Obama is no Green


Oh, we'll remember this Senator Obama, yes indeed, we will.

Coal reversal | Salon.com : ... On Jan. 4, ... Obama joined with Kentucky Republican Jim Bunning to introduce the Coal-to-Liquid Fuel Promotion Act of 2007. Coal-to-liquid (CTL) technology uses a highly energy-intensive process to convert coal into diesel fuel for cars or jet fuel for airplanes -- an appealing prospect to the coal industry in Obama's home state of Illinois, but not to enviros and others concerned about global warming. Obama, who got a 100 percent approval rating from the League of Conservation Voters for his environmental voting record in the Senate last year, is now getting grumbles from greens and thumpings from the press for backing the dirtiest of all fossil fuels.

The Bunning-Obama bill, which would expand tax incentives for CTL and help jumpstart the industry with public-private partnerships, was first introduced by the senators in spring of last year. Back then, it didn't get traction in either the Senate or the media, but now that Obama is publicly toying with the idea of a presidential campaign, the proposal is getting real attention -- much of it unwanted.

Well, golly gee, Senator, realistically, what did you think if you supported such a crappy bill? That nobody would notice? Not likely. We do live in the age of increased scrutiny of politicians, especially of potential Presidential candidates.

Obama's office seems taken aback by the criticism from the environmental community. It's responding by stressing the national security advantages of using homegrown coal to power the nation's transportation sector and talking hopefully about the possibility of making CTL greener. Says Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor, “Sen. Obama believes investing in coal technologies is an important part of weaning the United States off foreign oil. He also believes that through investment and innovation, we can make these technologies cleaner.” Vietor pointed to ongoing research into sequestering the carbon released by coal gasification and suggested that similar strides could be made with the coal-liquefaction process.

Environmental advocates aren't so optimistic. David Doniger, policy director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's Climate Center, has supported coal gasification as a viable alternative to coal-burning power plants, but explains that CTL is not as promising an alternative to conventional gasoline or biofuels. “Coal to liquid is, in the best-case scenario, no worse for the climate than oil-derived gasoline -- and no better,” he says. The best-case scenario assumes that CTL producers find a way to capture their carbon emissions. Problem is, none of the current CTL projects actually involve carbon capture. Without that step, the climate impacts of CTL fuel are far worse than those of gasoline. According to an NRDC analysis, a 35-mpg car powered by the CTL fuel that's currently available would generate as much carbon dioxide pollution as a far less efficient 19-mpg car that runs on conventional gasoline.

Enviros have been nudging Obama in recent months to retract his support for CTL technology, to no avail.

the WaPo adds how the coal industry jes' loves the bill. Strange, that. You'd almost think their big donations helped encourage Obama to co-sponser the bill or something. Nothing like the whiff of corruption to bring even more attention to back room conferences.

So why then, environmentalists ask, is Obama backing a law supporting the expanded use of coal, whose emissions are cooking the globe? It seems the answer is twofold: his interest in energy independence -- and his interest in downstate Illinois, where the senator's green tinge makes the coal industry queasy.

The coal industry praises Obama's reintroduction, with Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), of the Coal-to-Liquid Fuel Promotion Act of 2007 last week, which would provide incentives for research and plant construction. The industry says the technology, which converts coal into diesel engine fuel, would reduce America's dependence on foreign oil through a new, home-mined fuel that burns as cleanly as gasoline.

Environmentalists say focusing on coal does nothing to arrest climate change. Instead, they say, lawmakers should back cleaner alternative fuels and stricter automobile and industrial emissions standards.

“The rationale is, 'We have a lot of coal in the ground, let's put it to some use,' ” said Frank O'Donnell, president of the D.C.-based nonprofit group Clean Air Watch. “It's not the best use of the coal and it's one that's almost certain to exacerbate the global warming problem.” Obama's advocacy of coal liquefaction, he said, might have to do with his getting “hammered” by Illinois coal interests.

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In order to insure energy and economic independence as well as better economic growth without being blackmailed by foreign countries, our country, the United States of America’s Utilization of Energy sources must change.
"Energy drives our entire economy." We must protect it. "Let's face it, without energy the whole economy and economic society we have set up would come to a halt. So you want to have control over such an important resource that you need for your society and your economy." The American way of life is not negotiable.
Our continued dependence on fossil fuels could and will lead to catastrophic consequences.

