Wednesday 28th of September 2022

feeding subsidies to the carbon dioxide emitters….

Sen. Bernie Sanders took to the Senate floor on Tuesday to offer a sweeping critique of the Democratic Party’s new reconciliation package, applying particularly close scrutiny to the legislation’s massive and destructive handouts to the fossil fuel industry.

While Sanders (I-Vt.) applauded the Inflation Reduction Act’s “serious funding for wind, solar, batteries, heat pumps, electric vehicles, energy-efficient appliances, and low-income communities that have borne the brunt of climate change,” he raised concerns about the “billions of dollars in new tax breaks and subsidies” that the oil and gas industry will receive under the measure, which could get a Senate vote as soon as this week.


By Jake Johnson / Common Dreams


“We have got to do everything possible to take on the greed of the fossil fuel industry.”

“In my view, if we are going to make our planet healthy and habitable for future generations, we cannot provide billions of dollars in new tax breaks to the very same fossil fuel companies that are currently destroying the planet,” the Vermont senator said. “Under this legislation, up to 60 million acres of public waters must be offered up for sale each and every year to the oil and gas industry before the federal government could approve any new offshore wind development.”

Sanders proceeded to spotlight some of the fossil fuel industry’s positive responses to the measure, which was negotiated primarily by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), the top recipient of oil and gas campaign donations in Congress.

As one telling example, the Vermont senator pointed to a Bloomberg headline from last week that reads, “Exxon CEO Loves What Manchin Did for Big Oil in $370 Billion Deal.”

“If the CEO of ExxonMobil, a company that has done as much as any entity to destroy this planet—if he is ‘pleased’ with this bill, then I think all of us should have some very deep concerns about what is in this legislation,” said Sanders. “In total, this bill will offer the fossil fuel industry up to 700 million acres of public lands and waters… to oil and gas drilling over the next decade—far more than the oil and gas industry could possibly use.”

Sanders also expressed alarm about the newly released side deal between Manchin and the Democratic leadership that would pave the way for approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline—a major fracked gas project that runs through West Virginia—and limit environmental reviews of new energy infrastructure.

To bolster his case against the Senate deal’s “huge giveaway” to the fossil fuel industry, Sanders cited objections to the new legislation from prominent environmental groups including and the Center for Biological Diversity, the latter of which called the bill a “climate suicide pact” last week.

“In my view,” said Sanders, “we have got to do everything possible to take on the greed of the fossil fuel industry, not give billions of dollars in corporate welfare to an industry whose emissions are causing massive damage today and will only make the situation worse in the future.”

Throughout his floor speech, Sanders examined every major section of the new reconciliation proposal and highlighted what he views as their serious shortcomings and omissions, including the complete absence of child care and housing funding.

“The prescription drug provisions in this bill are extremely weak, they are extremely complex, they take too long to go into effect, and they go nowhere near far enough to take on the greed of the pharmaceutical industry whose greed is literally killing Americans,” the senator said of the bill’s proposal to require Medicare to negotiate a small number of medicines directly with drug companies.

Sanders didn’t say the bill’s flaws are sufficiently grave for him to vote no, but he did signal that he will be offering amendments in an attempt to improve it before final passage.

“This more than 700-page bill, after months of secret negotiations, became public late last week,” he said. “In my view, now is the time for every member of the Senate to study this bill thoroughly and to come up with amendments and suggestions as to how we can improve it. I look forward to being part of that process.”




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the end of glorified tents?….

Call for energy-efficient building code


by  | August 10, 2022 10:50 | News


Energy and climate experts, property developers, architects and health professionals have joined forces to call for a building code that will stop Australians living in “glorified tents”.

Property Council boss Ken Morrison says Australia has let itself fall behind international standards over the past 10 years and now is the time to catch up.

Crippling power bills and deaths from increasingly hot summers and cold winters have given fresh impetus to minimum energy efficiency requirements for new homes.

Advocates say strengthening energy provisions in the national code and mandating a 7-star minimum energy standard would reduce the cost of living, cut emissions and improve the quality of Australia’s housing stock.

“As we’ve learned in the pandemic, our homes are our shelter and places of refuge,” Energy Efficiency Council CEO Luke Menzel said on Wednesday.

Improved energy efficiency standards are a “no-brainer” and will play a big part in cutting emissions, he said.

The call for long-sought amendments to the National Construction Code comes two weeks ahead of a meeting of federal, state and territory ministers.

“This is Australia’s opportunity to improve its energy efficiency standards which will make our homes safer, more efficient, more affordable and help to address climate change,” Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said.

“Many Australians are currently living in glorified tents.”

The statement signed by more than 100 organisations says the stricter code would cut emissions by up to 78 million tonnes by 2050 and reduce deaths during extremely cold or hot weather.

The move could also lower the cost of electricity grid upgrades by up to $12.6 billion by 2050 and reduce poverty by ensuring higher standards and lower power bills in new social housing and private rentals.

Mandating the 7-star energy rating could slash the average household energy bill by up to $576 a year, according to official data.

The proposed changes to the code include introducing a whole-of-home “energy budget” for fixed appliances for hot water, heating, cooling and pool pumps.

Industry would be granted a 12-month transition period under the proposals.








laughing with your future…..

 The Wall Street Vote That Screamed The Quiet Part Out Loud


Senators gave their Wall Street donors another gift — after blocking the expanded child tax credit. 

In the name of preserving carefully negotiated legislation, Senate Democrats’ leaders united their caucus to vote down amendments that would have added the party’s Medicare expansion plan and expanded child tax credit into the final spending bill now moving through Congress.

That unity, though, was not universally enforced: Soon after those votes, seven Democratic senators joined with Republicans to cast a pivotal vote shielding their private equity donors from a new corporate minimum tax.

The seven Democrats who joined the GOP to give private equity firms that $35 billion gift were: Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly of Arizona, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff of Georgia, Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez-Masto of Nevada, and Maggie Hassan (N.H.).

Five of the seven Democrats are among the Senate’s top recipients of campaign donations from private equity donors, according to data from OpenSecrets. The group collectively raked in more than $1.4 million of campaign cash from the private equity industry, which has become a huge source of capital for the fossil fuel conglomerates that are creating the climate crisis.

The contrast between voting to protect private equity donors and voting against programs for the working class effectively screamed the quiet part out loud about whom senators typically respond to — and whom they don’t.

In this case, Democratic and Republican senators responded to the demands of an industry that has not only spent more than a quarter billion dollars on the last two federal elections, but that also employs an army of government-officials-turned-lobbyists to influence lawmakers in Washington. The world’s largest private equity firm is headed by one of the Republican Party’s largest donors, and now employs the son-in-law of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer as a lobbyist.

That influence machine is fueled by $6.3 trillion industry’s profits, generated by collecting massive fees off investments by public pensions and other institutional investors. Those fees have ballooned even when the industry often provides poorer returns than the stock market. Cloaked in secrecy, the industry invests in Medicare and health care privatization, as well as virulently anti-union and fossil fuel companies.

“Even A Good One Risks Upsetting The Balance”

When Democratic leaders finalized their spending legislation, they said they would vote down amendments in order to preserve a deal that ensured support from Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

“This one is so delicately balanced that ANY amendment, even a ‘good’ one, risks upsetting the balance,” tweeted Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). “So look forward to a lot of ‘no’ votes on things we would ordinarily want. Don’t be surprised.”








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