The Ameren Corp. coal-fired power plant outside of Newton, Illinois, burns coal – a legacy the coal industry is trying to protect by pointing out the social benefits of fossil fuels. Photo: Jim Suhr / AP

By Ken Silverstein
27 January 2014

(Christian Science Monitor) – Instead of pushing into the future, the embattled US coal industry has reached into the past with a new public relations assault, emphasizing how its product powered the Industrial Revolution and can do the same for today’s emerging nations.

The pitch: The economic and social benefits flowing from fossil fuels over the past two centuries – a doubling of life expectancy and 11-fold rise in incomes – outweigh any potential environmental costs from climate change. It’s no contest, according to the industry’s calculation: $36/ton social costs vs. benefits worth 50 to 500 times that amount.

The problem: Those social and economic strides could be made using other, less carbon-heavy fuels. Criticism of the industry is coming not just from environmentalists, but also from those who want to see the industry succeed by aggressively finding new and cleaner ways to use coal. These range from retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D) of West Virginia to US utilities that are shuttering coal units and moving to other fuels. [more]

Unfazed by environmental challenges, coal industry mounts PR assault


  1. Anonymous said...

    Coal companies, and coal company executives, lawyers, business partners, including advertisers and all their ilk, are committing crimes against humanity and should be treated as such. Genocidal, or actually, biocidal criminals, ruining the planet for personal gain and profit.

    No reason to 'be polite' to these destroyers of the planet. You wouldn't suffer a murder to run free would you? Why do we suffer these scum to run roughshod over our planet and our future? Close them down, prosecute them for crimes against the biosphere and throw away the key.

    What they are doing, they are doing deliberately, maliciously, and with full knowledge of the impacts they are causing. This is not a benign crime, this is deliberate destruction. Go examine any mountain top removal - it's horrifying. Therefore, no mercy or clemency - shut them down by any means possible.

    The world CAN live without coal power plants, but it cannot live without a livable planet.  


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