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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Joe Biden Directly Contradicts Barack Obama: 'We’re Not Supporting Clean Coal'

Joe Biden was in Ohio recently and the video above shows his answer to an anti-pollution campaigner about clean coal to where, among other comments, Biden said, "We’re not supporting clean coal." This directly contradicts Barack Obama's stated position.

The Politico reports the coal comments from Biden, who is the vice presidential running mate to Barack Obama for the Democratic ticket, which included statements about China polluting our air with their coal plants, he states, "No coal plants here in America," he goes on to say "Build them, if they're going to build them, over there. Make them clean," and "We’re not supporting clean coal."

Starting with Barack Obama's website, on his New Energy page, under the header of "Create Millions Of New Green Jobs," the fourth highlighted entry directly references clean coal where it says:

• Develop and Deploy Clean Coal Technology.

On September 20, 2008, the LA Times published science questions and answers from both John McCain and Barack Obama which, in part, dealt with the issue of energy and clean coal was once again spoken about by Obama.

The question was "What is your position on the following measures that have been proposed to address global climate change -- a cap-and-trade system, a carbon tax, increased fuel-economy standards, or research?

Barack Obama's answer:

Specifically, I will implement a market-based cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions by the amount scientists say is necessary: 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. I will start reducing emissions immediately by establishing strong annual reduction targets with an intermediate goal of reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

. . . I will also create a Technology Transfer Program dedicated to exporting climate-friendly technologies, including green buildings, clean coal and advanced automobiles, to developing countries to help them combat climate change.

On May 13, 2008, ABC News reported that both Clinton and Obama were wooing voters in West Virginia and Kentucky and both spoke about clean coal.

Not to be outdone, Senator Obama's campaign has distributed flyers in Kentucky stating that "Barack Obama believes in clean Kentucky coal." The flyers show a picture of giant barges carrying coal down the Ohio River.

Obama is on record, in many places as being for clean coal technology.

Joe Biden, hasn't been a proponent of clean coal in the United States, as the video above shows as well as an interview he participated in back in 2007, with Grist, where he was asked "What role does "clean coal" play in your vision for energy independence and climate security?

Biden's answer:

I don't think there's much of a role for clean coal in energy independence, but I do think there's a significant role for clean coal in the bigger picture of climate change. Clean-coal technology is not the route to go in the United States, because we have other, cleaner alternatives. But I would invest a considerable amount of money in research and development of clean-coal and carbon-sequestration technologies for export. China is building one new coal-fired plant per week. That's not going to change unless there's a fundamental change in technology, because they have about 300 years of dirty coal, and they're going to use it

Clean coal is a technology that would either turn coal to gas before burning, or else bury the carbon emissions deep underground after burning.

Biden's opposition to clean coal is not new and there is no rule in politics stating a vice presidential candidate must agree with the presidential candidate for their party on every issue that faces them.

With that said, stating publicly "We’re not supporting clean coal," as Joe Biden did, implies he is speaking for the campaign stance and not just his personal stance, which puts him at odds and in direct contradiction of Barack Obama stated stance.