So here’s the piece of news that I found (mildly) entertaining:
The Environmental Protection Agency has released the Clean Power Plan proposal, which has the following main objective:
“Cut carbon emissions from the power sector by 30 percent nationwide below 2005 levels, which is equal to the emissions from powering more than half the homes in the United States for one year.”
There is all the obvious outrage from the Republicans of Virginia, with exasperated sighs, much whining about the “apparent disregard for the livelihoods of our coal miners and thousands of families,” and promises of bipartisan bills to put a stop to things.
But that’s not really the entertaining part. The entertaining part is that the EPA (and Mr Obama) are asking for cuts by 30% from 2005 levels. In 2005, the natural gas boom was still to come – so most power plants were using coal. But then the shale gas discoveries started to roll in, and natural gas production in the US did this:
So natural gas got cheaper, and more power plants started using it. And natural gas is a lot more efficient on the carbon emissions front. So the amount of carbon emissions from coal-driven power plants started to do this:
In fact, carbon emissions from power plants are already down by about 15% from those 2005 levels…
So the US is halfway there before it’s even started. Nothing like positive spin on a new rule, right?
And those coal miners had better find some alternatives – because it’s not just the rule that’s disregarding their livelihood. It’s the environment in general.
In other (relatively) interesting news:
- Apple announced Healthkit – something to helpfully collect all the information collected by your various health apps, and then send occasional alerts to your GP. Immediately after the announcement, a firm in Australia stepped forward to complain about their name being thefted. In the last few days, their website also seems to have had a facelift – presumably in the wake of all that increased traffic.
- The US government plans to fine french bank BNP Paribas for violating US sanctions against Sudan, Iraq and Syria (amongst others) between 2002 and 2009. The French are thoroughly annoyed. The fine is rumoured to top $16 billion – more than BNP Paribas made in profit last year. Again I’ll say it, like the GM story, who is the US government punishing here? The management that oversaw those violations have long moved on. So have the shareholders that were around to benefit from said violations. They’re punishing the pension funds that currently own it? Foolishness.