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While It Isn’t Green, Biggest Energy Winner Under Obama May Be ‘Cleaner’ Coal
Bill Paul, Energy Tech Stocks
As much as Barack Obama has called for a green energy revolution, if he is elected president tomorrow, the U.S.’s dire economy is likely to cause him to rethink his plan to spend $15 billion a year for the next 10 years to develop alternative-energy businesses.
But there is one energy technology – one that Obama personally favors that should garner bipartisan Congressional support – that mightn’t be affected. As unlikely as it may sound, “cleaner coal” technology could do better in the first year of an Obama administration than solar, wind or other greener energy tech sectors.
Ironically, cleaner coal’s main advantage is that it may be a dud. At the very least, experts say it could take up to 10 years to know whether cleaner coal technology – really technologies, plural – will be viable. So while the sour economy may forestall Washington’s big green spending plans, accelerated research on cleaner coal should get approved on the grounds the U.S. can’t afford to wait to find out whether new technology will make coal-fired power plants a viable choice in meeting the huge expected increase in U.S. power demand without generating dangerously high levels of greenhouse gas emissions.
Indeed, the situation surrounding coal is getting very scary very quickly.
(3 November 2008)
Time to bury the ‘clean coal’ myth
Fred Pearce, The Guardian
Who came up with the term “clean coal”? It is the most toxic phrase in the greenwash lexicon. George W Bush, by promising to pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the pursuit of advanced “clean” coal technologies, certainly popularised it. But I’d love to know where it came from. Any thoughts out there?
It is, of course, oxymoronic. Coal is about acid rain and peasouper smogs, asthma and mercury contamination, radioactive waste emissions and ripping apart mountains, killing trees, lung cancer and, of course, global warming.
Coal emits more carbon dioxide for every unit of energy generated than any other fuel. Sure you can clean it up a bit – though the toxins you’ve taken out of the ground have to go somewhere. But clean coal? Just say no.
But the phrase rolls on. Google offers more than a million web pages. We will hear a lot more of it as the UK government wrestles with whether to approve a new billion-pound “cleaner coal” power station – Britain’s first coal plant for three decades – at Kingsnorth in Kent…
(30 October 2008)
Farmers Fight Coalmine
Hannah Martin, Brisbane Courier-Mail
A DARLING Downs community, victim of the commodities boom, wants to stop 13,000ha of fertile farming land from becoming a coalmine.
Farmers in Warra, about 50km west of Dalby, are drumming up international support for their campaign, highlighting world food shortage problems and the importance of the region to Australia’s wheat and grain supply.
… State Government-owned Tarong Energy last week confirmed it was waiting for the global financial crisis to settle before selling its mining tenement (lease/licence) there.
A Tarong Energy spokesman said the company hoped to call for bids on its two mineral development licences and two exploration permits.
It is expected the licences and permits will be bought by a mining company, which will apply for mining leases to remove coal from the area, known as Haystack Plains.
Farmer and Landcare officer Nevin Olm said many farmers in the region were third or fourth-generation producers, but their key concern was securing a long-term food supply.
“Certainly, it’s going to have an immediate effect (on farmers) but the real effect will be when the mine is gone in years to come and the ground is no longer any good for farming,” Mr Olm said.
“The man and woman in the street in Brisbane can still go to Woolies and pick up their cereal and bread with relative ease, but don’t think your children are going to be able to do the same in 20 years’ time.”
(1 November 2008)
Contributor Stuart McCarthy writes:
The Coal4Breakfast website is http://www.coal4breakfast.com.au/ and the YouTube clip is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=669lsVI4Zrc. Both the website and video are brilliant.
The Haystack Road farming community has a compelling argument:
“This development will destroy one of the most productive agricultural areas for eternity – this at a time in when the world has consumed more food than it has been able to produce for the last 7 consecutive years. World grain reserves are at their lowest in 50 years and in the last 18 months, food riots have broken out in 37 countries.
“… We believe our society must now consider whether it is prepared to sacrifice our most productive food producing land for a one off windfall gain from selling coal. Eventually when coal extraction from this natural floodplain is exhausted we’ll be left with a barren land.
“… While we are obviously concerned at our own future, Haystack Road coal deposit is really the point where mining morality and ethics must meet public expectations.”
Please show them your support.
A similar situation is occuring in the Liverpool Plains in New South Wales. See the Caroona Coal Action Group website at http://www.ccag.org.au/.