from requiring that their patrons show proof of vaccination and schools from requiring masks. More generally, he has helped create a state of mind in which vaccine skepticism flourishes and refusal to take precautions is normalized.

One technical note: Florida’s vaccination rate is well below the rates in the Northeast, but closely matches the national average. But seniors are much more likely to be vaccinated than younger Americans, in Florida as elsewhere; and Florida, of course, has an unusually high number of seniors. Among younger groups the state lags behind the nation as a whole, and even further behind blue states.

So, given these grim developments, one might have expected or at least hoped that DeSantis would reconsider his position. In fact, he has been making excuses — it’s all about the air-conditioning! He has been claiming that any new restrictions would have unacceptable costs for the economy — although Florida’s recent performance looks terrible if you place any value on human life.

Above all, he has been playing the liberal-conspiracy-theory card, with fund-raising letters declaring that the “radical left” is “coming for your freedom.”

So let’s talk about what the right means when it talks about “freedom.” Since the pandemic began, many conservatives have insisted that actions to limit the death toll — social distancing, wearing a mask and now getting vaccinated — should be matters of personal choice. Does that position make any sense?

Well, driving drunk is also a personal choice. But almost everyone understands that it’s a personal choice that endangers others; 97 percent of the public considers driving while impaired by alcohol a serious problem. Why don’t we have the same kind of unanimity on refusing to get vaccinated, a choice that helps perpetuate the pandemic and puts others at risk?

True, many people doubt the science; the link between vaccine refusal and Covid deaths is every bit as real as the link between D.U.I. and traffic deaths, but is less obvious to the naked eye. But why are people on the right so receptive to misinformation on this subject, and so angry about efforts to set the record straight?

My answer is that when people on the right talk about “freedom” what they actually mean is closer to “defense of privilege” — specifically the right of certain people (generally white male Christians) to do whatever they want.

Not incidentally, if you go back to the roots of modern conservatism, you find people like Barry Goldwater defending the right of businesses to discriminate against Black Americans. In the name of freedom, of course. A lot, though not all, of the recent panic about “cancel culture” is about protecting the right of powerful men to mistreat women. And so on.

Once you understand that the rhetoric of freedom is actually about privilege, things that look on the surface like gross inconsistency and hypocrisy start to make sense.

Why, for example, are conservatives so insistent on the right of businesses to make their own decisions, free from regulation — but quick to stop them from denying service to customers who refuse to wear masks or show proof of vaccination? Why is the autonomy of local school districts a fundamental principle — unless they want to require masks or teach America’s racial history? It’s all about whose privilege is being protected.

The reality of what the right means by freedom also, I think, explains the special rage induced by rules that impose some slight inconvenience in the name of the public interest — like the detergent wars of a few years back. After all, only poor people and minority groups are supposed to be asked to make sacrifices.

Anyway, as you watch DeSantis invoke “freedom” to escape responsibility for his Covid catastrophe, remember, when he says it, that word does not mean what you think it means."

Opinion | ‘Freedom,’ Florida and the Delta Variant Disaster - The New York Times

Opinion | Just Because Trump Is Ridiculous, It Doesn’t Mean He Isn’t Dangerous - The New York Times

Just Because Trump Is Ridiculous, It Doesn’t Mean He Isn’t Dangerous

Jamelle Bouie 
The New York Times
Credit...Brendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Opinion Columnist

It may well be that “real” authoritarians don’t actually lose elections. But at this point in time, we can safely say that there’s no question that Donald Trump was determined to overturn the 2020 presidential election and end American constitutional government in order to stay in office.

According to my colleague Katie Benner, reporting for The Times, Trump repeatedly pressured the Justice Department to “just say the election was corrupt” and “leave the rest to me” so that “he and his allies in Congress could use the assertion to try to overturn the results,” as indicated in notes taken by Richard Donoghue, who was then the acting deputy attorney general.

As with the entire effort to overturn the results of the election, Trump’s behavior was as clumsy as it was in earnest. He truly wanted the Justice Department to give him a pretext for some kind of (presumably drastic) action, but the most he could do in pursuit of this goal was to complain to top officials on the phone. “The conversations often included complaints about unfounded voter fraud conspiracy theories,” Benner notes, “and admonishments that department leaders had failed to fight hard enough for Mr. Trump, the officials said.”

