On TV news tonight I see Sarah Palin is getting ready to blast Joe Biden and Barrick Obama for opposing “clean coal,” although I noted Obama has said he does support it. He shouldn’t.

Coal is inherently dirty. “Clean coal” is simply use of coal in a way that is not so dirty as other ways. Even then, some “clean coal” technologies really are as dirty or worse than conventional coal when we look at the entire process. For example, carbon sequestration of CO2 emissions from coal will take (or waste) a lot of energy. Synthetic gasoline from coal is very inefficient.

The West is going to bear the brunt of the burden (aside from the world climate) from these clean coal technologies.

Greg Gorden writes about this in “Writers on the Range” in High Country News. Clean coal is an oxymoron

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

One Response to Clean coal is an oxymoron

  1. avatar Matt Dernoga says:

    so right, I wrote this piece on the subject..

    http://madrad2002.wordpress.com/2008/10/07/clean-coal-column/

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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