Climate Change Legislation Makes Strange Bedfellows: Environmentalists for Nuclear and Coal

Yesterday, Senators Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman sent to President Obama a “framework” for Senate climate change legislation. The framework is short on details and does not contain many surprises. For example, it proposes “near term” – near team is undefined – reductions of 17% from 2005 levels and “long-term” – also undefined – reductions of 80%. 

The framework is nonetheless noteworthy, particularly for its inclusion of strong support for both the coal and nuclear industries. Senator Kerry was must have loved writing “Additional nuclear power is an essential component of our strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” And this: “We will commit significant resources to the rapid development and deployment of clean coal technology.”

It is clear from the public statements that the Senators have made what this language really means. The translation is fairly easy, but for those not in the know, here goes:

“Nuclear power is essential” means “We need some Republican votes.”

“We will commit substantial resources to … clean coal” means “We need some coal-state Democratic votes.

If this weren’t so important to the environment and our economy, I might enjoy watching this.

2 thoughts on “Climate Change Legislation Makes Strange Bedfellows: Environmentalists for Nuclear and Coal

  1. Clean coal is the key term. Here in Utah, the reddest of the red states, we’ve had some big news recently in the battle against coal-fired power plants! With unanimous decisions, the Utah Supreme Court ruled on two cases, brought separately by Utah Sierra Club and an independent activist, to overturn the Utah Division of Air Quality’s pollution permit for a planned 270-megawatt power plant in rural (and scenic) Sevier County, Utah. The court objected to a number of issues approved by the permit, especially that the plant would use decades-old ‘dirty’ technology rather than the latest state-of-the-art technology.
    Here’s a great story on this triumphant success in the fight against coal:

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