Hey Poor Folk! Coal Is Here To Save The Day!


Phew! Just when I thought the income disparity in the U.S. was about to lay the knockout punch for the working class, we have a secret weapon.  It is black, filthy, carcinogenic and comes from the good ‘ol U.S. of A.  It’s COAL!

Lest you think this blog post was written during the industrial age, let me clarify.  No, coal is the wave of the future.  At press time, it is the year 2014.

A newly launched press campaign promoting the virtues of coal claims that access to (fossil) energy is the single greatest challenge to human and environmental well being (my words).  Well, let’s go ahead and look at that statement.  Actually, let’s not.  It’s not worth the virtual ink and virtual paper.  Peabody Energy Corp.: you embarrass yourself with your words.

Instead, let’s look at the myriad virtues of coal energy and it’s potential to bring peace, love and prosperity to the masses.

Peabody claims access to energy is a problem for 3.5 billion people in the world.  And that access to energy leads to health.  Let’s condense this message.  Coal = Health.  I can’t type that without smirking.

Peabody admits the campaign will be long term and sustained in an effort “aimed at changing the global conversation to focus on energy poverty.”  Well isn’t that clever.  Let’s make poverty the bad guy, not coal.  Here’s a thought about fighting poverty with coal (or series of thoughts):

  • Poor people can’t afford healthcare, made more urgent by the use of coal in one’s community.
  • The last time coal was used widely in poor communities, millions died because the proven and extensive adverse effects on health were unregulated.
  • Coal is not cheaper than natural gas (at least in the United States), wood heat, biomass or renewable energy (depending on the source)
  • Pushing coal on the poor is akin to pushing alcohol on them to help sooth their stresses.  The only purpose is to satisfy and further the aims of the corporation.

The campaign will advocate for lessening or removing pollution limits on coal powered generating plants.  I’ll vote for not undoing 80 years of policy progress so that a few “1 percenters” can join the .01 percent.

This is a pathetic attempt to take advantage of the billions that live in developing countries.  This is a underhanded effort to take advantage of those desperate for cheap fuel to survive.  If coal is the answer to global poverty, perhaps Peabody should give it away or sell it to the poor at cost?  No?  Well gosh, it seems this is about profit after all.  And here I thought Peabody was in line for the Nobel Prize.

Photo credit: Courtesy Priceofoil.org

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