But a haphazard attempt is still an attempt. That Trump is an absurd figure does not mean we should treat his drives and desires as unthreatening. This was true when he was in office, and it is true now, while he is still trying to “stop the steal.”

The plot that began the night of the election when Trump demanded that the states stop counting ballots — “We want all voting to stop” — has not actually come to an end. It is ongoing, pushed forward by the former president and his allies in and out of government. And the current narrative behind the plot — that Trump is the rightful president, that Biden stole the election and that the Jan. 6 insurrection was a righteous rebellion against Democratic fraud and subversion — has all but migrated into the Republican Party mainstream.

For a clear picture of the former president’s influence on the Republican Party, look no further than the effort to investigate the attack on the Capitol. Republican leaders in the House and Senate opposed and then killed a bipartisan 9/11-style commission to study the events of Jan. 6, on the grounds that it would be a “purely political exercise,” as Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, put it.

When, in response, House Democrats announced a select committee to investigate the attack (under the direct control of Speaker Nancy Pelosi), House Republican leaders were furious. “This select committee is likely to pursue a partisan agenda to politicize the Jan. 6 attack instead of conducting a good faith investigative effort into the actions leading up to and the security failures of the 6th,” Steve Scalise, the House minority whip, said.

Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, was given a chance to appoint Republican representatives to the select committee. He chose members known for their total devotion to Trump, like Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana, who both refused to certify the election results in January and signed a brief to the Supreme Court asking the justices to overturn the presidential results. Pelosi removed Jordan and Banks from the commission, bringing on another round of additional outrage and partisan blowback.

In short, Republican leaders have refused to commit to an actual investigation of the storming of the Capitol. The reason is simple: Trump has made cooperation grounds for expulsion from the party. The virtual pariah status of Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger — the two Republican members Pelosi named to the commission — is proof enough.

But events in Washington are not the only evidence of how Trump’s obsessions have become the obsessions of much of the Republican Party. Republican voters themselves are all-in on the former president’s message. Fifty-three percent of Republicans view Trump as the true president, according to a ReutersIpsos poll conducted in May, and about half of Republicans believe the Capitol attack was the work of left-wing activists “trying to make Trump look bad,” according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll in March.

At the state level, Republican lawmakers and conservative activists are fighting to engineer a pretext for “stop the steal” ahead of the 2022 and 2024 elections. In Arizona, this has taken the form of an “audit” of the 2020 vote organized by the state Republican Party.

It would be easy to dismiss the Arizona audit as a joke; a parade of clownish incompetence not unlike the efforts of Trump in the aftermath of the election. According to The Associated Press, the firm hired to conduct the audit had no prior experience with elections, broke rules for handling ballots and took nearly twice the allotted time to complete the process.

What’s more, its owner has supported the former president’s efforts to spread false conspiracy theories about the election. Trump, for his part, has endorsed the audit, praising its organizers in a speech in Arizona last week. “We’re gathered here in Phoenix to show our support for election integrity and for the brave and unyielding conservative warriors in the Arizona State Senate,” he said.

The audit has encouraged other Republicans in other 2020 battleground states to attempt similar shenanigans, part of a national strategy to delegitimize last year’s election results. As Jane Mayer has recently described in great detail in The New Yorker, there is a network of conservative groups spending millions to promote “election integrity” and bolster Republican efforts to change state election laws.

It is not hard to see the endgame here, especially if Trump makes another bid for the White House after capturing the Republican nomination for a third time. Not an after-the-fact fight to “stop the steal,” but a pre-emptive attempt to makes sure the election can’t be “stolen” — that is, won — by his opponent.

The American political system is barreling toward another crisis. Of course there’s no guarantee that the crisis will happen. But the current complacency coming from much of the political establishment does not leave one confident that we’ll avoid it."

