Updated: 5/16/2006; 11:53:47 AM.

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daily link  Wednesday, August 11, 2004

The Broken Promises of George W. Bush: Nice chart.  "President Bush made a lot of promises during his 2000 presidential campaign. The record shows it was all talk"  9:05:04 PM  permalink  

Walter Cronkite | Prisons needlessly overpopulated with drug offenders:  Cronkite's syndicated column argues for reform of the 'cruel' and 'failed' war on drugs.  He's also joined the Drug Policy Alliance Honorary Board to carry the message on.  3:40:14 PM  permalink  

World Bank rejects reforms in extractive industries:  "The World Bank group rejected moves towards phasing out investment in oil and coal mining, as recommended by its own extractive industries review, this week, despite releasing a statement saying that it "broadly agreed that it [the review] represented a balanced way forward for the Bank Group." .. The Bank is also seeking to scale up its activities in the renewable energy sector by 20% annually over the next five years, bringing investment to more than US$400 million per year. This target will also be reviewed on a regular basis. It compares to an estimated annual investment of US$3 billion in fossil fuels. "  The World Wildlife Fund and others criticized the move.  "WWF says the Bank is missing a historic opportunity to show real leadership and help guide the developing world towards a truly sustainable and clean energy future. It wants the Bank to allocate at least $800 million of its $3 billion annual energy budget to renewables and energy efficiency, and to increase that level by 20% a year over the next five years. " The WB spin (World Bank Accepts New Oil, Gas Lending Controls) emphasises the changes in banking rules they are adopting, which basically require more reporting on where the money goes.  Full text of EIR and supporting documents are online.

  12:06:38 PM  permalink  

NKZone: Interesting "blog zone" site, where people with info about North Korea can share their stories.  Includes links to published stories on events in NK from many sources, and a Bloglines public directory on NK info.  This could be a model for the "open source intelligence" community.  11:55:50 AM  permalink  

Low-income villages get renewables in the Philippines: Interesting model for low income energy projects, incorporating lessons from earlier efforts.  "Eight off-grid villages in the Negros Occidental region of the central Philippines will benefit from a grant of US$1.5 million to install renewable energy systems.  The ADB (Asian Development Bank) will provide the money from its Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, which is financed by the Japanese government. The project is the sixth JFPR project in the Philippines, which have included urban development projects for slum communities in Manila to livelihood projects for the rural poor in Mindanao.

This community-based project will set up solar, wind, biomass and micro hydro systems for 2,480 residents who depend on kerosene, batteries and candles for energy. One-third of the villagers live below the regional poverty threshold of 27¢ per day, and the project was approved because of its creation of livelihood opportunities..  To mobilize the participating communities, sitios or barangays will be organized into power associations and a funds collection mechanism will be set up to operate and maintain the renewable energy systems. 

A revolving fund will be established so lighting, tools and equipment can be installed and homes can connect to the green power systems. A second revolving fund will promote activities which consume the power, such as community-owned rice mills to increase rice production, ice plants for cold storage of fish products, purchase of small power tools and sewing machines for home-based work, and skills development and on-site training.  After the four-year assistance period ends, the project will be turned over to the communities to take responsibility for operating and maintaining the renewable energy systems ..

JFPR was launched in 2000 with an initial contribution of $90 million, followed by another contribution of $155 million and a commitment of $50 million. The fund supports projects that target the poor and take innovative approaches."

  11:20:50 AM  permalink  

Selsam Wind Energy: A New Type of Wind Turbine: Interesting multi-rotor design from a California inventor, using advanced carbon materials to utilize lower-speed wind resources.  Meanwhile, the State of California is offerering funds for development of lower-speed wind:  "Though California is recognized as the industry leader for total installed wind capacity at over 1,800 MW, the state ranks only 17th in terms of available high wind resource areas -- of class 5 and above .. Upon reviewing the most recent high-resolution resource maps for the state, it is evident that there are significantly more low wind speed resource areas (Class 3 to 4 at 10 m) than high wind resource areas."  11:17:27 AM  permalink  

Identifying Environmentally Preferable uses for Biomass Resources: A study of North American biomass resources and their comparative effects on greenhouse emissions.  Recommendations:

  1. If biomass is specifically grown to produce energy, avoid using low-yielding energy crops. Wheat, canola, or corn should not be used as energy crops, as they require considerable energy inputs in the form of fertilizer etc., take up prime farmland, and deliver small yields per hectare. Switchgrass or wood from short-rotation forestry (e.g., poplar or willow) should be used to produce energy.
  2. Use biomass waste and energy crops where they displace fuels with high carbon
    content. Combined heat and power, or the production of either biofuels or hydrogen are preferred over electricity-only options, since electricity production will usually replace relatively efficient natural gas burning.
  3. Landfilling and incineration are the best options to minimize GHG emissions from municipal solid waste. While landfilling with efficient gas collection is slightly preferred over incineration.  Composting is not recommended due to the considerable methane emissions from pockets of anaerobic activity.
  4. Do not produce biodiesel from virgin vegetable oils. Available land can be used more efficiently by growing other crops for energy purposes. However, waste oil and fat should be used to make either biodiesel, or a diesel additive.
  5. If the ultimate goal is to displace a maximum quantity of fossil fuels, combined heat and power systems are the preferable biomass use option. 
  10:34:10 AM  permalink  


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Last update: 5/16/2006; 11:53:47 AM.