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FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Announces COVID-19 Winter Preparedness Plan

Administration focused efforts on making vaccinations, testin, and treatments even more widely available and accessible as COVID-19 cases increase
 

The Biden Administration’s plan to stay ahead of an increase in COVID-19 cases this winter includes working with states, medical providers, businesses, and other groups to expand awareness about updated COVID-19 vaccines, highly effective treatments, and resources to stand up additional vaccination sites and other delivery options to make it easier and more convenient to get vaccinations and treatments. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features

The Biden Administration announced a plan to stay ahead of an increase in COVID-19 cases this winter. While COVID-19 is not the disruptive force it once was, the virus continues to evolve, and cases are on the rise again as families are spending more time indoors and gathering for the holidays. Throughout the COVID-19 response, this Administration has been prepared for whatever the virus throws our way – and this moment is no different.
 
The Administration’s COVID-19 Winter Preparedness Plan includes:
 
Expanding easy access to free COVID-19 testing options in the winter. COVID-19 testing is an important tool to help mitigate and slow the spread of the virus. The Administration is encouraging Americans to use at-home COVID-19 tests when they have symptoms of COVID-19, before and after traveling for the holidays, or visiting indoors with immunocompromised or vulnerable individuals. The Administration has made free COVID-19 testing widely available and easily accessible. This includes providing over 15,000 free community testing sites nationwide, covering over-the-counter tests under Medicare, and requiring all health insurance plans to cover eight free at-home tests per month per individual, which can be easily accessed at local pharmacies and online. Ahead of continued increases in cases, the Administration is taking new action to ensure that all Americans have easy and free access to COVID-19 tests in the winter months.
 

  • Making free at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests available through COVIDTests.govThe Administration is announcing that COVIDTests.gov is open for a limited round of ordering this winter. Starting today, all U.S. households can order a total of four at-home COVID-19 tests that will be mailed directly to them for free. In the absence of Congress providing additional funding for the nation’s COVID-19 response, the Administration has acted with its limited existing funding to add more at-home COVID-19 tests to the nation’s stockpile and support this round of ordering ahead of continued increases in COVID-19 cases. Orders for this round of testing will begin to ship starting the week of December 19th and continue in the weeks ahead. The Administration will also make tests available to individuals who are blind or have low-vision through this program. People who have difficulty accessing the internet or need additional support placing an order can call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489) to get help in English, Spanish, and more than 150 other languages – 8:00 a.m. to midnight E.T., seven days a week. For more information, people can visit www.COVIDTests.gov.  
     
  • Distributing more free tests to Americans at trusted locations. In addition to continuing to support access to free COVID-19 tests in schools, community health centers, rural health clinics, long-term care facilities, and other convenient locations, the Administration is announcing additional distribution programs to reach people with free, at-home tests. This includes distributing free at-home tests at more than 6,500 Department of Housing and Urban Development-assisted rental housing properties serving seniors; and expanding a program to distribute free at-home tests to as many as 500 major food banks for them to distribute to people in their communities.

 
Making vaccinations and treatments readily available to all Americans as cases rise. As we have throughout the pandemic, the federal government continues to leverage all capabilities to support state, local, territorial, and Tribal communities to prepare for, prevent, and respond to increased incidence of COVID-19. That includes working with states, medical providers, businesses, and other groups to expand awareness about updated COVID-19 vaccines, highly effective treatments, and resources to stand up additional vaccination sites and other delivery options to make it easier and more convenient to get vaccinations and treatments. 

  • Offering resources and assistance to increase vaccinations and respond to a possible surge. Today, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra is sending a letter to all governors outlining key actions that he would like state leaders to take as they prepare for increased cases and hospitalizations this winter, and reminding them of federal supports that are available for their COVID-19 responses. This includes setting up additional mobile and pop-up vaccination sites, surge testing sites, as well as Test to Treat sites where Americans can not only get tested for free, but also can get prescribed and dispensed safe, effective COVID-19 treatments right on site if they test positive and treatment is appropriate for them.
     
  • Collaborating with communities to open pop-up and/or mobile vaccination sites. Communities across the nation are answering the call to expand vaccine access through the increased presence of mobile and pop-up vaccination clinics. This includes efforts in Los Angeles County to open up to 800 pop-up clinics per week; expanded use of mobile vaccination, testing, and treatment units, as well as outbound vaccine and treatment calls to people age 65 and older, at-home administration of vaccines and free home delivery of treatments in New York City; and an increase in Chicago’s at-home vaccine administration program, which provides vaccines for up to 10 people per visit in their place of residence. The Administration has been engaging jurisdictions on the availability of federal resources to continue and increase these efforts, including through use of flexible single-dose vials, and will continue to engage state, local, Tribal, and territorial leaders in the weeks ahead.
     
  • Getting additional resources to community health centers and aging and disability networks to support COVID-19 vaccination efforts. The Administration for Community Living is awarding $125 million to support community-based organizations in the aging and disability networks to hold accessible vaccine clinics and provide in-home vaccinations, transportation, and other supportive services to increase COVID-19 vaccinations for older adults and people with disabilities.

 
Preparing personnel and resources. Together with states, we will monitor the impacts of variants, cases, and hospitalizations on our communities and – should it become necessary – escalate our support to states and communities. The Administration stands ready with federal capabilities to support urgent needs as they present, including through clinical staffing, personal protective equipment and supplies, and technical assistance. 
 
Readying clinical personnel for deployment as needed to support jurisdictions. The Administration continues to make federal teams and medical personnel available to alleviate strains on hospitals and health care systems through the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS’) Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR), the U.S. Public Health Services Corps, and the Department of Defense. Federal agencies can also help offer support for states to take actions, such as providing more flexibility to hospitals balancing patients and staffing, exercising telemedicine options, pursuing staffing options such as contracts, and employing the National Guard to help alleviate strains on health and medical facilities.  
 

  • Pre-positioning critical supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile. Tanks to the President’s leadership, the U.S. government has hundreds of millions of N-95 masks, billions of gloves, tens of millions of gowns, and over 100,000 ventilators stored in the Strategic National Stockpile—all ready to ship out if and when states need them. The Administration has pre-positioned these supplies in strategic locations across the country so that we can send them to states that need them immediately.
     
  • Closely monitoring emerging variants and assessing their potential impacts on testing, treatments and vaccines. This winter, federal agencies will continue to monitor Omicron subvariants and the spread of any other emerging variants of the virus in the United States. This includes genomic surveillance of specimens from representative populations to detect new variants and to monitor trends in currently circulating variants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracks and reports on genomic sequencing results from a variety of sources, including public health and commercial laboratories.  CDC also recently expanded variant reporting from additional sources, including wastewater and through international air travel. The Traveler-Based Genomic Surveillance Program currently collects samples from international air travelers arriving from more than 25 countries at several major U.S. airports. This data, which provides an early warning system for detection of variants and trends over time, is publicly shared on the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker.


Focusing on protecting the highest-risk Americans. As we have done since the beginning of the Administration, we remain focused on meeting the needs and protecting Americans at highest risk of severe illness from COVID-19. This includes residents of nursing homes and other congregate care facilities, where we know vaccination rates remain too low. This also includes older Americans, individuals who are immunocompromised, disabled individuals, and others who face a higher risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.   

  • Releasing a winter playbook for nursing homes and long-term care facilities. The Administration will release a winter playbook for administrators of nursing homes and long-term care facilities that summarizes the actions these facilities should take to reduce serious illness, prevent hospitalizations and deaths, and minimize disruptions in their communities. Nursing homes often serve residents at great risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19, and congregate care settings have an increased risk of spread of respiratory infections. All facilities should take concrete actions to ensure that every resident is educated on and offered an updated COVID-19 shot; that every resident who tests positive for COVID-19 is evaluated and offered treatment; and that every facility is taking steps to improve its indoor air quality.
     
  • Expanding the pool of providers that may administer COVID-19 vaccinations. In addition to working with their partners, staff at nursing homes will now be able to administer COVID-19 vaccines to all residents. HHS will work with states to launch teams and use partner with their Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs), home health agencies, and Emergency Medical Technicians to deliver vaccines to residents of long-term care facilities. On December 1, 2022, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also added COVID-19 vaccination rates of health care staff and the residents at these facilities to the “Measures under Consideration” list, the list of measures it will potentially consider for certain Medicare quality payment programs, reinforcing its commitment to increased vaccination and improving outcomes for patients.
     
  • Reaching out to governors on nursing home vaccinations. In Secretary Becerra’s letter to governors reminding them of available federal COVID-19 supports, he also highlighted how their states are performing as compared to their peers on vaccinating residents of long-term care facilities, and asked governors for their assistance and partnership in increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates for long-term care residents and staff. CMS leadership will also be reaching out to the jurisdictions with the lowest vaccination rates at these long-term care facilities to remind them of what additional steps they can take to increase vaccination rates among seniors and long-term care facility residents.
     
  • Encouraging hospitals to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to patients before discharge. HHS leadership, including Secretary Becerra, has called upon hospitals through direct outreach to vaccinate their unvaccinated patients or make sure they are up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccinations before they are discharged, especially if they are heading to a nursing home.
     
  • Expanding access to high-quality masks in communities. In January 2022, HHS made up to 400 million N-95 respirators from the Strategic National Stockpile available through tens of thousands of locations including pharmacies and grocery stores, so Americans could have convenient, free access to high-quality masks. About 270 million masks were sent out as part of this initiative, with many still available in stores nationwide. To expand access to these high-quality masks, HHS will offer guidance to participating pharmacies and grocery stores on how they can to work with local health clinics, aging and disability networks, community-based organizations, and health departments to distribute these masks more widely, so that any spare inventory can be utilized through distribution to even more locations.
     
  • Ensuring that every individual has a plan for COVID-19 this winter. With updated COVID-19 vaccines, at-home tests, and effective oral antiviral treatments widely available, the Administration encourages every individual American to have a plan for how to prevent and respond to COVID-19 this winter. CDC has launched a COVID-19 Personal Action Plan, an easy-to-use guide for individuals, caregivers, and clinicians that helps guide individuals through making a plan for where to access free tests, the location of their closest Test to Treat site, and what to ask their provider on treatments if they test positive. The Personal Action Plan helps lay these steps out in an easy-to-use template so that all Americans – especially those at highest risk for severe illness – can decrease the risk of COVID-19 and, if they become infected, have a plan to quickly seek out treatment and avoid its worst outcomes.

Biden-Harris Administration Releases Inflation Reduction Act Guidebook for Clean Energy and Climate Programs

Solar powered New York State farm. New York Governor Kathy Hochul, Co-Chair, U.S. Climate Alliance stated: “States are leading the way to a cleaner, greener climate and with the extraordinary investments made possible through the IRA, we’re getting ready to transform our states and our country. Thanks to the hard work of President Biden, Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, New York and the United States are poised to rapidly reduce emissions, support green jobs, save money for hard-working Americans, and improve the health of our communities. This new resource is a critical tool to help get the job done.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The White House released the first edition of a new resource titled Building a Clean Energy Economy: A Guidebook to the Inflation Reduction Act’s Investments in Clean Energy and Climate Action, which provides clear descriptions of the law’s tax incentives and funding programs to build a clean energy economy, lower energy costs, tackle climate change, and reduce harmful pollution. The Guidebook will help state, local, territorial, and Tribal leaders, the private sector, non-profit organizations, homeowners, and communities better understand how they can benefit from these investments and unlock the full potential of the law. The Guidebook walks through the law program-by-program and provides background on each program’s purpose, eligibility requirements, period of availability, and other key details. 

In a letter at the beginning of the Guidebook, John Podesta, President Biden’s Senior Advisor for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation, said:
 
“When President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law in August 2022, he said the new law ‘is not just about today, it’s about tomorrow. It’s about delivering progress and prosperity to American families.’ The Inflation Reduction Act makes a historic commitment to build a new clean energy economy, powered by American innovators, American workers, and American manufacturers, that will create good-paying, union jobs and cut the pollution that is fueling the climate crisis and driving environmental injustice.”
 
The Inflation Reduction Act Guidebook follows the successful model of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Guidebook and creates a roadmap for the clean energy and climate funding available under the law at the program level.
 
Since President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act four months ago, his administration has been working quickly to design, develop, and implement its programs. This Guidebook provides information on current and prospective clean energy and climate programs. In the coming weeks and months, new developments will be published on www.CleanEnergy.gov to keep stakeholders and potential beneficiaries up to date on the latest deadlines and details.
 
The Inflation Reduction Act builds on the foundational climate and clean energy investments in President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Through his historic legislative accomplishments, along with key executive actions and international leadership, the Administration is delivering on the President’s ambitious climate agenda centered on workers, families, and communities. President Biden has made transparent communication and open engagement top priorities as a means to ensure successful implementation and to fully unlock the unprecedented benefits of the law. This Guidebook is critical step toward delivering on that vision.
 
