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U.S. Will Not Provide Financing For New International Coal-Fired Power Plants

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the free-nuclear-reactors-oh-wait dept.

The Almighty Buck 329

Dorianny writes "The Treasury Department declared it would no longer support any new coal-fired power plants around the world. By leading a coalition of like-minded countries including several European ones that have already announced similar intentions, they will effectively be able to block the World Bank and other international development banks from providing financing for new coal-fired plants. The policy is unlikely to amount to any real change as 75 percent of proposed coal-powered plants are in China and India, which do not rely on outside financing. It seems to me that the poorest, most underdeveloped nations that contribute the least to global emissions are the ones getting the short end of the stick from this policy."

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FTFY (4, Insightful)

stewsters (1406737) | about a year ago | (#45279265)

It seems to me that the poorest, most underdeveloped nations that contribute the least to global emissions are the ones getting the short end of the stick from every policy ever.

They are contributing least to global emissions, lets keep it that way.

Re:FTFY (4, Insightful)

Salgak1 (20136) | about a year ago | (#45279463)

OF course, it ALSO means they are prevented from developing a modern economy and advancing the their production structure to no longer BEING a poor, underdeveloped nation. That doesn't seem to be a consideration.

No matter, we'll just keep using them for manually recycling electronic refuse, dumping toxins, etc. Nothing to see here, move along, move along. . .

Re:FTFY (1, Interesting)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#45279487)

Why would the U.S. want to finance potential competitors?

Re:FTFY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45279613)

Why would the U.S. want to finance potential customers?

FTFY

Re:FTFY (3, Insightful)

wytcld (179112) | about a year ago | (#45279977)

Why would the U.S. want to finance potential competitors?

Because they're also potential customers - for electrical and generating equipment to start with (most of these loans are for equipment they buy from us), and for all sorts of other goods once their wealth increases.

Re:FTFY (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45279503)

welcome to the mind of a liberal. They want to help people, but they don't want people to help people be self sufficient because then they wouldn't need help.

Re:FTFY (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45279799)

Actually, liberals prefer to teach a man to fish responsibly, rather than get them to pollute the fish pond by dumping coal ash in it, and making them dependent on overseas food production.

Re:FTFY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45280199)

Still better than conservatives who only want to help themselves and all others be damned.

Re:FTFY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45280643)

Relatively few are truly like that. However, most hate being forced to help via government coercion. There is a huge difference.

Re:FTFY (1, Interesting)

microbox (704317) | about a year ago | (#45280483)

That is an interesting point of view. (Interesting as in barking wrong [amazon.com] .) As of 2013, wind power is now cheaper than coal power [wikipedia.org] , and that is true even when you ignore the cost of carbon pollution. Obviously this policy is more about heading of crony capitalism... lobbyists doing favours to get coal power plants built that will buy their companies products for 50 years.

Re:FTFY (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about a year ago | (#45279537)

Why does a country need coal to become industrialized? This comes to mind:

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/10/kamwamba-windmill/ [wired.com]

Obvious recycling alternators from old cars is not a solution that scales well enough to industrialize a nation, but at the same time this was being done by a teenager with only rudimentary knowledge of engineering.

Re:FTFY (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45279663)

"Now 22, Kamkwamba wants to build windmills across Malawi and perhaps beyond. Next summer he also plans to construct a drilling machine to bore 40-meter holes for water and pumps. His aim is to help Africans become self-sufficient and resolve their problems without reliance on foreign aid."

Where is his nobel peace prize? Seriously this is the kind of thing Africa just needs a few hundred more of, since in the history of "financial aid" no nation has ever scraped out of poverty by getting deep into debt (don't try to use Indonesia as an example).

Re:FTFY (1)

mlts (1038732) | about a year ago | (#45280109)

I wonder about wood gas or biogas as well. Biomass is a lot easier to find and cultivate (can be the product of waste material from a gain harvest like hulls), and done right, this can power a generator.

On a larger scale, biomass can be used for energy generation. Here in Texas, there is a 100MW biomass plant in Nacogdoches which is fed by waste from mills, rotten trees, and other by-products. Of course, biomass is something to get away from long term, due to CO2 output, but it is definitely a step up from coal and the pollutants found in that.

