This week brought a new piece of journalism from the crack staff of scientists and reporters at Climate Central. It’s called “Georgia: Coal and Carbon.” Watch:
As always with CC, the piece is accompanied by an annotated transcript that documents virtually every word with links to scientific sources.
Fine work, as usual. I have only two nitpicks.
One: from watching this you’d get the idea that “clean coal” is the only option Georgia has for reducing emissions. Coal utilities certainly think this — their conclusion is over-determined on that score — but the rest of us don’t have to believe it. See this fact sheet from WRI (PDF) on Georgia’s clean options. Not only is “clean coal” not the only option, it’s one of the most expensive.
Second, check out this bit from anchor Heidi Cullen on the PR battle over “clean coal”:
Opponents of clean coal say that coal is a dirty rock that can’t be wiped clean with an advertising campaign—that mining, ash disposal and combustion are intrinsically problematic.
The other side points to the low cost of coal, and domestic reserves that could last two hundred years or more. That, they say, will help the U.S. remain competitive with fast growing economies like China and India, both major coal users.
This is unintentionally amusing and accurate. The “other side” responds to a argument about pollution by reverting to “you can’t do without us! the economy will die!” Which is, you know, BS, but it’s also got nothing to do with pollution!
In other words, there is no argument about “clean coal.” There’s only an argument about whether we can switch to cleaner options.