At the Clinton Global Initiative, Al Gore ripped apart “clean coal,” the coal industry catch-all propaganda term for advanced coal technologies, both existing ones that reduce traditional pollutants and developmental ones, like carbon capture and sequestration. Gore was asked by Bill Clinton, “Do you believe that the current economic difficulties will make it harder or easier to pass good climate legislation?” Here’s Gore’s answer:
For the first time in all of human history, we, as a species, have to make a decision. If we make the right decision then the answer to the question you asked is, the economic crisis can provide an opportunity to make the right kind of changes.
What should we do? We should stop burning coal . . . without sequestering the CO2. The coal and oil companies have spent in the United States alone a half a billion dollars in the first eight months of this year promoting a lie that there is such a thing as “clean coal.” Clean coal’s like healthy cigarettes — it does not exist. It could theoretically exist. The only demonstration plant was canceled. How many, how many such plants are there? Zero. How many blueprints? Zero.
Gore continued with a discussion of how the United States and the rest of the world should build a new, smart electricity infrastructure based on wind, solar, and geothermal power “to take the energy from the places where the sun falls and the wind blows to the places where the people live” — including a link from places like Darfur to Europe:
We are now — what we should do is make a one-off investment to switch our energy infrastructure from one that depends on fuel that is dirty, dangerous, destroying the habitability of this planet, and rising in price, to a new global energy infrastructure that is based on fuel that is free forever: the sun, and the wind, and geothermal. There’s a myth that the technology is not available. It is available. Concentrating geothermal [Ed.: He means "solar"] power is competitive today. Wind is competitive, though intermittent, today. Geothermal is competitive today. Read more