Monday, January 29, 2007

Bush, global warming, and energy


In an interview on public radio today, Juan Williams asked President Bush:
Now, also in the State of the Union, you talked about the – quote here – "the serious challenge of global climate change." Were you talking about global warming there?

Bush responded that
...we're meeting certain standards that I set for the country.
without specifying what those standards might be. He's got some big ideas, however, about how to promote interest in global warming and climate change--the government will promote new technologies:
And what kind of technologies? Well, if you're really interested in global warming and climate change, then it seems like to me that we ought to promote technologies to advance the development of safe nuclear power. It's a renewable source of energy, and at the same time has no emissions to it. But also, we're advancing clean-coal technologies. The goal is to have a zero-emission coal-fired plant.
Hmmm...I doubt he really means breeder reactors, but what other kind of nuclear power is renewable? And does he really think a coal-fired plant can be zero-emission? Perhaps he has in mind some re-defining of terms. Or maybe he thinks he can build these plants next to a brass mine. It's clear he hasn't really thought much about these matters, and can't say any more about them than could a typical high school student. His record of denying the results of scientific research over the years, his statement about favoring teaching intelligent design creationism in schools, and his inability to discuss in depth realistic responses to the challenges of energy and the environment suggest he isn't serious about initiatives to address these problems.

2 Comments:

Anonymous RickU said...

Actually, (not that I'm condoning the use of coal) this months Popular Science has a neat article on zero or near zero emissions coal plants using something called carbon sequestering.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Yes; my shop has been involved in seeking out areas of one state that may be suitable for sequestration. In addition to carbon dioxide, there remain the other pollutants produced by coal-fired energy generation. Although scrubbers can remove a large portion of the sulfur and nitrogen emissions, the process produces a large amount of solid waste, for only some of which a use can be found. And the anti-pollution equipment does not remove all of the pollutants, such as mercury. There's not going to be a simple solution to producing sufficient energy without generating significant environmental impact, and no one should try to overstate the cleanliness of any technology.

9:40 PM  

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