Wednesday, February 19, 2003

A way to talk around the problem

The Australian government is looking into ways to store carbon dioxide underground in an effort to reduce greenhouse gasses. Like the U.S., Australia has refused to sign the Kyoto treaty and now, as in the U.S., the Aussies are trying to put on the appearance that they are concerned about greenhouse gases.

Last month, President Bush proposed an ambitous program to bring hydrogen power to commercial viability and, ostensibly, replacing dirty relation, hydrocarbon power. It's a noble goal, but it sets a vision that tends to ignore what can be done in the here and now with other energy sources. The U.S. government has increased a tax deduction for the purchase of very large, expensive, fuel-inefficient SUVs, while similar proposals for hybrid and alternative vehicles languish in Congress. Rather than act in the here and now to reduce carbon emissions, we put it off until tomorrow.

It's the same with the Austrialian project. In this case, the proposal is to store it in obsolete mining facilities. What then? It just sits there until, what? What happens if it seeps out anyway, despite everyone's best analysis? Again, it's just leaving serious treatment of the real issue until some other day.


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