Day: May 29, 2007

California takes coals out of the fire

Seriously, for every bit of bad news you read in the New York Times about coal, you read a good news story about the LA Times about coal!

State acts to limit use of coal power – Los Angeles Times

The California Energy Commission on Wednesday imposed new rules that effectively forbid the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and all other municipal utilities in the state from signing new contracts with coal-fired power plants. The move, together with identical regulations imposed on private utilities in January, is a significant step toward reducing the contribution of California, the world’s sixth largest economy, to global warming.

This is important because California is a huge market and is imposing its market power wisely. It will buy coal power if sequestration actually works.

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Brazil offers AIDs drug factory to Mozambique

Brazil is positioning itself as a major manufacturer of generics, and offering to build this factory is a very good move because it will provide AIDs treatment options for Mozambique at affordable prices (well, better prices than the pharma giants would provide, at any rate). Is there expertise available in Mozambique to staff this factory and run it at the level of quality a pharmaceutical production facility needs? I don’t know the answer, but I sure hope so. Alternatively, is there any plan for Brazil to train and equip the personnel as well? It is good news, at any rate.
Brazil offers drug factory to AIDS-ravaged Mozambique – Yahoo News

Brazil has offered to build a $23 million pharmaceutical plant in Mozambique that will provide drugs to treat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, Mozambique’s national newspaper said on Tuesday.

Brazil, a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer, will monitor quality and transfer technology to the proposed plant, which would produce a range of drugs, including generic antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) to fight HIV/AIDS, Noticias reported.

The plan was presented to the Mozambique government by Brazil’s ambassador in the southern African nation.

Mozambique, one of the poorest nations on the continent, is struggling to find the money to rebuild its dilapidated health-care system, which was neglected during a 17-year civil war that ended in 1992.

The former Portuguese colony has been hard hit by the AIDS epidemic, with an estimated 1.6 million of its 18 million people infected with HIV. Only a fraction of those requiring ARVs are on treatment, with most of the drugs imported from India.

The offer to build the pharmaceutical plant was first raised by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva during his 2004 official visit to Mozambique. Lula said he wanted drugs from the plant to be available to other African nations as well.

Brazil claims the use of generic anti-retrovirals has cut its AIDS mortality rate in half.

Mozambican Health Minister Ivo Garrido said the government would decide next month whether to approve the Brazilian proposal. “We will have to study it very carefully,” he was quoted as saying by Noticias.

Liquid Coal – Flooding back to life!

See, it was only a matter of time before liquid coal made its egregious way back to front and center of the “energy security” debate.

Lawmakers Push for Big Subsidies for Coal Process – New York Times

Prodded by intense lobbying from the coal industry, lawmakers from coal states are proposing that taxpayers guarantee billions of dollars in construction loans for coal-to-liquid production plants, guarantee minimum prices for the new fuel, and guarantee big government purchases for the next 25 years.

Liquid coal produces more CO2 than gasoline, so, all the coal makers are claiming that they will sequester the CO2, and use renewable energy to produce the coal, it’s a lie, and an expensive one at that.

It is going to be more expensive, more polluting, and more profitable for big coal companies at tax payers expense than any other options available.

In addition to construction loan guarantees, Mr. Boucher would
protect the first six liquid plants from drops in energy prices. If oil
prices fell below about $40 a barrel, the government would
automatically grant loans to the first six plants that make coal-based
fuels. If oil prices climbed to $80 a barrel, companies would have to
pay a surcharge to the government.

But the most important guarantee, many coal producers said, is the prospect of signing 25-year purchase contracts with the Air Force.

Wow, why can’t solar or wind energy get these kinds of incentives?

“There is financial uncertainty, which is inhibiting the flow of
private capital into the construction of coal-to-liquid facilities,”
said Mr. Boucher, who supports most of the proposals and is drafting
portions of the energy bill.

Yes, there is “financial uncertainty” because without the taxation of the American public, there is no hope of making money with this thing. It’s just a giant boondoggle to transfer money from the public sphere into coal companies.

The US is losing its collective mind!

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