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Many are holding their breath to see what will come of the 26th Conference of Parties COP26 , the 26th United Nations climate conference. This conference will be hosted by the United Kingdom and take place in Glasgow, where heads of state will be discussing how to best solve climate change. This conference will take place from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12.

Previous UN conferences have resulted in the Paris Agreement and the Kyoto Protocol, guidelines agreed upon by countries to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. A similar agreement may be reached this week. COP26 is especially significant since the Paris Agreement, signed in 2015, aims to limit global warming to the 1.5 degrees necessary to fight irreversible climate change, a goal which officials say is becoming increasingly difficult to attain. 

So far, President Biden has made commitments to curb methane emissions, and to end all deforestation by 2030. Biden has also promised to curb all greenhouse gas emissions 50% below 2005 levels by 2030. A similar pledge was also made by the European Union, but both governing bodies have yet to demonstrate a more concrete dedication to their promises. Their proposals to reduce emissions are opposed by members of their home governments who are unwilling to make changes for a greener environment.

China has promised to get 25% of its energy from clean sources, and to begin reversing the trend of increasing emissions before 2030. India has not promised to make concrete reductions in emissions as the country generates much less pollution than China or the United States, but it has promised to increase its use of clean energy. India is asking for assistance from wealthier countries to achieve this objective. 

By the end of the conference, more concrete proposals may be made. 


On Oct. 28, President Biden has laid forth a 1.85 trillion dollar social safety net plan, the Build Back Better Bill. This plan includes proposals to spend money on climate change, child care, and other economic programs. Biden plans to pay for this with a tax increase on corporations and the highest earners. 

However, the plan does not fulfill many of the campaign promises that made President Biden appear progressive to some. It does not reduce prescription drug costs for seniors, include federally guaranteed paid family or medical leave, or guarantee free community college. Medicare under the bill would include hearing medical care, but not vision or dental services. 

The bill does have some provisions to make progressives hopeful. It allots more than 500 billion dollars to help fight climate change, mainly through clean sources of energy. Four hundred billion dollars are earmarked for universal pre-kindergarten education. More money has been distributed throughout the bill: 200 million on an expanded child tax credit, 160 million for the reduction of healthcare premiums, 150 billion to build more affordable housing units, and 100 million for streamlining immigration. 

The plan hopes to pay for these proposals with a 15% tax on the profits of large corporations, including profits earned abroad. The plan proposes a 1% tax on corporate stock buybacks with increased enforcement for large corporations at the IRS and a 5% tax on incomes exceeding 10 million a year with an additional 3% for those earning more than 25 million a year.

However, it is important to note that this is just a proposal; it remains unknown whether this bill will be able to make it through Congress.


California is trying to fight gerrymandering with local independent commissions, commissions made entirely of citizens rather than those in office. These commissions are changing California districting. The state has a dozen new local, independent commissions in this round of redistricting, a process that will create districts for elections from 2022 to 2030. The commissioners will use data from the 2020 census to inform their redistricting decisions

These commissions are located in LA, San Diego, San Francisco and Santa Barbara counties, along with 15 cities, including Berkeley, Long Beach, Martinez, Oakland, Sacramento and Roseville.

The commissions will be able to redistrict in places that have undergone major demographic changes.

This process was authorized by the 2019 Fair MAPS act. Jonathan Mehta Stein, executive director of California Common Cause, claims that the act “has created a tool for local communities to demand their rightful place in the process.” He notes, “… generally speaking, independent commissions pretty consistently take community input seriously and do the work of hearing from the public in a robust way.”