Some guy who does a column for Seattle Times talked with a self-styled expert who's a perfesser at U-dub, and the expert's very, very concerned about man-made global warming. The perfesser, who drives an "environmentally-friendly" Prius, has some very concrete ideas about how to address the looming catastophe posed by man-made global warming:
Ward would start by not shipping coal to China.
“I was in Wyoming this past June,” he says. “I counted the cars of the first coal train we passed: 125 cars. Then, 20 minutes later, another, also 125 cars. Then another and on and on. Day and night, all going east, all with the lowest grade there is, Cretaceous-age, high-sulfur brown coal.”
Just one tiny little problem, there: the perfesser, as is so often the case, is wrong - the coal coming out of Wyoming is Powder River Basin (PRB) coal; widely recognized among other scientists as the cleanest, lowest-sulfur coal on the planet. Looks like somebody needs to do a little research, there, perfesser.
Now, as for the images included in this post: the top two are of the nickel mine in Ontario, Canada, from which Toyota derives most of the nickel for the nickel-metal hydride batteries that go into their hybrid vehicles. The tailings are, like the metal itself, toxic, and not a lot of life exists in the immediate vicinity. Toyota reportedly would like to expand the mining operations.
The lower photo shows a coal train, moving through the Seattle waterfront last month. You may recall that the greenies are all wee-weed up over proposals to send PRB coal trains down the Columbia River Gorge - and possibly even through cities like Portland and (gasp!) Eugene! The greenies are complaining that the coal dust will kill everything and everyone, even though, as seen in the photo, there isn't much (if any) such dust. Hard to believe that 50 and 60 years ago, many homes and other buildings harbored coal cellars.
The proposal that's furthest along at the moment would send PRB coal by rail to Boardman in Oregon - which has been done for years, as the PGE power plant located there is coal-fired. From there, it would be transferred to covered barges, floated down the river to St. Helens, then loaded onto ocean-going ships. The greenies, of course, are fighting even that plan. Coal dust!
They drive their Priuses to meetings to protest such proposals as environmentally damaging. They're an interesting bunch.