Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Musings: Scary Stuffs

Some of the kids in my neighborhood ran over as I was getting in my car last evening to warn me that night marchers not only live in the brushy area of a valley across from my house, they'd been seen by one of the boys.

“But if you’re mean and try to look for them, they’ll make you shrivel up and die,” one girl said.

“I’m getting scared already,” added another little girl.

I wonder if the state is getting scared — or just desperate — now that it’s looking increasingly unlikely it will ever see any of the $40 million it’s owed by Hawaii Superferry.
While The Advertiser is reporting today that Hawaii Superferry wants to abandon its two catamarans to creditors, the Alabama Press-Register is one step ahead, reporting that the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) plans to repossess and sell the two vessels.

HSF owes MARAD $136.8 million. The Press-Register reports that while the two vessels were purchased in 2004 for a combined price of $190 million, they’re now valued by Austal at about $87 million each, or $174 million together.

MARAD’s decision apparently scuttles plans to charter the two boats to the military. But even more interesting was Austal’s reaction to MARAD’s plans:

Austal Ltd. President Bob Browning said he was disappointed that MARAD decided to seize the ferries without involving Austal in a project to prepare them for military use.

Browning said that Austal approved lending $23 million to the ferry venture in part because the deal would help raise the profile of Austal's U.S. shipyard, which at the time had been operating in Mobile for only a few years. Although it succeeded in doing that — the Mobile shipyard in November won a potential $1.6 billion contract to build up to 10 high-speed fast ferries for the military — Browning said the company's lending days are over.

Remember when HSF said it would lease the vessels elsewhere, and perhaps return to the Islands when the EIS was pau? Does anyone still believe anything these people say?

Apparently some still do, with the Advertiser reporting:

A source close to Superferry said the two catamarans remain in excellent condition. The objective, the source said, is to charter the vessels for commercial or military use.

Hmmm. Maybe reporter Derrick DePledge needs a new source.

Meanwhile, even though just last week the Obama Administration was busy telling Americans they should be scared of how climate change will impact the nation, when it comes to actually doing something about it, well, that’s a different story.

As the Guardian reports today, Todd Stern, Obama’s climate change envoy, has rejected calls that America and other rich nations make radical cuts in carbon emissions:

Speaking at the end of a ministerial level meeting of the world's most polluting countries in Mexico yesterday, Todd Stern dismissed the idea that the US might comply with calls for industrialised nations to cut carbon emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2020.

"In our judgment [this kind of cut is] not necessary and not feasible given where we are starting from," he said. "So it is not on the cards."

The demands of developing countries and campaigners for a 40% minimum emissions cut by rich countries has been a constant theme in the run up to the crucial December summit in Copenhagen which is supposed to produce an agreement to replace the Kyoto protocol that runs out in 2012. Scientists have also recommended that averting catastrophic global warming requires industrialised countries to cut carbon emissions by 25% to 40%.

Gee, isn't it nice to know we're among the world's most polluting countries? According to the Guardian, “the US and China alone make up about 50% of emissions in roughly equal proportions.”

It seems that giving up even a bit of our comfy standard of living is an even scarier prospect than all the ills associated with climate change.


Anonymous said...

the US produces much, and pollutes (too) much

and good thing china has had the 1 child policy for a while. we'll see what india does. hopefully both places dont follow the US growth/pollution model...


Anonymous said...

"Does anyone still believe anything these people say?"

Count me among the non-believers if you throw in the majority of our elected representatives that were in cahoots with these flim-flamers.

Is the State of Hawaii still spending our tax money on a new EIS?