Of course, there is solar PV cells that take a significant initial expenditure, but once installed, take relatively little upkeep and can run for 30+ years.

The one thing that coal has for it is that we have a lot of experience making it burn and turn turbines. However, some people say we have already passed "peak coal", especially with the fact that newer plants burn the crappy, lignite coal as opposed to better grades. At least with biomass, it is fairly renewable.

No solution is perfect, but there are some worse than others.

Re:FTFY (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#45280177)

Of course, biomass is something to get away from long term, due to CO2 output

Biomass has zero net CO2 output. The plants that provide the biomass suck CO2 out of the atmosphere, then you burn it to put the same CO2 back into the atmosphere...

Re:FTFY (3, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | about a year ago | (#45279569)

On the contrary, it means they can jump straight to clean/renewable energy, just like the jumped straight to cellphones while skipping over all the wired infrastructure.

Re:FTFY (1)

MellowBob (2933537) | about a year ago | (#45279839)

Cell phones were cheaper with many millions of land lines not laid. The fiber or copper for the cell towers would have been used anyways as part of the land lines so were fixed cost anyways. Oh and other countries/charities also gave them money. Now we tell them to place millions more solar panels and windmills and hundreds of natural gas plants as low supply backups.

Yeah, you can jump to 100% clean energy too! Just pay triple on your electric bill. You even can jump to an electric car for only another 6k above the gas model. So, money on green power or money on a Obamacare plan cause Ocare law let the your insurer drop the plan you wanted to keep? They get the choice of clean energy or food.

Re:FTFY (1, Informative)

haruchai (17472) | about a year ago | (#45280073)

You're overlooking the cost of coal pollution, especially the health impact on countries where life expectancy and health care is already well below 1st world standards.

Re:FTFY (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#45280135)

"Just pay triple on your electric bill. "
You can't triple something you don't have.
Also, they are generally bought on a village bases.
I will ignore they obvious in that it won't be triple.

Just because they are going to do it differently, doesn't mean it's wrong.

You should learn t think objectively and critically.

Re:FTFY (1)

microbox (704317) | about a year ago | (#45280499)

Wind is cheaper than coal [wikipedia.org] . Just thought I'd drop that in there.

Re:FTFY (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about a year ago | (#45280719)

Seriously Electric cars for *only* 6k more? Where do I sign up? A friend drives a volt and fills up the tank once every 3 months. I drive the same distance, fill up once a week around $50 a fill up. So He spends $200 a year on gas, where I spend $2600. The cost would be made up in a little after two years! When we bought our cars, his was $16 grand more which would have take six plus years.

Re:FTFY (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45279615)

Sure, because as we all know the only existing type of power plant is coal. There are no power plants running on oil or gas. There are no nuclear power plants. There's no hydropower. There's no wind or solar energy. There's no geothermal energy. There's absolutely nothing but coal.

Re:FTFY (1, Interesting)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year ago | (#45280351)

Coal is by far cheapest and most economical however, and modern coal doesn't even pollute. Modern coal burning process in new power plants alone removes most of the nasties like NOx and SO2 emissions and modern filters can eliminate particle exhaust by turning it into ash which can be kept out of atmosphere.

Comparable gas fired plants are much more expensive, nuclear requires extreme investment and country that is politically and geologically stable, hydro requires appropriate geography, oil is less expensive than gas but has problems with price fluctuations and the so called "green power" is prohibitively expensive. Just ask germans, who are among the richest people on the planet and they are reeling from costs to the point where they have a concept of "power poverty" in Germany now.

That is why in spite of lack of subsidies, growing economies build mostly coal. It's cheap, it's reliable and if they bothered to build modern stations instead of rushing, they'd be pretty clean too just like new ones in the West are. It's the uncomfortable reality that after you take away the fluff, coal is likely going to remain the overall best power generation technology for at least another century, or at least until we manage to invent something completely new. Because none of the current technologies can match coal. Which is why it's still being built.

If it weren't for CO2 problem, modern coal burning would be among the greenest ways to generate power. In fact, it could be argued that most of the particle pollution and NOx/SO2 problems currently experienced in China and India would be fixed by transitioning crappy basic coal plants that these countries are full of and replacing them with modern coal plants.

