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Clean coal needs concrete goals

While the threat of a fuel-less future looms over humanity, “costs” are the question. The quandary lies with the choice between more money and environmental mores, but does one really have to choose?

Gov. Charlie Crist’s efforts seem to be shifting Florida’s red state status to that of a green one, sounding more like Green Party’s Ralph Nader than a Republican representative.

Which is a good thing for the environment – and now the economy, as well.

“There is gold in green,” according to Crist, an advocate of revolutionizing Florida’s energy system.

Crist does have a point.

Ray C. Anderson, president and CEO of Interface, Inc. revamped his entire company, for example. He pioneered efforts to make the carpet manufacturing industry green, a feat once thought impossible.

“Business does not exist for profit – it profits in order to exist,” said Anderson, sharing some of his green (and gold) business creed.

Now considered one of the world’s most environmentally friendly mega-corporations, Interface consumes 50 percent less water than it did at the company’s launch. Five of seven manufacturing plants use 100 percent renewable resources and Anderson himself implemented a plan to plant trees to offset environmental costs of production and transportation.

The kicker: Interface has saved nearly $300 million just by removing the expense of excessive waste. With profits up and costs down, no one can say that civic responsibility doesn’t pay.

But that’s one company. What about the state of Florida – or the nation?

A non-partisan research group called The Electric Power Research Institute estimates that “decarbonizing” the entire U.S. would require $1.8 trillion, and it’s “cheaper to act now,” according to an article in the St. Petersburg Times.

Going green clearly has its economic costs, but paying no mind to the state of the environment has its own set of adverse effects, such as planetary degradation and the much-hyped climate change (the facelift name of “global warming”).

Even though eco-consciousness is en vogue, it remains vague. But if Crist could congeal a more specific plan of action instead of just maintaining a rather ambiguous position of “greening Florida,” as shown in recent Times articles with his green preaching that lacks reasonable backing, maybe he could gain more support from hesitant economists.

His lack of a rigid “greenprint” is detrimental to the success of his proposed green movement, which faces opposition from those who don’t know how it will be executed or how profitable it can be.

If Crist wants to continue his Nader-esque plans, he must be clearer with his agenda and offer more concrete ideas to gain the support of anti-green hardliners who are concerned with the economy and don’t know how gold green can be.

Jaclyn DeVore is a junior majoring in mass communications.