I'm happy to see Obama become president today. I was happy that he didn't do what many political pundits said that he would, that is he didn't use his inaugural speech to lower expectations, because if he had I think it would have been all over for his presidency and this country.
I don't agree with everything he has to say; particularly I don't believe clean coal exists. But I am very happy to see someone who isn't going to lead by fear.
The clean coal thing; there was a time not long ago when I thought it was necessary because I didn't think we could scale other energy sources fast enough, but after seeing the rapid deployment of wind power, continuing reduction in the cost of solar; continuing advancement in the field of hydrogen fusion, gaining a better understanding of geothermal, and seeing so many other new technologies come online, I am no longer convinced this is so.
And I have some admittedly strange beliefs about the world and the nature of reality; I believe the distinction between living matter and dead stuff is illusionary. I believe that there is a fundamental sentience in everything, that God and his creations are not separate but that in fact we are all essentially "God-thought", and that the Earth is a living being, in as much as we are made up of individual cells of various types, so I believe the Earth is such an aggregate life form. And that when we blow up, gather the shattered mineral and burn it; we're burning Earth's flesh and making her choke in the smoke.
Beyond that strange philosophical bent; there is simply only so much coal and as we use it, it's of decreasing quality; the amount of "waste", everything from mine trailings to ash to combustion products, or if we go with some "clean" technology where we separate the carbon from the rest chemically first; we've still got that waste product; the mercury, the radium, the other nasty chemicals present in coal, we've still got to find a way to get rid of those.
Lastly it's not sustainable; if we simply make a shift from oil to coal; eventually we, or our children, or our children's children, will be stuck with the same problem except then, after we've burnt the oil, and the coal, what's left to burn?
So I think it's time that we say ok, fire was a good invention for man a million years ago, but it's time to move on to clean sustainable and scalable energy forms to take the next step into a future that fire won't power.