Today is Friday.Welcome to Equilibrium A newsletter that tracks the global struggle for sustainability’s future. Subscribe here thehill.com/newsletter-signup.
According to some reports, child marriages are on the rise in Afghanistan due to ongoing violence but also because of the rising number of children married in Afghanistan. by the impacts of climate changeUndark investigates that this has led to the displacement of thousands of families from their agrarian homes.
Undark reported that Rabia, a single mother, fled her home because extreme drought had made it impossible for her to raise her sheep. Upon settling in a one-room mud home outside of Mazar-i-Sharif, Rabia said she had no choice but to provide her 11-year-old daughter Shukria’s hand in marriage to a man twice her age, in exchange for $6,000 worth of flour, rice and cash, according to Undark.
“I know my daughter is a child, and it was too early for her to be married,” Rabia told Undark. “It was either her marriage or our funerals.”
Although there is not much data on Afghanistan’s child marriages, Undark reported that many organizations have seen an increase in these unions during periods of drought. Undark also cited studies from UNICEFThe Norwegian Refugee Council.
Today we’ll turn toward a major step the U.S. has taken to combat a changing climate at home — the passing of President BidenJoe BidenHouse Democrats push vote on social spending plan to Friday Fauci says all adults should ‘go get boosted’ Senate confirms Park Service director after years of acting heads MORE’s $2 trillion spending plan in the House. Then we’ll sit down with a software startup that is making social and sustainability impact data available on millions of specific ingredients to the brands that produce them.
Let’s get to it.
House passes clean energy, social policy bill
The House of Representatives passed a sweeping climate change and social policy packageOn Friday, it was a close vote.
With a size of roughly $2 trillion — the final numbers are disputed — the Build Back Better America (BBB) legislation is billed by the Biden administration as a “plan to rebuild the middle class,”The foundation is laid for the rapid growth of a U.S.-built clean energy economy.
First words: According to the White House, the bill includes hundreds of billions of dollars for expansions in pre-Kindergarten, child care, and eldercare, as well as measures to reduce prescription drug coverage and expand insurance coverage.
The BBBA’s largest component, however, is $555 Billion for climate and clean energy initiatives.
- $110 billion for “growing domestic supply chains” for windmill turbines, electric vehicles, transmission lines and solar solar installations.
- $105 billion for boosting resilience to drought, floods and wildfires, including subsidies for “natural climate solutions” and the use of farm and forest landscapes to suck up carbon.
- $29 billion for a green development bank, the Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator, to directly finance projects that the market isn’t funding.
- $30 billion to put a 300,000 member Civilian Climate Corps to work upgrading America’s public lands to meet the challenges of climate.
You can also find an array of smaller programs that have been personal projects for individual representativesThe New York Times reported that electric bikes would cost $4.1 billion, and $2.5 billion to plant trees for poor neighborhoods. A further $95 million would be donated to local fire departments. purchase gear free of forever chemicalsAs the Environmental Work Group pointed out,
What happened? One major element cut The $150 billion for Clean Energy Performance Programs was a proposal that offered subsidies and fines to utility companies that increased renewable energy share by 4 percentage points per year.
Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOn The Money — House Democrats ready to Build Back Better Manchin: ‘Looking very favorably’ at Powell as Fed chair after meeting Manchin undecided on helping start debate on Biden spending bill MORE (D-W.Va.) refused to back that proposal — and he is also lukewarm about proposals to tax methane, a climate-warming gas 85 times more potent than carbon dioxide, which is a key element of President Biden’s plan to reduce emissions of the gas 30 percent by 2030, The Hill reported.
A MESSAGE FROM SOUTHERN COMMUNITY
Southern Company achieved its interim net zero energy goal ten year earlier than expected. Today, we are continuing our efforts towards a net-zero future. Learn more.
NOW, ONTO SENATE
From tight to razor-thin The methane tax — like tax credits for electric vehicles, and a paid family leave program, which Manchin also opposes — will be up for grabs as the bill moves to the Senate, in a vote tentatively scheduled for after the Thanksgiving break.
The Senate has less room for Democrats than the House, where BBBA passed 220-213 on strictly partisan lines. The sole exception was Rep. Jared GoldenJared GoldenHouse Democrats push vote on social spending plan to Friday Conservative group targeting House Democrats over SALT positions Abortion rights group endorsing 12 House Democrats MORE (D-Maine.) The Hill reported who voted with Republicans
Golden stated on Twitter that he voted no to the bill due to tax changes which benefited billionaires and millionaires.
The Senate totals are 50-50 with Vice President Harris casting tiebreaking vote. This will give Manchin considerable leverage to make further cuts.
What are Republicans saying to each other? House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyHouse Democrats push vote on social spending plan to Friday McCarthy delays swift passage of spending plan with lengthy floor speech Trump throws support behind Gosar after censure vote MORE (R-Calif.) broke records with “an angry, rambling speech” about the devastating effects the bill would have on the country, our colleagues reported. McCarthy’s all-nighter may have been an attempt to shore up his right flank against Trump loyalists who have lately “lambasted” him, according to an analysis by CNN.
