The White House
Heading into COP26, President Biden announced the Build Back Better Framework – the largest effort to combat climate change in American history alongside his Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal that the President is confident can pass both chambers of Congress and be signed into law. The Build Back Better Framework will cut greenhouse gas pollution by well over one gigaton in 2030, reduce clean energy costs for working families, give our kids cleaner air and water, create hundreds of thousands of good-paying, union jobs, and advance environmental justice while investing in a 21st century clean energy economy. President Biden’s bold agenda, along with his robust executive and regulatory actions to date, represents the U.S. intention to capture the economic opportunity that addressing climate change presents. Read more here.
ACP & SEIA WEIGH IN
MORE ON THE BUILD BACK BETTER FRAMEWORK
Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on President Biden’s Framework for the Build Back Better Act, USDA News Release
“The Build Back Better framework is the largest effort in American history to combat the climate crisis, while spurring economic opportunity with innovation and good jobs here at home, better positioning us to compete globally. Agriculture can lead the way in the fight on climate with climate smart agriculture and forestry practices that sequester carbon, reduce emissions and create new and better market opportunities for producers.”
THE BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT AND JOBS ACT (IIJA)
The Infrastructure Bill Is Desperately Needed, Engineers Say, Scientific American
“You can’t build a healthy economy on a crumbling infrastructure,” says Maria Lehman, president-elect of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Every four years this professional organization publishes a report card on U.S. utilities, issuing letter grades in 17 categories such as roads, internet access and drinking water—and the grades rarely rise above a D. “We’ve had many, many, many decades of taking our infrastructure for granted,” Lehman points out. “And it’s all coming due at the same time.”
Scientific American spoke with Lehman about what’s broken, whether the IIJA’s $1 trillion investment can fix it, and what happens if the federal government fails to invest in infrastructure.
H.R.3684 – Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)
Nebraska Infrastructure Overview, American Society of Civil Engineers
While the nation’s infrastructure earned a C- in the 2021 Infrastructure Report Card, Nebraska faces infrastructure challenges of its own. For example, driving on roads in need of repair in Nebraska costs each driver $461 per year, and 8.8% of bridges are rated structurally deficient. Drinking water needs in Nebraska are an estimated $1.6 billion. 149 dams are considered to be high-hazard potential. The state’s schools have an estimated capital expenditure gap of $292 million.
This deteriorating infrastructure impedes Nebraska’s ability to compete in an increasingly global marketplace. Success in a 21st-century economy requires serious, sustained leadership on infrastructure investment at all levels of government. Delaying these investments only escalates the cost and risks of an aging infrastructure system, an option that the country, Nebraska, and families can no longer afford.
Image Credit: Nebraska Public Power District
INDIVIDUAL CLIMATE ACTION
COP26: This is what individuals can do to slow down climate change, according to experts, ABC News
As the leaders of the world gather in Glasgow to discuss the fate of the climate crisis, the power to save the planet from destruction caused by humans does not only lie in the hands of those in power. While the majority of reductions in greenhouse gases will need to be accomplished by transformation in policy and industry, individual actions can also help prevent further warming, according to the experts.
PAUL HAWKEN INTERVIEW & HIS NEW BOOK
Paul Hawken: Sustainability isn’t enough. Here’s what is, GreenBiz
Sustainability is a limited framework. The solutions to the climate crisis hinge upon embracing regeneration as a universal organizing principle. That’s according to entrepreneur and author Paul Hawken, who just published a “what-to-do,” action-packed handbook for those seeking to channel collective action on complex, systemic problems in ways that nurture life and livelihoods.
His new book, Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation, is joined by a website that details “what needs to be done and how to do it on all levels of agency, from a classroom to a CEO.” The site offers snapshots of systemic issues — including clean cookstoves, electrifying everything and wasting nothing — with action items, key players, governance, bad actors and media to digest for each.
Photo: Paul Hawken and Joel Makower speaking at GreenBiz’s VERGE 21 virtual event.