Fwd: [CMEP] Join the Green Hydrogen Coalition!
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On 1/9/2004 at 5:25 PM Brendan Hoffman <bhoffman@...> wrote:
>***please forward widely***
>***apologies for cross-posting***
>January 9, 2004
>This past fall, nine of the country's leading environmental
>organizations joined together to form the Green Hydrogen Coalition. The
>goal of the Coalition is to promote the use of clean, renewable energy
>technologies and sources to extract the hydrogen necessary to fuel the
>emerging hydrogen economy.
>The impetus for the Coalition's formation was a gathering of
>governments from around the world to form what is known as the
>International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy (IPHE). Our fear is
>that this organization will be hijacked by anti-environmental forces
>like the Bush administration, which will use the growing need for energy
>as an excuse for building more dirty coal, nuclear, and natural gas
>power plants, hidden behind the veil of hydrogen's clean potential.
>Now we're looking to expand the Green Hydrogen Coalition to include any
>and all local, regional, national, and international groups that endorse
>the group's policies. This is an important opportunity to get out in
>front of the coming sea change in how energy is created and distributed
>in our society and direct that change in a very democratic way.
>The Coalition is still in its preliminary organizational stages,
>functioning without a website, email listserv, steering committee, or
>paid staff, but those issues are being worked out and should be resolved
>very shortly. Below is a copy of the statement drafted by the original
>Coalition members. If your organization supports the views put forth
>and is interested in becoming a member of the Green Hydrogen Coalition,
>please send an email to bhoffman@... with your group's contact
>person's name, email address, and phone number. As soon as an email
>listserv is established, we'll add you to it and let you know.
>Please try to help this message reach as many groups as possible.
>Thanks for your interest.
>Organizer, Nuclear Energy & Waste
>Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program
>STATEMENT OF THE GREEN HYDROGEN COALITION
>Nine of the nation�s leading environmental, consumer, and public
>policy organizations have joined together in the Green Hydrogen
>Coalition (GHC) to challenge President Bush�s launch of the
>International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy (IPHE). While the
>Green Hydrogen Coalition supports a hydrogen future for America and the
>world, it charges the Bush administration with promoting a black
>hydrogen rather than a green hydrogen research and development agenda.
>The Green Hydrogen Coalition is comprised of Friends of the Earth, The
>Foundation on Economic Trends, the Global Resource Action Center for the
>Environment, Greenpeace, the League of Conservation Voters, Public
>Citizen, the Sierra Club, the US Public Interest Research Group, and
>The White House hosted a meeting of energy ministers from around the
>world on November 19-21, in Washington, D.C., to sign a landmark
>agreement to share research and development on hydrogen related
>activity, with a goal of ushering in a hydrogen economy over the course
>of the next several decades. The United States has proposed that it
>serve as the secretariat of this first-of-a-kind global research and
>The Green Hydrogen Coalition accuses the White House of using the IPHE
>initiative as a smokescreen to deflect attention away from its dismal
>anti-environmental record and a forum to promote the interests of the
>coal, oil, gas, and nuclear industries. The Green Hydrogen Coalition
>further charges the Bush administration with using the IPHE as a
>delaying tactic to avoid introducing already available off-the-shelf
>technologies and effective policies that can address local and global
>The Green Hydrogen Coalition warns that if the United States is
>successful in steering the IPHE towards a black hydrogen future, it
>could lock the global economy into the old energy regime for much of the
>21st century, with dire environmental consequences.
>The Hydrogen Economy
>Hydrogen�the lightest and most abundant element of the universe�can
>be the next great energy revolution. People call it the �forever
>fuel� because it will never run out. And when hydrogen is used for
>power the only byproducts are pure water and heat. Hydrogen is found
>everywhere on Earth, yet it rarely exists free floating in nature.
>Instead, it has to be extracted from fossil fuels, water, or biomass.
>Therefore, the energy used to derive the hydrogen makes the hydrogen
>either dirty or clean, in other words, �black� or �green�.
>The Green Hydrogen Coalition believes that, if done the right way, the
>shift to fuel cells and a hydrogen economy will be as significant and
>far reaching in its impact on the American and global economy as the
>steam engine and coal in the 19th century and the internal combustion
>engine and oil in the 20th century. Hydrogen has the potential to end
>the world�s reliance on oil from the Persian Gulf, the most
>politically unstable and volatile region of the world. It will
>dramatically cut down on carbon dioxide emissions and mitigate the
>effects of global warming.
>Black versus Green Hydrogen
>Today, most commercial hydrogen is harvested from natural gas via a
>steam reforming process. Yet the supply of natural gas is as finite as
>our oil supply, and therefore not a dependable feedstock for hydrogen.
>Petroleum, coal, and nuclear resources are all potential sources of
>hydrogen but are not clean, safe, long-term solutions. Producing
>hydrogen from petroleum will not free the U.S. from dependence on
>foreign oil. Coal extraction has significant impacts on the land and
>produces nearly twice the amount of carbon dioxide as natural gas,
>resulting in the emission of increased heat-trapping gases.
>The U.S. Department of Energy and the coal industry counter that
>extracting hydrogen from coal would be viable if a commercially
>effective and safe way can be found to sequester carbon dioxide (CO2)
>and the Bush administration is seeking more than one billion dollars for
>research and development to make CO2 sequestration a reality. However,
>carbon sequestration, and the quest for �clean coal�, is not the
>silver bullet solution for producing hydrogen that the Bush
>administration is portraying it to be.
