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Bush on Energy

Illustration by: Matt Mahurin

Last night, in his quick blurb on energy policy, Bush talked about "a new generation of clean energy technology" including those that can "generate coal power while capturing carbon emissions. "

Here’s what I want to know: when exactly is this new generation going to be born? And who’s giving birth to it? Because as it stands now, there are no commercially viable carbon-capture-and-storage plants anywhere in the world. And the technology may not be viable for years, if not decades.

"It is clear that Congress does not ‘get it,’" says James Hansen, the leading climate scientist who directs NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. "They stand ready to set a goal of 60% reductions, 80%, 90%! Horse manure."

Here’s more from Hansen, from his essay based on his testimony to the Iowa Utilities Board:

Over the past year, it’s become clear that the way the political and environmental communities are approaching global warming isn’t going to solve it. Books by Al Gore and Tim Flannery, for example, admonish people to use less energy and reduce carbon emissions; the Kyoto Protocol [PDF] calls for an emissions reduction of 5 percent below 1990 levels; and politicians around the world are mandating sizable reductions in carbon emissions by 2050. But without a plan of action that prioritizes tackling emissions from coal plants, such goals are ineffectual–and the politicians will either be in retirement homes or dead by 2050.

Here’s what needs to happen, says Hansen:

"All existing coal power plants without carbon capture must be bulldozed by 2050," he concludes.

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