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Fwd: [CMEP] Join the Green Hydrogen Coalition!

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  • Mike Johnston
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    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 9, 2004
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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
      >Dear All,
      >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.
      >Brendan Hoffman
      >Organizer, Nuclear Energy & Waste
      >Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program
      >Public Citizen
      >p: 202.454.5130
      >f: 202.547.7392
      >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
      >development effort.
      >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
      >environmental issues.
      >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
      >being considered.
      >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
      >produce hydrogen.
      >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.
      >* * * * *
      >If you would like to be removed from the CMEP ListServ, send an email to
      >listserv@... with the words "unsubscribe CMEP" in the
      >Questions about the CMEP ListServ can be directed to
      >To learn more about this and other Public Citizen Critical Mass Energy and
      >Environment Program campaigns, visit our website at
      >-Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program

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