To view the Guidebook in full, click here.
 
Here’s what leaders have to say about the new Inflation Reduction Act Guidebook:
 
New York Governor Kathy Hochul, Co-Chair, U.S. Climate Alliance: “States are leading the way to a cleaner, greener climate and with the extraordinary investments made possible through the IRA, we’re getting ready to transform our states and our country. Thanks to the hard work of President Biden, Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, New York and the United States are poised to rapidly reduce emissions, support green jobs, save money for hard-working Americans, and improve the health of our communities. This new resource is a critical tool to help get the job done.”

Mayor Sylvester Turner, Houston, Texas: “Cities have long been on the frontlines of climate change, but the federal support provided by the Inflation Reduction Act will allow us to take action like never before. We thank Congress and President Biden for passing such historic legislation and providing guidance to lawmakers which will light the path forward to justice driven environmental policies, clean energy economies and a livable planet for all.”
 
Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, Madison, Wisconsin, Co-Chair of Climate Mayors: “As the incoming Chair of Climate Mayors, I am pleased that Congress and the White House are delivering critical resources for climate action in the form of the historic Inflation Reduction act, and providing strong guidance for policy makers. We are eager to begin implementing the Inflation Reduction Act at the local level and will be making use of the climate provisions, rebates, and tax breaks within it to better the lives of people in our communities while also securing a sustainable, resilient, and prosperous future for all.”
 
Abigail Ross Hopper, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA): “The Inflation Reduction Act is the most robust and forward-looking climate bill ever enacted. Solar and storage companies are eager for clear guidance on the bill so they can focus on creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs for all Americans and deploying low-cost, reliable energy in communities across the country. Timely, easy to understand discussion of this transformative – but complex – new law is exactly what consumers and industry alike need and we look forward to referring to the IRA Guidebook for this valuable information as we work with other allies to build an equitable and just clean energy future.”
 
Lori Lodes, Executive Director, Climate Power: “Passing the Inflation Reduction Act was an historic victory in the fight against climate change. Now, it’s time for the hard work of implementing the law and making sure people understand how the climate and clean energy investments will positively impact their lives and keep their communities healthy and strong. Cleaner, cheaper, American-made energy is taking off. The guidebook is a critical resource to help people and communities get the information needed to use the incentives found in the climate law.”
 
Faye Park, President, U.S. PIRG: “The new Implementation Guidebook for the Inflation Reduction Act makes it clear: Consumers, cities, states, businesses and community organizations now have myriad opportunities to reduce pollution that makes us sick and worsens global warming. Cities can swap dirty buses and garbage trucks for clean electric ones. Your favorite home chef can get a clean electric or induction stove that doesn’t increase the risk of asthma for their kids. All of us can save energy in our homes and businesses. We encourage everyone to use this great resource to learn more.”
 
Lisa Frank, Executive Director, Washington Legislative Office, Environment America: “Climate change is a problem that impacts all of us. Now, the Inflation Reduction Act helps us all be part of the solution too, by making it cheaper and easier for Americans to go solar, purchase an electric vehicle or weatherize their home. This new implementation guidebook will help raise awareness of new tax incentives and other programs we can use to take President Biden up on this historic offer to save energy, save money and save the planet. We’re excited to put it to work.”
 
David Masur, Executive Director, PennEnvironment: “The Inflation Reduction Act’s tax credits and climate programs will help Pennsylvanians breathe cleaner air, make their homes more energy efficient and expand our use of clean, renewable energy. Thanks to the new Implementation Guidebook, it’ll be easier for cities, school districts, community organizations and all Pennsylvanians to understand and utilize these beneficial programs.”

NYC Celebrates Holiday Season

The famous Christmas Tree above the Rockefeller Center ice skating rink is a hallmark of the holidays in New York © Karen Rubin/goingplacefarandnear.com

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

The arrival of Santa on his sleigh to close out the 96th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade ushers in the beginning of or the holiday season throughout New York City and the tree lighting at Rockefeller Center means festivities are well underway. 

As one of the most iconic holiday destinations, NYC once again hosts a potpourri of festive experiences, attractions and events across dining, shopping, culture and entertainment throughout the city. Here are highlights:

HOLIDAY PERFORMANCES

A New York City holiday staple: Radio City Rockettes performing Christmas Spectacular Wooden Soldiers © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
  • DREAM BIG: Big Apple Circus Returns to Lincoln Center for 45th Anniversary, Nov. 9–Jan. 1. For eight weeks, Big Top at Lincoln Center will be home to astonishing wonders and daring acrobatics, setting imaginations soaring to the most astounding, awe-inspiring heights.
  • Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes, Nov. 18–Jan. 2 has dazzled audiences of all ages for nearly a century with incredible costumes, festive songs, synchronized high kicks, new acts and several shows daily.
  • A Christmas Carola one-man show on Broadway, Nov. 21–Jan. 1. In this astonishing Broadway adaptation, Tony Award–winning actor Jefferson Mays tackles more than 50 roles in this season’s limited run of A Christmas Carol at the Nederlander Theatre. The beloved Dickens story featuring notable characters—Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the four ghosts—is making its return for the first time since 2019 and will enchant theatergoers with its redemptive story.
  • George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker Presented by New York City Ballet, Nov. 25–Dec. 31 at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center returns for its annual performance featuring exquisite costumes, magnificent sets and Tchaikovsky’s iconic score that transports audiences to a land of twirling snowflakes, leaping candy canes, waltzing flowers and more. On November 27, TDF Autism Friendly Performances will present the first-ever Autism-Friendly Performance of New York City Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker.
  • Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at New York City Center, Nov. 30–Dec. 24, returns to New York City Center for a season that has become a joyous winter tradition. Led by Artistic Director Robert Battle, Ailey’s extraordinary dancers will move audiences with world and company premieres by Kyle Abraham, Jamar Roberts, Paul Taylor, and Twyla Tharp. In addition to repertory favorites, founder Alvin Ailey’s choreography is spotlighted with a new production of Survivors and the staging of over a half dozen classic works, including the must-see American masterpiece Revelations.
  • The Magic Flute Holiday Presentation at The Met Opera, Dec. 16–Jan. 6. The Met Opera’s abridged, English-language version of Mozart’s magical fairy tale is a classic holiday treat for audiences of all ages, bringing the charming story and enchanting music to life. This year’s series features Maestro Duncan Ward, making his company debut conducting Julie Taymor’s irresistible production.

CULTURAL EVENTS

The NY Phil annual tradition returns Dec. 16-17 with the holiday Brass and former Philharmonic Principal Trumpet Philip Smith as host, conductor, and trumpet (Photo by Jennifer Taylor)

HOLIDAY LIGHTS

Amaze Light Festival is the newest holiday attraction in New York City © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
  • Shine Bright Only at Hudson Yards, throughout the holidays, Hudson Yards, Manhattan. Featuring over 2 million twinkling lights, Shine Bright Only at Hudson Yards, presented by Wells Fargo, adorns the neighborhood with 115-miles of string lights, 725 evergreen trees dressed and 16-foot-tall illuminated set pieces in the shape of hot air balloons arranged through the Public Square and Gardens with a 32-foot hot air balloon centerpiece suspended in The Great Room of The Shops and Restaurants.
  • Lightscape at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Nov. 16–Jan. 8, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. Explore the garden after dark at the illuminated Lightscape, celebrating the beauty of nature with an enchanting one-mile trail through BBG’s 52-acre landscape. Sold out in its first season, this year’s after-dark, illuminated spectacular features new works of art alongside returning favorites. Enjoy the Winter Cathedral tunnel, Fire Garden and Sea of Light, as well as new site-specific light works by local artists, accompanied by a curated soundtrack.
  • Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights, Nov. 18–Jan. 8, Bronx Park, The Bronx. With more than 360 lanterns representing nearly 90 animal and plant species, Bronx Zoo’s family-centric holiday lights festival will connect visitors with real wildlife and wild places. During the evenings, the park comes to life with holiday cheer as immersive light displays, custom-designed animal lanterns (with some life-size, some larger-than-life-size) and animated light shows sparkle across the zoo. The celebration is complete with seasonal treats, classic holiday music and other festive entertainment. The beloved tradition is sure to enchant visitors of all ages, making it the perfect way to kick off the holidays this year.
  • NYBG GLOW, Select dates from November 18–January 14, Bedford Park, The Bronx. Discover the beauty of New York Botanical Garden through NYBG GLOW, which will illuminate the garden’s landmark landscape and historic buildings after dark with a newly expanded 1.5-mile colorful experience. Building upon sold-out evenings the past two years, the event is expanded across more of the garden’s collections.
  • Amaze Light Festival at Citi Field, Select dates from Nov. 20–Jan. 8, Flushing, Queens. Guests are greeted by the lovable characters Zing and Sparky from the Amaze storybook, who bring the stage dancers, singers and light show to life with their magic powers. Visit the holiday market and grab a treat at Sparky’s Sweet Spot. Enjoy culinary treats, specialty drinks and cocktails. Zip down Zing’s icy Thrill Hill, take in the wonder on a train ride, and write a letter to Santa.
  • NYC Winter Lantern Festival: Journey to the East, Oct. 21–Jan. 8, St. George, Staten Island. The NYC Winter Lantern Festival is back for its fourth year to transform a new venue, SIUH Community Park in Staten Island, into an immersive world of light. Enjoy over eight acres of luminescence, live DJ, projection mapping, food vendors.
  • NYC Winter Lantern Festival: Illuminate the Farm at Queens County Farm Museum, Nov. 11–Jan. 8, Glen Oaks, Queens. Back for its second year, the NYC Winter Lantern Festival transforms Queens County Farm into an immersive and radiant oasis with festive lights and handmade lanterns in the shape of flowers, tractors, farm animals.
  • Christmas Lights Tour of Dyker Heights from A Slice of Brooklyn Bus Tours, Dec. 1–31 (except 24 & 25), Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. Experience the extravagant Christmas light displays in Dyker Heights, also known as “Dyker Lights.” This guided bus tour, departing from Manhattan, offers visitors a special experience to view the uniquely decorated homes, learn about the history and stories of the neighborhood tradition.

ICE-SKATING, OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES:

Holidays in New York City: Ice skating at Bryant Park © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
  • The Rink at Rockefeller Center, Nov. 5 throughout the holidays. Skate under the iconic Christmas tree, a quintessential NYC experience on the world-famous rink. In collaboration with Coach, Rockefeller Center will unveil this year’s activations, including a bespoke holiday gift shop, custom hospitality cart serving special treats, and live onsite patch customization for a curated line of Coach products. Santa will join visitors on the ice in December.
  • The Rink at Bryant Park, Oct. 28 throughout the holidays, Midtown Manhattan. Enjoy NYC’s free 17,000-square-foot outdoor ice-skating rink at Bryant Park’s Winter Village. Visitors can also enjoy the Holiday Shops, free shows, events, activities, and eats and drinks at The Lodge.
  • Wollman Rink in Central Park, Oct. 23–throughout the holidays, Midtown Manhattan. Enjoy skating in Central Park with the picturesque Manhattan skyline in the background. This year, Wollman Rink is partnering with Culture Pass.
  •  Classic Harbor Line Holiday-Themed Cruises, throughout the holidays, Manhattan. Enjoy four-course holiday brunch cruises, a Cocoa and Carols cruise and more holiday themes, while sailing across the East and Hudson Rivers with views of the NYC skyline and Lady Liberty.
  • City Cruises Holiday-Themed Cruises, throughout the holidays, Manhattan. Enjoy a NYC dining cruise (available Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s) featuring festive decor, meals and stunning views of the City while sailing across the East and Hudson Rivers from the glass-enclosed deck.

