Coal-use concerns

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Syd S. Peng misleads readers in his Perspectives commentary championing clean coal as a viable route for reducing greenhouse gases (“Champion Clean Coal: The EPA Is Stifling Realistic Climate-Change Policies,” March 18). For one thing, “clean coal” refers to methods of burning that reduce pollutants and particulates but have nothing to do with reducing carbon dioxide emissions. He pooh-poohs CO2 sequestration as being nonviable and makes the childish claim that since everyone else is burning coal, we should, too. He even claims that burning coal with 50 percent greater efficiency will reduce fuel use by half. No, it would take a 100 percent increase to reduce usage by half, and if a plant can get 50 percent more efficiency, it won’t take government policies to induce foreign plants to be built that way. The money they save will be inducement enough.

No, coal just doesn’t have the carbon efficiency to solve our climate problem, so the best way we can lead the world is to stop using it.

Another opinion piece a couple of weeks ago scorned the Senate climate caucus for wasting time discussing the problem in an all-night session (“Liberals Put Out-of-Touchness on Display” by Jennifer Rubin, March 12). Instead, it said people want more focus on the economy and jobs. Yes, those are more pressing concerns, but how else should this country join in a discussion of climate change? It may be a longer-term threat than today’s unemployment rate, but it could be a much more dire one.

If there’s just a 10 percent chance that the energy path we are on today will wreak havoc 100 years from now, don’t we owe it to our grandchildren to at least discuss the problem? I, for one, think we should be acting much more forcefully than we are now, but I’m appalled that our society seems unable to even contemplate it.

Mt. Lebanon

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