WASHINGTON--In advance of tonight’s presidential debate on energy and the economy, Greenpeace released a new backgrounder comparing different energy sources. The release comes after Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin unveiled a new slogan at a rally in Ohio: "Drill, baby, drill and mine, baby, mine!" to promote more oil drilling and more coal mining.
"Conservation, wind, and
solar are where jobs are sprouting in America," said John
Passacantando, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA. "If Sarah
Palin really wants to help get America's economy going, she should
be screaming 'Blow, baby, blow' and 'shine, baby, shine.'"
Further information comparing
coal, oil and nuclear power with the green economy is below. The
full backgrounder is available at /usa/Global/usa/binaries/2008/10/debate-backgrounder.pdf
THE FACTS ON COAL
- Citizens of a growing number of other states are wise to coal's
dangers and are taking action. California, Kansas, Florida, and
Idaho have effectively outlawed the construction of new coal-fired
power plants; nationally, at least 59 proposed coal projects have
been cancelled due to public opposition, failure to meet permitting
requirements, or lack of funding.. Source: http://e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2014
The Myth of
- "Clean coal" technology has, until recently, referred to the
scrubbers used to sweep nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, and other
regulated pollutants from coal-fired power plants. But today the
coal industry, and now the presidential campaigns, use the term as
shorthand for carbon capture and sequestration (or CCS), a
largely-theoretical technology that would separate carbon dioxide
from smokestacks and bury it in the ground to limit its global
- The first attempt to demonstrate the feasibility of CCS was a
project in Illinois called FutureGen. But the government was forced
to abandon the trial in January after years of technical failures
and budget overruns. Nationwide, approximately $5.2 billion in
taxpayer and ratepayer money has been invested in the technology,
however a recent government report found that of 13 projects
examined, eight had serious delays or financial problems, six were
years behind schedule, and two were bankrupt. (http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d081080.pdf)
More information: "False Hope,"
May, 2008 Greenpeace Report on Problems with CCS:
Mountains and Forests and Pollutes America's Water Supply
Greenpeace has released a new
video about America's addiction to oil, available at http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/campaigns/global-warming-and-energy/break-the-addiction.
causes oil spilling
- Hurricane Ike resulted in at
least three missing oil rigs. One missing rig was owned by Rowan
Cos., resulting in a $60 million claim. The rig has never been
- Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused 124 offshore spills for a
total of 743,700 gallons. 554,400 gallons were crude oil and
condensate from platforms, rigs and pipelines, and 189,000 gallons
were refined products from platforms and rigs.
- As global warming worsens, supercharged storms like Katrina and
Rita will continue to pummel coastal areas and oil infrastructure,
meaning more oil spills are inevitable.
won't lower gas prices
- The United States burns 24
percent of the world's oil, yet it only has 3 percent of the
world's oil reserves. Even if the country drilled every drop of oil
the U.S. has on shore or off its coasts, it will never be able to
drill its way to lower oil prices or energy security. The country
simply burns more than it could ever drill.
- Offshore oil drilling is not a short-term fix. It will take at
least a decade to bring new leases into production. It will be
years before exploration will begin and years after that before
production will start. If any effect were to be felt on gas prices
(most likely only a few pennies per gallon), that effect is decades
- Offering up more of the coastline for drilling won't lower gas
prices. There is no correlation between increased drilling and
lower gas prices. The number of drilling permits increased by 361
percent from 1999 to 2007, yet prices continue to spike.
- Oil prices are set on the global oil market, which means that
all oil produced around the world is all sold at the same price.
There is no guarantee that the country would even be using the oil
that was drilled in the U.S.--it would pay the same rate as the
rest of the world.
remain highly vulnerable to terrorist attack.
requires massive taxpayer subsidies.
- Last July, six major U.S.
banking institutions including Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Lehman
Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch & Morgan Stanley sent a
letter to the Department of Energy (DOE). In it, the bankers told
DOE that unless the U.S. taxpayer backed 100 percent of the debt
incurred by nuclear corporations that they would have difficulty
"accessing capital markets. "We believe these risks, combined with
the higher capital costs and longer construction schedules of
nuclear plants as compared to other generation facilities, will
make lenders unwilling at present to extend long-term credit to
such projects in a form that would be commercially viable," their
letter said. http://www.lgprogram.energy.gov/nopr-comments/comment29.pdf
Model? France's Nuclear Industry Has Been Plagued by Delays, Cost
Overruns, and Leaks
- While politicians point to
France as an model for new nuclear plants in the United States,
France's new Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR) has had tremendous
cost overruns and is now estimated to cost $6.5 billion dollars per
- One French-designed plant in
Finland has experienced "flawed welds for the reactor's steel
liner, unusable water-coolant pipes and suspect concrete in the
foundation already have pushed back the delivery date of the
Olkiluoto 3 unit by at least two years." (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aFh1ySJ.lYQc&refer=home)
energy economy is creating jobs and prosperity
- Colorado's recent investment
in wind power technology demonstrates the viability of large-scale
clean energy solutions. Two years ago, when Colorado voters were
considering a measure to require 10 percent of their electricity to
come from clean sources, Xcel Energy, the state's biggest electric
utility fought the initiative tooth and nail. However, after the
ballot initiative passed, Xcel installed thousands of megawatts of
clean energy, met the requirement eight years ahead of schedule,
and quickly agreed to double its goal to 20 percent. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/17/AR2008081702193.html)
- The same program could easily be duplicated across the country.
Enough wind power blows through the Midwest corridor every day to
also meet 100 percent of US electricity demand. Similarly,
geothermal energy is capable of providing tremendous electricity
supplies for America.
- Scientists have shown that enough solar energy hits the earth
every 40 minutes to meet 100 percent of the entire world's energy
needs for a year. A report released by the energy consulting firm
Clean Edge in June showed that solar energy could meet 10 percent
of the of the country's electricity needs by 2025.
Can Provide the Equivalent of $1 / gallon gas
State-by-state analysis of green
"Renewable Power's Growth in
Colorado Presages National Debate":
New data on how investing in
green economy solutions like wind and solar would create about
twice the jobs as the Wall Street bailout: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20081013/hurowitz
More details on taxpayer
giveaways to energy companies in the bailout bill: http://climateprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/enviro-tax-letter.pdf
For further information, contact
Mike Crocker, Greenpeace USA, 202-215-8989
Other contacts: CONTACT: Mike Crocker, Greenpeace USA, 202-215-8989