Bait & Switch Carbon Capture Climate Change Public Relations

Everyone Should Read This (2)


Since the book “Climate Cover-Up : The Crusade to Deny Global Warming” by James Hoggan does not appear to be available in the United Kingdom as of now, I have taken the liberty of transcribing a brief passage about Carbon Capture and Storage.

The thrust of the passage, and in fact two whole chapters of the book, which everybody should read, is that

(a) even with Carbon Capture, Coal will never be “Clean” and

(b) that there has been a deliberate propaganda campaign amongst the public and in the corridors of power to promote Carbon Capture even though it cannot clean up Coal.

Climate Cover-Up : The Crusade to Deny Global Warming
James Hoggan
ISBN 978-1-55365-485-8
Chapter 14 : Whitewashing Coal

…We have been hearing more and more lately about the coal industry’s intentions to stop dumping its garbage skyward. We’ve been hearing about “carbon capture and storage”, in which energy producers capture carbon dioxide in the production process and pump it into depleted oil and gas reservoirs, unmineable coal seams, deep saline formations, or the deep ocean for safekeeping. The theory, as yet mostly untested, is that carbon dioxide pumped and pressurised becomes heavier than air, reducing the likelihood of serious leakage, even if the capping system fails. Proponents theorize further that sequestering carbon in this way would allow us to go on burning all 270 billion tons of American coal – and, for that matter, the entire contents of the Canadian tar sands – without every having to worry about its effect on climate.

In the current circumstances, howeve, the whole notion of sequestering carbon is a load of codswallop. In fact that would be the fairest – and the most polite – way to describe the whole notion of “clean coal”. Consider this: the Union of Concerned Scientists offers these statistics in reference to what it calls the average 500-megawatt coal plant. On the bright side, this “average” plant produces 3.5 billion kilowatt-hours per year, enough to power a city of about 140,000 people, using 1.4 million tons of coal, 2.2 billion gallons of water, and 146,000 tons of limestone in the process. Then this “clean” coal plant produces the following toxins :

* 10,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, the main component in acid rain;
* 10,200 tons of nitrogen oxide, a major cause of smog and a contributor to acid raid;
* 3.7 million tons of carbon dioxide;
* 500 tons of smal particles, a major contributor to lung disease;
* 220 tons of hydrocarbonsm smog-producing particles of unburnt fuel;
* 720 tons of carbon monoxide, a greenhouse gas that is also poisonous to humans;
* 125,000 tons of ash and 193,000 tons of sludge from the smokestack scrubber. The ash and sludge consist of coal ash, limestone, and many pollutants, including toxic metals such as lead and mercury.

…There is no question that today’s new coal plants are cleaner than those built a century ago. Politicians of both stripes [North American reference to the two-party systems in the United States and Canada] should look back proudly on environmental regulations of the 1970s and the U.S. Clean Air Act of the early 1990s. But just because coal plants are better than before is no justification for an Orwellian redefinition of the world “clean”.

That, however, doesn’t stop the spinners from trying. Bracewell & Giuliani’s Frank Maisano boasted in a December 22, 2008, newsletter that a new coal plant in Florence County, South Carolina, would produce “less than 100 pounds per year” of mercury, which tends to concentrate in fish and then cause birth defects, brain damage, and other ailments in anyone who later eats that fish. For those trying to keep track, one hundred pounds is more mercury than you would find in 5 million compact fluorescent lightbulbs. And, of course, the light bulbs can be disposed of responsibly, while the coal plants are spraying mercury into the air.

…The idea that coal can be burnt cleanly or safely in a warming world, now or soon, is a fiction. The coal companies fight desperately against any effort to restrict toxic emissions, and while they talk a good game on the notion of carbon capture, anyone compelled to speak truthfully agrees that the technology is decades away.

…Well, once again we’ve been had. We have been Astroturfed by some of the biggest players in the business.

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