Sunday, January 27, 2008

CLEAN ENERGY: a HEALTHY ALTERNATIVE to COAL

Coal is by far the dirtiest and most damaging of our existing energy sources. Burning coal not only causes global warming, it also is the single largest source of mercury pollution in the U.S.. Mercury compounds are toxic, carcinogenic, and are linked to birth defects and damage to lungs and the nervous system. Many waterways are now so polluted with mercury that fish caught there are unsafe for human consumption. Burning coal also generates smog and soot, and causes acid rain which pollutes water and kills fish and plant life. Air pollution from coal-fired power plants is linked to premature deaths, asthma attacks and heart attacks. The serious impact on public health and the environment should be more than enough reason to stop burning coal. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was slow to respond to the problem (see this 1999 document addressed to State Governors), and the coal industry has been even slower to comply with laws. Additionally, coal-fired power plants are generally located in poor or rural areas where the local citizens lack representation, and where the plants are out of the sight and mind of the general public.

With new laws to fight global warming pollution anticipated soon, the coal industry is rushing to build as many new plants as possible before those laws are in place. Over 150 plants have been proposed since the year 2000. The estimated lifetime of a coal power plant is about 50 years, and most of the new plants would use the same old dirty technology. If new plants are built now, we will lock ourselves into a lifetime of dirty coal. With the help of pressure from environmentalists and climate activists in 2007, 59 of the proposed plants were either canceled by regulators, put on hold, or abandoned by utilities. Fortunately, clean energy alternatives can provide electricity, and cutting back on coal power will reduce global warming pollution and improve public health. Let's promote the switch to clean energy sources, if only for our health!

Friday, January 25, 2008

EARTH to PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES: STOP BURNING COAL !

An earlier blog entry highlighted John Edwards' call for a moratorium on building new-coal-fired power plants in the absence of technology to remove CO2, and the contrary stance of Clinton, Obama as well as the Republican candidates to keep the coal fires burning based on the industry myth of "clean coal". Edwards stands solidly on facts, while Big Coal stands on greed and lobbying, and their political benefactors stand on campaign contributions and elections. Fortunately, students and conservationists with the intelligence to see through the "clean coal" myth are rising up at the South Carolina primary and fighting against the Big Coal lobby. Click here for a report from the front lines.
It is crucial that we elect leaders who have the intelligence and political will to oppose the "clean coal" myth, and who aim to lead the world in stopping global warming pollution. According to NASA climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen, "Coal will determine whether we continue to increase climate change or slow the human impact. Increased fossil fuel CO2 in the air today, compared to the pre-industrial atmosphere, is due 50% to coal, 35% to oil, and 15% to gas. As oil resources peak, coal will determine future CO2 levels." Memo to presidential primary candidates: re-think your position on so-called "clean coal", and give clean energy alternatives and the planet a chance.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

BIG COAL'S DIRTY SECRET - MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL: Watch This VIDEO!

More than 450 mountains in Appalachia have been destroyed by mountaintop removal coal mining. This Video is part of the National Memorial for the Mountains, hosted by www.ilovemountains.org. Click here to watch the video, and see the harm and heartbreak in Appalachia. Stop it...No New Coal !
For a virtual flyover of mountaintop removal sites in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia using Google Earth, and a narration of the process of environmental destruction and water pollution, click here.

The Big Coal lobby has had a huge presence ($1.3 Million) in South Carolina and elsewhere for the presidential debates and primaries. The myth of "clean coal" is being promoted on placards and t-shirts. In striking contrast to the realities of mountaintop removal, vehicles with images of pretty blue skies bear the "clean coal" message. Big Coal has also sponsored "clean coal" TV commercials for the last few presidential debates! Could this help explain why TV reporters ask candidates no questions about global warming and their proposed solutions? Clean energy advocates can't match the money of Big Coal, but they can speak out, write to newspapers and politicians, demonstrate and spread the word, as in this video taken at the Dem debate in S.C. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS CLEAN COAL! Vote GREEN in 2008!

EDWARDS TAKES ON 'BIG COAL' in DEMOCRATIC DEBATE in LAS VEGAS

John Edwards said, "But I'd go another step that at least I haven't heard these two candidates [Clinton & Obama] talk about. They can answer for themselves. I believe we need a moratorium on the building of any more coal-fired power plants unless and until we have the ability to capture and sequester the carbon in the ground. Because every time we build a new coal-fired power plant in America when we don't have that technology attached to it, what happens is, we're making a terrible situation worse." Way to go John! Click here for the full transcript.
Obama and Clinton currently support "clean coal", even though there is no such thing. Hopefully, clean energy activists including 1Sky will help turn them around in the South Carolina campaign. Big Coal has big money and a lot of influence, on both politicians and voters. Big Coal is waging a $35 million campaign in primary and caucus states to rally public support for coal-fired electricity and to fuel opposition to legislation to cut carbon emissions. VOTERS, please spread the word: coal is not clean, mining and burning it carry large environmental and public health costs (see Mountaintop removal, above), and burning it also causes global warming...No new coal! See Coal Moratorium NOW!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

