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Port: If only green progressives were more open to progress

Carbon capture technology is progress. Would it be nice if more progressives realized this?

coal plant.JPG
The Coal Creek Station plant near the Falkirk mine outside of Underwood, N.D., pictured in this file photo, is the largest power plant in North Dakota.
Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
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MINOT, N.D. — Our state, and our federal government, are investing heavily in reducing emissions.

You'd think that would be a development environmental activists could be happy about. They've been sermonizing on an impending climate change apocalypse for generations, and while we can justifiably argue that their conclusions are often exaggerated, and their motivations sometimes far from pure, the investments being made in carbon capture and storage by both the taxpayers and the private sector are a sign that we're taking our emissions and their impact on the climate seriously.

Sadly, they're still not satisfied, and it has much to do with certain myopic hostilities they've developed to industries like coal, oil, gas, and agriculture.

You don't have to take my word for it. Just listen to what they say.

State leaders came together recently at Bismarck State College to discuss the challenges facing North Dakota's energy industry. Carbon capture projects, which are right now being successfully deployed to reduce and eliminate emissions at ethanol plants and coal plants and oil/gas pads, were much discussed to the chagrin of the left-wing activists at the Dakota Resource Council.

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Paradoxically, given their ostensible opposition to carbon emissions, they're not happy about these developments.

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“We as an organization think it’s antithetical to combating climate change because essentially it keeps the same industries in place and because it could have the unintended consequence of increasing emissions,” Scott Skokos, executive director of the DRC, told a KFYR news reporter.

He said the quiet part out loud.

Skokos and his ilk are opposed to carbon capture projects because those projects have the potential to make industries they hate, like oil and coal and gas, viable in a future where they are expected to comply with modern understanding about the climate.

“We have the solutions in this room for climate change," Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford said at the BSC event , but they're not the solutions Skokos and other professional activists like him prefer.

They imagine a future where our homes all have solar panels, and our landscape is pimpled with wind turbines, and we don't use fossil fuels at all.

This is a fantasy. A fairy tale with an unhappy ending. One we need not even imagine because Europe is already living through it. Countries like Germany tried to bring into reality the sort of renewable energy ideal that green activists imagined, but they did it mostly by exporting their fossil fuel needs to Russia.

That has proved to be folly, given Vladimir Putin's bloody revanchism, and now Germany is back to developing its plentiful coal reserves .

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We needn't be hostile to things like wind and solar. They have a place in our energy economy. What we need to oppose, though, is the ideological myopia of people like Skokos, who would push us into dependence on unreliable energy sources even as we eschew solutions like carbon capture that would make traditional fossil fuel energy cleaner.

Carbon capture technology is progress. Would it be nice if more progressives realized this?

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at rport@forumcomm.com. Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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