FESTIVE HOLIDAY SHOPPING

  • Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park, Oct. 28 throughout the holiday season, Bryant Park, Manhattan.
  • Shop at Grand Central Terminal, Nov. 14–Dec. 24, Midtown Manhattan. Grand Central Terminal welcomes back its famous indoor Holiday Fair to the splendor of Vanderbilt Hall after a two-year hiatus. The Grand Central Holiday Fair is one of New York City’s most coveted attractions, welcoming thousands of locals, commuters and visitors for a curated holiday shopping and gifting experience. This year’s event features 36 vendors, including Ekologic, Garden of Silver and Rebel Designs.
  • Union Square Holiday Market, Nov. 17–Dec. 24, Union Square, Manhattan. Urbanspace’s longest running holiday market returns with over 160 vendors featuring unique gifts created by local craftsmen, artists and entrepreneurs.
  • Brooklyn Flea Holiday Market, Sundays, Nov. 24–Dec. 24, Dumbo, Brooklyn. Come to Pearl Street for Dumbo’s iconic Brooklyn Flea Holiday Market. One of the borough’s most popular attractions, shoppers support local vendors and cross off holiday shopping with vintage and antique items, crafts and gourmet food stands.
  • Grand Holiday Bazaar, Sundays, Nov. 27–Dec. 18, Upper West Side, Manhattan. Find one-of-a-kind handmade holiday decoration and giftable items: candles, skincare, fashion, handbags, vintage accessories and collectibles, handmade jewelry and furniture, rare antique silver and glassware, and of course delicious artisanal treats and foods. Annually, the market provides 1,000 independent local merchants with much-needed affordable retail space.
  • Columbus Circle Holiday Market, Nov. 28–Dec. 24, Upper West Side, Manhattan. Internationally known as one of the most elegant places for holiday shopping, visitors will lose themselves in aisles of art, jewelry, home goods and delicious eats from local artisans and designers, with the backdrop of NYC’s iconic Central Park.

NEW YEAR’S  

New Year’s Eve in Times Square, NYC
  • New Year’s Eve Times Square Ball Drop, Dec. 31–Jan. 1, Times Square, Manhattan: The Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball will sparkle in Times Square all season, but watching its descent in person on New Year’s Eve is a spectacular, once-in-a-lifetime way to ring in the New Year. Guests can also stop by the New Year’s Eve Confetti Wishing Wall from December 1 on to submit (in person and online herefor nye wishing wall) a wish for the New Year on a piece of official NYE confetti that will be dropped at midnight as the ball drops. 
  •  NYRR Midnight Run in Central Park, Dec 31–Jan. 1, Midtown Manhattan: Start the new year off on the right—and left—foot at the NYRR Midnight Run. Join the fun and celebrate as 2022 comes to a close; the countdown to 2023 begins at 11:59pm, and at the stroke of midnight, a fireworks display will light up the night sky and kick off the start of the 4-mile race.
  • Coney Island Polar Plunge, January 1, Coney Island, Brooklyn: Each year on January 1, members of the Polar Bear Club and anyone else brave enough to participate venture into the frigid waters at Coney Island. Watch hundreds of daring souls plunge into the Atlantic Ocean, where the temperature of the water hovers right above 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the air temperature can be well below freezing. The event is free, but in lieu of admission, participants are encouraged to donate to community organizations.

For additional holiday celebrations and itineraries, visit nycgo.com/holidays.

For the official source on all there is to see and do in New York City, go to nycgo.com

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Photo Highlights: Holiday Season Officially Underway, With Arrival of Santa at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The 96th edition of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® got underway with more than 5,000 volunteers, 16 giant character balloons, 28 floats, 40 novelty and heritage inflatables, 700 clowns, 12 marching bands and 10 performance groups, plus a host of musical stars and celebrities, climaxed with the arrival of the one-and-only Santa Claus on his grand sleigh © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® returned to full strength on Thursday, November 24 to usher in the holiday season. The 96th edition of Macy’s iconic spectacle got underway with the cheer 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…Let’s Have A Parade During the course of the parade, hundreds of thousands of onlookers thrilled to see more than 5,000 volunteers, 16 giant character balloons, 28 floats, 40 novelty and heritage inflatables, 700 clowns, 12 marching bands and 10 performance groups, plus a host of musical stars and celebrities, climaxed with the arrival of the one-and-only Santa Claus on his grand sleigh.

Will Coss, Executive Producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, cuts the ribbon to launch the  96th edition of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

 “Since its first march in 1924 and through the decades, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has served to bring joy to the millions who gather nationwide each year to experience it with friends and family,” said Will Coss, Executive Producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, who cut the ribbon to launch the parade. “This November, as we once again set the stage for the start of the holiday season, we are thrilled to showcase another spectacle full of magic and wonder that will help create everlasting memories with loved ones during this special time of year.”

 
Mario Lopez and family ride in the iconic turkey float that leads the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade down Central Park West to 34th Street  © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Stars on 34th Street

Arriving at 34st Street by float were Paula Abdul; Big Time Rush; Cam; Jordan Davis; Blue’s Clues & You! host Josh Dela Cruz; Gloria, Sasha and Emily Estefan; Jimmy Fallon & The Roots; Fitz and the Tantrums; Kirk Franklin; Mario Lopez and family; Ziggy Marley; Miss America 2022 Emma Broyles; the cast and Muppets of Sesame Street®; Sean Paul; the cast of Peacock’s Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin (Adam Devine, Sarah Hyland and Flula Borg); Joss Stone; Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue; Jordin Sparks; Dionne Warwick; Betty Who; and Santa Claus.

Mario Lopez and family ride in the iconic turkey float that leads the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade down Central Park West to 34th Street  © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Ballooning Icons

Conceived during the Parade’s infancy, the giant character balloons have become a signature of the annual celebration. Since 1927, the world’s most popular characters have been transformed into high-flying art in the sky. Originally inspired by marionettes, the Parade’s balloons first debuted as upside down puppets filled with air, which were carried down the Parade route on sticks. The design later evolved to include helium, making them high-flying giants. Over time Macy’s artists innovated creating several types of inflatables including balloonheads (inflated heads sitting atop of a costumed participant), balloonicles (hybrid inflatables with vehicles inside) and most recently, trycaloons (tandem tricycles with an inflated balloon character).

Diary of A Wimpy Kid® by Abrams Books © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
New giants joining the line-up this year included Bluey by BBC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
DINO and Baby DINO by Sinclair Oil © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Stuart the Minion from Illumination © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

New giants joining the line-up this year included Bluey by BBC; Diary of A Wimpy Kid®by Abrams Books; DINO and Baby DINO by Sinclair Oil; and Stuart the Minion from Illumination.

A Funko Pop!-inspired Grogu™ by Funko and in partnership with Lucasfilm © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
The classic Pillsbury Doughboy by Pillsbury © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
The Boss Baby from DreamWorks Animation © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Making return appearances to the skies above New York City were giant balloon favorites including Ada TwistScientist by Netflix; Astronaut Snoopy by PEANUTS Worldwide; The Boss Baby from DreamWorks Animation; Goku by Toei Animation; a Funko Pop!-inspired Grogu™ by Funko and in partnership with Lucasfilm;Chase from PAW Patrol®by Nickelodeon; Pillsbury Doughboyby PillsburyRed Titan from “Ryan’s World” by Sunlight Entertainment and pocket.watch; Ronald McDonald®by McDonald’s®USA; Papa Smurf from The Smurfsby Nickelodeon; Pikachu& Eevee™ by The Pokémon Company International; and SpongeBob SquarePants & Gary by Nickelodeon.

Ada TwistScientist by Netflix © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is famous for its giant balloons, a signature of the event since 1927 © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Goku by Toei Animation © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
SpongeBob SquarePants & Gary by Nickelodeon © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Smokey Bear by the USDA Forest Service © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Ronald McDonald® by McDonald’s®USA © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Astronaut Snoopy by PEANUTS Worldwide © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Papa Smurf from The Smurfsby Nickelodeon
Red Titan from “Ryan’s World” by Sunlight Entertainment and pocket.watch;

The inflatable lineup also included a new balloonicle of Striker, the U.S. Soccer Star by FOX Sports. Returning inflatables include Sinclair’s Baby DINOs, the Go Bowlingballoonicles; Hot Air Dolly by Universal Orlando Resort, Smokey Bear by the USDA Forest Service; and Macy’s very own special reindeer Tiptoe and Toni the Bandleader Bear.

The inflatable lineup also included a new balloonicle of Striker, the U.S. Soccer Star by FOX Sports, in honor of the US Mens Team playing at the World Cup in Qatar © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
The inflatable lineup also included a new balloonicle of Striker, the U.S. Soccer Star by FOX Sports, in honor of the US Mens Team playing at the World Cup in Qatar © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Floating Fantasy

The Parade’s signature floats transported spectators to magical worlds. Conceived and crafted by the incredible artisans of Macy’s Parade Studio – a design and production facility that includes carpenters, engineers, electricians, painters, animators, balloon technicians, sculptors, metal fabricators, scenic and costume designers – this year’s line-up of floats showcased the animated theatricality that the Macy’s Parade has become world-famous for.

Paula Abdul arrives by Big Turkey Spectacular by Jennie-O float © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Geoffrey’s Dazzling Dance Party by Toys“R”Us with Jordin Sparks © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

This year five new floats debuted in the Turkey Day celebration, carrying performers: Baby Shark by Pinkfong and Nickelodeon (Ziggy Marley); Geoffrey’s Dazzling Dance Party by Toys“R”Us (Jordin Sparks); People of First Light by Macy’s; Supersized Slumber by Netflix (Ballet Hispánico); and The Wondership by Wonder (Cam).

The cast and Muppets of Sesame Street® © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
The Brick-changer by The LEGO® Group carries Fitz and the Tantrums © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Big City Cheer by Spirit of America Productions float carries Miss America 2022 Emma Broyles © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
People of First Light by Macy’s © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Colossal Wave of Wonder by Kalahari Resorts and Conventions carries Sean Paul © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Everyone’s Favorite Bake Shop by Entenmann’s® © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Blue’s Clues & You! host Josh Dela Cruz© Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Birds of a Feather Stream Together by Peacock® © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Macy’s Singing Christmas Tree (Macy’s Choir) © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The returning float roster and its scheduled performers included 1-2-3 Sesame Street®by Sesame Workshop™ (The cast and Muppets of Sesame Street); Big City Cheer by Spirit of America Productions (Miss America 2022 Emma Broyles); Big Turkey Spectacular by Jennie-O (Paula Abdul); Birds of a Feather Stream Together by Peacock® (Adam Devine, Sarah Hyland and Flula Borg); Blue’s Clues & You! by Nickelodeon (Josh Dela Cruz); The Brick-changer by The LEGO® Group (Fitz and the Tantrums); Celebration Gator by the Louisiana Office of Tourism (Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue); Christmas in Town Square by Lifetime® (Kirk Franklin); Colossal Wave of Wonder by Kalahari Resorts and Conventions (Sean Paul); Deck the Halls by Balsam Hill® (Gloria, Sasha and Emily Estefan); Elf Pets®by The Lumistella Company®Everyone’s Favorite Bake Shop by Entenmann’s®Fantasy Chocolate Factory by Kinder™ (Big Time Rush); Harvest in the Valley by Green Giant® (Jordan Davis); Heartwarming Holiday Countdown by Hallmark Channel (Joss Stone); Her Future is STEM-Sational by Olay (Betty Who); Macy’s Singing Christmas Tree (Macy’s Choir); Magic Meets the Sea by Disney Cruise Line (Captain Minnie Mouse and Friends); Santa’s Sleigh (Santa Claus); Snoopy’s Doghouse by PEANUTS Worldwide; Tom Turkey (Mario Lopez and family); Toy House of Marvelous Milestones by New York Life (Dionne Warwick); and Winter Wonderland in Central Park (Jimmy Fallon & The Roots).

Dionne Warwick on Toy House of Marvelous Milestones by New York Life © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Sean Paul © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Ziggy Marley © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Trombone Shorty © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Jimmy Fallon & The Roots © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Gloria, Sasha and Emily Estefan © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Strike Up the Band

Bringing the beat to the holiday revelry were some of the most gifted marching ensembles in the country:  Benedict College (Columbia, SC), Bourbon County High School (Paris, KY), Carmel High School (Carmel, IN), Clovis North Educational Center (Fresno, CA), Delfines Marching Band (Veracruz, Mexico), Macy’s Great American Marching Band (United States), NYPD Marching Band (New York, NY), The Queer Big Apple Corps (New York, NY), South Dakota State University (Brookings, SD), Tarpon Springs High School (Tarpon Springs, FL), University of Missouri (Columbia, MO), and Vandegrift High School (Austin, TX).

University of Missouri Marching Mizzou © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Queer Big Apple Marching Band © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
 Clovis North Educational Center (Fresno, CA) © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
South Dakota State University (Brookings, SD) © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Performance Spotlight

This year’s lineup of performance groups featured the dazzling dancers of Ballet Hispánico, the hilarious Big Apple Circus, the rhythmic movement of Boss Kids, the artistry of the Fusion Winter Guard, two-steps and high kicks from the Kilgore Rangerettes, the puppeteering skills of Phantom Limb, the iconic stepping of The Sigma Gamma Rho Centennial Steppers, the energetic moves of the St. John’s Dance Team, and the exuberance of Spirit of America Cheer and Spirit of America Dance Stars.

