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'60 Minutes' Blows it on Coal Segment

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By Tara Lohan, AlterNet

They missed the boat entirely. Coal isn't the answer to our

climate woes, it is the problem.


Last night the CBS news program "60 Minutes" did a segment about so-called clean coal. Unfortunately, they missed the boat ... big time.

Here's there intro:

The future of our climate might be summed up in one question: what do we do about coal? Coal generates nearly half the electricity in the United States and the world. But it's the dirtiest fuel of all when it comes to carbon dioxide, or CO2, the leading greenhouse gas.

The entire segment focused on whether it was possible to get carbon capture and sequestration technology (CCS) to trap CO2 gases from coal-burning power plants onto all of our coal plants in time to stave off our climate crisis. To begin with, the technology has serious problems and there is no way that it can be implemented in the time frame top scientists tell us we need to drastically reduce our CO2 emissions -- less than 10 years.

Despite all that, the basis of their segment was also flawed from the get go. Cleaning up coal is not the answer to the climate crisis. In fact, what we should be doing is getting rid of it altogether.

In the segment Jim Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy says, "We can't abandon coal. We have to find a way to keep it and use it in the future. And that means the ability to clean it up."

This is a flat out lie. Transitioning away from coal is the best thing we can do. And one of the main reasons why was never addressed by "60 Minutes." Coal can never be clean. Period. We can spend decades and decades as the Earth warms to try to figure out how to capture carbon emissions and find a way to safely dispose of them, but we can never make the process of extracting it from the ground a clean deal.

Just ask anyone in Appalachia who lives near a mountaintop removal mining site where homes are being destroying, mountains blow to bits, streamed buried, people sickened, and the whole ecosystem decimated. (You can read my recent piece about the top 5 myths about coal here for more information).

Too bad the folks at CBS didn't spend any time in the program talking about the energy alternatives that actually are clean. Joe Romm was interviewed in the segment and he wrote today on Climate Progress, too bad they "cut out all my quotes about the other strategies that can provide all the clean power we need if CCS doesn't prove practical and affordable [it is CCS or bust for the coal industry, but not for humanity]."

You can watch the CBS segment here.


                                               Look at the flowers

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