HANSEN SAYS, “NO MORE COAL PLANTS”

22 03 2008

…unless we can capture all the CO2 from them, which of course, we can’t do yet….meanwhile, the Chinese are putting a new coal-fired plant on line at the rate of one per week, and there’s plenty of political rhetoric blowing wind into the sails of more coal plants here in the US.  Hanson says if we don’t stop with the fossil fuels like RIGHT NOW, we’re gonna cook our goose.  His critics say it’s not politically feasible to do that.  What do you call it when it’s “not politcally feasible” not to commit planetary suicide?

Oh yes, the main point of the interview was how both the Bush and Clinton administrations have attempted to censor him….and sometimes succeeded.  Al Gore.  Censoring James Hanson.  Well, OK, it was the Clintons, and that was then and this is now….

from the Democracy Now interview:

DR. JAMES HANSEN: Well, the most important thing is—if you just look at how much carbon dioxide there is in the different fossil fuels, coal is the really big issue. The important step is to have a moratorium on any new coal-fired power plants until we have the technology to capture the carbon dioxide and sequester it. And if we would do that, that’s a good fraction of the solution. But we’re also going to have to use the other fossil fuels more conservatively. We’re going to need to emphasize energy efficiency. And eventually we have to find sources of energy that don’t produce greenhouse gases.

AMY GOODMAN: I’m just looking at a piece in the New York Times from a few days ago by Andrew Revkin that said, “Dr. Hansen “and eight co-authors have drafted a fresh paper arguing that the world has already shot past a safe eventual atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, which they say would be around 350 parts per million, a level passed 20 years ago,” Andrew Revkin writes. This is controversial. “Some longtime champions of Dr. Hansen, including the Climate Progress blogger Joe Romm, see some significant gaps in the paper”—still in draft form—“and part ways with Dr. Hansen over whether such a goal is remotely feasible.”

DR. JAMES HANSEN: Well, yeah. Unfortunately, Joe feels that we have to talk about what’s practical. I think we have to look at the science and tell us exactly what it—and tell the people exactly what it is pointing to. And the history of the earth tells us that even 385 parts per million is too much. And we can still go backwards. The ocean does take up carbon dioxide. If we would phase out the use of coal, except to recapture the CO2, then it is feasible to get back below 350 parts per million. But we’re going to have to put a stop on new coal-fired power plants until we have the technology to capture the CO2.

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