Ballet Hispánico © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Spirit of America Cheer © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Big Apple Circus performers © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

More than 700 clowns add to the joy of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

More than 700 clowns add to the joy of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
More than 700 clowns add to the joy of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
More than 700 clowns add to the joy of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
More than 700 clowns add to the joy of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
More than 700 clowns add to the joy of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Spectators lined the parade route from its traditional starting line at 77th Street and Central Park West, down its signature 2.5-mile route from Central Park West to Columbus Circle, turning onto Central Park South and then marching down 6th Avenue/Avenue of the Americas. At 34th Street, the Parade made its final turn west to end at 7th Avenue in front of Macy’s Herald Square.

The crowds erupted with delight as Santa Claus came to town.

Santa Claus comes to town on his sleigh at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Santa Claus comes to town on his sleigh at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Spectators line the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® route from the start at 79th Street down Central Park West to 34th Street © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
The crowd erupts with cheers and delight at the sight of Santa Claus on his sleigh to close out the 96th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

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© 2022 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit goingplacesfarandnear.com, www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin, and travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/. Blogging at goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com and moralcompasstravel.info. Visit instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near and instagram.com/bigbackpacktraveler/ Send comments or questions to [email protected] Tweet @TravelFeatures. ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Travel Companies Go Big with Black Friday, Cyber Monday Deals to Put Bucket List Experiences Within Reach

Take advantage of Xanterra Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals at iconic hotels in national parks like Yellowstone © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

Travel companies are going big for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and no doubt are weighing both the massive outpouring of pent-up demand for travel against potential travelers’ concerns for tightened budgets. Here is a snapshot of offerings – it can be a discount on the package price, or upgrade, or special features added on. Take advantage because not only are the deals limited, but space is booking up.

Xanterra’s “Thankful for Travel Sale” Nov. 22-29

Xanterra’s “Thankful for Travel Sale” is lasting a full week, from Tuesday, Nov. 22 – Tuesday, Nov. 29 for value and money-saving deals on lodges in Yellowstone, Zion, Glacier, Death Valley and Grand Canyon South Rim; Windstar Cruises, the Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel, The Oasis at Death Valley, Holiday Vacations, Country Walkers and VBT Bicycling Tours; the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs and Sea Island Resort in Georgia are also participating in the sale. Highlights include:

Get 30% off hotel stays at the luxury Inn at Death Valley with Xanterra’s Black Friday deal © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The Oasis at Death Valley – 30% off hotel stays at the beautifully renovated historic AAA Four-Diamond Inn at Death Valley and newly revitalized, family-friendly Ranch at Death Valley, including new, cozy cottages, spring fed pools and the lowest elevation golf course. Valid for select overnight stays between Dec. 1, 2022 and Feb. 9, 2023.

Historic Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel – 30% off roundtrip train tickets on an entertaining journey in fully restored historic train cars to the Grand Canyon’s fabled South Rim when booking a two-night Getaway Package over select dates between Jan. 2, 2022 and March 5, 2023.

Grand Canyon South Rim – Save 30% on in-park lodging at newly built Maswik Lodge, Kachina Lodge, and Bright Angel Lodge and 20% at the historic El Tovar Hotel. All lodges are in the Historic Grand Canyon Village within walking distance of the rim of the Grand Canyon, Lookout Studio and Hopi House. Take advantage of the Secret Season at Grand Canyon and enjoy the park without the crowds.

The historic El Tovar Hotel on the Grand Canyon South Rim and Grand Canyon Railway are participating in Xanterra’s “Thankful for Travel Sale” © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The Grand Hotel – 30% off at the only AAA Three-Diamond hotel near the Grand Canyon in Tusayan (just one mile from the South Rim entrance) on select dates between Dec. 1, 2022 and March 9, 2023.

Zion National Park – 30% off overnight stays inside the park at Zion National Park Lodge on select dates between Dec. 4, 2022 and Feb. 28, 2023.

Cedar Creek Lodge, at the gateway to Glacier National Park – Save 30% on Rooms (for select dates Dec. 2022-April 2023)

Yellowstone – Save 25% on daily rates for specific stay dates in deluxe rooms at Canyon Lodge, deluxe and standard rooms at Lake Yellowstone Hotel, and deluxe rooms at Grant Village. Offer available for new reservations booked between Nov. 22 and 29, 2022. Stay dates for Canyon Lodge: May 19 – 25, 2023; May 30 – June 17, 2023. Lake Yellowstone Hotel: May 12 & 25, 2023; May 30- June 17, 2023; Grant Village: May 30 and June 17, 2023

The Broadmoor – Rates as low as $259 for select dates and suites available at 25% off published rates; 20% off all-inclusive Wilderness Properties for select dates during 2023.

Sea Island – Receive a $100 resort credit per night of stay in December, January, February at The Cloister or Lodge. Minimum 2-night stay on the standard rate. Offer valid Nov. 22 – 29, 2023.

Bicycling Tours – Book any departure of the 2023 France: The Burgundy Wine Region & Dijon Guided Biking Tour and get the Post-Trip Extension to Paris free which includes a 2-night stay at the Hotel Château Frontenac or La Demeure Montaigne (both centrally located in the 8th Arrondissement in Paris), daily breakfast, airport car service for departure and a city information packet.

Walking Adventures – Book any departure of the 2023 Italy: Tuscany & Umbria Guided Walking Tour and get the Post-Tour Extension to Rome free which includes a 2-night stay at the Hotel Dei Mellini in the center of Rome (between the Spanish Steps and St. Peter’s Basilica), daily breakfast, airport car service for departure and a city information packet.

Holiday Vacations – Book a Timeless France with Burgundy & Provence River Cruise from April 24 – May 4, 2023 and receive $200 off exploring Paris and French waterways with included airfare, 7-day river cruise, accommodations, most meals, and attractions.

Windstar Cruises – Select one Perk on your upcoming cruise. Perk offerings vary depending on cruise length and room category. Perks include a free upgrade to an All-Inclusive Fare or one Easy Stays hotel night or up to $1,000 in Onboard Credit. Enjoy reduced deposits of only 5% during one week sale only.

Looking for an unparalleled gift of discovery and wanderlust? Xanterra Travel Collection Gift Cards  are redeemable across all Xanterra Travel Collection destinations for accommodations, experiences, dining, retail purchases and more. The recipient can choose their adventure with this gift of A World of Unforgettable Experiences. Learn more at Xanterra.com/GiftCard.

For a complete list and to take advantage of Xanterra and its affiliates’ “Thankful for Travel” offers, visit xanterra.com/thankful-for-travel-sale.

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Tours Sales

EF Go Ahead Tours’ Black Friday Sale started early this year! Week 3 deals are running until November 17th with a variety of tours discounted to Scotland, France, Italy, and Ireland. Week 4 deals start Nov. 18 and feature more deep discounts on bucket list trips to destinations like Australia, Costa Rica, Portugal. (https://www.goaheadtours.com/travel-deals/black-friday)

Contiki  is offering its Cyber Sale from Nov 23-Dec 1 (see https://www.contiki.com/en-us/activity/black-friday

Trafalgar is offering 15% off worldwide trips for Black Friday; book before December 5 for limited time savings (https://www.trafalgar.com/en-us/deals/black-friday-travel-deals, 866-513-1995. (Plus, get a $250 per couple Travel Credit toward your first trip when you sign up to our newsletter.)

GA Adventures is offering up to 30 percent off on on a huge number of its popular adventures like Inca Discovery, Morocco, Jordan, Peru, Costa Rica, Thailand, and even Antarctica with travel by April 30, 2023.and up to 10% on select trips departing between May 1-and June 30, 2023 (https://www.gadventures.com/travel-deals/cyber-sale/, 1 888 800 4100)

GA Adventures is offering up to 30 percent off on many of its popular adventures like Inca Discover to Machu Picchu © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Travel Offers at Luxury Hotels, Resorts

Black Friday and Cyber Monday present limited-time offers that put luxury hotels and resorts from the Caribbean to Belize to Maldives to the Florida Keys, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, North Carolina, New York City, to West Hollywood, in reach. Here are a sampling of offers for travelers to snag the steepest travel deals of the year and enjoy unforgettable experiences at reduced rates:

Club Med, the pioneer of the all-inclusive concept, is offering its best discount of the year with its Black Friday sale. Travelers can receive up to 60% off their upcoming winter, spring or summer getaways at Club Med’s spacious all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Canada – like family-friendly Club Med Punta Cana, the five star eco-chic Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda, or the new Club Med Québec, opened December 2021 offering four-season mountain escapes. Additional participating resorts include Club Med Caravelle, Guadeloupe, French Caribbean, Club Med Buccaneer’s Creek, Martinique, French Caribbean, Club Med Ixtapa Pacific, Mexico, and Club Med Columbus, Bahamas. The deal includes 60% off Deluxe and Suite Rooms and 55% off Superior Rooms. Additional perks include free cancellations and free stays for kids under 4. Book between November 16-27, 2022 for travel November 26, 2022 to June 30, 2023 (check out on July 1, 2023).  Perks include: kids under 4 stay free and no single supplement. Book at https://www.clubmed.us/o/black-friday.

Coco Collection, Maldives: Comprised of two different boutique island resorts, Coco Bodu Hithi and Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu, each create a unique and authentic Maldivian experience ranging from luxe amenities to eco-forward initiatives for travelers to begin indulging in as soon as they arrive. This Black Friday through Cyber Monday, Coco Collection is offering a 50 percent off total booking.  The first 5 bookings within this timeframe at both resorts will receive 70 percent off their booking. Offer valid from Friday, Nov. 25 – Monday, Nov. 28 for stays from Nov. 26 through Dec. 25, 2022 and May 1, through Oct. 31, 2023.

Casa Kimberly, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico: Formerly Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s home (it was his gift to her for her 32nd birthday, in 1962), this luxurious nine-suite boutique hotel is situated in the heart of Puerto Vallarta and has stunning views of Banderas Bay and the red clay rooftops that dot the Sierra Madre Mountains. From Black Friday (Nov  25) through Cyber Monday (Nov. 28), receive 50% off stays booked December 1, 2022 to May 31, 2023 (does not apply to reservations from Dec. 24-Jan. 3 and other blackout dates may apply). Use code CYBERCK to reserve at the discounted rate. Visit here to book.

At the five-star Grand Residences Riviera Cancun, no detail is overlooked © Eric Leiberman/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Grand Residences Riviera Cancun, Puerto Morelos, Mexico is a secluded coastal resort located about half an hour outside of Cancun in Puerto Morelos. The resort itself and surrounding setting allows for both active and relaxing experiences, including a bike tour, spa treatments, cooking demonstrations, a Kids Club, and more. Private airport transfers to/from the resort are included in every stay. Grand Residences is providing a 25 percent discounted rate on all-inclusive stays for all room categories for those who book their travel up through Dec. 16, 2022. (Valid on new bookings only, no minimum length of stay required; blackout dates apply.)

Hawks Cay Resort, the Florida Keys is offering guests the ultimate Florida Keys vacation experience with on-site amenities like fishing excursions, dolphin encounters, snorkel trips, and more. This Black Friday (Nov. 21-29), Hawks Cay is extending 35% off accommodations booked under promo code CYBERW, for a 2-night minimum stay at the hotel and a 3-night minimum stay at its villas. Subject to availability, blackout dates apply.

Cayo Espanto, Belize:  Located three miles off the coast of San Pedro, Belize, Cayo Espanto is home to seven villas, a helipad, private yacht, and endless opportunities to enjoy a barefoot luxury escape in a naturally beautiful setting. The private island resort is offering guests a free airfare credit (up to $750 per person) with the booking of a seven night stay this Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Travelers looking to take advantage of this offer must complete their booking online at aprivateisland.com between Friday, Nov. 25 – Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. A booking code is not required; all reservations made during this timeframe will receive airfare credit with confirmation. Offer valid on new bookings only and may not be combined with any other offers. Blackout dates apply and reservations are based on availability.

The Buenaventura Golf & Beach Resort, Panama, one of Panama’s leading family-friendly luxury hotels,  is extending a Flight Cash Back promotion that travelers in pursuit of a discounted luxury vacation will love! The new promotion extends $400 cash back upon check out; complimentary breakfast for 2 adults and 2 children under 12 years; and complimentary use of bicycle, tennis and volleyball courts. The offer is valid until Dec. 31, and a 5-night minimum booking applies.

