A Greener Indiana

Everybody can do something to make a greener Indiana

Is there any more reason to wonder why Indiana is beyond the rest of the country in environmental regulations and going green??


Indiana Economic Digest | Indianapolis, IN

Most Recent



home : most recent : government-state June 26, 2010



6/25/2010 5:07:00 AM
Fired up: Indiana energy adviser argues the merits of coal in an anti-carbon climate

Maureen Hayden, New Albany Tribune CNHI Statehouse Bureau Chief

SOUTHERN INDIANA — It doesn’t take much for Indiana energy adviser Marty Irwin to spark a heated debate with advocates of climate-change legislation. All he has to do is say that coal is not a four-letter word.

At a time when the burning of fossil fuels is under attack as a major cause of global warming, Irwin argues the unpopular position that burning more coal may be good for the economy and the environment.

“People throw things at me when I say things like that,’’ said Irwin.

As the director of the state’s Center for Coal Technology Research, located at Purdue University, its Irwin’s job to advise state officials on how to allocate funds for coal research projects in Indiana. Among them are efforts to develop a commercially viable way to capture carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants and sequester them underground. Another is the development of a pipeline to carry carbon emissions to Texas, where it would be injected in liquid form into oil fields.

As center director, he’s also responsible for advising the Indiana Office of Energy Development on how to best use Indiana’s primary source of energy, which is coal, to accelerate the state’s economy.

Last year, the center issued the “Indiana Coal Report 2009” explaining the state’s strong dependence on low-cost coal for its industrial and commercial growth. It’s dense with technical analysis and economic forecasts, but its theme can be captured in simpler language employed by Irwin: “Indiana has 1,500 years of coal reserves. Why would we want to spend money on developing alternative sources of energy?”

Irwin raises the ire of some when he talks like that. The Hoosier Environmental Council, for example, is sharply critical of the fact that 94 percent of the electricity used in Indiana is generated by coal. On its website, the HEC cites federal reports that show that Indiana ranks high in the nation for greenhouse gas emissions per capita. The HEC argues: “Our state’s reliance on coal-fired power has created a literally toxic atmosphere.”

Irwin would disagree with that, just as he does with those who say manmade carbon emissions are responsible for global warming. “It’s a myth that people believe,” Irwin said.

Irwin is willing to back up his provocative statements with detailed scientific explanations, delivered patiently. In doing so, he cites as a hero Christopher Monckton, a policy adviser with the Science and Public Policy Institute, a British group devoted to debunking the notion of a climate crisis.

But Irwin’s real role may be to compel debate on difficult issues. The former college professor believes democracy depends on it.

“I’m the guy in the back of the room with his hand up, asking ‘What the hell are you talking about?’” Irwin said. “All I’m trying to do is to get people to think: ‘Maybe there’s more to this.’”

Irwin argues that energy and climates issues are complex, with a multitude of political, technical, and economic issues that have yet to be resolved. Among them is the impact on Indiana’s economy if the consumption of coal is curbed dramatically. His statements may go against the conventional wisdom on climate change, but he’s willing to keep the argument going. Said Irwin: “If everybody was saying what I was saying, nobody would listen to me.”

Related Stories:
Lugar's climate bill taps into his Hoosier roots

© 2010 Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.






Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR


Software © 1998-2010 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved


Views: 3

Comment

You need to be a member of A Greener Indiana to add comments!

Join A Greener Indiana

Feed from Indiana Living Green Magazine

All sewn up

Hi Renee,

Do you know a place that re-uses fabric from sewing projects?  Some may be several yards, usable for making an outfit, others are scraps from projects.  This would be most helpful for my closet cleaning!

Thanks.

Deb

Hi Deb,

Stashed in your closet is an “unseamly” place for [...]

Recycle this!

Dear Renee - 

What is the best way to get involved and have an impact on what the city of Indianapolis decides regarding recycling?

I find it ironic to see all of the new billboards around town noting the problem when the solutions haven’t seemed to follow.

Thanks!

You may [...]

Have a seat

I have several expired car seats that can no longer be used. These things are huge and I feel bad dumping them in the garbage, but I can’t find any information about recycling them. Any ideas? Thanks!

Kristin

Kristin,

Car seat fun fact: There are approximately 12 million car seats [...]

Reface Don't Replace

Refacing is greener than replacing - ecocountertopsusa.com

Reface! Don't Replace!
CLICK FOR MORE INFO

© 2014   Created by Eric Stallsmith.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service