The federal, state and local government should implement a mandatory renewable energy installation program for residential and commercial property on new construction and remodeling projects with the use of energy efficient material, mechanical systems, appliances, lighting, etc. The source of energy must by renewable energy such as Solar-Photovoltaic, Geothermal, Wind, Biofuels, etc. including utilizing water from lakes, rivers and oceans to circulate in cooling towers to produce air conditioning and the utilization of proper landscaping to reduce energy consumption.

The implementation of mandatory renewable energy could be done on a gradual scale over the next 10 years. At the end of the 10 year period all construction and energy use in the structures throughout the United States must be 100% powered by renewable energy. (This can be done by amending building code)

In addition, the governments must impose laws, rules and regulations whereby the utility companies must comply with a fair “NET METERING” (the buying of excess generation from the consumer), including the promotion of research and production of “renewable energy technology” with various long term incentives and grants. The various foundations in existence should be used to contribute to this cause.

A mandatory time table should also be established for the automobile industry to gradually produce an automobile powered by renewable energy. The American automobile industry is surely capable of accomplishing this task.

This is a way to expedite our energy independence and economic growth. (This will also create a substantial amount of new jobs). It will take maximum effort and a relentless pursuit of the private, commercial and industrial government sectors commitment to renewable energy – energy generation (wind, solar, hydro, biofuels, geothermal, energy storage (fuel cells, advance batteries), energy infrastructure (management, transmission) and energy efficiency (lighting, sensors, automation, conservation) in order to achieve our energy independence.
"To succeed, you have to believe in something with such a passion that it becomes a reality."

Jay Draiman, Energy Consultant
Northridge, CA. 91325

P.S. I have a very deep belief in America's capabilities. Within the next 10 years we can accomplish our energy independence, if we as a nation truly set our goals to accomplish this.
I happen to believe that we can do it. In another crisis--the one in 1942--President Franklin D. Roosevelt said this country would build 60,000 [50,000] military aircraft. By 1943, production in that program had reached 125,000 aircraft annually. They did it then. We can do it now.
The American people resilience and determination to retain the way of life is unconquerable and we as a nation will succeed in this endeavor of Energy Independence.

Solar energy is the source of all energy on the earth (excepting volcanic geothermal). Wind, wave and fossil fuels all get their energy from the sun. Fossil fuels are only a battery which will eventually run out. The sooner we can exploit all forms of Solar energy (cost effectively or not against dubiously cheap FFs) the better off we will all be. If the battery runs out first, the survivors will all be living like in the 18th century again.

Every new home built should come with a solar package. A 1.5 kW per bedroom is a good rule of thumb. The formula 1.5 X's 5 hrs per day X's 30 days will produce about 225 kWh per bedroom monthly. This peak production period will offset 17 to 24 cents per kWh with a potential of $160 per month or about $60,000 over the 30-year mortgage period for a three-bedroom home. It is economically feasible at the current energy price and the interest portion of the loan is deductible. Why not?

Title 24 has been mandated forcing developers to build energy efficient homes. Their bull-headedness put them in that position and now they see that Title 24 works with little added cost. Solar should also be mandated and if the developer designs a home that solar is impossible to do then they should pay an equivalent mitigation fee allowing others to put solar on in place of their negligence.

Installing renewable energy system on your home or business increases the value of the property and provides a marketing advantage.

Nations of the world should unite and join together in a cohesive effort to develop and implement MANDATORY RENEWABLE ENERGY for the sake of humankind and future generations.

Dude, I am a few days late on your post, thanks to Time-Warner cable's excellent service, which has deprived a lot of Westsiders in Greater Los Angeles from being "Persons of the World." Days on end w/o the Net are crippling. I know Obama is already out there for president, he is an excellent speaker, and the whole deal is scary.

I wish we would set goals for self-sufficient energy, clean energy. We got solar at our house but it is very expensive. Except for Al Gore, I don't see anyone concerned about the environment or maybe I need to read you more often, Seth.

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This page contains a single entry by swanksalot published on January 16, 2007 10:14 AM.

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