I just listened to Sarah Palin delivering her energy policy speech in Toledo, OH. Although she mentioned briefly alternative sources of energy, sun, wind, geothermal, in the same weak litany that McCain is accustomed to repeating, her real focus, not surprisingly, was on drilling here in the U.S. and on developing “clean coal” technologies. She asked the audience to take up the mission of developing the technologies to make mining and burning coal “clean” as a lofty and ambitious generational challenge, like the Space Race, or eradicating world poverty, or defeating communism.

“We can do it, America!” she says in essence, “we can make coal clean!”

I’m just not sure this is the generational challenge the world wants or needs

, not now, not ever….

Burning coal and hydrocarbons for nearly 200 years has gotten us into this mess. Continuing the dirty industrial revolution, only “cleaner,” is not going to lead to anything but more warming, more environmental degradation, more species extinctions, not to mention more jobs in one of the dirtiest, most hazardous industries there is, coal mining.

“We can do it, America! More blacklung for everybody! Leveling our beautiful mountains and destroying our lovely rivers is a sacrifice we can and should be willing to make!”

It’s nuts, just nuts.