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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Dangerous Distractions

The wrong answers for global warming

Cracked Earth

Big Coal = Big Problems

We’ll never stop global warming if we continue burning coal for energy. Coal-fired power plants are the largest emitter of global warming pollution in our country, responsible for almost 40% of the global warming pollution in the atmosphere. And despite what the industry says, coal will never be clean.

Coal doesn’t only cause global warming. Pollution from coal-fired power plants has made its way into our homes and our neighbors’ homes. In fact, 5 million American children suffer from asthma. And women of childbearing age are told not to eat most fish because coal plants have contaminated them with mercury. We deserve better.

Unfortunately, over 100 new coal-fired power plants have been proposed in the US. And even with expensive, unproven, and risky new technologies that capture the global warming pollution from coal, it is still the number one threat to the climate and a major threat to public health. That’s why Greenpeace opposes the construction of new coal-fired power plants.

Check out Greenpeace USA's Greenwashing website to get the whole scoop on the coal industry's attempts to clean up public pereption of this dirty energy source, and take action to tell Congress to keep carbon capture and storage out of energy legislation.

Dirty, Dangerous Nuclear Power

When Greenpeace began our work defending the planet nearly four decades ago, the problem we focused on was nuclear weapons. Now, the nuclear industry is trying to sell itself as the solution to global warming. It’s not. Nuclear power is too expensive. It cannot deliver in time. And it’s an incredibly risky and dangerous distraction from the real solutions to global warming—clean, alternative energy like wind and solar.

To make a dent in our global warming pollution, we would have to build a new nuclear power plant every two weeks until 2030, each costing billions of taxpayer dollars, and each a potential terrorist target. Other accident at a nuclear plant like Three Mile Island could devastate communities large and small. The radioactive waste that comes out of these power plants will last for thousands of generations. There is a better way.

Every dollar spent on energy efficiency and alternative energy like wind and solar goes 7-10 times further than nuclear in reducing our global warming pollution, and brings jobs to our communities instead of radioactive waste.

Ethanol is not the answer

Unlike energy from some plant sources, like agricultural waste and switchgrass, the current method of making ethanol from corn is not an effective solution to global warming. Because of all the fossil fuels required to produce it, corn-based ethanol won’t help us reduce our global warming pollution. Experts agree that corn-based ethanol will never supply more than 10 percent of current U.S. fuel demand, which means that it can't solve our problems at the gas pump. And using our crops for fuel means we can't use them for food. Amazingly, the grain required to fill a 25-gallon gas tank with ethanol could feed one person for an entire year. The increased demand for corn will be reflected at the local supermarket, ultimately taking money out of the pockets of American families.

The Solutions Exist

America can meet its energy needs without relying on coal, nuclear power, or corn-based ethanol. By mid-century, energy from wind, solar, and other clean, alternative sources will be able to provide energy for half of our country.And because of American ingenuity those energy sources are growing by leaps and bounds—in 2007 alone, the wind industry grew by 45 percent!Congress can help make dirty, dangerous sources of energy like coal and nuclear a thing of the past. Working together, we can stop global warming.

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