March 17. Joe Nocera, who has been recently writing columns for the New York Times attacking Bill McKibben and James Hansen and the 350.org movement, has found a new way to love fossil fuel. It’s called “coal gasification”. You don’t burn the coal. You use heat and chemicals to make a gas which is burned to make electricity. Supposedly the CO2 made by this is captured. Nocera says the “enormous potential is that it will capture some 90 percent of the facility’s already reduced carbon emissions”. A several billion dollar plant is being planned for Texas.
The thing is if you go to the Texas’ company’s website it’s clear the captured CO2 is not going to be captured and sealed off somewhere. It’s going to be used. It will be shot into the earth to bring out more oil from wells that are no longer productive. Supposedly, supposedly the CO2 will eventually be sealed deep in the earth, but we heard all this when there was talk about underground nuclear waste storage and again and again the supposed stable formations changed, shifted and broke. If the CO2 slowly leaked how would you even know? It might come up slowly miles from its supposed secure site. (or it a lot of it could come out all of a sudden and kill people as it did naturally in the Cameroons in 1986).
Coal expert Jeff Goddell says it well “betting our future on an expensive, unproven technology like CCS is, at best, reckless. We don’t need to bury our problems. We need to reinvent our world.”
Zakaria Wants Keystone XL
Fareed Zakaria writing in “Time” says build the pipeline because Canada will get the tar sands oil to market one way or another anyway. He says we’re wasting time trying to stop supply. We should target demand with a carbon tax.
Now we absolutely should charge fossil fuel producers for the carbon waste they throw into the atmosphere. Frankly, such a fee is years away. Right now one man, President Obama can shut down the pipeline and that would give huge encouragement to climate activists (especially Canadian Indian nations under whose land most of the fossil fuels lies). We should fight on both the supply and demand sides.