It's not that engineers want to build coal. It's that in developing nations (and in many cases developed nations) often there's simply no real other choice.

Re:FTFY (4, Interesting)

microbox (704317) | about a year ago | (#45280511)

Coal is by far cheapest and most economical however,

This is simply not true [wikipedia.org] . Not only is it untrue, but solar/wind will be much cheaper than coal in just a few years. The technology is really moving that fast.

Re:FTFY (3, Insightful)

voss (52565) | about a year ago | (#45279665)

"Officials also left open the possibility of financing coal plants that meet strict emissions standards. In the United States, the E.P.A.’s new rules require that any new coal plant emit no more than 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per megawatt-hour, just slightly more than a natural gas power plant. The new Treasury rules would permit financing of a new coal plant abroad that also meets those standards."

In other words all those people yelling about "clean coal" need to put up or shut up.

Re:FTFY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45280121)

The CO2 from the coal plants is not the problem. It is all the heavy metals in the coal that are the problem. After burning coal, the uranium in the fly ash can produce more energy than the coal you just burned and it gets scattered over the countryside on our food crops.

Re:FTFY (2)

TheCarp (96830) | about a year ago | (#45280365)

Except they mostly already shut-up. While they were yelling "clean coal" the same way Microsoft was yelling "GUI Sucks", while implementing Windows.

Lets not forget that these regulations didn't come about...UNTIL there were ALREADY NO PLANS to build another coal plant, and no expectation that anyone in the US would even be trying to build one, in the next 30 years!

My bet is they made this announcement because it was an easy decision to make to cut off something that's hardly being used. I am sure it will be every bit as effective as.... me sacrificing the hub caps off my car to end world hunger.

Re:FTFY (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#45280023)

NO, it means they will use other technology to develop their production structure, one not dependent on oil.
There is NO rule that says a country needs to follow the same path as others. There is no reason they can't go straight to Nuclear, wind, and solar to build an infrastructure.

Re:FTFY (2)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about a year ago | (#45279521)

"short end of the stick from every policy ever"

Exactly.

And given that the plants in question are almost always crappy ones, I'm not very happy seeing our money go to a short-term solution that will hurt the health of the local residents for decades.

Re:FTFY (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45279653)

They are contributing least to global emissions, lets keep it that way.

Oh yes, it's the greenies, huggy-touchie-feely world improvers and the like that actually had the gall to recommend the developing world not be developed further. Because, you know, greenhouse gases and all that, don't you know.

This, of course, did not sit well with those looking to develop their country, give their countrymen access to all the fun things the rest of the world is having such a jolly old time with, and all that. I for me agree with them that such arseholery is simply not done, in so many ways. It really kicks the developed world off their high horse, it does.

For it means that the more CO2 you emit, the more you are really a selfish holier-than-thou nitwit bent on keeping all the fun for yourself. And the greenies among them are the worst of the lot. Go figure.

We "first worlders" really need to get our act together.

Re:FTFY (4, Interesting)

wytcld (179112) | about a year ago | (#45279655)

Coal isn't the smartest tech to develop in the truly undeveloped areas anyway. Cost per kilowatt calculations in the first world assume that a high-voltage grid is already in place. Even with a high-voltage grid in place, solar and wind are close to parity with coal in many parts of the first world now. Lacking the high-voltage distribution, localized solar and wind - and biomass in some places - are overall at the advantage, because they can be used closer to where they're generated. Nobody puts a small coal-powered generator in their backyard, or next to their factory or hospital. On the other hand I have friends with solar in their backyard, and they live normal American lives with it, firing up gas generators only a few dark winter days a year. Most of the third world doesn't have dark winter days.

Re:FTFY (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about a year ago | (#45280063)

"Cost per kilowatt calculations in the first world assume that a high-voltage grid is already in place"

Good point!

Re:FTFY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45279795)

Sadly they are also on the receiving end of our greed for energy. It would be more useful if the money which was being spent on coal fired stations was used to fund cheap renewables instead so that they got something out of it.

Re:FTFY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45279807)

And what would be done to the nations with the most global emissions?

Re:FTFY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45280335)

As long as you and your family doesn't have to live there asshole.