Opinion | Just Because Trump Is Ridiculous, It Doesn’t Mean He Isn’t Dangerous - The New York Times

Monday, August 02, 2021

How DeSantis and Noem are using Covid failures as political springboards

Why All Maps are Wrong about Africa

Top Infectious Disease Expert From Korea Explains The Delta Variant

Texans march on capitol to protect voting rights – will Washington listen? | US voting rights | The Guardian

Texans march on capitol to protect voting rights – will Washington listen?

Alexandra Villarreal
People participate in a rally to support voting rights at the Texas sate capitol in Austin. Photograph: Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP/Getty Images
People participate in a rally to support voting rights at the Texas sate capitol in Austin. Photograph: Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP/Getty Images

"When a legion of Texans descended on their state capitol on Saturday morning, the signs they carried conveyed raw terror about the erosion of their democracy.

Slogans included “Protect Voting Rights”, “End the Filibuster” and “Say No to Jim Crow”.

Some had just concluded a days-long, 27-mile march from Georgetown to Austin, praying with their feet in a desperate attempt to safeguard access to the vote. For hours, they withstood blistering heat to rally round a casket – a poetic nod to lawmakers in states across the country they say are trying to bury voting rights.

“When you look out here today and see the thousands, and you look at the diversity in this crowd, this is the America they are afraid of,” cried the Rev Dr William J Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign.

The high-stakes protest mirrored a historic march in 1965, when voting rights advocates risked their lives in Selma, Alabama, before the Voting Rights Act was secured. More than half a century later, a new generation of activists hope to protect and expand on those victories.

“When you get out there and you leave the comfort of your home, and in this case you put on your walking shoes and you cover 30 miles in the middle of the Texas summer in central Texas – you’re saying something through that sacrifice and through that struggle,” former US representative and presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke told the Guardian before participating in the march.

Lawmakers introduced more than 400 restrictive voting bills in 49 states during the 2021 legislative cycle but Texas has emerged as a key battleground in a voting rights war that will ultimately shape the American electorate.

Its Republican leaders remain hell bent on passing laws that advocates warn will make it even harder to vote. So far, such efforts have been thwarted by a tidal wave of opposition.

“There probably are not many states, if any, that have as dark a history of voter suppression – violent voter suppression – as does Texas,” O’Rourke said. “And yet, you know, it may very well be Texas that helps us through this moment.”

Earlier this year, the Republican-controlled Texas legislature led the US in new proposals that would restrict voter access, advancing provisions to ban 24-hour and drive-thru voting, empower partisan poll watchers and target vote by mail.

At Saturday’s rally, Marilyn White said she was starting to panic.

“Texas is such a large state and there’s so many electoral votes and so many congressional seats,” she said. “So many votes that are at risk of being messed with or distorted.”

While Texans, faith leaders and politicians gave impassioned speeches, volunteers offered to register eligible voters on the crowded capitol lawn. Yet even they couldn’t ignore the culture of doubt and fear that permeates Texas elections.

“A lot of people, when they come up, they’re worried about registration because they’re worried that they’re gonna make a mistake and they might do something that would cause them to get a ticket or go to jail,” said Julie Gilberg, a captain with Powered by People, an advocacy group.

“They’re not really sure if their vote will count.”

Texas has the most restrictive voting processes in the US. Critics fear further obstacles will disproportionately affect voters with disabilities and people of color. Many believe Republicans touting “election integrity” to justify policies are politically motivated, inspired by rapid demographic change that threatens them at the polls.

“You have a lot of people here whose grandparents were effectively kept from the ballot box, who themselves have had issues trying to vote conveniently,” former US h secretary Juli├ín Castro said.

“They understand that the legislation being proposed is gonna make it even worse, and they understand that this legislation is born of cynicism and a power grab.”

Beto O’Rourke and the singer Willie Nelson address the rally in Austin. Photograph: Bob Daemmrich/ZUMA Press Wire/REX/Shutterstock

Texas Democrats have twice outmaneuvered attempts to pass sweeping voting bills – first by walking off the state House floor in May, then by fleeing to Washington last month. They have been pushed and bolstered by activists, businesses and regular citizens, who have raised funds, written letters and testified into the night.

