October 6, 2008

Is it Possible for Coal to be Clean? (Or, Joe Biden was Right Before He was Wrong.)


Whether or not Joe Biden supports “clean coal,” let’s hope that he and Barack Obama will look beyond one of America’s most polluting industries to focus on other, cleaner and more viable energy resources, such as geothermal

The truth is that proposed methods of producing clean coal, such as carbon sequestration (in which carbon emissions are pumped and stored below ground) are mostly still in the theoretical stages, and do nothing to confront other coal by-products, such as mercury, which poisons local water sources and makes fish unsafe to eat.  

So Joe may be right, in that as long as China continues to build new coal-fired plants with abandon, it’s well worth it to develop technology that will keep those plants as clean as possible. But on the home front, our money and energy will be better invested in new, renewable industries, that will employ just as many people (and under better conditions) as today’s coal mines do. 

As Simran Sethi writes in her latest column for the Huffington Post (from which most of this info is lifted), “I’d rather we spend out time, money and energy building bridges that actually get us somewhere. (Wink.)”

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