Sunday, May 10, 2009

Coal reps, protesters clash at conference - Pittsburgh 2008

The full article can be found by clicking here
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
" Governmental regulators, scientists, academics and power industry representatives attending a conference here were interrupted yesterday morning when two dozen protesters with hundreds of balloons bearing the message "Coal is dirty" crashed their meeting.

The seventh annual Conference of Carbon Capture and Sequestration featured presentations promising that untested carbon capture and control technology will reduce power plant emissions of carbon dioxide. The protesters barged in on the gathering to say they didn't think so.

As they released the black and yellow balloons in the Sheraton Station Square Hotel ballroom, Beverly Braverman, executive director of the Mountain Watershed Association in Fayette County, told the 600 conference attendees that federal tax money shouldn't be used to subsidize the development of a technology that perpetuates dependence on coal.

"We object to carbon capture and sequestration because the technology is unproven, it's expensive and its use ignores all of the other damage done to coalfield communities," said Ms. Braverman."

"After a police officer escorted Ms. Braverman and the other protesters from the ballroom, Mr. Kupfer announced that the Bush administration has allocated $648 million for coal-related research this year, and $125 million over the next 10 years for two new carbon capture demonstration projects in Ohio and California. Four other demonstration projects were awarded more than $250 million last year."

"But even as the idea gains traction in the coal and power industries and with the Bush administration, which recently set a goal of stopping the growth of carbon emissions by 2025, environmental groups have increasingly questioned the wisdom of spending billions of dollars of public money to develop the technology.

A Greenpeace report released Monday says there are major questions about carbon capture technology's effectiveness and cost.

The report says it won't be commercially available until 2030 at the earliest, that 70 percent of the power plants operating in 2050 won't be able to use the technology and that it will require power plants to produce 10 percent to 40 percent more electricity to operate the collection apparatus. That will increase coal consumption by one-third over today's level.

The report also says that carbon capture could double the operating costs of power plants and lead to price hikes of 21 percent to 91 percent.

Rebecca Tarbotton, Rainforest Action Network global finance campaign director and a speaker at the conference, said the government subsidies will prolong the nation's and the world's dependence on coal.

"We don't want the technology and its development used as an excuse for continued reliance and expansion of coal use," she said."