The policy is not bad for the poor. (2)

microbox (704317) | about a year ago | (#45280451)

Actually, the total cost of a coal power-plant is in the ballpark of wind energy [wikipedia.org] as of 2013. That's the price _excluding_ the cost of carbon pollution. The price of coal will probably go up in the future, and wind will definitely continue to decrease in price. So it's really not such a big deal for the communities using the electricity. The policy will make it harder for the fossil-fuel lobby to get power-stations built that will buy their products for 50 years.

Carbon is carbon (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | about a year ago | (#45279281)

The poorest most underdeveloped countries will increase their carbon outputs the most unless they skip coal. Even if you buy into letting them do it today you are just setting them up to have replace that infrastructure later. If those countries have coal reserves the let them sell them to nations that already coal plants and use the money to buy cleaner technologies.

Re:Carbon is carbon (2, Informative)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#45279369)

Agreed, developing countries should go straight to nuclear power. Oh, wait a minute, that's not acceptable to the US either...

Re:Carbon is carbon (2, Funny)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#45279525)

"No, poor countries should just use their vast wealth and educated populace to build solar panel factories," says my dumbass hippie brother.

Re:Carbon is carbon (2)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#45280219)

Solar doesn't need vast wealth, or a lot of education.
It doesn't need to be rolled out for gigawatt demand, so you can do one village at a time, and wiring and maintenance is simple enough that it can be taught in a couple of weeks.
With the added bonus that it will create a need for trades people on a per village basis.

Stop thinking in centralized creation for millions of people. The problem with solar in the US is that it's not good enough to give us the amount of energy we use in a centralized fashion.

In a non-industrialized society, It gives them more then the currently use, so for them its a gain.

Re:Carbon is carbon (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a year ago | (#45280245)

The more obvious choice would be natural gas. In the US nobody is building new coal plants anyways, since natural gas is cheaper. Is natural gas renewable/sustainable? No. Is it carbon-free? No. And yet still it's a whole lot better than coal. Burning coal in todays' crowded world is like a skyscraper with an outhouse.

Re:Carbon is carbon (1)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | about a year ago | (#45279507)

I hope this decision is an enlightened set-up for a movement towards the thorium fuel cycle. - No weapons-grade fissible material and no shortage of the fuel anywhere.

Re:Carbon is carbon (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#45280261)

" No weapons-grade fissible material "
no correct. The process is harder and require some pretty specific equipment, but you can get weapons grade material from a thorium plant.

Re:Carbon is carbon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45280575)

You mean a fuel cycle that has never, ever, worked in the real world?

Re: Carbon is carbon (1)

Alex Cane (3296683) | about a year ago | (#45279699)

There's a cartoon somewhere of two cavemen sitting around a camp fire. One is saying to the other: "I just don't understand it. We have clean air, clean water. Everybody eats organic and gets regular exercise. Yet nobody lives past 35.

Re:Carbon is carbon (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#45279791)

Forcing them to skip coal could indeed be pretty fitting if it backfires on us. First world forces third world to not use the fossil fuels first world nations are addicted to. Third world countries become leaders in clean renewable energy. Those cheap manufacturing jobs and IT jobs that were outsourced there combine to make the third world a formidable economic and political force as the first world crumbles. Third world begins telling the US what's what. Demands we disarm all our nuclear weapons or face sanctions.

Hopefully at this point, technology to reanimate the corpses of the assholes who got the first world into that mess will. Make them work as slaves until the first world is back up to standards. Hopefully I will not be part of that zombie slave class.

... Am I high right now? I don't remember smoking anything...

Re:Carbon is carbon (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#45280311)

whoa, back off.
The 'people' who got us into this mess didn't know better, couldn't no better, had no other examples to lead with, and used the cheapest easiest source of energy. That lead to the building and advancement to the point where other countries can skip it.
I have no blame for the people who started it, and a lot of general praise for them.
If you are looking to take it out on someone,look to the people who refused to take action in the last 30 years.

Start with Reagan. We would have an additional 20 years of scientific gains of that asshat hadn't actively tried to shut down solar.

