Coal Industry Claims They Help Developing World

Wednesday 29th July 2015

Despite growing scientific evidence, and general acceptance, that global warming/climate change is happening, there are still doubters.

But it is interesting that many of them have industrial and financial interests. They then come out with outrageous claims - like using coal would have prevented Ebola!

This has been highlighted this week at an event in Washington arranged by the New Republic and the Center for American Progress.

Suzanne Goldenberg reports in the Guardian that at the event, Rachel Kyte, the World Bank climate change envoy, brushed off the claims of the coal, oil and gas firms.

She stated: “In general globally we need to wean ourselves off coal. There is a huge social cost to coal and a huge social cost to fossil fuels … if you want to be able to breathe clean air.”

She underlined how the continuing use of coal is harming many of the world’s poorest countries, in local health impacts as well as climate change. This affects the developing world more than the developed nations.

Meanwhile the fossil fuel industries, coal, oil and gas, have been fighting climate change actions by stating that their fuels help combat ‘energy poverty’, which holds up the progress in developing companies.

Goldenberg refers to Peabody Energy, the world’s largest privately owned coal company, who claimed that coal would have prevented the spread of the Ebola virus.

But Kyte bites back to such claims: “Do I think coal is the solution to poverty? There are more than 1 billion people today who have no access to energy.

“If they all had access to coal-fired power tomorrow their respiratory illness rates would go up - we need to extend access to energy to the poor and we need to do it the cleanest way possible because the social costs of coal are uncounted and damaging, just as the global emissions count is damaging as well.”

Goldenberg states that Peabody launched a global public relations offensive around the notion of “energy poverty”, trying to rebrand the dirtiest of fossil fuels as a poverty cure.

So in deference to the old adage ‘An apple a day keep’s the doctor away,” maybe we can coin a new Peabody version ‘A lump of coal keep’s ebola away.”

Picture of Tavan Tolgoi 05 by Brücke-Osteuropa reproduced under CCL.

Categories: General, Reviews

Wednesday 29th July 2015

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