Coal Must Embrace All-Out Battle with Eco-Bullies

Imagine you have been wrongfully arrested, charged with murdering a child. Although the evidence against you is sketchy, the police have no other suspects, and with the government anxious to appease those demanding justice, your case is rushed to trial. Your lawyer decides that with public sentiment strongly against you, the best course of action is to plead guilty and to throw yourself at the mercy of the court.

But then, police find eyewitnesses who place you miles from the scene of the crime when it occurred. Your lawyer even discovers that the victim’s body has yet to be found -- and there is now some question as to whether the child ever existed. With a sense of relief you head to court, confident this new information will lead to the case being dismissed.

But to your astonishment, your lawyer does not even bring up evidence of your innocence. Instead he pleads for leniency, which gives the court moral authority to punish you for a crime you never committed and perhaps never even happened.

This insane scenario is analogous to what is happening to one of America’s most important industries and the source of 40% of the nation’s electricity: coal. Accused of causing dangerous climate change due to its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, coal-fired electric power is in the crosshairs of a president anxious to be seen as taking action to stop global warming and extreme weather.

That global warming stopped 17 years ago, and extreme weather has not increased despite an 8% rise in CO2? This is never referenced by President Barack Obama or his Environmental Protection Agency.

That even the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is now backing away from several of its most important claims of human-caused climate Armageddon? Also ignored.

Coal-fired electricity must be replaced with “clean energy” to save the climate, they still say. This approach completely disregards what happened in Europe when that approach was tried: economies collapsed and people froze to death, driven into poverty by unmanageable energy bills.

You would think the coal industry would launch an all-out media blitz, taking full advantage of the current temperature plateau and the IPCC’s retreat on the science. They could also reference the thousands of peer-reviewed scientific papers cited by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, which clearly demonstrate that the science backing the EPA’s position is rapidly disintegrating.

A reasonable person would expect coal to proclaim their industry’s innocence of the climate crime of which they stand accused, using the overwhelming evidence that global warming fears are greatly exaggerated.

But, no, with only a few exceptions, coal leaders plead guilty to producing “climate-change emissions,” as Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) labeled CO2 at the massive coal rally in Washington, D.C., in October. Rather than contest the science propping up climate fears and the anti-coal movement, they throw themselves at the mercy of the court of public opinion, complaining that hundreds of thousands of coal sector workers will lose their jobs and that prices will skyrocket as the nation’s least expensive source of electricity is turned off.

The relaxed response from climate activists to these messages tells us that this approach has no chance of working.

Groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council clearly recognize that the arguments presented at politically correct coal rallies can’t hold a candle to “saving the planet” in the eyes of the press, not to mention in the eyes of the public and politicians outside of coal-dependent areas of the country.

In fact, the Obama administration has already accepted that employment in the coal sector will be ruined and that energy prices will soar, especially in states that currently enjoy low electricity costs due to extensive coal usage. Appearing to be on the side of Mother Earth trumps concerns about the welfare of people from regions of the country that generally oppose the president already.

The only way to save coal is to convince opinion leaders, and thus the public, that the administration’s excuse for killing it is misguided. There is no climate crisis happening. The science that supports climate fears is unreliable.

Most industry and political leaders who support coal understand this very well. So why do so few of them bring this up?

Apparently, they stay quiet because they would rather see the coal sector in America die than risk serious conflict with activists and their government and media allies. Many leaders in the coal sector are wealthy enough that the end of coal will not significantly hurt them personally. They can simply retire or quietly move to other sectors of the economy as coal mines close and miners are forced into unemployment and poverty.

Dedicated coal sector workers must demand that their leaders defend the sector vigorously, or pass on the responsibility to those who will.

They need to remind their spokespeople that you get the most flak when you are over the target. If climate activists are not mounting counter-demonstrations to rallies and other meetings in support of coal, then sector spokespeople are not doing their jobs properly.

A quote from Patrick Henry’s speech in 1775 at St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia, sums up the inevitability of intense conflict with climate activists if coal is to survive:

Gentlemen may cry, peace, peace but there is no peace.  … The war is inevitable and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.