Energy official says fossil fuels can be less polluting, more efficient

Jeffrey Jarrett is the assistant secretary for fossil energy in the Department of Energy. Previously he was in the Department of Interior, working in the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.

His commentary in San Jose Mercury-News stresses that fossil fuels will be with us for quite some time. He says the experts predict that fossil fuels will still make up 85 percent of the world's energy needs in 2030.

Jarrett then goes into a review of the Bush administration's efforts regarding clean coal and the "carbon sequestration" technology. His essay is very flattering of coal's future and works hard to justify the spending $2 billion over 10 years. He also praises the benefits of a few recent investments in coal projects.

I understand that Jarrett's comments will be one-sided, but I'm also curious. How fast is the new technology being required by law on all coal projects? In other words, the federal government and states like California forced the auto companies to implement emissions equipment regardless of their cost at a very rapid pace through the '80s and '90s. The result is that pollutants coming out of the tailpipe are a mere fraction of what cars of the '60s produced. If there is technology to achieve "virtually no polluting or greenhouse gas emission" in the coal industry, why aren't the plants required to have in place now? Jarrett mentions that the cost for current controls has been reduced but doesn't mention if the emissions have been reduced, as well. Anybody know?

[Source: San Jose Mercury-News]

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