Images via Climate Progress
How far can one take wishful thinking? We've long known that simply branding something 'clean coal' is far from making it so. Now, a new start-up coal company is attempting to pull off a double whammy--it's both calling itself a "green coal" company, and naming itself "LoraxAg" after Dr. Seuss' beloved environmental children's book. The move reeks of desperation--made worse by the fact that the company didn't bother to get permission to use the name. First of all, there's no such thing as clean coal. We all know that. But to drag the Lorax into it? That's just low. The Wonk Room reports:
In a shameless act of greenwashing, a coal-gasification startup has named itself without permission after Dr. Seuss's beloved Lorax. LoraxAg, LLC, is a western Massachusetts company that is seeking investors for its "Green Coal Technology" of a coal gasification and chemical production facility.Dr. Seuss would likely turn in his grave if he heard the account offered by the company's founder on the rationale of using his iconic character's namesake: "And, yes, the name is inspired by the Dr. Seuss story, Farina said. "The Lorax is the protector of the truffula trees," he said. "We think this is the greenest use of coal."" Of course, the Wonk Room is quick to point out that the "greenest use of coal" is keeping it in the ground -- not blowing the tops off of mountains to burn it."
Hear, hear. If the Lorax were to watch a single mountaintop removal mining operation in action, he'd probably weep. It's worth noting that the company's goal of finding "a less toxic use for high-sulfur coal" is actually a worthy pursuit, especially considering the volume of coal burned--and will continue to burn for some time--in our power plants. But I think it's safe to say it's not quite up to Lorax standards.
There's also an amusing bit of reportage worth repeating here. The Wonk Room called Seuss Enterprises to ask about the name, to which they said:
"We had never heard of it until we heard from you," Dr. Seuss Enterprises lawyer Karl Zobell told the Wonk Room in a phone interview. "We did not give permission for them to use the Lorax, which Dr. Seuss created. Typically we don't like people to use Dr. Seuss terms without permission."So it's not only a gross case of greenwashing, but a copyright violation. Let's see how long this Lorax lasts.