Coal capers

When I heard about the mass protest against the continued use of coal being organized for Monday at the Capitol Power Plant, I was expecting there would have been a huge turnout, especially given the support of Dr. James Hansen – one of the world’s leading authorities on climate change.

Thousands did show up, but it wasn’t quite the congregation I thought it would be. However, I keep forgetting how darned miserable the weather is over there at the moment.

Anyhow, it still turned out to be the largest mass protest and exercise in civil disobedience in relation to climate change seen so far.

According to the CapitolClimateAction site, the 2500 activists, many willing to risk arrest, successfully blockaded all five entrances to the Capitol Power Plant for more than four hours.

They received plenty of coverage too, which was excellent.

What was very amusing was the pro-coal lobby deciding they’d put together a demonstration in support of the fossil fuel on the same day.

The turnout to that, according to this item on TreeHugger – 4 people.  

The organization behind the “demonstration” was the Competitive Enterprise Institute – the same mob behind the “CO2: We Call It Life” campaign. I wish I could say that both campaigns were just satire, but sadly not.

Coal has taken a bit of a hiding over the last few months as increasing numbers of people begin to understand the impact that coal mining and coal fired power generation has on the environment. They are also waking up to the “clean coal” oxymoron.

Here in Australia, they prefer to call  that stuff “New Generation Coal“. The coal industry here spent a ton of cash promoting a site dedicated to the topic.. and still pretty much got hammered in my opinion. Coal’s battle to wind hearts and minds is failing terribly.

While it’s great the pro coal lobby has been pulling its head in a little on the public front after a series of ridiculous stunts, the lobbying is surely only increasing behind the scenes. A cornered, injured beast can be a very dangerous thing indeed, but let’s hope the industry finally gets the bullet that will put it out of its misery soon. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

There’s a better way forward – renewable energy – jobs do not have to be “lost”, just transferred. The economic crisis has provided us with the perfect window of opportunity to turn this beast around by pouring everything we can into the green sector.