Atlantis Paradise Island is offering a Cyber Week Sale for stays between December 1, 2022 – November 1, 2023 in The Coral, The Royal, The Cove and The Reef Towers. The Cyber sale is Atlantis’ biggest sale of the year. Atlantis Paradise Island newsletter subscribers get early access from November 17 – 22 (sign up via the website here to receive the invite to this exclusive offer. Guests booking 5+ nights for stays during December 1, 2022 – November 1, 2023, save 20% on accommodations plus $500 Resort Credit or more at The Coral, The Cove, The Royal and The Reef. Those booking from November 23 – December 1, 2022,  get 20% savings on 5+ nights at The Coral, The Royal, and The Reef  PLUS receive a $250 Resort for stays during June – September.

  • Direct Offers include:
    • The Coral: 25% Savings on 2+ nights when booking Air + Hotel compared to rates of $500 during peak season and $200 throughout the year
    • The Cove: $500 Resort Credit per stay with BAR 5+ nights compared to rates of $2,000 during peak season and $500 throughout the year
    • The Royal: $50 daily Resort Credit on 2-4 nights for travel June-Sept 2023 compared to rates of $900 during peak season and $279 throughout the year
    • The Reef: 20% savings + $300 Resort Credit per stay of 6+ nights compared to rates of $1,500 during peak season and $350 throughout the year

Travelers will also have the option to book their reservation with flexible payment and cancellation policies. To book, visit: www.atlantisbahamas.com or call 1800-ATLANTIS. Blackout dates include December 27, 2022 – January 1, 2023. 

Saba Rock, British Virgin Islands: Now with on-site amenities like snuba, diving, kiteboarding, island tours, beachfront spa, and more, the one-acre island recently reopened following a complete luxury rebuild after damages sustained from Hurricane Irma. Saba Rock is offering guests the opportunity to save up to 40% on a three-night or more stay, booked from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Offer valid for bookings made Nov. 26 to 29, 2022 for stays Nov. 30, 2022 through February 15, 2023. Book at www.sabarock.com using promo code BLKFRI. Blackout dates apply, 3-night minimum required.

Mount Cinnamon Resort, Grenada: Tucked away on the hillside atop Grand Anse Beach, Mount Cinnamon is an eco-luxe hideaway with an enclave of 37 luxury villas and suites. Ranked as one of the Top 40 resorts in the Caribbean Islands from the 2022 Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards  This Black Friday, save 30% on stays of 5 or more nights, daily breakfast included. Booking window: Nov. 25 – Dec. 9, 2022. Travel window: Apr. 10 – Nov. 30, 2023. Booking code: MC-BLACKFRIDAY.

Also: This Giving Tuesday, November 29, for every reservation made, Mount Cinnamon Resort will donate one bag of pet food to the Grenada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (GSPCA). The GSPCA is a no-kill shelter that is committed to providing all animals that come through the doors with the best possible love, care, and attention. No code needed.

Andaz West Hollywood: Those who choose to book a stay at Andaz West Hollywood will be right on the Sunset Strip, the perfect point between Hollywood, Beverly Hills. The hotel is home to the highest rooftop pool in Los Angeles which was recently renovated and is an artist’s dream with works of art throughout the property.   

Get 20% off rates for travel booked between now and Nov. 30, valid for stays until April 30, 2023. Use the code UNLOCK.

Little Gem Resorts is a family-owned and operated boutique hospitality company with three properties located in Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and St. John in the USVI. This is the brand’s first Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale. This Cyber Monday, they will be offering a 25% off discount off their regular rates. The three boutique, seasonal resorts all have high demand and occupancy rates, especially during their busy seasons. Their Cyber Monday deal is the biggest sale each property has ever done.

  • Lovango Resort + Beach Club is offering a 25% off stay in one of the property’s glamping tents or luxury treehouses for a three-night minimum stay from April 30-June 15. Using the code CYBL, guests will receive $248.75 in savings on regular rates from $995 per night plus tax.
  • Winnetu Oceanside Resort is offering a 25% off stay in one of the property’s accommodations for a two-night minimum stay from May 18-June 15. Using the code CYBW, guests will receive $98.75 in savings on regular rates from $395 per night plus tax.
  • The Nantucket Hotel + Resort is offering a 25% stay off stay in one of the property’s accommodations for a two-night minimum stay from April 30-June 15. Using the code CYBN, guests will receive $73.75 in savings on regular rates from $295 per night plus tax.

NoMo SoHo soars across New York City’s downtown with its 26 stories in the heart of SoHo. The neighborhood known for its fashion, design, art, and culture is the epicenter of creative up-and-comers, in addition to housing established brands, well-known artists, and cultural icons. Each room features floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views of New York City and the hotel is also home to the wildly popular NoMo Kitchen, an iconic restaurant with a glass atrium and intimate outdoor patio. This Black Friday and Cyber Monday, NoMo SoHo is offering 30% off all room types for stays between November 28, 2022, and August 31, 2023. Past hotel guests and NoMo SoHo subscribers will get exclusive access to this offer. Travelers can sign up for NoMo SoHo’s newsletter by clicking here in order to receive access to book this Black Friday / Cyber Monday offer. 

Kimpton Hotel Eventi, located at the intersection of the NoMad and Chelsea neighborhoods, is inside a modern skyrise with floor-to-ceiling windows and stunning views. The property features an eclectic-chic “living room” lobby, curated art collection, technology touches everywhere and three restaurants run by Executive Chef Laurent Tourondel, Skirt Steak, L’Amico and The Vine. This Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Kimpton Hotel Eventi is giving back with their Kimpton Cyber Sale launching on November 22, 2022. This offer is available on stays from November 25-April 30, 2023; must be booked by December 5. Those who book directly at Kimpton Hotel Eventi’s website (offer goes live on November 22nd) can save up to 20% off the best available rate. Each Cyber Sale booking made by IHG Rewards members will include a $5/night donation to No Kid Hungry.

The Art of Living Retreat Center located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Boone, North Carolina (2 hours from Charlotte), is participating in Black Friday/Cyber Monday for the first time, and it is their biggest sale ever created, providing $200-600 in savings, depending upon the type of retreat booked.  Book Nov. 21-28 to get  30% off December 2022 – March 2023 stays for Signature Retreats (Happiness, Stepping Into Silence, Meditation) and R+R Retreats. Book by entering the code BLACKFRIDAY (those who would like to give the gift of meditation and relaxation – to others or themselves – should use this exclusive deal.

Other hotel deals:

Book a stay at Virgin Hotels between Nov. 25, 2022 – Jan. 2, 2023, and receive 30% off the reservation, plus a chance to win a free upgrade to Richard’s Penthouse Flat. Virgin Know Members can take advantage of a pre-sale, starting Monday, Nov. 21. Reservations can be made for stays anytime between November 25, 2022 – December 31, 2023. Participating properties include; Virgin Hotels Chicago, Virgin Hotels New Orleans, Virgin Hotels Nashville, Virgin Hotels Dallas, and Virgin Hotels Edinburgh.

Hyatt Hotels is offering up to 20% off stays through April 30, 2023, when you book by November 30, 2022; choose from over 950 participating hotels; use Special Offer Code UNLOCK to book your qualifying stay. (https://world.hyatt.com/content/gp/en/offers.html)

Cruise Deals

Princess Cruises’ Black Friday Sale:  from Nov. 22-30, choose from 60 sailings under $60 per day(per guest), and 100’s more sailings under $100 per day(per guest), taking travelers to Alaska, the California Coast, the Caribbean, Panama Canal and Europe. In addition, guests booking through the sale can take advantage of $1 deposits, meaning those who reserve their sailings to worldwide destinations by Nov. 30 don’t have to pay the remaining balance until 90 days before their trip, when deposits typically range between $100 – $800 at the time of booking (www.princess.com).

Take advantage of Celebrity Cruises’ biggest Black Friday Sale with early access and turn your bucket list into your book it list. Enjoy 75% off your second guest’s cruise fare, plus up to $800 savings per stateroom and up to $800 onboard credit per stateroom. On Cyber Monday, take advantage of $25 deposit and up to $500 to spend onboard (https://www.celebritycruises.com/cruise-deals/black-friday)

For Royal Caribbean Black Friday to Cyber Monday specials, go to https://www.royalcaribbean.com/cruise-deals/black-friday.

For Royal Caribbean Black Friday to Cyber Monday specials, go to https://www.royalcaribbean.com/cruise-deals/black-friday© Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Rainforest Cruises has some special offers for Christmas Galapagos and Amazon cruises that are usually sold out years in advance, for bookings made by Dec. 4: Amazon: Zafiro’s 5D/4N Amazon & Marañón Dec. 22-26 departure (from $3,879pp); 50% OFF the second passenger when staying in double occupancy; FREE* domestic flights between Lima and Iquitos (*Flight value up to $250). Galapagos: Galapagos Sea Star‘s 6D/5N Southern Islands Dec 20-25 (from $6,139pp); $2000 OFF the second passenger when staying in double occupancy. Eco Galaxy‘s 6D/5N Western Islands Dec 24-29 (from $5400pp); $1500 OFF the second passenger when staying in double occupancy; No Single Supplement in select cabins, subject to availability. Alya‘s 5D/4N Northern Islands Dec 22-26 (from $4,725pp); $1000 OFF the second passenger when staying in double occupancy. The Galapagos Christmas cruises also include FREE night’s hotel stay before your cruise at the Wyndham Quito Airport hotel; PLUS your $100 Galapagos National Park entry fee; AND cover the cost of your Transit Control Card ($20)! RainforestCruises.com, 888 215 3555.

Quark Expeditions’ Black Friday 2 for 1 Sale: book a voyage by December 2 to Antarctic 22-23 or upcoming Arctic 2023 season and bring a guest for free! Solo travelers also benefit from our Black Friday Sale by only paying 50% of the regular rate for a shared cabin. Additionally, guests can get a free cabin upgrade on any voyage in Quark’s Antarctic 23-24 and Arctic 2024 seasons at in-market rate. So, if you’re traveling on the game-changing Ultramarine, you could move up from a Terrace Suite to a Penthouse Suite (https://travel.quarkexpeditions.com/black-friday/, 866-250-7034).

A great source for Black Friday/Cyber Monday cruise deals is cruisecritic.com. “Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2022 deals are making waves, with cheap cruises and enticing bargains galore. Whether you have your heart set on cabin upgrades, free shore excursions, rock bottom fares or all sorts of onboard goodies, Black Friday and Cyber Monday cruise deals are your best bet to snag an irresistible bargain,” writes Marilyn Borth, Assistant SEO Editor. She includes Norwegian Cruise Line, Azamara, Cunard, Holland America in her roundup. (https://www.cruisecritic.com/news/6617/)

Camping/Outdoors

Sun Outdoors, a leader in outdoor hospitality offering guests unforgettable experiences outdoors, has launched their Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotion, offering guests 40 percent off on select campground, RV site and vacation rental bookings from December 1, 2022 – December 21, 2023*. www.sunoutdoors.com/specials/black-friday

Sun Outdoors will kick off the season of giving by giving back 5 percent of ALL bookings made during the promotion period to charitable partner, the National Park Foundation. Donations will contribute to the NPF’s ParkVentures fund, which supports equity-focused outdoor leaders and organizations by providing grants for programs and activities that help people create and strengthen life-long relationships with national parks. (www.sunoutdoors.com)

More Deals

Tuscany wine lovers can experience the top wine-producing sub-regions with the luxury boutique hotel Borgo San Vincenzos Black Friday specials.  Sangiovese by Air, Land and Trail:5- night stay with breakfast,explore Montepulciano by e-bike, Montalcino by helicopter, and Chianti Clasico with a private driver ($10,859); and Escape to Tuscany (four-night minimum stay). Direct bookings only. Email [email protected] or call +39 0578 810 137 and reference the Black Friday/Cyber Monday Escape to Tuscany special.

LEGOLAND® California Resort, the family theme Park in Carlsbad, CA is offering huge deals to the Park, LEGOLAND® Hotel and LEGOLAND® Castle Hotel exclusively through its website, for purchases Nov. 22-Nov. 28. Save up to $100 on Annual Passes, valid for a year of admission to LEGOLAND Park, SEA LIFE aquarium and Water Park, with discounts on dining, shopping, and LEGOLAND Resort Hotels;  Save up to 50% on vacation packages at LEGOLAND Hotel or LEGOLAND Castle Hotel, which include 2-Day admission tickets to LEGOLAND California theme park (on select nights from Jan. 8 through May 26, 2023); Save 50% on LEGOLAND + SEA LIFE Hopper Tickets ($69.50 each), valid for admission to LEGOLAND Park and SEA LIFE aquarium from Jan. 1 through March 17, 2023 (plus option to add a second day for only $12.50). Sign up now at https://www.legoland.com/california/ to receive exclusive access to these deals before they become available to the general public. Each LEGOLAND California offer is limited and may sell out quickly.