Re:Carbon is carbon (1)

confused one (671304) | about a year ago | (#45279921)

There's a potential work around. They could build funded natural gas fired plants, then come back later and construct a coal to syn gas conversion plant. It's not ideal. Carbon emissions overall would likely be higher (thermodynamics being what it is). It requires water. But it gets you there and the most expensive bits (electrical generation plant and distribution infrastructure) can be funded by World Bank, etc.

Why would they fund it in the first place? (4, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | about a year ago | (#45279287)

Why would the US Treasury fund any power plants, anywhere? No wonder the US government and budget is in such a mess. WTF are these people doing?

Re:Why would they fund it in the first place? (4, Informative)

afidel (530433) | about a year ago | (#45279363)

Total US foreign aid is under 1% of the federal budget, if you remove the military aid that's largely corporate welfare it's quite literally a rounding error in the scope of the federal budget. You can buy a lot of power plants for the cost of one Afghanistan or Vietnam.

Re:Why would they fund it in the first place? (1)

space_jake (687452) | about a year ago | (#45279443)

Spending twice as much on foreign aid as we do on NASA, outrageous!

Re:Why would they fund it in the first place? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45279577)

That works out to about $100 per man, woman, and child. The ACA breathing penaltax starts at $95.

Re:Why would they fund it in the first place? (3)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#45279583)

It still fails to answer a fundamental question of why a country that can't even pay its own bills, and sinks deeper in debt every day should be spending ANY money on foreign aid. Do you really think anyone is going to be giving the U.S. foreign aid when *they* go bankrupt?

Re:Why would they fund it in the first place? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45279875)

The United States cannot go bankrupt unless it wants to. This is because its debts are in a currency it controls.

Today it is perfectly legal to mint a $16 trillion coin, deposit it at the federal reserve, and use that to buy back all of our debt. That would cause massive amounts of inflation not seen since the days of the Weimar Republic, but it would not be bankruptcy.

If you could print money, would you ever go bankrupt?

Re:Why would they fund it in the first place? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#45280045)

That would cause massive amounts of inflation not seen since the days of the Weimar Republic, but it would not be bankruptcy.

The inflation has already occurred (see the Lahey audit of the Fed); it's just being slowly recognized.

Re:Why would they fund it in the first place? (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#45280055)

This is because its debts are in a currency it controls.

And how much longer do you think that's going to last? One good market crisis, and everyone will be switching over to the Euro or Yuan in a heartbeat.

Re:Why would they fund it in the first place? (1)

LostOne (51301) | about a year ago | (#45280343)

Today it is perfectly legal to mint a $16 trillion coin, deposit it at the federal reserve, and use that to buy back all of our debt. That would cause massive amounts of inflation not seen since the days of the Weimar Republic, but it would not be bankruptcy.

That is not actually correct. Inflation is controlled by the money actually in circulation, however it came to be. Borrowing money under the "fractional reserve" system adds money to circulation for the duration of the loan. A certain amount of money needs to be in circulation to maintain liquidity and avoid deflation. Any more than that steady state, whether from borrowing or printing money, leads to inflation. Simply printing money to pay off existing debt does not increase the amount of money in circulation and, thus, has no impact on inflation. That assumes it will be used to pay off existing debt, of course, rather than making room to borrow even more.

It is a common misconception that just printing money at all leads to inflation. Printing too much leads to inflation. But so does borrowing too much.

Re:Why would they fund it in the first place? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45280167)

not "can't" pay it's "won't" pay. The US remains one of the richest countries in the world. The increasing debt is because our tax revenues are at the lowest portion of GDP in decades. We are "bankrupt" only because we have convinced ourselves that government should be free.

Re:Why would they fund it in the first place? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#45280361)

And your post fails to mention the underlying question: Why do people who clearly don't understand US finance, the debt, and think we are going bankrupt continue to open there mouth and look like fools.
I guess we will never know~

You should actually spend some time learning those subjects instead of let the media tell you what to think.

Re:Why would they fund it in the first place? (1)

operagost (62405) | about a year ago | (#45280029)

Just to clarify, this is a total of $37 billion. It's hard for folks who will be spending half of their income on "affordable" health care next year to sympathize.

Re:Why would they fund it in the first place? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45280541)

Total US foreign aid is under 1% of the federal budget, if you remove the military aid that's largely corporate welfare it's quite literally a rounding error in the scope of the federal budget. You can buy a lot of power plants for the cost of one Afghanistan or Vietnam.

