The Great Sucking Sound from the Coal Lobby

David Roberts in the Gristmill makes a good observation today about the coal industries often simultaneous claims that coal is the only solution (regardless of the problem) and all that next generation coal needs to work is lots and lots of subsidies. The only upside of this is that the coal industry seems to have finally, if indirectly, being acknowledging the reality of global warming in their requests for massive subsidies for CO2 capture and sequestration. The downside is that as Congress debates HR6 and other bills that will direct many billions of dollars, the coal industry isn't just going for some of it, they're going for all of it.

Carbon sequestration is a critical technology. It should be required on all new coal plants whether the plants produce electricity, fuels, or chemicals. And there should be some federal research support for the sequestration technology. But whatever energy spending bill eventually passes and DOE's budget, which is also currently being developed, must be balanced. Energy efficiency should get the largest chunk followed by zero and low-carbon renewable energy, and lastly by sequestration and other efforts to make dirty fuels less polluting.

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