Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Updated: Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Regarding the editorial “State of the union: It is imperiled” (Feb. 13 and TribLIVE.com): 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!
The writer is executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition (climatescienceinternational.org).
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I believe Mr. Harris(March 5, "Imperiled Indeed") is wrong in his claim that the carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel emissions as a cause of climate crisis is falling into disrepute. I recommend readers watch the National Geographic documentary "Chasing Ice" before agreeing with Mr. Harris. There seem to be plenty of scientists reporting on the reality of global warming as man-made, while not ignoring cyclical and natural contributions. It might also help to gain perspective on some of those denying man-made contributions to climate change, if readers were to view the documentary film, "Greedy Lying Bastards", to be released March 8. I've only seen previews, but it appears to give some interesting background on whose money is funding the denials of global warming and why. As you might gather from the tone of Mr. Harris's letter and the film title, this debate on man's stewardship of earth, or lack thereof, certainly generates its own intense heat. It is interesting that Mr. Harris of Canada does not tell us that, according to sources like a PennEnergy January 15, 2013 article, Ontario is eliminating its coal-fired plants: "The largest coal-fired plants in Ontario will close by the end of 2013. Shutting down the plants will mean coal will account for less than 1 percent of Ontario's energy supply by 2014, said Chris Bentley, Minister of Energy, according to Mining.com. In 2003, coal accounted for 25 percent of energy in Ontario. Today, it accounts for less than 3 percent. Another remaining coal-fired plant, Thunder Bay, is also set to close at the end of 2014, the article stated. The coal closures are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario to a level equivalent of eliminating 7 million cars, and save $4.4 billion in annual health and environmental costs, the article stated. An increase in natural gas generation in Ontario and renewable energy initiatives have encouraged the government to eliminate the coal-fired plants, the source said. Meanwhile, another article by Silvio Marcacci states that, "Since the coal-free initiative began, Ontario has increased its electricity capacity by 20%, while reducing electricity bills 10%." Bruce Braden Mt. Pleasant native