GOP “Manual for Destroying the Planet”

by Jake Johnson

Legislation that the Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee is set to mark up on Wednesday would take an axe to U.S. climate spending, cutting the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by a staggering 39 percent while promoting fossil fuel development as huge swaths of the planet face devastating heatwaves.

Kyle Jones, director of federal affairs with the Center for Policy Advocacy at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), said in a statement Tuesday that the Republican bill is “historically bad… the worst of its kind we’ve ever seen.”

Jones went on to say that the legislation—one of a dozen appropriations bills currently moving through the House—“reads like a ‘how-to’ manual for destroying the planet.”

“While Americans take refuge from record-setting extreme heat and suffer from wildfire smoke, the House majority proposes slashing environmental funding to the lowest level in 30 years,” said Jones. “This is a non-starter, based on galling scientific ignorance and reactionary politics.”

Made public last week amid record-shattering heat and other extreme weather across the U.S., the GOP’s Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies funding bill calls for $4 billion in total cuts to the EPA budget—slashing the agency’s clean water funds, emissions-reduction grants, and other programs.

The bill would also cut the Interior Department’s budget by $721 million, remove the Gray Wolf from the list of endangered and threatened wildlife, and prevent the EPA from considering the social cost of carbon in any regulatory action.

Meanwhile, the Republican legislation aims to bolster the industry fueling climate chaos by requiring the Interior Department to hold at least two offshore oil and gas lease sales in both the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska each year.

“The bill includes an exhaustive list of anti-environment riders that seek to derail any effort to combat climate change and undermine clean water and clean air protections,” Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), the top Democrat on the House Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, said during a hearing on the measure last week.

Republicans “give an open invitation to exploitative oil, gas, and mineral leasing by blocking environmental regulations and even overriding judicial review,” Pingree added. “At the same time, the bill suppresses clean energy production.”

The NRDC’s Josh Axelrod and Valerie Cleland wrote in a blog post that the legislation marks “the Republican majority’s latest in a series of attempts to hand over our public lands and waters to Big Oil.”

“To say these provisions would have devasting impacts on both climate and communities would be an understatement,” Axelrod and Cleland added. “This effort by the Republican House majority is a slap in the face to the millions of Americans suffering through weeks-long heatwaves and devastating floods and who are looking to Congress for solutions to meet this historic and challenging moment.”

As their appropriations bills make clear, House Republicans are looking to enact painful cuts across the federal government, drawing vocal opposition from congressional Democrats and increasing the likelihood of a shutdown.

Late last week, as Common Dreams reported, a GOP-controlled subcommittee advanced an agency funding bill that would cut the Department of Education’s budget to below the 2006 level and slash programs that help employ hundreds of thousands of teachers nationwide.

Additionally, as The Washington Post noted Tuesday, “a series of GOP bills to finance the federal government in 2024 would wipe out billions of dollars meant to repair the nation’s aging infrastructure, potentially undercutting a 2021 law that was one of Washington’s rare recent bipartisan achievements.”

“The proposed cuts could hamstring some of the most urgently needed public-works projects across the country, from improving rail safety to reducing lead contamination at schools,” the Post added.

Jake Johnson is a staff writer for Common Dreams. This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.


Mike Dater, our Starving Artiste, went by the old Wentworth Gardner place Sunday to investigate a ruckus. He was confronted by armed men who’d apparently slipped through a glitch in the matrix. When he asked them to hold it down, they drove him away with gunfire. He snapped this photo of the time-traveling miscreants before making a prudent retreat.


To Correct a Slight Inaccuracy…

For the record, the charming photograph to the left was, indeed, taken on Sunday by Mike Dater, our Starving Artiste. The individuals depicted in it, however, did not fall through a tear in the space-time continuum. 

They are, in fact, historical re-enactors, members of The Piscataqua Company, representing settlers of this region during the period from 1623 to 1640. Their outfit is one of four components of Harmon’s Snowshoemen. The other three groups are Benjamin Church’s Co, (1675-1707); Harmon’s Company of Snowshoemen, (1745-1760); and Jeremiah Eames’ Rangers, (1776-1777). This whole historical extravaganza is explained, much better than we can do here, at

The whole shebang got underway in 1994, for the next year’s Grand Encampment marking the 250th anniversary of the Siege Louisbourg.

The site is worth a visit just for the many magnificent photos, but the text is highly educational and entertaining, as well.


Analysis Details How Wall Street Underwriting Quietly Funnels Billions Into Fossil Fuels

by Kenny Stancil

A report out Monday sheds light on how big U.S. banks’ underwriting of bonds and equities for polluting corporations constitutes a “hidden pipeline” for fossil fuel financing.

