Is Quitting Coal Harder Than Quitting Cigarettes?


When President Bush said that we're addicted to oil should he have included coal as a vice on par with the "black gold?" Yep. After all, we do get roughly half our electricity from coal. But does the coal industry have their own Joe Camel to help us get even more hooked? Not yet, but they do have the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), an organization as good at spin as Philip Morris--and as well-financed. Last week, Greenpeace launched the "Quit Coal, Save the Climate" campaign to draw attention to the dangers of burning coal and to the PR machine trying to keep us from stopping our dependence on it.ACCCE spent $2 million on coal promotion at the political conventions. That's a big chunk of change to spend on promoting a product that is the most polluting of all fossil fuels and the largest single source of CO2 in the world. Add ACCCE's expenditure on top of the $35 million spent to defeat climate legislation by another pro-coal group called Americans for Balanced Energy Choices and you can see that they're serious.

These groups use a variety of means to spread their viewpoint, including TV ads, billboards, and they even have people on the ground to promote increased coal use. Unfortunately for ACCCE, they seemed to have missed on the idea of hiring folks who know much about coal. Here are the clean coal girls at the RNC last week:

I'm sure ACCCE is searching for their own Marlboro Man and that he's out there somewhere. In the meantime, the clean coal girls will have to do.

The Quit Coal Tour
To call attention to weaning us off our coal "problem," the Greenpeace flagship, the Rainbow Warrior, will sail across the Mediterranean and Europe from September to December. The expedition focuses on the urgent need for the world to "quit coal" in order to fight climate change. Thus far, Greenpeace has worked on getting Negros province in the Philippines declared a model of 100 percent renewable energy development, closed down the world's biggest coal port in Australia, and was part of the coalition that not only stopped a new coal fired plant in New Zealand but kicked coal generation out of the country entirely. Not too shabby. This week the Rainbow Warrior was in Israel promoting clean energy and spreading the word about getting off coal for good.

The world doesn't need more coal, it needs an Energy Revolution. The world has enough technically accessible renewable energy to meet current energy demands six times over. How? With renewable technologies, such as wind, solar, sustainable bioenergy, hydroelectric and more. Check out the Greenpeace Energy Blue Print for more info on how it can be done.

Here's a video on the Greenpeace coal tour.

Coming soon... from Greenpeace on Vimeo.

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