Yet voting rights champions can only waylay legislation for so long. And although they gathered at the Texas capitol on Saturday, they were effectively appealing to Washington, where federal voting protections have stalled in the US Senate.

“Mr President, the time to act is now,” Barber said. “Let me tell you something you might not be used to hearing from a preacher, but ain’t no need to have power if you’re not gonna use it for good.”

Frustration rippled through the crowd, where Texans fed up with their state officials demanded a response from the White House.

“President Biden I think can do a lot more,” said Tiffany Williams, an air force veteran who joined the march. “If you’re trying to be for the people, actually come down here and listen to us.”

Texans march on capitol to protect voting rights – will Washington listen? | US voting rights | The Guardian

Fauci backs new masks guidance as Florida reports highest one-day Covid case total

Fauci backs new masks guidance as Florida reports highest one-day Covid case total

“Florida’s ban on mask mandates came under increasing scrutiny from public health officials on Sunday as the surging Delta variant pushed new daily cases of Covid-19 in the state to a record high.

The 21,683 new cases reported on Saturday was Florida’s highest one-day total since the start of the pandemic. It came a day after Ron DeSantis signed an executive order prohibiting school districts from requiring staff and students to wear masks.

On Sunday, the state broke its previous record for hospitalisations, also set more than a year ago. 

Dr Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), told CNN’s State of the Union he was baffled by the prohibition on requiring masks in schools, the latest in a series of autocratic moves by DeSantis including outlawing vaccine passports and stripping local authorities of the power to issue restrictions or mandates.

“I don’t understand the ban. Certainly this seems like something local officials ought to be able to decide based on their community’s circumstance,” Collins said.

“We do know that [children] are capable of getting pretty sick, we’ve lost about 400 children who have died from Covid-19 since this all started, and kids can also get long Covid where they ended up months later with difficulties with brain fog, and fatigue that interferes with their school performance.

“So this is not to be just dismissed as a zero risk. Kids also live in homes, are related to people in those homes, who are perhaps immunosuppressed. They could bring home the virus and cause bad outcomes.”

Also on Sunday, Dr Anthony Fauci, the chief White House medical adviser, took issue with the portrayal by DeSantis, a prominent Trump ally and potential Republican presidential nominee in 2024, that the ban was a protection of individual freedoms.

“The federal government has no right to tell parents that in order for their kids to attend school in person they must be forced to wear a mask all day, every day,” DeSantis said on Friday.

Fauci, who has clashed publicly with DeSantis, told CBS’s Face the Nation wearing masks to combat Covid was a “responsibility to society” and that data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics supported masks in schools.

“You understand people feeling that they have the individual right to make their own decisions, and I respect that for sure, but the issue is, if you’re going to be part of the transmission chain to someone else, then your decision is impacting someone else,” Fauci said.

“It’s not only impacting you, and you’ve got to think about it that you are a member of society and you have a responsibility.”

Vaccinated people can carry high levels of the virus and transmit the infection to the unvaccinated, data that prompted the CDC to amend guidance and recommend the vaccinated wear masks indoors in areas where transmission and infection rates are high.

“If you get breakthrough infections in individuals who are vaccinated and they don’t spread at all to anybody else you would not worry,” Fauci said. “If they went home to a vulnerable person in the household, children or an elderly person, there wouldn’t be any issue.

“But we know now they can transmit when they get breakthrough infections, even though they have minimal symptoms or no symptoms. We know they can do it. We know the mechanistic reason for it is that the level of viruses is high, so you want to make sure they don’t get infected. That’s the fundamental basis for the CDC modifying their guidelines.”

Francis Collins, at far left, waits for a May congressional hearing next to signs requiring masks if not vaccinated against Covid-19.
Dr Francis Collins, at far left, waits for a May congressional hearing on 26 May. Photograph: REX/Shutterstock

On ABC’s This Week, Fauci said he saw no need for a return to lockdowns, but said: “We’re looking to some pain and suffering in the future because we’re seeing the cases go up, which is the reason why we keep saying over and over again, the solution to this is get vaccinated and this would not be happening.”