It’s no secret that financial institutions play a leading role in driving the climate emergency. Since 2016, the year the Paris agreement took effect, the world’s 60 largest private banks have provided more than $5.5 trillion in financing to the fossil fuel industry, flouting their pledges to put themselves and their clients on a path to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions as the window to avert the worst consequences of the intensifying climate crisis rapidly closes.

But banks’ underwriting activities receive far less attention than their direct lending practices, even though both are instrumental in enabling fossil fuel expansion and must be reformed to rein in the industry most responsible for imperiling the planet’s livability.

That’s the key takeaway from a new analysis of Wall Street’s participation in capital markets published by the Sierra Club’s Fossil-Free Finance campaign.

“Banks play a vital role in capital markets,” the report explains. “Acting as underwriters, they are the gatekeepers of fossil fuel companies: they advise companies issuing bonds and equities, hold the vital information on the issuer, and help market the instruments to investors disclosing only the necessary risk.”

Since 2016, the six largest U.S. banks—JPMorgan Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs—have provided more than $433 billion in lending and underwriting to 30 of the companies doing the most to increase fossil fuel extraction and combustion worldwide, the report notes. More than three-fifths (61%) of that financing comes from underwriting, with those half-dozen banking giants issuing $266 billion in new bonds and equities for the world’s top 30 fossil fuel expansion firms.

Climate justice advocates have long criticized the concept of “net-zero” because, they argue, allowing planet-heating pollution to be “canceled out” via dubious carbon offset programs or risky carbon removal technologies is an accounting trick that doesn’t guarantee the significant emissions cuts needed to avoid the climate emergency’s most destructive impacts.

But even if one accepts the premise of net-zero, big U.S. banks’ policies on the topic are misleading.

“Despite the importance of capital markets activities in helping fossil fuel companies secure new funding, banks focus primarily on lending, while downplaying the importance of underwriting, when setting their emissions reduction targets,” the report says. “Banks are performing sleight of hand, distracting investors and regulators with net-zero transition plans that are half-finished, while continuing to funnel money to fossil fuel companies via capital markets with limited scrutiny.”

In a statement, Adele Shraiman, senior campaign strategist with the Sierra Club’s Fossil-Free Finance campaign, said that “without banks, fossil fuel companies cannot raise money through capital markets.”

“By downplaying their role in capital markets and refusing to include facilitated emissions in their climate targets, big U.S. banks are intentionally sidestepping a major source of real-world emissions and making it impossible to meet their own net-zero commitments,” said Shraiman.

According to the report: “Only three of the six major Wall Street banks include bond and equity underwriting in their sectoral emissions reduction targets—JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Wells Fargo. The remaining three banks have so far chosen to only apply emissions reduction targets to lending activities.”

However, “even among those who have set emissions reduction targets that include underwriting, insufficient disclosures and lack of standardization make it difficult to understand how robust banks’ facilitated emissions accounting methodologies are, and what progress they are making toward achieving their emissions reduction targets,” the report adds.

In a blog post, Shraiman wrote that “banks don’t want us to know all of the ways they help fossil fuel companies raise funds to continue building the pipelines, oil rigs, fracking wells, and coal mines that are destroying the climate and hurting communities.”

“But investors, regulators, and customers around the world see through their duplicity,” she continued. “We are demanding complete, robust, and transparent net-zero plans that cover all types of financing activities and will lead to real-world emissions reductions in line with our global climate goals.”

Monday’s report comes at a key moment in the fight to stop Wall Street from continuing to fund climate chaos.

As the Sierra Club observed, “Banks currently point to a lack of industry standards on underwriting to justify why they do not disclose or set targets for facilitated emissions.” However, the industry-led Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials is expected to release its updated methodology on accounting for and reducing facilitated emissions in the near future.

“Underwriting is a huge missing piece of net-zero transition plans, allowing big U.S. banks to continue to help fossil fuel companies raise billions of dollars with limited scrutiny,” Shraiman said. “By only focusing on emissions reduction targets for their lending activities, banks are conveniently excluding half of their fossil fuel financing from their climate commitments.”

“It’s time,” she added, “for the major Wall Street banks to adopt a robust and consistent methodology for accounting facilitated emissions, and take full responsibility for the climate impacts of their underwriting decisions.”

The International Energy Agency has stated unequivocally that there is “no need for investment in new fossil fuel supply in our net-zero pathway.”

After the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest assessment in March, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said that limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C is possible, “but it will take a quantum leap in climate action,” including a ban on approving and financing new coal, oil, and gas projects as well as a phaseout of existing fossil fuel production.

Kenny Stancil is a staff writer for Common Dreams. This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.


 “…one of the many fine things one has to admit is the way that the Army has carried the American democratic ideal to its logical conclusion, in the sense that not only do they prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race, creed and color, but also on the grounds of ability.”

