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Everything is Climate Now: New Directions for Industrial Policy from Biden’s Supply Chain Reports

May 17, 2022

On February 24, 2022, the Biden administration unveiled a massive, history-making collection of supply chain reports. A combined 1,358 pages in length, these 19 reports were written by seven federal agencies and numerous staff from a network of 17 national labs. Collectively, they represent the first time since the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration that the US federal government has taken it upon itself to not only inventory the industrial resources of the national and global economies, but also set out detailed industrial policy targets designed to equip those industries to meet today's most important existential challenges. Released on the same day as Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine, the reports understandably received little notice from the press and public. But amid the growing geo-economic rift wrought by the war, policymakers of democracies are attempting to rapidly unwind their economic exposure to autocracies—making the reports even more relevant.This issue brief highlights three of the reports' most important contributions. First, the reports demonstrate that everything is related to climate now. Whether the authoring agency is seen as having an environmental mandate or not, and whether the industry under study in a given report is obviously climate-related (like green hydrogen) or not (semiconductors), guaranteeing the future resilience of every industry requires planning for the destabilization that the climate crisis has brought and will continue to bring. Second, the supply chain reports show that policy in Washington is increasingly oriented toward a broader conception of the role of the state in the economy that goes beyond remedying narrow market failures. The final—and crucial—point these reports demonstrate is that policymakers have still not settled on a fully fledged paradigm for what precisely this broader role for the state could or should look like, nor what governance institutions should be formed to support that new role. The scope of this new role could include fostering better coordination among competing and complementary demands for scarce resources, standing up new institutions and sticks to hold industry accountable, and directly producing and owning needed resources. Additionally, policymakers should rewrite international rules to better support this agenda and learn to leverage the power of organized labor as a partner in industrial policy, which can in turn aid racial justice and material equality.

Credits Earned by Graduating High School Seniors

May 16, 2022

As the total number of credits taken by high school students has increased since 1990, so have the number of credits taken in key humanities subjects and the share of students earning credits in these subjects.

Gun rights groups set new lobbying spending record in 2021

May 16, 2022

On Saturday, an 18-year-old gunman entered the Tops Friendly Supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y. He killed 10 people, injured three others and left a community reeling. Sen. Ted Cruz (R–Texas), who has received more funding from gun rights groups than any other politician since he was elected to Congress in 2012, condemned the racially-motivated mass shooting as "profoundly anti-American."But mass shootings are an increasingly common facet of American life. There have been 198 mass shootings in 132 days in 2022. The Buffalo massacre is the deadliest this year so far.Powerful gun rights groups including the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Gun Owners of America have poured millions into lobbying, campaign contributions and outside spending to advocate for the right to bear arms. At least 81.4 million Americans owned guns in 2021. Gun rights groups spent a record $15.8 million on lobbying in 2021 and $2 million in the first quarter of 2022. These organizations have invested $190 million in lobbying efforts since 1998. Gun rights advocates spent more than $114 million of that total since 2013.Lobbying by gun rights advocates nearly tripled in 2013 after a gunman murdered 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary on Dec. 14, 2012. The following year was the closest the Senate has come in the last decade to passing meaningful gun control legislation.

Interim security insights and implications from the first two months of the Russia-Ukraine war

May 12, 2022

Russia's ongoing struggles during its invasion of Ukraine have led some to suggest that the Russian military lacks the capability to credibly threaten the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and its member states. However, narrowly focusing on Russia's tactical and operational struggles, while omitting the flawed Russian strategic decisionmaking which underpinned the invasion, is a dangerous approach. While Russia's significant losses in this war will clearly degrade its ability to conduct large scale offensive operations against NATO in the short term, it is too soon to write off the medium to long-term threat posed by Russia. Therefore, as the Russian invasion enters a new phase, it is useful to determine what lessons should and should not be derived from this conflict. In our subsequent analysis, we analyze these initial insights and provide policy recommendations for NATO to enhance its conventional capability and strengthen its ability to credibly deter future Russian aggression.

International Medical Corps Situation Update: Report #14

May 12, 2022

The Russian invasion of Ukraine that began on February 24 has led to Europe's largest refugee crisis since World War II, with more than 14 million people forcibly displaced. In addition, since the war began, at least 7,256 civilian casualties have been reported in the country, including 3,496 killed. The United Nations says the actual numbers are likely much higher.In Ukraine, conflict remains concentrated in eastern and southern regions. According to OCHA, before 2022 eastern Ukraine was among the most minecontaminated regions in the world. Since the invasion, the State Emergency Service (SES) of Ukraine has disposed of more than 102,000 explosive devices and more than 1,900 aerial bombs. The Interior Minister announced the launch of the International Coordination Centre for Humanitarian Demining, which SES will work in collaboration with, to reduce casualties from explosive remnants of war.Since the invasion, almost 6 million people have fled Ukraine. As of May 12, at least 3,251,955 people had crossed the border from Ukraine into Poland, 889,674 had entered Romania, 458,242 had entered Moldova, 577,820 had entered Hungary and 406,833 had entered Slovakia, while 772,121 had entered Russia and 27,108 had entered Belarus. According to Poland's Office for Foreigners, more than 1 million Ukrainian nationals--47% of whom are children--have registered for a national PESEL number, allowing them to access services such as health and social support.

