Also seen at Truth & Progress
From today’s Washington Post, Energy Firms Come to Terms with Climate Change. The fat lady has is singing away today: Exxon Mobil is contemplating dropping funding to climate skeptic think tanks and here is Shell Oil’s take:
“We have to deal with greenhouse gases,” John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Co., said in a recent speech at the National Press Club. “From Shell’s point of view, the debate is over. When 98 percent of scientists agree, who is Shell to say, ‘Let’s debate the science’?”
Could it be that consensus has been reached? Can we all get to work on expanding the New England RGGI (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative) or look to California’s plan as a national model? Maybe as a parting farewell, our now-illustrious governor, Mitt Romney, might even allow Massachusetts to rejoin this important regional effort. Maybe we can get on with some progress! Uhoh. Someone didn’t get the memo. Enter TXU and King Coal:
Not every energy company is planning to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the near future. TXU Corp. is planning to spend $10 billion to build 11 new coal-fired power plants, which would more than double the company’s carbon dioxide emissions, from 55 million tons to 133 million tons a year. That increase in emissions is more than the total carbon dioxide pollution emitted in all of Maryland or by 10 million Cadillac Escalade sport-utility vehicles.
In an e-mail to The Washington Post, TXU spokeswoman Kimberly Morgan said that the company supports “a comprehensive, voluntary, technology-based approach to global climate change based on carbon intensity” that is both “flexible and cost effective.”
The New York Times also has TXU in their sites today with an editorial, “Taming King Coal” which may require subscription. Here’s the upshot:
This new technology [IGCC]is not readily available in China, but it is available to utilities in the United States. Which brings us to the second article – an announcement by TXU, a giant Texas energy company, that it intends to build 11 new coal-fired power plants in Texas, plus another dozen or so coal-fired monsters elsewhere in the country. All told, this would be the nation’s largest single coal-oriented construction campaign in years.
Is TXU availing itself of the cleaner technology? No. TXU will use the old pulverized coal model. The company says the older models are more reliable. But the real reason it likes the older models is that they are easier to build, cheaper to run and, ultimately, much more profitable. So, like the Chinese, TXU is locking itself (and the country) into at least 50 more years of the most carbon-intensive technology around.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D), who will soon replace Sen. James “Climate Change is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind” Inhofe (R) as chair of the Senate Environment Committee has her work cut out for her reining in “King Coal”. This is one great example why politics matters. For those who point east as justification to sit on our climate change thumbs here in America, it’s time to instead wipe some of that soot off the mirror and take a good look.
graphic: The “hockey stick graph,” so called because its line resembles a hockey stick. It illustrates global warming by making use of data and estimates from thermometers, tree rings, corals, ice cores and historical records to chart temperatures over 1,000 years.