The federal budget is 2.9 trillion dollars. Even 1% of that is an enormous amount of money, and we should definitely care how it's spent. I'm not saying we should or shouldn't spend money on this, just that we shouldn't dismiss it off hand as irrelevant. This isn't like looking at your household budget and deciding not to worry about the $30/month you spend on lottery tickets.

Re:Why would they fund it in the first place? (5, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#45279435)

It's financing, not funding. The US government, via the World Bank, provides a loan at an attractive interest rate to a foreign nation for specific projects, and makes a small return on the interest charged.

Re:Why would they fund it in the first place? (1)

gravis777 (123605) | about a year ago | (#45279571)

Mod parent up

Re:Why would they fund it in the first place? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#45280033)

Thereby displacing competition from local banks that would want to charge a higher interest rate - best to keep the big Western banking powers in charge through taxpayer subsidy.

Re:Why would they fund it in the first place? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45280443)

Don't forget that the US brings all of the "aid" home since the contracts for building said Coal-Fired power plants (or whatever the aid is for) will be won* by western (US or US-ally based) companies.

*The process is designed to ensure that this happens, making the US Foreign Aid budget basically another form of corporate welfare.

Re:Why would they fund it in the first place? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45279737)

Why would the US Treasury fund any power plants, anywhere? No wonder the US government and budget is in such a mess. WTF are these people doing?

That's easy: it's amazingly lucrative. First, don't think that "financial aid" means "giveaway", it is quite the contrary.

The World Bank and IMF exist to make loans that can just barely be repaid (with nice interest rates) so that the "generous" first world nations can win TWICE. That's right. the other advantage is that WB/IMF loans have caveats that the projects must be completed by western firms. So, the process works like this: 1: US (voia WB/IMF) makes loan to country that has just enough exports to generate revenue 2. Loan gets spent on US firms, almost all proceeds from contract come back in wages/profits/taxes 3. Have loan be repaid with handsome interest rate.

See the book "Confessions of an economic hitman" for one such story of how this process works.

So what? (1)

CitizenCain (1209428) | about a year ago | (#45279299)

It's not like getting a loan is a right, and that's what this essentially is. The US and EU have decided they won't lend money to build new coal power plants. Seems like a reasonable enough policy, and one that's fully within their rights as the people lending the money in the first place.

Why Should the US Help At All (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45279309)

Seriously, who cares about these poor, underdeveloped countries and why should we be helping them in any way? They are poor because of their own incompetence, corruption, and lawlessness.

The US and rich countries should not be in the business of handouts to these impoverished countries. Let them solve their own problems.

Re:Why Should the US Help At All (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#45279403)

I wasn't aware that the World Bank's loans were hand-outs. Someone should write to all those countries that are paying out a sizeable fraction of their GDP in interest payments.

Re:Why Should the US Help At All (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | about a year ago | (#45279491)

They are poor because of their own incompetence, corruption, and lawlessness.

Why aren't we poor because of our own incompetence, corruption, and lawlessness?

Re:Why Should the US Help At All (1)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year ago | (#45279725)

It's a matter of degree, mostly.

And keeping elites accountable goes a long way to reining in the worst abuses.

Re:Why Should the US Help At All (1)

erikkemperman (252014) | about a year ago | (#45280729)

Seriously, who cares about these poor, underdeveloped countries and why should we be helping them in any way? They are poor because of their own incompetence, corruption, and lawlessness.

Ah, you think that has nothing to do with being exploited and robbed bare for centuries? Somehow the countries with some of the most natural resources (esp gold, silver, diamond, but also copper, uranium, etc) are among the world's poorest. Go figure.

Conversely, this history of looting and pillaging is a large factor in why the currently wealthy countries became, well, wealthy.

What's the problem? (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about a year ago | (#45279325)

They were only going to spend the money on weapons as usual!

Emissions (1)

Improv (2467) | about a year ago | (#45279343)

If they contribute the least to global emissions now, their development should take the form where they remain contributing little to global emissions. Hopefully more advanced nations will be able to reduce their dependency on coal in the meantime.