SpaFinder is offering 20% off gift cards of $100+ with promo code FRIEDSGIVING for purchases through Nov. 30. Go toSpafinder.com. (https://myspafinder.spagiftcards.com/category/eGift-Cards)

Red Thread, which customizes made-to-order tailored clothes (with lifetime fit guarantee) ideal for travel is offering 40% off for its Black Friday Sale on pants, essential black dress, snap jackets. Email  [email protected], visit redthreadcollection.com, call 775-384-9681.

Travel Gear

Black Friday/Cyber Monday is also an excellent opportunity to buy the specialized gear for your traveler. Among our favorite go-to’s: EMS offering up to 75% off; REI.com (https://www.rei.com/s/gifts-for-travelers); B&H for camera/video (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/holiday-shopping/deals). Also Patagonia.com, REI.com, LLBean.com, TennisExpress.com, sunandski.com, www.basspro.com.

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© 2022 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit goingplacesfarandnear.com, www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin, and travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/. Blogging at goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com and moralcompasstravel.info. Visit instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near and instagram.com/bigbackpacktraveler/ Send comments or questions to [email protected] Tweet @TravelFeatures. ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

FACT SHEET: Biden’s Leadership on Tackling Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad Galvanizes Unprecedented Momentum at Start of UN Climate Conference (COP27)

One of President Biden’s challenges is persuading nations not to abandon climate change goals because of the strain on fossil fuel supplies and prices created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, rather, the crisis should incentivize the transition to locally available clean, renewable energy. Here, Antwerp shows an “all-of-the-above” source of fuel, wind, nuclear and fossil © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

In less than two years since taking office, President Biden’s leadership to tackle the climate crisis has boosted U.S. manufacturing and deployment of cost-cutting clean energy technologies, put the country on a durable path aligned with limiting warming to 1.5 °C, and galvanized global action by partners and the private sector – building unprecedented momentum towards achieving critical climate goals and strengthening global resilience. As more than a hundred countries gather for the 27th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, the United States will work with partners to enhance global ambition to accelerate growth of the clean energy economy, avert the most catastrophic impacts of climate change, and help lower- and middle- income countries build resilience to climate impacts. In fact, the President has pledged to work with Congress to increase U.S. international climate finance to over $11 billion a year – which would make the United States the single largest contributor of climate finance. These actions are key to strengthening global security – including energy, water, food, and health security – which has been made all the more urgent following Russia’s war against Ukraine that has disrupted energy markets, strained economies with rising prices, and threatened vulnerable countries with severe food shortages.

At COP27 and beyond, the United States will encourage countries – particularly major economies – and the private sector to not only implement existing commitments and goals, but to also enhance commitments and goals to help close the gap between current pledges and what the latest science tells us is urgently needed.  And the United States will also encourage the international community to accelerate vulnerable countries’ ability to implement adaptation efforts. Through the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience, PREPARE, the United States is rapidly increasing its support of adaptation and resilience programming to help more than half a billion people in developing countries adapt to and manage the impacts of climate change.

On November 11, President Biden will be at COP27 to build on efforts by the United States to accelerate growth of an equitable clean energy economy that will cut consumer energy costs, reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, advance the global climate fight, and help the most vulnerable build resilience to climate impacts. The United States is leading by example at home and abroad:

  • Leading at Home by Taking the Most Ambitious Climate Actions in U.S. History.  The President is delivering on his day one promise by positioning the United States to achieve our ambitious goals of reducing emissions 50-52% below 2005 levels in 2030 and to net-zero by 2050 through a series of unprecedented climate actions.  These actions will not only reduce emissions, but will bolster energy security, help families save money on their energy bills, create good-paying jobs for workers and spur a new era of clean American manufacturing, advance environmental justice, and ensure healthier air and cleaner water for communities.  Key actions include passing the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), ratifying the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, tackling super-pollutants like methane, leveraging the purchasing power of the federal government, advancing decarbonization across all sectors, ensuring the clean energy transition benefits disadvantaged communities, and spurring innovation and supporting a new era of clean American manufacturing.
     
  • Supporting Vulnerable Countries in Building Resilience to Current and Future Climate Impacts by implementing the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE). PREPARE aims to accelerate the ability of developing countries to adapt to and manage the impacts of climate change by preparing knowledge, plans, programs, finance, and private capital for adaptation and resilience efforts. Nineteen U.S. Federal agencies and departments are committed to working with partner countries to help them build resilience to climate impacts on food systems, water, infrastructure, health, and the economy.
     
  • Leading Global Efforts to Keep the 1.5 °C Goal within Reach. We are implementing the President’s major initiatives and priorities to accelerate global climate action.  This includes the Plan to Conserve Global Forests, mobilizing climate finance through the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII), advancing implementation of the Global Methane Pledge (GMP), decarbonizing transportation (e.g., zero emissions vehicles, shipping, and aviation), accelerating innovation in and deployment of clean energy technologies, and enhancing food security.

LEADING AT HOME BY TAKING THE MOST AMBITIOUS CLIMATE ACTIONS IN U.S. HISTORY

  • The Inflation Reduction Act is by far the most ambitious climate and clean energy legislation in U.S. history, with $370 billion for building a clean energy economy, cutting consumer energy costs, combating the climate crisis, advancing environmental justice, and enhancing climate resilience.  The Inflation Reduction Act is expected to more than double U.S. clean energy production (e.g., solar, wind, battery storage, and more), save families hundreds of dollars per year on energy costs, and create millions of good-paying jobs, all while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 1 gigaton in 2030 – 10 times more climate impact than any other U.S. legislation ever enacted. This law also leans in on ensuring communities are prepared for climate impacts already here, by funding coastal resilience, drought, and tools to help communities make science-backed decisions.
     
  • The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) delivers record support for upgrading the power grid to transmit more clean energy and withstand extreme weather, building a nationwide network of electric vehicle chargers, expanding public transit and passenger rail, investing in drought and wildfire preparedness, and cleaning up legacy pollution.
     
  • Bipartisan Senate Ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol and helping to phase down global production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), super-polluting chemicals that are hundreds to thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide while also spurring growth in domestic manufacturing jobs in making HFC alternatives, where American companies are already leading the way.  As more countries join the United States in ratifying this amendment, we can prevent up to half a degree Celsius of warming this century.
     
  • Tackling super-pollutants like methane through implementation of the comprehensive U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan and measures in the Inflation Reduction Act and BIL covering the oil and gas industry, agriculture, buildings and addressing abandoned mine lands, and orphan oil and gas wells – a source of toxic pollution and methane emissions.
     
  • Leading by example through the Federal Sustainability Plan to reduce emissions across 300,000 buildings, 600,000 vehicles, and $650 billion in annual purchasing power, and launching new initiatives like the Federal Buy Clean Initiative to spur private-sector commitments to reduce industrial emissions and the White House-HHS Health Care Sector Climate Pledge, which has secured aligned commitments from more than 100 health systems and industry organizations committed to resilience and decarbonization.
     
  • Addressing Climate Related Financial Risk to the federal government, real economy, and financial system by refining approaches and tools to assess fiscal risk in the President’s budget, conducting sensitivity analysis to federal programs, and undertaking macroeconomic risk analysis as well as through leadership from U.S. independent financial regulators improving their understanding and management of these risks, for example through the proposed climate disclosure rule by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the OCC’s and FDIC’s proposed principles on climate-related financial risk management for large banks.
     
  • Taking decisive action to decarbonize all key sectors – including power, transportation, buildings, industry, and lands and waters:
     
    • Power Sector Deployment – securing historic clean power investments that will more than double wind, solar, and battery storage deployment; jumpstart the American offshore wind industry; support hydrogen infrastructure; fast-track the process for permitting and deploying clean energy and transmission projects.
       
    • Clean Energy Research – through the recently launched Net Zero Gamechangers Initiative, driving the major innovation breakthroughs that we know the world needs to solve the climate crisis by addressing the toughest remaining technological challenges and cost hurdles in key sectors, and rapidly advance solutions to help achieve our climate and economic competitiveness goals. Billions of dollars have been committed to coordinate research so far on six key areas:  hydrogen, long-duration energy storage, carbon dioxide removal technologies, floating off-shore wind, advanced geothermal, and industrial heat.
       
    • Transportation – securing the largest investments ever in public transportation, passenger rail, an electric vehicle (EV) charging network, hydrogen infrastructure, and battery supply chains; rallying automakers and autoworkers around an electric transportation future, by setting a national target of 50% electric vehicle sales share in 2030, spurring more than $85 billion of investment in American manufacturing of EVs, batteries, and chargers, and launching the American Battery Materials Initiative; finalized strongest passenger vehicle standards in American history to increase average fuel economy to 49 miles per gallon – reducing emissions and savings drivers money at the pump; and advancing cleaner transit, shipping, and aviation; launching the Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) grand challenge to achieve a minimum of a 50% reduction in life cycle greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional fuel and supply sufficient SAF to meet 100% of aviation fuel demand by 2050.
       
    • Buildings – making historic investments in energy efficient homes and decarbonization, with more than $1 billion to expand weatherization and incentivize electrification, with more than $1 billion to expand weatherization and incentivize electric appliance and efficiency upgrades that will lower energy bills and emissions; updated energy-saving appliance and equipment standards to save households an average of $100 a year; accelerate next-generation clean building technologies.
       
    • Industrial – launched a breakthrough “Buy Clean” initiative leveraging federal standard setting and procurement and secured historic investments to reduce industrial emissions, including support for clean hydrogen, carbon capture, and cleaner industrial facilities for steel, iron, cement and other energy-intensive materials; and advanced manufacturing processes.
       
    • Lands and Waters – secured historic investments to enlist nature-based solutions in the fight against climate change with over $20 billion in the Inflation Reduction Act to support climate-smart farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners and the BIL support for climate resilience and ecosystem restoration; launched new initiatives to support conservation and carbon sequestration, including the America the Beautiful initiative to conserve 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030; and issued an Executive Order on strengthening America’s forests.
       
  • Ensuring the clean energy transition benefits disadvantaged communities by implementing the Justice40 Initiative to deliver 40% of overall benefits from federal investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.
     
  • Investing in economic revitalization of coal communities by creating the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization, chaired by the White House and including eleven federal agencies, dedicated to increasing federal investment in land remediation and reclamation, economic diversification, and workforce training strategies for displaced fossil energy workers in diverse communities across the U.S.; and by directing significant new resources to fossil energy communities through the BIL and Inflation Reduction Act. 
     
  • Spurring innovation and supporting a new era of clean American manufacturing by passing the CHIPS and Science Act, using trade policy and Buy Clean actions to incentivize low-carbon production of key materials like steel, and invoking the Defense Production Act for five critical clean energy technologies.

LEADING GLOBAL EFFORTS TO SUPPORT VULNERABLE COUNTRIES IN BUILDING RESILIENCE TO CURRENT AND FUTURE CLIMATE IMPACTS

  • Scaling up U.S. public finance for climate adaptation and resilience by advancing President Biden’s commitment to work with Congress to increase U.S. international climate adaptation finance to $3 billion a year by 2024, a six-fold increase from the highest historical funded level. 
  • Helping more than half a billion people in developing countries adapt to and manage the impacts of climate change through ambitious efforts outlined in a whole-of-government PREPARE Action Plan by:
     
    • Responding to the UN Secretary-General’s call to ensure “Early Warning for All” by 2027 and increasing co-production and use of climate information;
       
    • Equipping the decision-makers of today and tomorrow with the skills, knowledge, networks, and outlook needed to adapt to climate impacts;
       
    • Building capacity to mainstream adaptation into policies, programs, and budgets and to support locally led adaptation;
       
    • Improving partner governments’ ability to assess, plan for, and implement programs that increase resilience to the impacts of climate change on food security, water, health, and infrastructure;
       
    • Increasing the amount and quality of finance that accelerates climate adaptation and resilience and supports gender-responsive, locally-led adaptation;
       
    • Assisting partner governments to assess, plan, and budget for adaptation costs, and scale up financing in all sectors;
       
    • Facilitating increased investment from the philanthropic and private sectors to advance adaptation and resilience in climate-vulnerable partner countries; and
       
    • Increasing and enhancing the use and effectiveness of disaster risk financing tools to support climate resilience.

LEADING GLOBAL EFFORTS TO KEEP THE 1.5 DEGREE GOAL WITHIN REACH

  • Executing the President’s Plan to Conserve Global Forests by working to help drive progress forward in each of the Plan’s four key objectives since President Biden launched the Plan at COP26, including building a whole-of-government approach to deliver on this ambitious, decade-long plan to support global efforts to halt and reverse deforestation by leveraging a range of diplomatic, policy, and financing tools.  The United States will continue this leadership through Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry’s co-Chairing of the Forest Climate Leaders Partnership, working alongside over 20 governments who are committed to advancing key actions and initiatives and acting to halt and reverse global deforestation by 2030.
     
