Friday, September 10, 2010

Energy secretary: CO2 capture will save coal

Energy Secretary Steven Chu told a University of Charleston crowd Thursday that West Virginians should not fear the Obama administration's energy policies and pointed to carbon-dioxide capture and storage technology as the future of coal. "It will save coal," Chu told reporters after speaking at the forum on the topic, Ken Ward Jr. of The Charleston Gazette reports. Chu said his agency's experts are "convinced carbon capture and storage "can be part of the solution to climate change, despite concerns about its costs, safety and the feasibility of ramping up from pilot projects to widespread deployment," Ward writes.

"I think we can do this, but it will take time," Chu said. Also speaking at the forum was Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who made perhaps his strongest comments yet in support of the science behind global warming. The senator "blasted industry leaders and members of West Virginia media who promote the notion that global warming isn't real," Ward writes. "I'm concerned that powerful voices in West Virginia continue to argue that climate change is a myth," Rockefeller said. "I'm not on the same bandwagon that some of you are."

"Burying one's head in the sand is not a solution, and can only backfire," Rockefeller added. Still, Rockefeller said he was opposed to any broad energy bill that would place a cap on carbon dioxide emissions, and he favors a narrower bill that would pump money into CCS research. Chu echoed previous Obama administration assertions that without a carbon cap there would be no incentive to invest in low-carbon technologies like CCS. "You need a long-term signal to investors," he said. (Read more)

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