Re:Emissions (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#45279753)

Perhaps they can go straight from 'subsistence agriculture' to 'high-tech clean economy', and skip the 'soot-belching factories and smog' stage that the now-developed world needed to pass through to reach that state.

What do you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45279355)

The UN is all about keeping the poor under the thumb of the rich nations. WE cant let the poor get all uppity and become rich, it would throw off the balance so carefully crafted over the centuries...

china is poor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45279465)

china is poor and undeveloped? those communists should spread their wealth to us k thx

25 percent of proposed plants is substantial (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45279473)

That could very well constitute "real change."

Consistent (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#45279479)

No surprise. It is consistent [youtube.com] with the President's previously expressed views.

Coal-state lawmakers seek to block EPA power plant rules [foxnews.com]

Re:Consistent (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about a year ago | (#45279585)

Nobody likes the dirty little secret that coal plants discharge more radioactive material than all the nuke accidents and wast ever has. Coal has a decent amount of uranium in it and that's going up the stack to land downwind.

China and India.. Don't want to affect them (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#45279497)

They are the most profitable customers to help keep the price of coal from collapsing. All the demand from the little countries just doesn't add up. It doesn't make sense to support them.

This is a good thing. (0)

gurps_npc (621217) | about a year ago | (#45279599)

Burning Coal - anywhere - is an incredibly bad idea.

Mining coal is incredibly deadly. It kills more people - and in painful, slow black lung deaths than any other source of energy.

The area around coal plants become more radioactive than nuclear power plants over time - because most coal contains small amounts of thorium which gets released into the air when the coal is burned and settles in the area around the coal plant.

Burning coal is the main reason why pregnant women can't eat most fish. It is also why a diet of just fish is bad for you rather than being the healthiest diet. Why? Because it releases tons of mercury into the ocean.

And of course, burning coal in also a huge green house gas contributor.

There is zero reason whatsoever to create new coal burning plants. Use that same money to offer then nuclear power plants. It would cost less lives and create technical jobs as opposed to creating mining jobs.

Re:This is a good thing. (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | about a year ago | (#45279651)

There is zero reason whatsoever to create new coal burning plants. Use that same money to offer then nuclear power plants. It would cost less lives and create technical jobs as opposed to creating mining jobs.

Doesn't Iran keep telling us that's what they want to do and we keep threatening to bomb them?

Re:This is a good thing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45280393)

burning coal is the main reason why pregnant women can't eat most fish

Keep in mind this http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/28/mercury-gold-rush-california/3191565/

Coal while still not good for you, the pollution is already there from previous endeavors.

Dont put all of your blame in one basket.

Use that same money to offer then nuclear power plants
A good noble idea. Unfortunately the red tape is 3ft thick in many areas (for good reason). On top of the NIMBY people (who make the tape even thicker). Who can blame them. If a plant is in good working condition it is a good source of jobs for 20-40 years. If things go sideways though they are out of a home. Then the shutdown of many plants has gone badly or at the very least marginal. Leaving them with a chunk of unusable land and no one wanting to be near it (reducing the value of what they own).

When natural gas gets expensive again (and it will). You will see coal plants firing up again. Right now its all sunshine and rainbows because NG is cheap.

Trust me the gov will change its tune to sure we will let you borrow money cheaply again. When their high profile constituents call up their local congress critter and say 'hey my 200 mega watt computer plant is costing 10x what it did 3 years ago I am thinking of moving those jobs somewhere else because of power costs'. Count on it.

China Building a 0.5 GW coal plant weekly? (1)

MellowBob (2933537) | about a year ago | (#45279605)

And more in 10 other Asian countries. This is a twofer: Let's loose money by not making loans on a nearly fool proof business model and let those countries become ignore the U.S more for their new friends who will do what they want and we don't!

http://nextbigfuture.com/2013/10/will-china-build-hundreds-of-new-coal.html [nextbigfuture.com]

The Bloomberg link is broken. Here's a another, with misleading headline:

http://about.bnef.com/press-releases/chinas-power-sector-heads-towards-a-cleaner-future/ [bnef.com]

"leading a coalition"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45279629)

How is it "leading a coalition of like-minded countries" when the US is joining the group of countries *already doing this*?

