Question: How can someone so smart act so dumb?
Answer: Bought and paid for.
An oxymoron (plural oxymora (greek plural) or, more often, oxymorons) is a figure of speech that combines two normally contradictory terms. Oxymoron is a loanword from Greek oxy ("sharp" or "pointed") and moros ("dull"). Thus the word oxymoron is itself an oxymoron. Oxymorons are a proper subset of the expressions called contradictions in terms. What distinguishes oxymorons from other paradoxes and contradictions is that they are used intentionally, for rhetorical effect, and the contradiction is only apparent, as the combination of terms provides a novel expression of some concept, such as “cruel to be kind”, “team of mavericks”, or “simply complicated”.
Rhetorical effect is right. President Obama and Energy Secretary Chu have uttered the "clean coal" oxymoron so often they now believe it is actually possible. It is not. Here's why:
1) Simply mining the coal out of the earth degrades the environment.
2) Capturing and pumping into the Earth (coal "sequestration") tons of CO2 emissions from coal-fired combustion is neither economical nor practical.
3) Even if sequestration were possible, it ignores an inconvenient truth about burning coal: the toxic wastes. Burning coal produces the following pollutants: mercury, arsenic, copper, sulfur-dioxide, cadmium, barium, chromium, thallium, and lead, among others.
To read about one of the biggest environmental disasters ever to take place in the United States, which occurred in Kingston, TN on December22, 2008, check out this site:
Clean coal is a myth. For a sitting US Secretary of Energy (who holds a Noble Prize in Physics) to come out in support of "clean coal" is proof of his incompetence. To follow up this oxymoronic stance with his recent statements that he is "agnostic" about natural gas transportation is more evidence that Secretary Chu simply has not got the backbone to stand up to powerful and entrenched coal advocates. For these reasons, President Obama should immediately call for Secretary Chu's resignation. If he does not comply, Obama should fire him.
To support "clean coal" by ignoring the fact that natural gas has half the CO2 emissions of coal, and none of the toxic particulate by-products of coal-combustion, Chu is both technically and morally corrupt. We need an Energy Secretary that understands the most powerful weapons the US has on the war against foreign oil dependence and environmental degradation are:
1) abundant supplies of clean and cheap natural gas
2) a 2.2 million mile natural gas pipeline grid connecting every major metropolitan area and 63,000,000 homes where over 130,000,000 vehicles reside and which could be refueled with natural gas every night while their owners sleep soundly.
Secretary Chu needs to go!