Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ashley Judd asks us to end the destruction of her home in Kentucky

I thought this was a very appropriate little video today to add to the anti-coal story.

Particularly after I received an email today from Jennifer Pierce, Vice President of Communications & Investor Relations of the Canadian power company TransAlta, in response to an email I sent to her through Credo. She mentions the company Report on Sustainability available on their site. Their CEO Steve Snyder has also just held a recent speech on alternative energy, the future of coal and the long-term potential of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies.

In her email, Jennifer told that "renewable energy accounts for more than 15 per cent of TransAlta’s generation capability", which is laudable, and that they are investing "hundreds of millions in green energy projects over the next five years." But she continues:
But as much as we support and grow renewables, it is a reality that building renewables alone will not solve the climate change problem. Coal and other fossil fuels represent over 60 per cent of the global electricity supply. We must address emissions from this huge installed capacity which will continue to operate for decades.

At the same time as we pursue investments in renewable energy, we continue our work to address the impacts of the fossil fuel side of our business. On the climate change front, one of the most promising new developments is the emergence of new carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies. CCS captures CO2 emissions and stores them permanently in deep underground geological formations. It is our view that CCS is one of the few technologies that can make major greenhouse gas reductions globally in the next 10-15 years, and be applied both to new and existing power plants.

Both the U.S. and Canadian Governments have announced massive CCS initiatives. President Obama recently committed US$3.4 billion to accelerate CCS technology, while Canadian governments have announced CDN$2.8 billion for the same purpose.
The trouble is, the technology won't be available for 10-15 years on any scale, if it can even do that, and in the meantime we could be using that money and brainpower to figure out how to replace those coal-fired plants instead of just patching the leaks.

Let's support Ashley Judd, and make sure the Obama Administration knows we want Moountaintop Removal coal mining banned, coal fired plants retired ASAP, and the money dedicated to CCS used on sustainables instead.

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