Environmental groups call “clean” coal a fairy tale

By Reuters Staff
December 30, 2008

USA-COAL/MONTANAWhat do Bigfoot, a mermaid, an alien from outer space, and clean coal all have in common?
    None of them exist, according to several environmental groups.
    Organizations such as the League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Wildlife Federation have launched a multi-million dollar media onslaught aimed at knocking down claims that power can be generated from coal now in an environmentally safe manner.                                                                                                                                                      The so called “reality” campaign features a television commercial with a man touting “clean coal technology” in a barren field and print ads with fictional creatures holding lumps of coal. The message of the ads is “In reality, there’s no such thing as clean coal.”
    How to handle America’s abundant coal supply is likely to remain a contentious issue as U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s incoming administration tackles climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
    Coal-fired power plants generate about half of U.S. electricity supplies, and account for about 40 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions — the biggest single industrial source.
    Obama has expressed support for the development of technology that would allow coal-burning power plants to trap and store carbon dioxide rather than releasing it into the atmosphere. Such technology is commercially untested and currently economically nonviable.
    Coal industry trade groups, such as the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, say that they are committed to carbon reduction strategies and coal power is necessary to provide Americans with affordable electricity.
    Until the carbon capture and storage technology is developed, however, environmentalists behind the Reality Coalition say on their website “coal will remain a major contributor to the climate crisis.”

–Ayesha Rascoe

Comments

Clean Vs. Green Energy

To generate clean, nonpolluting energy from fossil fuels, we just have to capture all of the wastes from energy production and then store that waste back underground where fossil fuels come from in the first place. Intuitively, it seems a simple cycle, using the same equipment and facilities which produce, transport, refine and combust fossil fuels, to capture and return the waste from their combustion safely back into the earth. To date, the energy industries, which produce and refine fossil fuels and generate power, have been taught to be fairly conscientious about capturing the most noxious waste fluids and gases and keeping them out of the environment. But these industries still spew billions of tons of other waste gases into the atmosphere every year, and that has got to stop. When it does stop, and it will, we will be generating clean energy.

However, no matter how clean we make this energy, it still won’t be green energy because it is produced from fossil fuels. Green power generated from renewable resources like the sun and the wind are wonderful concepts which must be pursued and implemented on a global scale as quickly as possible, but that will take decades, and green power is not problem-free…

America’s Hydrocarbon Wealth
http://www.AmericanEnergyIndependence.co m/hydrocarbons.aspx

 

To develop technology that allows coal-burning power plants to trap and store carbon dioxide needs to address the reality of carbon dioxide’s eternal toxicity without half-life. While the quest is noble, it will need wisdom beyond the politics that have compromised the proposed technology solutions for storing and reprocessing used nuclear fuels.

Posted by Michael Mandzik | Report as abusive
 

Politics(P) + Technology(T) + Reality(R) = Epic Failure(eF)

(P) + (T) + (R) = (eF)

But do these groups notice that if there is a current semi-clean coal tech out there that kind of works, that it would be better than leaving the current status quo.

It may be as effective as lighting a candle to warm a freezing room, while we all know that that candle will not make it cozy, it would be better than staring at the candle wishing it was warm.

Now people, lets light the candle and go looking for some firewood.

Posted by P!NG | Report as abusive
 

The real issue we face is what will our “base load” energy source will be. The main issue most green energy sources face is how they will be able to consistently meet peak demand all year round. We do have plenty of potential renewable sources available, what they need is a cost-effective storage medium so store the energy they generate so we can use it when “the wind doesn’t blow” or “the sun doesn’t shine”. Once we figure that out, we will have something viable to replace our coal usage. Right now that is over 50% of our non-liquid fuel consumption in the U.S.

RW

 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/