Global carbon dioxide emissions are now exceeding even the most “extreme” predictions, and 2007 is already the hottest year ever recorded. Yet even as congressional leaders draft legislation to reduce greenhouse gases, “a powerful roster of Democrats and Republicans is pushing to subsidize coal as the king of alternative fuels.”
Prodded by “intense lobbying from the coal industry,” lawmakers from coal states are proposing that taxpayers spend billions of dollars to subsidize the coal industry’s production of liquid diesel fuel.
This is a dangerously backwards idea. Coal-to-liquid fuels “produce almost twice the volume of greenhouse gases as ordinary diesel,” and the production process of such fuels “creates almost a ton of carbon dioxide for every barrel of liquid fuel.” The New York Times offers this infographic:
Congressional supporters of coal-to-liquids argue that “coal-based fuels are more American than gasoline.” But the only responsible way to achieve American energy independence is to create policies that also reduce global warming, and that can be done with low-carbon, American-grown alternative fuels.
A profile in courage on this issue is Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), who this month killed a coal-to-liquids proposal despite coming from a coal state. As Gristmill’s Dave Roberts noted, Tester realizes “that blundering ahead with coal before addressing its emissions is tantamount to collective suicide, and he’s not willing to sign on with that for the sake of a big-money industry in his state.”
UPDATE: Climate Progress has much more.