As the highly contagious Delta variant spreads, Florida has become the new US epicenter of the virus, accounting for about one-fifth of new cases. The spike was a substantial leap from 17,093 the day before and surpassed the previous high, 19,334, set in January before vaccines became widely available.

Courthouses, theme parks and numerous businesses are again requiring the public to wear masks indoors. Disney World added a requirement that workers must be vaccinated; Universal Orlando Resort said all workers have to be masked indoors and that guests should follow CDC guidance.

Florida ranks about halfway in vaccinations, with 48.8% of residents over 12 fully vaccinated and 57.5% having received at least one dose.

DeSantis has urged residents to get vaccinated but has mocked CDC guidance on masking and dismissed the surge as “seasonal”.

Hospitals say they are being overwhelmed by admissions mostly of younger unvaccinated patients. Over the last week, 409 Floridians have died of Covid-19, with the total above 39,000.

The previous record for Covid hospitalisations in Florida was set on 23 July 2020. Florida then had 10,170, according to the Florida Hospital Association. The state ileads the US in per capita hospitalisations. In the past week, it has averaged 1,525 adult and 35 pediatric hospitalisations a day.

Collins also noted that other states including Louisiana, Missouri and Tennessee were experiencing significant upticks in infections, saying the virus was “having a pretty big party in the middle of the country”.

He told Fox News Sunday: “We are all determined to avoid lockdowns but if we’re going to be able to continue, whether in business or in school, to do things that we all really value, putting the mask on is the best way to ensure that things don’t get worse. It seems like a sacrifice worth making.

“We’ve made a lot of progress here compared to where we were a year ago, we just don’t want to do silly things to cause the Delta virus to come back even stronger.”

Senate finishing crafting $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure proposal, setting delicate debate in motion

Senate finishing crafting $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure proposal, setting delicate debate in motion

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) arrives at his office on Saturday. (Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

Senate Democrats and Republicans unveiled on Sunday a roughly $1 trillion proposal to improve the country’s roads, bridges, pipes, ports and Internet connections, setting in motion a long-awaited debate in the chamber to enact one of President Biden’s economic policy priorities.

The package arrives after weeks of haggling among a bipartisan bloc of lawmakers, who muscled through late-night fights and near-collapses to transform their initial blueprint into a roughly 2,700-page piece of legislation. The fate of their labors now rests in the Senate, where proponents of infrastructure reform have little margin for error as they race to adopt the sort of bill that has eluded them for years.

Virtually no part of the U.S. economy is untouched by the plan chiefly put together by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.). Roughly half of its $1 trillion overall price tag constitutes new federal spending, with the rest coming from existing, planned investments in the country’s roads, highways and bridges, according to details released in recent days by lawmakers and the White House, which supports the proposal.

Those thoroughfares would see major expansions and repairs under the bill, which has additional investments in the nation’s transit system as well. Senators also said the measure calls for $66 billion targeting passenger railways, which the White House says is the largest such investment since the creation of Amtrak nearly a half-century ago.

Lawmakers plan to set aside $55 billion to improve the country’s drinking water, including a program that seeks to replace every lead pipe in America. There’s an additional $65 billion to expand broadband Internet access nationwide and ensure those who do have connectivity can afford their monthly payments. And Senate lawmakers are pursuing additional sums to upgrade key commercial hubs, including potentially $25 billion for repairs at major airports.

The proposal, called the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, further seeks a significant tranche of funding to combat the threat of climate change, aiming to reduce emissions and respond to the deadly consequences of a fast-warming planet. Lawmakers have called for $73 billion to modernize the nation’s energy grid and $21 billion to respond to environmental concerns, including pollution. And they propose allocating new sums to advance clean-energy technologies, including a $7.5 billion initiative for a first-ever national network of electric vehicle charging stations, they announced last week.

“It takes our aging and outdated infrastructure in this country and modernizes it, and that’s good for everybody,” Portman said in a Sunday night speech, one of many from the deal’s chief architects heralding their work.

Democrats and Republicans say they have covered the full cost of their new spending, one of the thorniest fights among the lawmakers who helped construct the deal. Democrats, led by Biden, initially sought this spring to fund infrastructure investments through tax increases on corporations and wealthy Americans, unwinding the tax cuts that Republicans adopted under President Donald Trump. But GOP lawmakers fiercely rejected the idea, preferring instead to raise some of the money through new fees on those who use infrastructure — an idea Democrats rejected out of a fear that it would hurt average Americans.

