The Coal Industry Wants Your Cash to Save Them

A recently-released report by the World Coal Institute (WCI) on how to finance the experimental Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology for power stations, reminded me of a cartoon from years ago by the Australian cartoonist, Patrick Cook. In the cartoon, a huge bloated budgie (parakeet) with the letters "BHP" emblazoned on its chest, was holding a gun to its own head while proclaiming to a cowering politician, "Hand over the loot or the budgie gets it." (At the time, BHP -- which owned iron ore mines and steel mills -- was haggling for government support for its ailing steel operations).

BHP-Billiton ditched its steel interests long ago and is now one of the world's biggest miners and exporters of coal for power stations. It is also a member of the WCI. In its report, titled Securing the Future: Financing Carbon Capture and Storage in a Post-2012 World, the WCI argue that there is an urgent need for massive funding of CCS trials by governments and with a generous slice of revenues from emissions trading schemes. Current funding, the WCI claims, is "too slow to allow necessary global GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions reductions goals to be achieved." Not surprisingly, they identify that "the appetite for this will largely hinge on public acceptance."

What the coal industry realises is that without massive public funding, CCS is dead. Without CCS, the coal industry and power companies locked into coal-fired power stations will, at best, be on life support.

A None Too Happy Mermaid

Mermaid holding protest signAhead of the COP15 negotiations over a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, a coalition of groups have unveiled a short list of nominees for The Angry Mermaid Award for the "company or lobby group is doing the mo


UnitedHealth Presses its Employees to Oppose Public Option

The country's largest private health insurer, UnitedHealth Group, is urging its 75,000 employees to phone their senators and write letters-to-the-editor to protest the inclusion of a public health insurance option in health reform legislation.


Anniversary Sparks Renewed Efforts to Break Up the Banks

Thursday, November 12th marks the ten year anniversary of the repeal of the depression-era Glass-Steagall Act that protected consumers from casino-style gambling on Wall Street and prevented significant financial crises for almost 60 years. As Congress took up a series of bills this fall to restore confidence in the financial sector, notably lacking were any bills to break up the big banks and restore Glass-Steagall protections.

Catholic Church Aggressively Influencing Health Care Reform Legislation

The Roman Catholic Church worked aggressively to get a last-minute amendment added to the newly-passed House health care reform bill that specifically prohibits abortion coverage in insurance plans that receive funding from the federal government.


Medicare Part D Planners Now Fighting Health Insurance Reform

At least 25 former federal officials and legislative aides who helped draft the 2003 Medicare Part D drug benefit are now working as lobbyists for pharmaceutical interests trying and protect the lucrative drug payment system in negotiations for health care reform.


U.S. Lobbyists Bypass the Financial Crisis

The global financial crisis has bypassed the U.S. lobbying industry. The Center for Responsive Politics reports that "the year-to-date total spent on lobbying now stands at $2.5 billion through the end of September, with that sum supporting 13,428 individual active lobbyists.


U.K. Government Backs Self-Regulation for Lobbyists

The U.K. government has rejected a parliamentary committee's recommendation for the mandatory registration of lobbyists and the disclosure of their meetings with civil servants. The Cabinet Office dismissed the recommendation claiming that this “would involve collating a huge amount of information and divert significant resources within departments”. Nor did the Cabinet Office support the establishment of a mandatory register of lobbyists.



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