America to the World: Drop Dead, We Have Coal.


What is going on in America? We have a worldwide CO2 global warming crisis and American politicians are running around trying to throw money at coal-to-liquid production that as the graph shows, does nothing to reduce carbon emissions IF they can figure out how to sequester the CO2 and over DOUBLES if there is no sequestration. It is sacrificing the climate for, as Jim Kunstler says, the "happy motoring culture": Let the rest of the world drown, we will slice off every mountaintop and dig every hole to keep doing things the way we do now. But GE's lump of coal with legs can only dance so fast- nobody has done carbon sequestration on a massive scale, and even if it works it is like methadone for heroin, substituting one addiction for another.

From the Times:

"This is the snake oil of energy alternatives," said Peter Altman, a policy analyst at the National Environmental Trust, an environmental advocacy group. "The promises are just as lofty and the substance is just as absent as the first snake oil salesmen who plied their trade in the 1800s."

Coal executives contend that the technology for converting coal to "ultraclean" diesel fuel for use in cars and trucks has been around for decades. Known as the Fischer-Tropsch process, the technology dates to the 1920s. It was used by Germany during World War II and by South Africa during the apartheid era, in both cases because the countries were blocked by international embargoes from buying oil.

SASOL, a South African chemical conglomerate, is the world's largest producer of coal-based liquids and operates a plant that produces 150,000 barrels a day.

"Greener and cleaner — we can do it, and we will do it," said John Baardson, president of Baard Energy, a firm in Vancouver, Wash., that is trying to build a $4 billion coal-to-liquid plant in Ohio.

But no company has built a commercial-scale plant that also captures carbon, and experts caution that many obstacles lie ahead.

"At best, you're going to tread water on the carbon issue, and you're probably going to do worse," said Howard Herzog, a principal research engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a co-author of "The Future of Coal," a voluminous study published in March by M.I.T. "It goes against the whole grain of reducing carbon." ::New York Times

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