  • Rapidly innovating and deploying clean energy solutions by bringing together the global community for the first-ever Global Clean Energy Action Forum in Pittsburgh last September, anchored by the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) and Mission Innovation (MI).  Together, 34 countries and stakeholders from the entire energy ecosystem of government, businesses, innovators, civil society, and youth around the world gathered to take action on the clean energy transition and enhance investment including the launch of the Zero-Emissions Government Fleet Declaration, regional hydrogen hubs, and new funding in carbon management programs.
     
  • Scaling up climate finance by advancing President Biden’s commitment at the 2021 UN General Assembly to work with Congress to increase U.S. international climate finance to over $11 billion a year by requesting the funds and authorities necessary to achieve this goal in his Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Request.  Recognizing that catalyzing private investment will be critical to reaching the scale of resources that will be required, the United States is also focused on using our finance in innovative ways, including to unlock the much larger sums of private finance that will be needed.  These efforts are integral to the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, which has climate and energy security as one of its central pillars.  For instance, the United States recently made a $950 million loan contribution to the Clean Technology Fund which will support MDB efforts to help key emerging market countries accelerate coal transition, which is expected to catalyze billions in private finance.  The multilateral development banks (MDBs) are also a key part of our strategy for scaling up climate finance to support climate action in developing countries. The United States is leading the charge in encouraging the MDBs to both increase their climate finance and make it more accessible to recipients.  These actions would help the MDBs build on their all-time-high of $66 billion in climate finance provided in 2020, with $38 billion going to low- and middle-income economies. USAID is also engaging directly with private sector partners to mobilize finance at scale using our grants and technical assistance to provide risk-sharing for investment in critical climate solutions, as well as building the pipeline for bankable projects.
     
  • Advancing the Global Methane Pledge (GMP) by building a coalition that now includes over 130 countries committed to reduce global anthropogenic methane emissions at least 30 percent below 2020 levels by 2030, as called for in the Global Methane Pledge that President Biden and European Commission President Von der Leyen launched at COP26.  To achieve the fastest and deepest methane reductions, President Biden announced a new GMP Energy Pathway focusing on fossil energy methane emissions at the June 2022 Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF), alongside the European Union and 11 other countries.  The Energy Pathway mobilizes new policies, projects, technical assistance, and investment resources to dramatically reducing flaring, venting, and leakage of methane from fossil energy operations.  Achieving the full methane mitigation potential in this sector could avoid 0.1°C warming by midcentury and would boost global energy security by preventing the waste of 260 billion cubic meters of gas per year—equivalent to over one-third of Russia’s annual gas production.
     
  • Accelerating Zero-Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) Deployment by building a growing coalition of countries committed to a collective 2030 goal of ZEVs comprising 50% of new light-duty vehicle sales by 2030, to include battery electric, fuel cell electric, and plug-in hybrid vehicles.  In addition to the United States, the coalition includes Canada, Chile, the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Norway, and the United Kingdom.
     
  • Advancing Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate), launched at COP26 by the United States and the United Arab Emirates. AIM for Climate and its growing network of over 275 partners seek to drive more rapid and transformative climate action by increasing investment and support for climate-smart agriculture and food systems innovation. AIM for Climate achieved its goal of doubling the total increased investment mobilized by its partners from $4 billion announced at COP26 to over $8 billion at COP27, which includes over $1 billion from 30 partner-led innovation sprints.  The United States has also announced plans to host the AIM for Climate Summit on May 8-10, 2023 in Washington, DC.
     
  • Expanding the First Movers Coalition launched by President Biden and the World Economic Forum at COP26. The First Movers Coalition is the flagship U.S. public-private partnership to commercialize clean technologies through advance purchase commitments. Its corporate members have pledged $10 billion, the world’s strongest demand signal, for bringing emerging innovations to scale. On its first anniversary, the First Movers Coalition has grown to more than 60 companies, representing more than 10% of the global Fortune 2000 by market value, as well as ten governments. Each member company has made unprecedented purchasing commitments by the end of this decade in order to drive investment in next-generation clean steel, aluminum, and cement; near-zero carbon aviation fuels; zero-emission trucking and shipping; and carbon dioxide removal.  These commitments will drive down the green premium of emerging technologies and bring competitive technologies to market this decade that are needed to decarbonize so-called “hard-to-abate” sectors of the global economy that produce a third of global emissions.
     
  • Demonstrating Clean Energy Technologies by rallying sixteen partner countries to collectively mobilize $94 billion in public funding to build commercial-scale demonstration projects that the IEA says are needed this decade to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 – meeting a challenge that President Biden issued to other world leaders at his June MEF. Partners that joined the President in announcing contributions earlier this year included Australia, Canada, European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Sweden, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.
     
  • Bolstering Climate & Food Security, including through President Biden’s September 2022 announcement at UNGA of over $2.9 billion in new U.S. assistance to address global food insecurity stemming from climate change, COVID-19, and Russia’s unprovoked and ongoing war against Ukraine, which builds on the $6.9 billion in U.S. government assistance to support global food security already committed this year.  The United States is providing additional funding to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, the African Development Bank, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development that will promote climate resilient food systems. Following President Biden’s call to action at the June 2022 Major Economies Forum, at COP27 the United States and partners will announce funding commitments to the Global Fertilizer Challenge to advance fertilizer efficiency and reduce the impact of shortages on food security.

New York City’s Village Halloween Parade 2022 Celebrates Freedom

Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

Not even a surprise rainshower could dampen the spirits marching down 6th avenue for the New York’s famed Village Halloween Parade – and there were spirits galore.

Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The 49th Annual Village Halloween was themed FREEDOM! It’s a move! It’s a moment! Feel it!!! The Grand Marshal for 2022 was The Brooklyn United Marching Band with special surprise guests who played Jon Batiste’s song Freedom! 

Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

 “We are encouraging glittery costumes, your best dance moves and anything that allows you to feel light, joyful, free and colorful! We’re gonna lift the spirits of the whole world!” says Jeanne Fleming, Artistic and Producing Director. “However you do it, feel the joy and freedom of expression in one of New York’s most iconic and wildly creative events!

Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The parade is the nation’s largest public Halloween celebration, has been named by Events International as The Greatest Event on Earth on October 31, and ranked 3rd by Citysearch as the best event in New York City.

“Tranny Grannies” from Asheville NC at Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

It draws people (as we found) from around the world – Poland, England, Corsica among the locales.

Indeed, by bringing hundreds of thousands of tourists, the event generates an estimated $90 million in tourism dollars for the city, providing Greenwich Village businesses and restaurants their best night of the year.

Dominique and J.J. traveled from Corsica, France, especially for the Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

And, by turning a large and complex city into a small town for just one night, the Parade has been a pioneer in the critical movement toward the resurrection and rejuvenation of the City.

Here are Parade highlights:

Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Family enjoying Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Family visiting from Massachusetts for the Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Liz and Sophie from Huntington, Long Island enjoy VIP seats at Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Susan Solow and son Daniel (the cow), from Long Island at Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Village Halloween Parade 2022, NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

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Biden Chastises Oil Companies for Ungodly Profiteering as ‘Windfall of War;’ Warns of Windfall Profit Tax

American-based oil companies have basically indulged in price-gouging, war-profiteering – as evidenced by record profits during the third quarter. We’re talking Exxon’s highest quarterly profits in its 152-year history. The oil companies have pocketed $100 billion in just 200 days, two and three times the quarterly profit of a year ago, setting historic records. Their profits are a windfall of war,” President Biden declared, “the windfall from the brutal conflict that’s ravaging Ukraine and hurting tens of millions of people around the globe.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Americans say they are really, really upset about higher gas prices, despite the fact the prices have come down consistently since the peak in the summer ($1.20) and are just about 30c higher per gallon, and that the price rise is largely due to Putin’s genocidal invasion of Ukraine, and but that inflation will affect how they vote. But what is also clear is that American-based oil companies have basically indulged in price-gouging, war-profiteering – as evidenced by record profits during the third quarter. We’re talking Exxon’s highest quarterly profits in its 152-year history. The oil companies have pocketed $100 billion in just 200 days, two and three times the quarterly profit of a year ago, setting historic records. Think about that.

“Their profits are a windfall of war,” President Biden declared, “the windfall from the brutal conflict that’s ravaging Ukraine and hurting tens of millions of people around the globe.  You know, at a time of war, any company receiving historic windfall profits like this has a responsibility to act beyond their narrow self-interest of its executives and shareholders…if they don’t, they’re going to pay a higher tax on their excess profits and face other restrictions. ..It’s time for these companies to stop war profiteering, meet their responsibilities to this country, and give the American people a break and still do very well.” 

And here’s my question: the oil companies are using billions of that profit to buy back their stock, rather than reinvest or do something productive with all that cash. Why don’t they instead  be the ones developing, installing and owning clean, renewable energy technologies – be part of the solution to carbon-emissions-caused global warming and climate change, rather than the cause. They could be developing battery-storage technologies, EV charging infrastructure, cheaper and better solar panels and wind turbines. Instead, they spend their untold billions to lobby lawmakers to challenge climate action and propagandize climate change denial.

Here’s another issue: they are deliberately keeping gas prices high because they know it may hurt Democrats’ control of Congress, and stop, even reverse Biden’s progress on climate action and a transition to clean, renewable energy.

Here are the facts, provided by the White House, and President Biden’s remarks – Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Oil companies are posting record profits. Over the last two quarters alone, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips, and TotalEnergy earned over $100 billion in profits. That is more than they earned all of last year, and more thantwo-and-a-half times what they earned in the same quarters of 2021.

Oil companies are overcharging American families at the pump. Today, profit margins at five of the largest oil companies are higher than their pre-pandemic levels.Refining margins per gallon of gasoline are about 50 cents over historical levels – nearly double what is typical. Diesel profit margins are even larger at about $1.90 above historical levels – more than six times what is typical. 

Oil companies are padding shareholder pockets rather than increasing production. ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips, and TotalEnergy are spending more money buying back their own shares than investing in raising their productive capacity. Over the last six months, these companies reported spending over $50 billion to buy back their own shares and pay out dividends. That’s about the same amount that these companies returned to shareholders all of last year. In Q2 and Q3 of 2022, the ratio of capital expenditures to earnings of the six large oil companies was only 35%, compared to over 130% during the same quarters from 2017 to 2019 pre-pandemic. 

President Biden remarked on the record oil profits on October 31. Here’s a transcript:

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in March set gas prices soaring literally around the world — not just here, but around the world. 
 
And because of the action we’ve taken since then, gas prices have actually come down — going into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve — here at home, in America.  They’re down more than $1.20 since their peak this summer.  And they’ve been falling for the best of — best part of the last three weeks. 
 
In June, the average price — not the most common price, but the average price — nationwide was — was over $5 a gallon.  Today, the average price for a gallon of gas is $3.76.  That’s adding up to real savings for American families — the difference between those prices.  And this difference makes a difference. 
 
In a difficult time, Americans across the country have stepped up to do the right thing.  But not everyone has stepped up.  The oil industry has not met its commitment to invest in America and support the American people. 
 
One by one, major oil companies have reported record profits, not just a fair return for hard work.  Every company is entitled to that: a fair return for the work they do or innovation they generate.  But I mean profits so high it’s hard to believe. 
 
Now, the second quarter of the profits were really high.  But the third quarter — last week, Shell announced that it made $9.5 billion in profits for the third quarter — $9.5 billion.  That’s almost twice as much as it made in the third quarter of last year.  I think that’s something.  You think that’s incredible?  I thought, “My — that’s as good as — as high as it’s going to get.” 
 
Then along came Exxon.  Exxon’s profits for the third quarter were at $18.7 billion.  One quarter: $18.7 billion — nearly triple what Exxon made last year and the most in its 152-year history.  It’s never made that much profit. 
 
In the last six months, six of the largest oil companies have made more than $100 billion — $100 billion.  And we had a little discussion about this, the three of us and others.  One hundred billion in profits in two — less than 200 days… 

 
Here’s why it matters: If these companies were making average profits they’ve been making by refining oil over the last 20 years instead of the outrageous profits they’re making today and if they passed the rest on to the consumers, the price of gas would come down around an additional 50 cents. 
 
If they’re investing their profits at historic rates in their U.S. operations, then America would be producing more oil today and prices would be down even further.  But rather than increasing their investments in America or giving American consumers a break, their excess profits are going back to their shareholders and to buying back their stock, so the executive pay is going to skyrocket.
 
Give me a break.  Enough is enough.  Look, I’m a capitalist.  You’ve heard me say this before: I have no problem with corporations turning a fair profit or getting the return on their investment and innovation.  But this isn’t remotely what’s happening. 
 