Energy Price Stability: The Peril of Fossil Fuels and the Promise of Renewables

May 11, 2022

In "Energy Price Stability: The Peril of Fossil Fuels and the Promise of Renewables," authors Lauren Melodia and Kristina Karlsson demonstrate that volatile fossil fuel prices are a key driver of overall inflation and have historically triggered recessions. They argue that the Federal Reserve has little power to mitigate inflation driven by fossil fuel prices and that the solution to ongoing energy price volatility is a government-led investment in renewable energy production and deployment. Specifically, they conclude that:A transition away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy will have a stabilizing effect on prices, for two reasons:Renewable energy will bring the majority of our energy consumption into the electricity sector, a highly regulated sector that has historically produced stable energy prices; andRenewables are inherently stable compared to fossil fuels. A transition to renewable energy can improve existing inequities in energy burdens among renters, and among low-income, Black, and Latinx households.

The STOP THE TRAFFIK Group Ukraine Update: April Review

May 6, 2022

This updated briefing on Ukraine is a key to help notify businesses of potential routes and hotspots of exploitation, to draw conclusions as to whether or not further preventative action must be taken to avoid exploitation, and to offer recommendations for businesses who operate in at-risk areas due to the current conflict in Ukraine.

Alt-Finance for Alt-Tech: Monetizing the Insurrection Online Before and After January 6

May 5, 2022

This brief maps the financial tools and techniques employed by alt-tech industry leaders like Gab's CEO Andrew Torba, high-profile members of the Proud Boys, and others implicated in the January 6 Capitol attack and the far-right's assault on American democratic institutions. For many in this milieu, Amazon's decision to pull hosting for Parler following the Capitol attack was a clarion call to the need for a parallel web, and prominent players have since flocked to the task of building it. 

The Climate Crisis and Its Impacts on Farmworkers

May 5, 2022

This Issue brief was prepared for Farmworker Justice's Environmental Justice Symposium (May 17 & 18th, 2022) addressing the impacts of the climate crisis on farmworkers in the areas of heat stress, pesticide exposure, food security, and water access.

International Medical Corps Situation Update: Report #13

May 5, 2022

The Russian invasion of Ukraine that began on February 24 has led to Europe's largest refugee crisis since World War II, with more than 13 million people forcibly displaced. In addition, since the war began, at least 6,635 civilian casualties have been reported in the country, including 3,238 killed. The United Nations says the actual numbers are likely much higher.In addition to widespread conflict in the southeast, Russian attacks have targeted Ukrainian infrastructure throughout the country, in an attempt to thwart efforts from the west to provide Ukrainians with weapons and supplies. Recent missile strikes on railway stations caused damage to the stations, as well as to surrounding infrastructure, but the impact of the attacks is not expected to have a significant impact on the ability to deliver aid.Since the invasion, more than 5.7 million people have fled Ukraine. As of May 5, at least 3,119,196 people had crossed the border from Ukraine into Poland, 854,292 had entered Romania, 450,797 had entered Moldova, 545,311 had entered Hungary and 388,282 had entered Slovakia, while 714,713 had entered Russia and 25,852 had entered Belarus.

Abortion at SCOTUS: Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health

May 4, 2022

Abortion is among the most contentious issues in the country today. On December 1st, the Supreme Court will hear the first abortion case since Justice Amy Coney Barrett was seated and cemented a solid 6-3 conservative majority on the bench. The case under consideration, Thomas E. Dobbs, State Health Officer of the Mississippi Department of Health v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, involves a Mississippi law banning all abortions over 15 weeks gestational age except in medical emergencies and in the case of severe fetal abnormality. In this case, Mississippi is asking the Court to overturn the long-standing precedent of Roe v. Wade. While the Supreme Court has considered other abortion cases involving state regulations, this is the first case that the high court has taken in which a state is directly asking the Court to overturn the constitutional right to abortion. This issue brief provides background on the legal challenges to the Mississippi law in the context of the Supreme Court abortion precedents, addresses the intersections with the litigation that has arisen from S.B. 8, the Texas 6-week abortion ban, and explains the potential outcomes and how they could impact access to abortion around the country.

How do states fill vacancies in the U.S. Senate? It depends on the state

May 3, 2022

This year, as in every even-numbered year, about a third of U.S. Senate seats will be up for election. Given the 50-50 split in the Senate between Democrats and Republicans, each of those races has the potential to tip the chamber's balance of power one way or the other. But elections aren't the only way that can happen.In the event that a sitting senator resigns or dies, or the position otherwise becomes vacant, governors in 46 states have the power to appoint a temporary replacement. And in most of those states, governors have free rein to appoint whomever they wish, with the appointee serving until a successor is elected to fill out the rest of the term. The evenly split Senate means that even a single governor could, hypothetically, determine which party controls the chamber.