Their bipartisan compromise, as a result, omits both new taxes as well as user fees. Instead, it recovers its costs through a pastiche of financing mechanisms, from reclaiming past coronavirus aid funds to collecting unpaid taxes on cryptocurrencies. But there nonetheless remains concern in both parties that some of the math is fuzzy, raising the potential that the package still could add to the federal deficit — and bring about significant fighting on the Senate floor.

With a proposal in hand, that debate began Sunday night under the fast-track timeline laid out by Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). From here, though, Senate leaders hope to finish their work by the end of the week. The chamber then plans to begin work on a second, roughly $3.5 trillion economic package sought by Democrats, underscoring the significant lift awaiting lawmakers in the days before they are set to depart for their plannedsummer recess.

“I’ve set out two very ambitious goals for the Senate this summer, and we’re now on the way to achieving both,” Schumer said Sunday as he took the necessary procedural step to bring the infrastructure deal to the floor.

Only five days ago did Portman, Sinema and other negotiators announce they had reached a deal, setting in motion a rocky sprint to turn their roughly $1 trillion blueprint into legislative text. The Senate voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday night to start debate on the measure, even before lawmakers had an actual bill in hand, though the chief backers of infrastructure reform saw the development as a positive sign of their political prospects.

“I know it has been difficult, and I know it has been long. And what I’m proud to say is that is what our forefathers intended,” Sinema said.

From here, the bipartisan group of 10 senators faces a delicate task. The lawmakers must keep together their fragile coalition, avoiding the sort of policy disputes that nearly doomed their efforts multiple times since they first announced their ambitions for new public-works spending in June. And they must remain open to changes while not allowing any that could undermine support for the legislation, since any bill ultimately must garner 60 votes in the Senate, where Democrats possess only a razor-thin majority, with Vice President Harris holding the tiebreaking vote.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), one of the chief negotiators of the infrastructure deal, sounded a note of optimism about the path forward on Sunday. Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” she said it remains “my expectation and my hope” that the $1 trillion proposal could pass the Senate this week.

With every Democrat voting for the deal, the party still would need 10 Republican votes to advance infrastructure investments through the chamber. Collins predicted that those votes ultimately would be there as senators from both parties realize “the very concrete benefits, no pun intended, of this legislation.”

Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), another negotiator, predicted that final passage could come as soon as Thursday — an ambitious timeline that may hinge on lawmakers deftly navigating what might be a difficult amendment process over the days ahead.

Appearing on CNN, Manchin also stressed the bill’s ubiquitous political appeal, calling the new investments “something every state, every area of every state, needs.”

Yet serious political schisms still loom large over the bipartisan measure. Chief among them are concerns about its costs, given lingering doubts that the $1 trillion in new public-works spending is not actually covered by new revenue — and could add to the deficit.

In an early sign of the bickering to come, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) took his criticisms to the chamber floor on Friday. He lambasted the “lofty and unrealistic revenue estimates” of the package, which he said would result in government spending that increased the risks of inflation.

On Sunday, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) aired his own fiscal concerns. “There are a number of Americans who see all is not well with the way we spend money, the people’s money, within the American government,” he said as he criticized the deal.

Liberal Democrats harbor their own fears about the package: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) told CNN that she had some initial doubts about the financing mechanisms essentially being a boon for corporate America.

Ocasio-Cortez and other House lawmakers previously have questioned the scope of the Senate’s infrastructure investments, believing that Democrats should have sought more as part of the deal, given their narrow but powerful majorities in both chambers of Congress. They have insisted that any new bipartisan deal on public-works spending must move in tandem with the second, roughly $3.5 trillion package, which includes many of Biden’s other economic priorities, including an expansion of federal safety-net programs and other initiatives to fight climate change.

Democrats intend to advance the package on their own — bypassing likely GOP opposition — using a legislative maneuver known as reconciliation that is reserved for budget measures.“