News Soundbytes

THE US AND OTHERS STOP FUNDING THE GLOBAL FUND

The Obama Administration had pledged $4 billion during 2011-13 to the Global Fund, or $1.33 billion per year. Now it is reneging on this pledge. For a government that spends $1.9 billion every single day on the military ($700 billion each year), Washington’s unwillingness to follow through on $1.33 billion for a whole year to save millions of lives is a new depth of cynicism and recklessness. 

- Economist Jeffrey Sachs

 

Reorienting less than 1 day’s military budget to help save millions of lives (in conjunction with the efforts of other countries) is not only a great humanitarian step but also the most cost-effective step we can take for our own security. Countries like Yemen or Somalia are falling apart because they cannot meet their most basic needs. We send in drone missiles – each one at the cost of at least 20,000 bed nets — but we will find no real security until we help address the problems of disease, poverty, and hunger that destabilize these regions.

- Economist Jeffrey Sachs

 

The Global Fund was created a decade ago because the world needed to respond to the uncontrolled epidemics of AIDS, malaria, and TB. It has been a historic success, proving the skeptics wrong. The Global Fund keeps alive 3.2 million people on anti-retroviral treatment. It has financed 8.2 million courses of TB treatment and the distribution of 190 million insecticide-treated nets.

- Economist Jeffrey Sachs

As a result of US budget cutbacks, and me-too cutbacks by other countries, the Global Fund this weekclosed its doors on providing new funds to impoverished nations. It was supposed to accept proposals next month from the poorest countries for an 11th round of disease-control funds. Instead, it has scrapped any new funding until 2014 at the earliest, and will only fund the continuation of the coverage of existing programs.

- Economist Jeffrey Sachs

 

 

CLEAN ENERGY BEING SLAPPED SILLY BY FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY….BUT NOT FOR LONG!

 

As of August 2011, DOE had made commitments to 37 clean energy projects, leveraging private investment of more than $40 billion. This includes more than 10 utility-scale solar power projects in the Southwest, including SunPower’s Central Valley Solar Ranch and BrightSource’s Ivanpah. These projects are estimated to create tens of thousands of jobs across the country.

- Robert F. Kennedy

Nuclear power is an industry with a product so expensive it cannot compete in any version of free market capitalism. Big nuke is totally dependent on massive, monstrous public and government subsidies at every stage of its life. Oil is a close second. A comprehensive inventory of oil subsidies by former California EPA Chief Terry Tamminen, in his acclaimed book Lives Per Gallon, calculates U.S. subsidies to the oil industry at upward of one trillion dollars annually!

- Robert F. Kennedy

“We all thought we knew the costs of oil addiction-power to terrorists and tyrants, and global climate change. But Tamminen’s book demonstrates that we don’t know the half of it. Gasoline is a deadly carcinogen like tobacco. The health, environmental, and climatic impact of our oil dependency, he shows, is catastrophic. And the economic cost of subsidizing the oil industry is bankrupting. But Tamminen does more than point to the problems. He lays out step-by-step solutions to ending our oil addiction. I only wish that all members of Congress would read  Lives Per Gallon.”

- Dick Morris

The green fuels are winning. Solar power is now at or near grid parity in many U.S. states. That means that solar generators can deliver electricity to consumers at or below the cost of coal or oil, without even considering the catastrophic health and environmental costs that these dirty sources create. Energy industry giants like NRG, which owns coal and nuke fleets, are moving aggressively into solar.

Solar is the future. Over the long term, solar won’t need the government to drive adaptation — the pace of innovation is so rapid and the costs are dropping so quickly that the marketplace will ultimately force the transition. Government incentives are important in that they will drive a quicker adaptation and keep American companies in the game.

- NRG CEO David Crane

David Crane, CEO of NRG points out that his vendors are already offering solar panels at slightly less than $1.00 per watt, leading to an all-in cost of installed solar on a distributed basis of $2.50/watt. This, according to Crane, translates into 12¢/kilowatt hour, making home grown solar energy cheaper than the grid in 20 states.

- Robert F. Kennedy

While the right wing whines about a $1.6 billion loan guarantee to a solar project, the Chinese are funneling $758 billion to their solar and wind industry over 5 years.

- Robert F. Kennedy

Democrats and Republicans in Congress, many in the thrall of Big Carbon, are sitting on their hands as the hemorrhage continues. The incumbents are able to control the political process in Washington with the support of their right wing media flacks, and with hundreds of millions in annual contributions and lobbying. Such investments allow the incumbents to reap hundreds of billions in annual subsidies from U.S. taxpayers, artificially ballooning their profits. These are self-destructive policies for America. With the same resolve that established America’s industrial and technological greatness in the 20th century, leading the transition to a new energy economy is America’s best hope for true national security, prosperity, and restoring our global leadership and moral authority.

- Robert F. Kennedy