– Tom Lehrer

The gundalow Piscataqua was going about its business, hauling paying passengers down the eponymous river, when, as it was passing Kittery Foreside, an apparent pirate in a small boat approached about midship on the starboard side. Unfortunately and inexplicably, our Wandering Photographer seems to have lost interest in this incident, and failed to record the outcome. Our best guess, given the asymmetry of the opposing forces, is that the passengers managed to repel the freebooter.


International Leaders in the Green Hydrogen Revolution

China is the favorite to win the “Green Hydrogen Sweepstakes.” They currently produce one third of the planet’s green hydrogen. In the U.S.A., 95 percent of the hydrogen produced is blue, made from fossil fuels. This still creates CO2.  Green hydrogen, by definition, must be sourced from renewable energy: solar panels, hydro-electric or wind turbines.

With the entire world awakening to the many advantages green hydrogen offers, many countries are investing heavily to become established producers.  As Jules Kortenhorst, CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute (the premier clean energy “think tank” consulted by world leaders for decades), recently said at the Green Hydrogen Catapult (GHC) meeting in Glasgow, UK in November of 2021: “Green hydrogen is a critical part of a sustainable energy future and one of the largest business opportunities of our time.  It is the key to decarbonizing hard-to-abate sectors of the world economy.”  The GHC is a coalition of green hydrogen leaders working with the United Nations High Level Champions for Climate Action.

Steel making, railroads, aviation, heavy-duty trucks, city buses, shipping, and heating and cooling are the “hard to abate sectors” needing clean green hydrogen and green ammonia, which is useful in long duration renewable storage and as a transport fuel for fuel cells vehicles.  Both can be manufactured, stored, and transported for end use anywhere in the world.  Those countries with deserts near oceans are realizing they’re sitting on a gold mine of opportunity.  They are building solar powered green hydrogen plants that desalinate the sea water, separate hydrogen and oxygen using electrolysis and combine the hydrogen with nitrogen from our atmosphere (78 percent nitrogen) to make green ammonia. In the process of producing energy, they also generate drinking water and fertilizer. 

Saudi Arabia is investing billions to make green ammonia at their showcase city of Neom.  That ammonia has already been presold to a European city that plans to power their entire public bus system using green hydrogen.  Australia is mostly a huge desert surrounded by ocean.  Their national energy policy is very focused on building green hydrogen and ammonia plants.  This plan creates good jobs while making their children’s future energy infrastructure clean and green.

Chile and Peru have reliable, substantial winds and deserts near their coasts that are perfect for making green ammonia.  In addition to the high paying technical jobs that building the clean renewable energy infrastructure will create, these countries want to create more export revenue. 

In Germany’s region of Lower Saxony, the rail system is already operating 14 trains that are using H2 fuel.  The trains connect Hamburg with numerous other regional cities such as Bremerhaven and Cuxhaven.  Many other European Union countries have inquired about using this model for their railroad system. 

Meanwhile in the UK, ZeroAvia has developed the first H2-fueled aircraft engine.  They expect to demonstrate flights up to 500 miles with aircraft of up to 20 seat capacity by late 2023.  The City of Seoul, South Korea, will complete the replacement of its 1300 city buses with ones powered by clean hydrogen by 2030.  The plans envision replacing every municipal vehicle by 2030 with ones powered by H2.  Other South Korean towns and cities are already showing interest to follow this example. Kia recently announced they intend to make a hydrogen powered car that will cost half of what the Japanese Toyotas and Honda H2 cars cost here in 2023.

The countries bordering the North Sea have formed a consortium called “The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking” to combine offshore wind energy with electrolysers to produce green H2.  The North Sea region is seen as ideal due to the consistent winds and shallow water suited for turbine installation.  ITM Power and Orsted along with other partners have received funding to integrate hydrogen electrolysers and offshore wind towers.

The energy group Total Energy and the hydrogen gas manufacturer Air Liquide are setting up a joint venture to build hydrogen refueling stations for heavy-duty vehicles in France, Benelux and Germany. The joint venture will be in place by the end of 2023.   

In Italy the largest European pipeline and gas storage company, Snam, has been experimenting with blending H2 into its current natural gas pipelines to provide fuel for heating and cooling and for industrial customers.  They have determined that most of their pipelines could handle even 100 percent H2 with only minimal materials and infrastructure changes.  Additionally, they claim that their pipelines would not only provide a network for transporting H2 to users, but the pipelines could also serve to store surplus H2 gas using compression. 

Internet searches for these projects provide many links, or contact us at:

Hydrogen Advocates of NH

Kent Howard, Community Energy Activist, Author, Journalist

Peter Somssich, former State Representative, Science Technology & Energy Committee

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