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Clean coal, greenwashing

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12/14/2008 -- Clean coal, greenwashing

Clean coal collage It's encouraging that environmental organizations apparently get enough funding meanwhile to get their concerns heared - e.g. on TV. Just saw a spot about "clean coal" (in double quotes!), referring to a website This Is Reality.

Reminded me about some road signs we saw (and photographed, see on right) on our Roadtrip in June to the Shenandoah Valley and along the Ohio River (as reported :)). Curious what "carbon neutral", 85%+ out-of-carbon-consisting coal could possibly be? We were too. Afaik meant is the possibility that some day we might be able to safely store the CO2 produced when burning coal, away from our biosphere.

Agree, every effort reducing our environmental impact should be honored, but it would be more honest to not sell a technology, which is in the state of research, as a in-fact working solution. At least this is how it sounds like to me. Actually it sounds like yet another effort to greenwash an industry.

Now, some greenwashing I would still give some credit. E.g. Chevron's "will you join us" campaign, which was advertised e.g. in the Wall Street Journal on full-page ads. I fully agree on this ad's slogan "Join us in one of the most important efforts of our time - using less". And I like their "Energy Generator" , a calculator showing how much of a difference everybody can make.

However, those sites somehow tend to withhold some information ... Find out yourself to what extent you want to trust the claims. Chevron: greenwasher of the month 10/2005 .

Coming back to the "clean coal": as long as we do not actually have technology, which allows us to sustainably produce energy in the amount we are already using, we should not assume that we can deal with the consequences, but cut back on - again - the credit we take on our future. Isn't it common sense that prevention is better than (uncertain, later) treatment?

Plus prevention would also take care of other "side effects" of coal-burning, that the "clean coal" approach would not catch: e.g. other pollutants, landscape destruction, and uncontrolled burning mines which account for the useless burning of 20 (200?) million metric tons of coal each year (sources: an article in the Greenpeace magazine (2000) , Smithsonian article "Fire in the hole" (2005) ).

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