Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New EPA CO2 Emissions

No industry succeeds for very long by sticking to old technologies and processes. Sure it's easier in the short term to use the old ways and to shun investment in new technologies, but in the long run, whether it's coal, cars, or computers, it is a sure-fire recipe for obsolescence. Although the new ruling puts a temporary halt to the construction of new coal-fired power plants, until the proper rules and carbon-sequestering technologies can be developed, it does not reduce the current demand for coal by a single lump. The executive director of the Wyoming Mining Association, Marion Loomis, put it this way in a statement to the Associated Press, published by MSN's, "We're not selling to plants that aren't constructed, so the utilities that are taking Wyoming coal are... plants that are operating." The coal industry has nothing to fear from this ruling, and everything to gain.

What the New EPA CO2 Emissions Ruling Means

In order for a new coal-fired power plant to win approval, several things will need to happen. The EPA will need to develop specific rules about the acceptable limits for CO2 emissions, technology for reducing CO2 emissions to those levels must be identified or developed, and the proposed new plants will need to incorporate that best available technology to reduce CO2 emissions. It is thought that such a plan would involve the capture and storage of CO2, perhaps sequestering it underground where it would not contribute to global warming. With the current cost of alternative forms of energy, there is a strong incentive for power generators to solve these problems and develop the technologies that will restore coal, specifically clean coal, as the clear favorite energy source, not only of America, but of the world. In any case, it is now highly unlikely that any new permits could be issued before the incoming Obama administration takes control of the White House and environmental policy.

EPA CO2 Ruling is a Victory for American Business
Instead of ignoring the CO2 problem and helping power generators to ignore the pent up latent demand for clean coal technologies, the new ruling gives American entrepreneurs, be they big or small, a swift kick in the right direction. Since this country was founded, American ingenuity has been the strength and engine of our economy. We have never moved ahead by stonewalling innovation. The EPA CO2 ruling gives America the opportunity and incentive to become the world leader in the development of clean coal and carbon sequestration technologies. These are going to be huge growth industries over the next decades. America can and should be developing these technologies not only for our own next generation coal-fired power plants, but for the rest of the world as well.

Clearing the Road to America's Future

Coal-fired power plants are dramatically cheaper than nuclear power plants. By making these coal-fired power plants clean and removing the objection of unrestrained CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, the road can be cleared for the next step in reducing our dependence upon foreign oil. With abundant coal-fired power, we would have a cost-effective and American fuel source for our next generation of electric cars that will also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Currently coal-fired power plants are responsible for about 30% of the greenhouse gas emissions produced in the United States each year according to a report in Time magazine.

Disney Obama?

After his win in the United States presidential election, President-elect Barack Obama may not only be headed to the White House, but to Disneyland as well.

Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) wants to bring an Obama robot to the return of the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln attraction at Disneyland, according to

If Tony Baxter, Senior Vice President of Creative Development at WDI, gets his way, a robotic Obama will move into the Main Street, U.S.A. Opera House of the Disney theme park in Anaheim, California. The robot, known as an Audio-Animatronic (AA), would join previous U.S. presidents, including Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.

"Piggybacking on the work now going on to eventually revamp Walt Disney World's (WDW) impressive Hall of Presidents animatronic attraction, WDI now wants to create a condensed version of that new show for Disneyland," Al Lutz of explained. "But instead of going through the entire parade of silent nodding rubber presidents like WDW does, George Washington would then cut to the chase and introduce the current president, which would be Barack Obama when the attraction opens prior to [Disneyland's] 55th anniversary."

"President-elect Obama's animatronic would say a few well-scripted words, and the show would end with the requisite stirring music and gushing patriotic pride."

News of an Obama AA coming to Disneyland has generated mixed reactions.

"I would hold off any Obama AA until history can provide a better idea of what kind of president he actually becomes," one reader said. "As with postage stamps and currency, let's stick presidents that have passed away."

Another reader disagreed. "Main Street isn't really about 1910 small town America as it is really about the positive feelings in America at that time combined with good feelings of no worries. Obama represents that hope."