Tuesday, May 29, 2007

More Snake Oil

The latest news out of the U.S. Congress is that "coal" legislation is working its way through the various committees in the House and the Senate. The coal industry is lobbying hard and politicians from the coal producing states are working just as hard to make sure it becomes law, the sooner the better.

The coal industry wants large loan guarantees (public subsidies) for construction of plants, the type of facility that can convert coal to liquid fuel, a technology that has been around for some time. "Energy independence" is the siren's song whispered in the politician's ear, like the magic of corn-based ethanol that was touted among Midwestern ethanol producers and their pliable politicians not so long ago.

Dr. James Hanson, in an address to the National Press Club last February, recommended five steps we as a country--and ultimately the globe--need to take if we want to address global warming in a serious way. The first recommendation was a "moratorium" on coal-fired power plants until sequestration can be done on a commercial basis, probably some five to ten years away.

Send your Washington politician a friendly reminder that he or she cannot talk about legislation to deal with greenhouse gases and renewable energy and, at the same time, consider passing billions of dollars in subsidies for the construction of power plants that release huge amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.

No comments: