January 29, 2014
CoalBlue Project Reacts to the President’s State of the Union Address
WASHINGTON, D.C. – CoalBlue Project Chairman and former Pennsylvania Congressman Ron Klink issued the following comment in response to the President’s State of the Union Address:
“In last night’s State of the Union address, the President touched on his vision for a clean energy future and mentioned a number of priorities he plans to pursue: further subsidies for solar power, increased energy efficiency, the use of natural gas as a “bridge fuel,” and his Administration’s adoption of new greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for U.S. power plants.
As notable as what the President said last night is what he didn’t say – his omission of any mention of the development and deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) for fossil fuels.
The world is going to depend heavily on fossil fuels, including coal, for electricity generation for decades to come. Coal cannot and will not be simply wished away. As a result, and as over 400 Democratic elected officials from 17 states pointed out in a letter to the President last October, there is no realistic path forward on climate that does not include the accelerated development and deployment of carbon-mitigating technologies, such as CCS, for both coal and natural gas.
The absence of any mention of CCS in the State of the Union reflects a gaping hole in the President’s climate strategy. If we are to be serious about addressing climate concerns, we must get serious about developing the technologies needed to all but eliminate C02 emissions from coal and natural gas.
America can and should lead the world in the effort to reduce CO2 and other GHG emissions. Yet, leadership will not be found in near-term, unilateral actions that burden American families and make American industry less competitive, but have no real impact on global CO2 emissions. Nor will leadership come from prematurely mandating the use of technologies that are not yet commercially ready.
Leadership will come from America promoting balanced, pro-growth energy policies aimed at fueling American prosperity and innovating the next generation of sustainable energy technologies, CCS among them, for use at home and abroad.
The President is right to point to the progress we’ve made, helped by substantial public investment and a strong public commitment, in advancing renewable energy and energy efficiency. The time is now for the United States to make the same kind of public commitment to, and public investment in, advanced carbon-mitigating technologies for coal and other fossil fuels that will enable not only the United States, but the world, to simultaneously meet its growing energy needs and address the carbon challenge.”