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Imperiled indeed

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Letter to the Editor
Tuesday, March 5, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Regarding the editorial “State of the union: It is imperiled” (Feb. 13 and The state of the union is imperiled for another reason as well. If it were true that “(h)eat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods — all are now more frequent and intense,” as the president said in his State of the Union address, then he should boost the most affordable and reliable energy sources to cope with these hazards.

Yet in discussing solutions to these dangers, Obama said nothing about the most affordable and reliable energy source of all — coal, from which comes fully half of America's electricity.

Obama is out to end coal-fired power generation in the U.S. It is not because of supply problems — the U.S. has enough to last for centuries. It is not because of cost — coal is the least expensive of all sources and, unlike natural gas, its price remains steady for years. It is not because of pollution — modern coal-fired power stations are far cleaner than ever before.

It is because the president believes that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel combustion, coal in particular, are causing a climate crisis. Yet this idea is falling into disrepute as the world fails to warm as forecast by computer models, even while CO2 continues to rise quickly.

It's time for Obama to change his mind about America's most important power source. Without that energy, the state of the union is very weak indeed!

Tom Harris

Ottawa, Canada

The writer is executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition (

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