A debate over numbers: Republicans point out a study by The Congressional Budget Office that found a $160billion gap between the money spent on the bill and the money it will increase by raising the corporate tax rate. The Hill also reported on an IRS newly empowered to pursue wealthy tax evaders. These numbers are not supported by the administration.
Republicans passed a 2017 tax cut that increased the deficit by $1.7 billion. are already opposing the measure on deficit groundsThe Associated Press reported that
Last words: “If you are a parent, a senior, a child, a worker, if you’re an American, this bill’s for you,” said House Majority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse Democrats push vote on social spending plan to Friday McCarthy delays swift passage of spending plan with lengthy floor speech Overnight Health Care — Presented by Emergent Biosolutions — Pfizer, US strike COVID-19 pill deal MOREAccording to the AP, (D-Calif.)
Agricultural data can steer sustainable choices
Ethan Soloviev is chief innovation officer at the softwareasaservice (SaaS). He says that having data about the emission generated or labor practices during crop cultivation can help brands and retailers make sustainable decisions. HowGood.
HowGood — which raised $6 million earlier this year — provides data on emissions, biodiversity, farm labor conditions, animal welfare and water usage associated with individual product ingredients, according to the company. Soloviev said that the database includes 33,000 ingredients from over 2 million products.
Equilibrium met Soloviev to learn more about the platform and its potential to transform corporate practices.
Equilibrium: What types of information could HowGood reveal?
Soloviev: Let’s say you have a chocolate bar. You can read the ingredients on the chocolate bar and you will learn a lot about the chocolate bar. It says cocoa powder, cocoa butter — we know that 70 percent of the cocoa powder and cocoa butter comes from Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, just in the world. It comes from that place.
Despite 20 years of hard work, there’s still the possibility of child or slave labor in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire where cocoa seed is grown. You should learn more about the origin of the cacao. [an example of data HowGood provides]If you’re able to get it from another source or have a specific certification, you may be at risk.
Are the data available to consumers
HowGood makes its data free and open to all. But this is not our focus and it’s certainly not our business model. We partner primarily only with retailers and brands. Ahold Delhaize, Giant supermarkets in Washington DC use our data to evaluate the products on their shelves. They then communicate this information to customers in-store. So you can see the great, great and best products right beside the price tag.
How can you quantify the emissions products generate, given the many steps in the supply chain.
The vast majority of the impact — 65 to 95 percent of the impact — comes from the production of the agricultural goods that went into that product.
What we focus on primarily, because most of the impact is there, is what will be called the “farm to gate” — so, the production that’s happening on-farm, all the way up until it leaves the gate of that farm.
THE GASSINESS OF COWS
What’s generally the biggest contributor to farm to gate emissions?
So basically, it’s cow burps and farts.
Do you calculate based on individual cows only?
We don’t visit the farm. We work with scientists and researchers who publish papers that explain exactly where each cow is living and doing its thing.
And how might a brand’s actions change based on this knowledge?
They would bring in “unused milk from Southwest” or something similar. We would say great, based upon the research we have from the scientists who study it, that milk can produce a certain amount.
They can also tell if it is worse than the industry average or better than the average. What if I moved it to a Washington source?
Are these shifts to more sustainable practices more costly?
Someone was looking for a sweetener. They were considering switching from tapioca syrup made from cassava in Southeast Asia to a rice syrup that is domestically produced in the U.S. It looked like they could save money, but they weren’t sure about the sustainability implications.
They checked the platform and found that rice syrup had higher overall impact scores. This was because it was more sustainable. It doesn’t always have to be more expensive.
A MESSAGE FROM SOUTHERN COMMUNITY
Southern Company achieved its interim net zero energy goal ten year earlier than expected. We continue our efforts towards a net-zero future. Learn more.
Another look at issues we’ve explored throughout the week.
Pacific Northwest floods buckle Canada’s supply chains
New Delhi is still covered in smog. But farmers celebrate a surprise win
- New Delhi’s air quality remained “very poor” on FridayAccording to the Times of India, it was only expected that things would improve on Sunday.
- The city is experiencing a pollution lockdown — caused by vehicle and industrial emissions, as well as incineration of trash and crop residue, as we reported.
- While India’s Supreme Court ordered a cessation in crop burning earlier this week, farmers had reason to celebrate on Friday, after Prime Minister Narenda Modi repealed a series of reforms that had rolled back subsidiesThe Washington Post reported on administrative changes that could affect staple crops and other important administrative changes.
- Modi’s surprise decision, considered a political setback, came after more than a year of protests near New Delhi, where farmers sometimes ended up in bloody battles with police and government supporters, according to the Post.
China and the U.S. join forces in lowering gas prices
Please visit The Hill’s sustainability sectionOnline to access the newsletter’s web version and other stories. We’ll see you on Monday.