Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What is Clean Coal?

The term: "Clean Coal Technology" is misleading, that's what it is. Haven't you seen that commercial jamming the television air waves talking about the clean coal technology? The ACCCE "I believe" ad? Actor's representing all walks of American life flash on the screen stating "I believe we can protect the environment", "I believe in energy Independence", "I believe we can limit greenhouse gasses, and keep energy costs affordable" . . . When I saw these ad's of course I thought to myself "Amen"! The ACCCE organization, or Americans Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (a coalition of the top coal and electricity companies) produces these ads, and if they truly believed in saving the environment, that would be great. This is a big deal, because COAL is used to produce half of the electricity produced in the United States. And coal is one of the leading emitters of carbon dioxide. However, come to find out -- there currently is no such technology being used. Unlike, wind, solar and wave technology which has already been created and implemented -- "Clean Coal Technology" doesn't exist. And there is still a lot of debate about how to "make" coal "clean". If you watch the ads you are left with the impression that the "challenge" is how do we implement this technology on a large scale. But, "clean coal dreaming" isn't about figuring out how to tackle such a monumental implementation. No, clean coal doesn't even exist yet. Just like the car industry, coal and electricity companies use this "commitment" to the idea of clean coal technology to put off requirements to reduce carbon emissions. The frightening thing is the EPA under the Bush Administration seems to have been perfectly fine with encouraging this type of deception and delay. Currently there are no federal limits on CO2 emissions by any industry, and just last year the Supreme Court ruled that CO2 is a pollutant. Good grief. If you can't believe it -- read a USA today article HERE . How is this any different from the car industries debacle? Experts say that this technology is probably possible and could be implemented by the year 2030. Some say 2020. Now I'm all for pushing to get it done -- as we did when we decided to go to the moon. However, listening to Joe Lucas, vice president for communications for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, on NPR's OnPoint, I didn't get the impression that "getting it done, and fast" was on his organization's short list of what needs to be accomplished. Listen to NPR's OnPoint or read an excerpt here. More information from Greenpeace here. Below is the "I believe" ad put out by ACCCE among others, and the Alliance for Climate Protection's new counter ad. Bottom line: Chances are anytime you use your electricity you're are burning coal via your local power plant. Conserve energy. Save money. Save the environment. Stop the "Clean Coal" myth madness. *Footnote* This is not to say that there haven't been any improvements in coal technology. It's the term "clean" people are (in my opinion rightly) taking issue with. If you said your house was "clean" what percentage of it would be clean? 30%, 50%, how about 90%? 100% Good Luck. The standard for true "clean" coal is 90 percent. What do you think? What is clean?

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