Saturday, November 17, 2007

Consider the Source

I see that some haven't given up casting seeds of doubt on working for mitigation of climate change causes and consequences. Resource Development Council board member Paula Easley's "Sky is not Falling" editorial is a case in point. She grabs at discredited or irrelevant straws to argue that global warming isn't any fault of ours and, anyway, we will benefit from warmer weather, so get ready. One might think her "facts" sound reasonable unless you know her sources are industry sponsored and/or cherry-picked, and her snide comments about various respected folks that disagree with her. In the same 11/17/07 Newsminer was an article on how the IPCC, a pretty broad group of internationally renown scientists, just released their 4th report on climate change , even more convinced of the need to take action to both mitigate and adapt.

The Resource Development Council has a partisan agenda, representing the legacy extraction industries which look for the short term buck. Alaska, with all our resources, are a part of their world view. Ms. Easley lambastes those for grassroots lobbying for action to address climate change, but not the resource industries who have spent billions lobbying to have it their way. Exxon Valdez settlement delays, millions in feel-good TV, radio, print, and mail out ads? Legislator/congressional payoffs anyone? While some industries may be starting to see the light of preserving our environment for the future, apparently the RDC through Ms. Easley, has yet to get the word.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

MEA cancels coal plant idea

Reading the Nov. 10, 2007 ADN, MEA (Matanuska Electric Association) announced it is canceling efforts to build a large coal plant in Matsu. They do have issues with not having any of their own generation, but this idea seemed ill advised.

It was reported that MEA will stop pushing this coal plant idea due to poor economics. This seems like face saving. What should be apparent is that, forward looking, there will be less economic incentive to burning coal with CO2 emissions factored in. A wise decision, for whatever the stated rationale.

If those proponents for coal are so gung-ho, why haven't they worked to buy power from the AIDEA-GVEA-Usibelli experimental coal plant in Healy that cost the state and feds nearly $400 million? Of course, that's only a 50 mw plant.

Long term decisions need to be made with carbon footprint considerations. We're all on the same planet (some more than others) and share a common future with climate change mitigation and adaptation. Coal might be plentiful, but about the most destructive form of non-renewable energy in terms of CO2 and toxic emissions.

Seems like a natural gas bridging solution for just in-state use would allow us about 500 years of stability. What's the big push to export?

That being said, I hope someday MEA will get be able to be less political and confrontational in its approach to getting things done. They may feel besieged, but maybe there is a reason.