Wednesday, 20 July 2011

American Electric Power IS the canary in the coal mine..

Used to an industry, coal mining, in which canaries were exploited for their sensitivity to dangerous air, it might be a little ironic to suggest that American Electric Power has become the canary in the most gaseous, noxious, and foul environment of all: climate debate.

Last week AEP announced it will abandon plans to capture carbon dioxide emitted from its relatively new (31 year-old) Mountaineer coal-fired power plant in West Virginia. Having already sunk $100 million private dollars into the CCS project, and expecting $334m more federal dollars, it was a surprise, and yet it wasn't a surprise that AEP backed off. The reason is that it gave up on a childish Congress coming up with any climate plan to price carbon, which CCS needs desperately to be economical.

AEP CEO Michael Morris, originally a lawyer, is one of the most forward-thinking power chiefs in the world. To turn around the biggest carbon dioxide-emitting firm in the world and make it approach the next century as if it will be a carbon-limited one, is like turning an aircraft carrier around on a dime. For the head of the company that could absorb the largest cost of all from carbon pricing to call for carbon pricing, is not just forward-thinking, it is, incredibly, the right thing. A puerile Congress could use someone like Morris.

1 comment:

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