Friday, April 11, 2008

Californians to pay $600 mln for green think tank. And Farm visits can ease mental illness

Two from Reuters:

California electricity and natural gas customers will be charged $600 million over the next 10 years to fund a green think tank, the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously voted on Thursday.

A surcharge to monthly power and gas bills will fund the California Institute for Climate Solutions, linked to the University of California. The surcharge will be tacked on customer bills of investor-owned utilities and not of municipal utilities in Los Angeles and Sacramento.

While the measure was approved 5-0, three Cal PUC commissioners voiced lukewarm support, and one, Commissioner John Bohn, said it pushed the bounds of power of the state utility regulator.

"We are, in short, telling the ratepayers that as a condition of receiving essential utility services, delivered by monopoly enterprises under our jurisdiction, they are required to pay for research and commercialization of technologies that may never deliver results," Bohn said.

He later voted in favor...MORE


Spending time on a farm looking after cows, horses, or other animals can help people with mental illness better manage their anxieties and increase their confidence, according to a study published on Friday.

The findings by Norwegian scientists could further widen use of "Green care", which enlists nature to ease patients' suffering....