Energy | Ecotrope

What, you don't buy Obama's clean energy target?

Ecotrope | Jan. 26, 2011 5:08 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:41 p.m.

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It’s come to my attention that some people question whether this country will meet Obama’s new clean energy target – even with clean coal and natural gas included in the definition of “clean energy.” It seemed like an appropriate time to share this clip from The Daily Show on the eight presidential promises to get the U.S. off foreign oil.

But there’s another reason some people are questioning Obama’s target of 80 percent clean energy by 2035. Daphne Wysham at Huffington Post sums up the critics’ point of view, noting that the president has replaced “renewable energy” with “clean energy.” Put clean coal, nuclear and natural gas in the mix, and suddenly, we’re already halfway to our goal, according to Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

Obama has always left the energy door open to clean coal. That’s where the carbon dioxide is captured from coal plant smoke stacks and sequestered underground or elsewhere. Is it really clean? That’s debatable. Wysham says at least it’s expensive, and it will take funds away from renewable energy development:

“The truth is that “clean energy” in this instance is code for “clean coal” (an oxymoron if there ever was one), gas and nuclear power. And “clean coal” and nuclear power are so expensive that they’ll starve truly clean energy options in the cradle, and will saddle future generations with debt, radioactive waste, and climate chaos.”

Wysham also criticizes Obama’s goal to put a million electric cars on the road, noting that the electric cars will only be clean as long as our electricity sources are clean.

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