Wednesday, January 28, 2004

What color is your Hydrogen ?

Hydrogen's Dirty Details by Mark Baard
The so-called hydrogen economy will be a boon for the mining industry. The clean-energy future that many environmentalists have dreamed of has been turned over to the coal industry and a notoriously dirty Siberian mining company run by Russian oligarch Vladimir Potanin. A deal personally smoothed over by Bush has given Norilsk Nickel, one of the world's worst polluters, a toehold on American soil—and a major stake in the hydrogen economy.

The new mining frenzy is emerging as yet another piece of Bush's "black hydrogen agenda," according to the Green Hydrogen Coalition, whose members include the Sierra Club, Public Citizen, and Jeremy Rifkin, a leading proponent of hydrogen fuel cells.

The coalition favors the use of wind and solar energy to power the reactions that extract hydrogen from substances like water. But to build the hydrogen economy over the next 30 years, Republicans are instead planning to burn more fossil fuels and dig for coal and gas on public and private lands. The Green Hydrogen Coalition noted that the GOP-written Senate energy bill called for subsidizing the nuke and fossil fuel industries to the tune of $8 billion, twice the amount set aside for renewable energy sources.


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