Energy and the Environment"

“The environment: Myths and Facts” by Max Schulz, 2007

In this article, Schulz states that the public currently seems to believe that only solar and wind power are both truly renewable and environmentally friendly whereas coal and oil lead to pollutants and carbon emissions. He takes the position that there are many misconceptions here and that the use of coal and oil is less damaging that generally thought. He cites some facts that may lessen the perceived negative impact of coal and oil. Included among these suggested facts are that “clean coal technology” is constantly improving, that there are increasing government regulations in terms of emissions and that the current Alaska pipeline has caused much less ecological damage than conservationalist foretold. This latter item addresses the current resistance to further drilling in Alaska. Schulz states that the benefits in terms of added domestic oil far outweigh the perceived negative consequences.

He also argues that even Al Gore in “An Inconvenient Truth” stated that 30% of carbon emissions come from wood fires in un- or under-developed countries. Further to this, Schulz cites Iain Murray of The Competive Enterprise Institute. Murray speculates from that if more clean coal-burning power plants were used in these countries there would be an actual reduction in carbon emissions. There is no hard evidence of this at this time.

It was interesting to read a different point of view in terms of the degree to which carbon emissions from coal and oil negatively impact our environment and their relative merit vis a vis the “big picture”.

~LA Blair

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