GREEN RESPONSES to the 'STATE OF THE STATE'

ALBANY, NY -- Environmental Advocates of New York is a state government watchdog. In response to the Governor’s State of the State address, the group is encouraged by the Governor's support of amending state law to promote the development of solar energy by easing restrictions on "net metering", and is also encouraged by his call to reduce our energy bills by means of "smart metering". Click here for the report.
See also an excellent analysis from the Network for New Energy Choices. NNEC’s Freeing the Grid 2007 is a comprehensive report on how to make net metering work today.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

STATE OF NY STATE in 'THE BUSINESS REVIEW'

Albany, Jan. 10, 2008 -- Energy initiatives face funding and political challenges on the cost of "smart metering" technology and Spitzer's call to confront the challenge of global warming. Click here.

Monday, January 14, 2008

GOV. SPITZER'S STATE OF NY STATE ADDRESS

Albany, Jan.9, 2008 - Encouraging remarks about Global Warming and Clean Energy: "Energy should be reliable, plentiful, and clean. On the demand side, we are committed to ... a goal of reducing statewide electricity use by 15 percent from projected levels by 2015. On the supply side...if we are going to fast-track any kind of energy production, it must also help us confront the challenge of global warming." For the full text, click here.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

GRASSROOTS EFFORT PAYS DIVIDENDS ON THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN TRAIL

PLAISTOW, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Activists in Snowman and polar bear costumes are frolicking at candidate town meetings. Editorials on global warming are appearing in influential newspapers in New Hampshire and Iowa. Most major presidential candidates—from liberal Democratic senator Barack Obama to former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, a conservative republican—have called for caps on the emissions of greenhouse gases. For full article in SCIENCE (Dec. 21 2007), click here.

Jason Kowalski dressed as a Snowman to make points about Global Warming with presidential candidates in New Hampshire (click here for Video interview). As Christmas approached, he switched to a Santa Claus costume, as in the photo with Hillary Clinton and his brother Adam, and in a news Video (click here) challenging Mitt Romney on global warming.

THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS 'CLEAN-COAL' POWER

Buffalo News, Jan.1, 2008 -- Letter to Editor
The Another Voice article, “Right time, right place for clean-coal project,” by R.L. Dimming was not convincing. While Tonawanda’s proposed power plant may remove some of coal’s pollutants, it will not remove the carbon dioxide pollution that causes global warming and climate change. Although touted as a way to reduce global warming, so-called clean-coal technology that captures and stores carbon dioxide is not proven or available. Click here.

POWERFUL SPEECHES by AL GORE in BALI

Videos of speeches by Al Gore at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia
- Particularly moving parts: Planetary emergency, Arctic ice melting, Challenge to speak out, U.S. obstructing progress, Future hope (4 min.): Click here.
- Full speech (10 min.): Click here.

ENDORSE a PETITION ONLINE

Top TV reporters, like Buffalo's Tim Russert and Wolf Blitzer, are ignoring the top issue of global warming in their interviews and reports on the 2008 elections. What Are They Waiting For?
• Demand that they publicly acknowledge that the science of global warming is settled and that the climate crisis is an urgent threat.
• Insist that they prioritize global warming in their interviews with all candidates through the 2008 election.
The American public deserves to know where all the candidates stand on the climate crisis and the solutions they propose to address it. Click here to endorse the petition from the League of Conservation Voters.

AN ENERGETIC LAW

Legislation will benefit Americans only if it is vigorously enforced
Buffalo News, Dec. 21 -- This week the Congress passed, and President Bush signed, a measure that takes serious steps to squarely address a crisis facing the American way of life. A crisis that broke out in 1973, but a crisis nonetheless. Click here.

'ROADMAP' for GREENER GLOBE leads to WHITE HOUSE

BALI, Indonesia — The “Bali Roadmap” for new climate negotiations leads to one address and one date: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and Jan. 20, 2009. That’s when a new occupant of the White House will be sworn into office, and when a fresh U.S. team, with what many expect to be a new attitude, will take up the negotiating mandate issued here Saturday at the end of the two-week U.N. climate conference. Click here.

PRESIDENTIAL LEADERSHIP on CLIMATE CHANGE

Check out info on the Carbon Coalition site. Click on the photos to read, listen and watch what each presidential candidate has said in New Hampshire about Global Warming...click here.