Call it a surprising turn of events. An unexpected plot twist. A bolt from the blue. A bombshell. A curveball. A shocker. A lightning strike. A deus ex machina. Or we can go with Peripeteia: a sudden reversal of the protagonist’s fortune, whether for good or ill, that emerges naturally from the character’s circumstances. In this case, the sudden reversal is for good and the protagonist is Earth. Up until a few hours ago, the notion of Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer coming to a budget deal that addressed climate change seemed about as likely as the two lead characters landing their car safely at the end of Thelma and Louise. We’re talking about something way more surprising than a 170 carat pink diamond being discovered in Angola and much more unexpected than a university finding plausible evidence for the existence of the Lochness Monster. And yet, as Politico summarizes in its headline, ‘Holy s–t’: Surprise Senate deal sets stage for record climate change package.

+ AP: “What started as a $4 trillion effort during President Joe Biden’s first months in office to rebuild America’s public infrastructure and family support systems has ended up a much slimmer, but not unsubstantial, compromise package of inflation-fighting health care, climate change and deficit reduction strategies that appears headed toward quick votes in Congress.” What’s in, and out, of Democrats’ inflation-fighting package.

+ Manchin indicated that his change of course is due to the positive impact the bill would have on inflation. The NYT suggests it may also be connected to a deal “that could ease the way for a project in which Mr. Manchin has taken a personal interest, the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would transport Appalachian shale gas from West Virginia to Virginia.” But motivations aside, those who cover the climate are describing this bill as a historic game changer. Robinson Meyer in The Atlantic reflects the mood. “Every few years, American politics astonishes you. Yesterday was one of those days.” If passed, the energy provisions of the senators’ new bill would represent the most significant climate action in a generation. Of course, it’s just a deal for now, not a law, and Congress has pulled this football away from us more often than Lucy and Charlie Brown. So, for now, it’s an unexpected plot twist, but still a cliffhanger.