Fuels

From Tom Friedman

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Why would Republicans, the party of business, want to focus our country on breathing life into a 19th-century technology — fossil fuels — rather than giving birth to a 21st-century technology — renewable energy? As I have argued before, it reminds me of someone who, on the eve of the I.T. revolution — on the eve of PCs and the Internet — is pounding the table for America to make more I.B.M. typewriters and carbon paper. “Typewriters, baby, typewriters.”


Why all this nuclear love?

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I've heard it said several times that no matter who wins the election, we're going to have a cap-and-trade system that will put a price on carbon emissions, because both candidates support it. But I struggle to believe that McCain will actually be willing to see energy prices rise through an act of government — even if it would begin to reshape the nation's energy use away from fossil fuels and toward renewable sources.

Of apparently more certain agreement are both camps' endorsement of nuclear.


So how DOES France do it?

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It's laughable to hear the party of Freedom Fries and other sneers and smears cite France as a paragon, but that is, of course, what happens in the realm of nuclear energy. With both candidates saying they support nuclear-plant development, it's a fair question to ask: What is France's experience?

They have almost 60 plants nationwide. Only the US has more: 104.


Carbon sequestration trial in Germany

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Using Swedish technology, a utility plant in Spremberg, Germany, near the Polish border, has begun capturing the carbon released by the burning of coal for electricity.

First, the lignite coal is being burned in pure oxygen, which makes the effluent cleaner — still carbon-laden but with less sulphur, mercury, and other elements typical to coal burning.

The effluent is then compressed until it is liquid, and injected underground into naturally occurring caverns.


Nukes, "clean" coal mar a good speech

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It is pretty tough to excel in a judgment-rated endeavor when you're expected to excel, and that's the situation Barack Obama was in last night — the foundation of all that has grown up in the past four years around him was his keynote speech at the Boston convention.

Even against such high expectation, I thought Obama gave a very good speech last night.

I loved when he said that the election was not about him, but about us. Damn right.


The price of biofuels

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I've long been a fan of Technology Review, MIT's magazine, but it is really hitting another stride recently. I just caught up on a couple of past issues I picked up at the Clean Tech conference and found a gem of a story you should read if you want to be able to converse about biofuels with authority.

This is the link. Among its points:


Blah blah blah from Big Coal

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Scientist James Hansen has been raised almost to sainthood for his early sounding of the climate-change alarm and for his adamance since. He testified before Congress Monday on the 20-year anniversary of his global climate change testimony, saying roughly what he has been saying all along.


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