As America looks forward to the upcoming Obama Presidency, one of the critical issues we all face is energy policy. Thankfully, Obama displayed a pattern of looking forward on this issue instead of looking backward like George Bush, John McCain and many other Cons-ervatives. All we heard from the Republicans was drilling and mining would easily take care of every need America has for as long as we want. Clearly, most Americans understand that that’s just not true. Americans expect and deserve to have renewable energy infrastructure developed to replace dirty fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas.
Not to be outmanuevered, the energy dead-enders continue to cheerlead for their outdated approaches. Among those approaches is “clean” coal. Those quotes are placed there to draw attention to the fact that there is no such thing as clean coal. Coal by definition is a dirty fuel source – mining, processing and burning it involves the use of heavy industry. That industrial work releases toxins and pollutants into our environments and climate system. The cheearleading has turned increasingly toward greenwashing discussion of energy policies to come.
Brad Jones, the West Region Communications Director of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, had an opinion piece for the Denver Post recently. In it, he argues for the continued (and expanded) use of coal as an energy source, not least because “clean” coal is just around the corner. He glosses over the fact that “clean” coal has been in energy policy-makers venacular for over 30 years already. It has been just around the corner for over a generation. He quickly mentions some technologies being developed, including “enhanced scrubbing and filtering processes, greater efficiency measures, integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) and carbon capture and sequestration.”