>Carbon sequestration is the process of permanently storing CO2 gas in
>geologic or ocean reservoirs. If proven to be safe, permanent, and
>environmentally benign, sequestration could be used to reduce
>atmospheric CO2 emissions from burning coal and other fossil fuels,
>potentially making them more acceptable sources of hydrogen or
>electricity in the short term. However, producing hydrogen from coal
>can never be an option unless the carbon from coal can be stored safely
>for the long-term without other adverse environmental impacts. The
>safety and long-term viability of storage is uncertain, and the adverse
>environmental and health impacts of coal mining, mountain top removal
>and power plant waste disposal are still a problem with even the most
>advanced coal fired power plant and carbon sequestration technology
>Nuclear power could also be used to produce hydrogen, but there are
>unresolved safety and disposal issues that have not been adequately
>addressed. Nuclear power plants are also vulnerable to potential
>terrorist attacks. Still, the Bush administration is seeking more than
>a billion dollars to develop a new nuclear power plant designed to
>There is another way to produce hydrogen�one that uses no fossil
>fuels or nuclear power in the process. Renewable sources of
>energy�photovoltaic solar cells, wind, small sustainable
>hydropower, geothermal, and even wave power�are technologies that are
>available today and are increasingly being used to produce electricity.
>That electricity, in turn, can be used, in a process called
>electrolysis, to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Once produced,
>the hydrogen can be stored and used, when needed, to generate
>electricity or be used directly as a fuel. Storage is the key to making
>renewable energy economically viable. That�s because when renewable
>energy is harnessed to produce electricity, the electricity flows
>immediately. So, if the sun isn�t shining or the wind isn�t
>blowing, or the water isn�t flowing, electricity can�t be generated.
> But, if some of the electricity being generated is used to extract
>hydrogen from water, which can then be stored, for later use, society
>will have a more continuous supply of power.
>Clean biomass, which includes non-genetically modified sustainably
>grown energy crops and sustainably retrievable agriculture wastes, could
>also be an important near-term source of hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles
>and electricity generation. Clean biomass is a proven source of
>renewable energy that is utilized today for generating heat,
>electricity, and liquid transportation fuels. Clean biomass can be used
>to produce hydrogen through a process called gasification in which the
>biomass is converted to a gas and hydrogen is extracted.
>Virtually no net greenhouse gas emissions result because a natural
>cycle is maintained in which carbon is extracted from the atmosphere
>during plant growth and is released during hydrogen production.
>Replanting and reforesting are prerequisite for maintaining a renewable
>hydrogen supply from biomass.
>President Bush�s Black Hydrogen Agenda
>The Bush administration says that harnessing hydrogen will free the
>U.S. from dependence on Mideast oil and provide a non-polluting source
>of energy for electricity and transport. In reality, the White House
>plan calls for massive subsidies to the coal and nuclear industries to
>extract hydrogen�a black hydrogen agenda. While Secretary of Energy
>Spencer Abraham claims that the Bush administration is equally committed
>to research and development of renewable sources of energy to extract
>hydrogen�a green hydrogen agenda�the current energy bill tells a
>different story. The bill contains subsidies of more than $8 billion to
>the fossil fuels and nuclear industries and less than $4 billion to the
>renewable energy industries in its current draft.
>Moreover, despite continued public pronouncements by the Department of
>Energy that it is equally committed to promoting renewable sources of
>energy, the White House and their Congressional allies have
>systematically blocked efforts in Congress to establish benchmarks and
>target dates for the phasing in of renewable sources of energy in the
>generation of electricity and for transport. The European Union, by
>contrast, has made a commitment to produce 22 percent of its electricity
>and 12 percent of its overall energy from renewable sources of energy by
>Therefore, while we favor an international research and development
>partnership to help usher in a hydrogen economy, we oppose the U.S.
>government becoming the Secretariat as long as the Bush
>administration�s agenda is to use hydrogen as a Trojan horse to
>foster the interests of the fossil fuel and nuclear industries and to
>avoid dealing with important environmental issues today. With this
>consideration in mind, we have written letters to the Presidents and
>Energy Ministers of each of the countries invited to take part in the
>IPHE, urging them to oppose the U.S. proposal that it be the secretariat
>of the IPHE unless the Bush administration is willing to agree to set
>renewable energy benchmarks and targets equivalent to those established
>by the European Union.
>The Green Hydrogen Coalition Agenda
>The Green Hydrogen Coalition believes that the full energy and
>ecological benefits of a hydrogen future will only be realized if
>renewable sources of energy are prioritized and increasingly phased in,
>eventually becoming the global source for extracting hydrogen. The
>Coalition advocates an intentional program to build a renewable hydrogen
>based future. While the green hydrogen economy is being phased in, the
>Coalition advocates simultaneously dealing with today�s environmental
>problems directly and without delay through immediate implementation of
>solutions that are currently available, including: significant
>increases to vehicle fuel economy, the introduction of hybrid electric
>vehicles which pave the way to fuel cell cars, the redesign and overhaul
>of the nation�s power grid, massive energy conservation measures, the
>Kyoto Protocol global warming treaty, and benchmarks targeting renewable
>energy adoption. The Coalition believes that these initiatives should
>parallel efforts by the IPHE to subsidize and underwrite the research
>and development of renewable energy technology, hydrogen and fuel cells.
> Governments should set the goal of a fully integrated green hydrogen
>economy by the middle of the 21st century.
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