Oil companies’ record profits today are not because they’re doing something new or innovative.  Their profits are a windfall of war — the windfall from the brutal conflict that’s ravaging Ukraine and hurting tens of millions of people around the globe.  You know, at a time of war, any company receiving historic windfall profits like this has a responsibility to act beyond their narrow self-interest of its executives and shareholders. 
 
I think they have a responsibility to act in the interest of their consumers, their community, and their country; to invest in America by increasing production and refining capacity.  Because they — they don’t want to do that.  They — they have the opportunity to do that — lowering prices for consumers at the pump.
 
You know, if they don’t, they’re going to pay a higher tax on their excess profits and face other restrictions.  My team will work with Congress to look at these options that are available to us and others.  It’s time for these companies to stop war profiteering, meet their responsibilities to this country, and give the American people a break and still do very well. 
 
The American people are going to judge who’s standing with them and who is only looking out for their own bottom line.  I know where I stand.

Democrats Deserve to Boast Over Historic Progress in Biden’s First 2 Years

US Senator Chuck Schumer with NY Governor Kathy Hochul and NYC Mayor Eric Adams at the 2022 Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown. Senator Schumer, the Senate Majority Leader, is touting historic progress since Democrats took control of Congress and the White House © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) released the following statement on the historic achievements made by Senate Democrats since President Biden took office:

“There are two words that I believe perfectly summarize the Senate under Democratic leadership: productive and bipartisan. To even do small things in the Senate is tough. To pass major pieces of bipartisan legislation in the longest evenly divided Senate in history is a testament to Democrats’ persistence and hard work to deliver for the American people,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

“On top of all the major accomplishments last year, in 2022 alone, we passed a significant postal reform bill over a decade in the making. We passed a bold and robust government funding package which included the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. We passed critical emergency aid for the people of Ukraine. We passed the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching bill, after a century of waiting. We confirmed the first Black woman to the Supreme Court. We passed the first gun safety legislation in 30 years. We passed an historic investment in America’s future with the CHIPS and Science Act. We passed legislation to help our veterans suffering from the effects of toxic burn pits. And we passed the Inflation Reduction Act which will lower costs for prescription drugs, fight climate change and cut down on inflation and the deficit.”

Lowering Costs, Creating Jobs, And Taking Historic Action to Fight Climate Change. The Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act, historic legislation that will lower drug and energy costs, create jobs, reduce the deficit, and take the most significant action ever to fight climate change.

Delivering Critically Needed Historic Legislation To Rebuild Our Crumbling Infrastructure. The Bipartisan Infrastructure law is “the biggest public-works bill since former President Eisenhower created the interstate highway system in 1956.” The infrastructure law includes the largest-ever investment in clean drinking water, the largest-ever investment in public transit, the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak, and the largest investment in clean energy transmission and EV infrastructure in U.S. history. Across the country, Senate Democrats have held event after event to spread the word about the direct impact these investments will have on their communities. And the Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2022.

Providing Critical Support For American Families. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, more than 160 million Americans received economic impact payments. The American Rescue Plan provided tens of billions of dollars to support vaccination and testing in response to the COVID pandemic. The 2022 funding law includes historic investments in our communities.

Supercharging American Innovation and Laying the Groundwork for a New Century of American Leadership. President Biden signed the Chips and Science Act, critical legislation to boost American competitiveness, ease supply chains, invest in scientific research, incentivize semiconductor manufacturing, and create jobs. President Biden signed bipartisan ocean shipping legislation to ease supply chains and drive down costs of shipped goods.

Righting Wrongs For Our Veterans and Their Families. The Senate passed and President Biden signed historic legislation to help veterans exposed to burn pits access the care they need for injuries sustained serving their country.

Enacting The First Major Gun Safety Law in Decades. President Biden signed the most significant gun safety legislation in 30 years, including incentives for red flag laws, closing the “boyfriend loophole,” creating new federal straw purchasing and trafficking criminal offenses, and funding a historic expansion of mental health services. And the Senate confirmed the first permanent Director of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives since 2015.

Supporting and Modernizing the Postal Service. The Senate passed bipartisan legislation to invest in the Post Office and improve delivery.

Protecting Americans Against Hunger. President Biden signed the FORMULA Act and the Access to Baby Formula Act to expand the availability of baby formula. And President Biden signed the Keep Kids Fed Act to extend funding for healthy meals for children over the summer.

Making Historic Steps to Restore the Judiciary. Senate Democrats confirmed the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. Thanks to Senate Democrats, President Biden has had 75 District and Circuit Court judicial nominees confirmed. And, according to FiveThirtyEight, “Biden’s judges are breaking records on diversity.”

Supporting The People of Ukraine Against Putin’s Illegal War And Holding Russia Accountable. Senate Democrats passed and President Biden signed legislation to provide more than $10 billion in support for the people of Ukraine, followed by an additional $40 billion in emergency aid to Ukraine,suspend Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia, ban the importation of Russian energy exports, and the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act. And the Senate approved NATO membership for Finland and Sweden.

Ending Forced Arbitration for Survivors of Sexual Assault. President Biden signed a bipartisan bill that ends forced arbitration in workplace sexual assault and harassment cases, allowing survivors to file lawsuits in court against perpetrators.

Fighting Back Against Hate, Crime and Oppression. President Biden signed into law legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime. The COVID-19 Hate Crimes law will allow us to better confront anti-Asian hate crimes. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, passed unanimously by the Senate, will ban the sale of goods made by Uyghur slave labor and take a stand against the genocide of the Uyghur people. President Biden signed bipartisan legislation to provide support to the victims of crimes. And President Biden signed legislation to commemorate Juneteenth, celebrating the end of slavery in the United States. The Senate passed legislation to streamline research of marijuana. The 2022 Omnibus funding bill also included a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

Undoing the Trump Administration’s Worst Rules and Making Progress in the Fight Against Climate Change. President Joe Biden signed three separate laws to repeal Trump-era rules,“blocking payday lenders from avoiding caps on interest rates, restricting climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas drilling and ending rules on how the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission settles claims.”

Confirming History-Making Nominees. According to the Brookings Institution, the Biden administration made history with “the most diverse set of confirmed appointees.”This includes the first Native American Cabinet Secretary (Sec. Haaland), the first woman to be Secretary of the Treasury (Sec. Yellen), the first Black Secretary of Defense (Sec. Austin), and many more. 

See also: Elect Democrats

FACT SHEET: Biden Takes New Actions to Strengthen US Energy Security, Encourage Production, Bring Down Costs

In August, gas prices on Long Island were at $3.99/gallon – a rate that European countries would envy – having fallen steadily since June from highs of $5. By October , prices had fallen to $3.19, but rose again to $3.49 after Saudi Arabia cut production. Big Oil companies, though, are making record profits. President Biden is taking new actions to lower prices and strengthen US energy security © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

It is worth noting that Republicans have staked their takeover of Congress and state houses on inflation, especially in gas prices, but while offering no actual solutions, have actively obstructed efforts to mitigate the pain of higher costs to American families, for example, blocking efforts to address price gouging and the fact that energy companies have pocketed RECORD profits. Much of the pressure on prices is out of Biden’s control, since prices are set on a global market, and Saudi Arabia , in conjunction with OPEC, has decided to throw its support to Russia by reducing oil output in order to put further upward pressure on prices. Here is a White House Fact Sheet on new actions President Biden is taking to strengthen US energy security, encourage production and bring down costs:

President Biden is committed to doing everything in his power to respond to Putin’s Price Hike at the pump, and he is delivering. Gas prices fell at the fastest rate in over a decade this summer, with average prices down by about $1.15 per gallon since their peak in June – and just about 30 cents above levels on February 24, when the war in Ukraine began. In fact, gas prices have fallen 15 out of the last 18 weeks. According to an industry analyst, the most common price across the country today is $3.39.

President Biden is directing his Administration to take additional action to strengthen energy security, address the supply crunch, and lower costs.

First, the Department of Energy (DOE) is issuing a Notice of Sale tomorrow morning for 15 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to be delivered in December. This sale will complete the historic, 180-million-barrel drawdown the President announced in the spring, which has helped to stabilize crude oil markets and reduce prices at the pump. The President is also calling on DOE to be ready to move forward with additional significant SPR sales this winter if needed due to Russian or other actions disrupting global markets.

Second, the President is announcing that the Administration intends to repurchase crude oil for the SPR when prices are at or below about $67-$72 per barrel, adding to global demand when prices are around that range. As part of its commitment to ensure replenishment of the SPR, the DOE is finalizing a rule that will allow it to enter fixed price contracts through a competitive bid process for product delivered at a future date. This repurchase approach will protect taxpayers and help create certainty around future demand for crude oil. That will encourage firms to invest in production right now, helping to improve U.S. energy security and bring down energy prices that have been driven up by Putin’s war in Ukraine.     

Third, the President is calling on companies to pass through lower energy costs to consumers right away. The profit that energy refining companies are now capturing on every gallon of gasoline is about double what it typically is at this time of year, and the retailer margin over the refinery price is more than 40 percent above the typical level. These outsized industry profit margins – adding more than $0.60 to the average price of a gallon of gas – have kept pump prices higher than they should be. Keeping prices high even as input costs fall is unacceptable, and the President will call on companies to pass their savings through to consumers – now.

Continuing to Use the SPR to Advance U.S. Energy Security

In March, following Putin’s further invasion of Ukraine, the President authorized the largest-ever release from the SPR and secured historic coordination with allies and partners to release crude oil from their reserves as well. Treasury Department economists estimate that these releases, along with coordinated releases from international partners, have reduced gas prices by as much as about $0.40 per gallon, compared to what they otherwise would have been. Average U.S. gas prices have declined by more than a dollar per gallon from their peak earlier this year.

Global crude oil supply flows remain a challenge, due in large part to the ongoing instability caused by Russia’s actions in Ukraine. To help stabilize markets and shore up supply in the face of these challenges, DOE will sell 15 million barrels from the SPR for delivery in December, issuing the Notice of Sale for these barrels in the morning. The sale, which completes the 180 million barrels the President authorized in the spring, will add about 500K barrels per day of supply onto the market in December, providing continued supply certainty and some price relief.

The U.S. SPR remains the largest strategic reserve in the world with about 400 million barrels remaining, which is greater than the amount of any SPR release in U.S. history. Even as DOE executes on the plan to refill the SPR to previous levels in coming years, the SPR remains more than ready to respond to energy security needs today.

The President is prepared to authorize significant additional sales in coming months if conditions require. DOE will be prepared to act quickly to inject additional supply into the market if needed, and the Administration will not hesitate to use this tool, or the others at its disposal, to shore up the global supply of energy, support domestic inventory levels, and bring prices down for Americans.

Using SPR Repurchases to Encourage Increases in Near-Term Production

The Administration is committed to replenishing the SPR, which is an important national security asset, so it can continue to serve its purpose well into the future. And, it is committed to doing so in a way that protects taxpayer interests, avoids putting upward pressure on prices in the near term, and encourages more production right now by providing certainty about repurchases in the future.

U.S. oil production is almost 12 million barrels per day. By the end of this year, it will be up by about one million barrels per day compared to when President Biden took office, and it is on track to reach a new annual high in 2023. However, a number of industry participants have suggested that, even with today’s high prices, they are concerned about investing in production when prices could fall in the future.

The Administration is announcing its intent to use SPR repurchases to add to global crude oil demand at times when the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil is at or below about $67 to $72 per barrel. This will protect taxpayer interests because the SPR will be repurchasing at a lower price than recent sales, potentially allowing it to repurchase more oil than it released with sale proceeds. It will also help address producer concerns about uncertain demand in future years, encouraging immediate investment.

DOE has finalized a first-of-its-kind rule that enables it to enter into fixed-price contracts with suppliers, through a competitive bid process, to repurchase oil for future delivery windows. This new authority will shore up demand for oil when supply is less uncertain and prices are anticipated to be lower. For example, if the market were to price barrels for delivery in mid-2024 at $70, the new rule allows DOE to enter into a contract now for mid-2024 delivery of oil at, around or lower than that price. DOE plans to use this authority to enter into contracts to repurchase oil for the SPR, targeting a price of about $67 to $72 per barrel or lower, with initial repurchases being delivered in 2024 or 2025. In addition, DOE is prepared to undertake additional SPR repurchases at times when the price of oil for current delivery drops to about $67 to $72 per barrel or lower, supplementing its future fixed-price contracts as appropriate.

This approach is a win for taxpayers – refilling the SPR at a lower price compared to the barrels sold. And it is a win for energy security – giving producers who enter into the contracts more certainty of continued oil demand to inform investment decisions today, thereby spurring needed increases in production at a time when Putin’s war continues to disrupt global energy markets.