Re:"leading a coalition"? (1)

digitrev (989335) | about a year ago | (#45279917)

Yeah, that definitely struck me as some spectacular American Exceptionalism double-think there.

So they are engineering tomorrows carbon rates? (1)

EngineeringStudent (3003337) | about a year ago | (#45279649)

It sounds like the power-plant builders with have the coal-burning anyway. That is what other comments seem to suggest.

The question is no longer IF there is coal-burning, but how. How is important, right? Because there are some clean-ish ways to burn it and there are some very cheap, very polluting ways to burn it. Given a 3rd world budget and engineering do you think they are going to spend the time and talent making it clean-ish, or do you think they are going to minimize short-term expenses and maximize short-term profits?

It is a drop in the bucket of our policies, according to other comments, so there is no "real" economic cost.

In conclusion this is a decision that has the superficial appearance of being green while maximizing levels of pollution for tomorrows world. Doesn't that qualify as "politics as usual"?

So what? (4, Insightful)

gravis777 (123605) | about a year ago | (#45279681)

It seems to me that the poorest, most underdeveloped nations that contribute the least to global emissions are the ones getting the short end of the stick from this policy

So the World Bank provides money for wind, solar and hydro-electric. The only thing this really hurts is coal miners. Yes, I feel sorry for miners who may loose jobs because of decreased demand, but if a country's economy is based on coal-mining, then they got serious issues (of course, if they are the poorest, most undeveloped nations, they have economic problems anyways, so I guess that is a circular argument).

This sounds pretty reasonable to me - the World Bank will fund power plants around the world, but they have to meet certain enviornmental standards? How does that hurt anyone?

Re:So what? (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | about a year ago | (#45280271)

What about all potential electricity users who won't get anything because everything except perhaps natural gas power plants are more expensive and the poor countries won't be able to afford as many of them?

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45280595)

wind, solar and hydro-electric - and none of these do the job or are affordable. But you have yours, right?

Last time I checked .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45279741)

if the US decided to NOT do something with its money it's THEIR choice and no anyone else's.

mod uP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45279755)

architecture. My walk up to a play It just 0wnz.', Notorious OpenBSD against vigo8ous shitheads. *BSD

The war on coal continues (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45279993)

Sure, let's prevent third world countries from using the one thing they might have in relative abundance locally because then we can hook them on our high-tech, high-cost, and low return clean energy technologies.

They're just going to get the loans from Russia and China now. Thanks for nothing!

Re:The war on coal continues (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year ago | (#45280049)

I'll have China running on 20% clean energy in 15 years with nothing more than raw steel.

Re:The war on coal continues (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45280503)

Yeah, instead of giving them actual help, let's have them rip up their land, pollute their air and water, and not have a plan for what happens next.

Coal countries WILL be affected nonetheless (1)

cloud.pt (3412475) | about a year ago | (#45280001)

Chinese and indian power companies could and did rely on US financing before, and now they won't be able to. New restrictions mean they will be forced to get more such big-ass loans from unrestricted sources, such as local banks or even state-owned banks. This effectively reduces such country's capacity for development, but in the long run might even be beneficial as interests circulating internally. Only time can tell.

Now if they would only ban photovoltaics (-1, Flamebait)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year ago | (#45280039)

The US needs to get back into the modern world and ban the production of new photovoltaic plants.

So much for "clean coal". (1)

couchslug (175151) | about a year ago | (#45280149)

Since scrubbers cost more than simpler systems, this helps ensure those who do build coal plants don't build clean ones.

Nice gesture....

We're handicapping ourselves (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45280327)

Eeeexcellent, muttered China, as they prepared another foreign aid package.

Large Solar, tied to Battery, and Gas Plant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45280691)

The solution is large solar and wind farms tied (500MW's) tied to small battery back-up 2-5MW's, all tied to a reactive Gas generating plant.
The gas plant has time to gear up and down and is done automatically.
The batteries are there to smooth out any quick dips in production. Not lithium, because we don't want to push up the price of Lithium.
The plant operator needs to be given priority on the grid due to cleaner energy production, vs his competitors.
The grid operator should not be charging per kWhr, but just for a monthly connection for either a residential or commercial customer.
This system will keep demand for NG down, and therefore the price of NG down.

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