Can President Kim end World Bank backing for coal-fired power?

Creeps like the Koch Bros. should be required to live downwind

In a closed meeting on Tuesday evening, the World Bank put before its executive directors a proposal to stop funding the development of new coal plants globally. Despite provisions that would grant exceptions to allow funding for a few rare coal plants, this proposal is a big step forward for an agency that has supported some of the world’s largest and dirtiest coal plants for years. It is also a key opportunity for World Bank President Dr Jim Yong Kim to lead the World Bank into a clean energy future.

Kim is already poised to be a leader in the fight to address climate disruption. Shortly after joining the World Bank as president one year ago this month, he commissioned a report that detailed the catastrophic effects the world would see if global temperatures rose by just four degrees Celsius. Since then, Kim has repeatedly called on countries around the world to take action now in order to avert such a crisis in the future.

Unfortunately, the World Bank’s actions haven’t lived up to Kim’s rhetoric. In the past five years alone, the bank has financed more than $5bn in carbon-intensive coal plants. Currently, it is considering financing a new coal power plant in Kosovo that would burn lignite coal – the dirtiest and most toxic form of coal available. This plant would be built in a country where, according to the World Bank’s own statistics, coal already kills 835 people every year.

…The tide at the World Bank may be turning. In his “climate action” speech last month, President Obama called for an end to public financing of dirty coal plants abroad. On the heels of that announcement, the World Bank released a draft energy strategy that would ban funding for new coal generation, with some rare exceptions. Although we would prefer to see the door closed on coal for good by eliminating even those loopholes, the bank’s new energy plan still marks real progress under Kim’s leadership.

Ending the financing of coal plants globally would also free up scarce public funds for investment in decentralized clean energy projects. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the only way the 1.3 billion people who still do not have access to electricity will be able to get it is through this type of off-grid, decentralized clean energy. Indeed, the IEA argues that to achieve universal electrification, the 70% of rural areas currently without power must be serviced with off-grid renewable energy…

Jim Yong Kim showed he was up to the test, but we’ll be watching closely to make sure this policy is backed up by real action.

Keep on rocking in the Free World!

Even if you get to wear thousand-dollar-suits and arrive at meetings in a Mercedes S-class chariot, confronting the fossil fuel flunkies ain’t ever anything more than a polite version of mud wrestling. And they control both the dirt and the gold.

9/11 rescue dog celebrates her 16th birthday in NYC

Click to enlargeBretagne is the last living rescue dog who worked at the World Trade Center

A rescue dog that flew to New York for the 9/11 recovery effort returned last month to celebrate her 16th birthday.

The golden retriever named Bretagne traveled from Cypress, Texas, with her owner, Denise Corliss, after the 2001 terror attacks. They worked with dozens of other dogs and humans to find victims in the rubble of the World Trade Center.

Her Aug. 22 return for a birthday bash was sponsored by BarkPost, a New York-based website devoted to all things canine.

The daylong celebration included a dog friendly cake, a ride in a vintage taxi and a trip to a dog run.

BarkPost creative producer Lara Hartle says Bretagne’s favorite part was the cake…

Good dog.

Who will profit the most from the Death and Destruction Fair?

More than 30,000 visitors are expected next week at the biannual arms fair organised by Defence and Security Equipment International at the ExCel Centre in London. The 2013 event drew 97 delegations from 56 countries, checking out the goods on offer from 1,489 “defence and security suppliers”, from handguns to fighter jets. The London Independent described the showcase as “where the world’s worst dictators love to shop”…

DSEI was privatised by the Blair government in 1999 but continues to operate in the manner of a government agency. Invitations to the arms fair are issued by the ministry of defence. Visitors will have to pass through five security checks. Hundreds of armed police will be deployed. Protesters from the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, Amnesty International and others are unlikely to breach the defensive ring. The arms dealers will be able to ply their trade in peace. Middle Eastern states with dubious records on human rights will again be among the biggest spenders. Ordinary citizens may see the ocean of suffering and the pell-mell flight of millions as the most salient aspects of the turmoil engulfing the region. But arms manufacturers will note nothing problematical. Every arms company has a business interest in bloodshed. Those looking to sell to the Middle East can anticipate a bonanza.

The New York Times reports that US arms industry officials have notified Congress they expect rising demand over the coming year for aircraft, missiles, armoured vehicles, helicopters, bombs and drones from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt and Qatar. Saudi Arabia has become the world’s fourth-largest market for military equipment, passing out Britain and France, splurging more than $80 billion…in 2014. The Saudis can be confident of spectacular sucking-up…

Vice, corruption, lies and disdain for law as well as life are the hallmarks of the arms trade in general. But experience suggests nobody in the British political mainstream will show concern, much less shame, at the merchandising of murder in their capital next week.

Not every arms supplier will make it to the ExCel. The Russians aren’t coming…Israel has booked a “national pavilion”, advertising “combat-proven” weapons. Proven in asymmetrical assaults on Palestinian civilians, presumably.

And no one has a War department anymore. They’ve learned all the lessons pioneered by the United States. We need all this crap to “defend” ourselves. Especially with our troops in someone else’s country.