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Laura Gottesdiener: The King Is Dead!
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On August 5th, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey banded together with 15 other state attorneys general to demand that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suspend the implementation of new rules devised by the Obama administration to slow the pace of climate change. The regulations, announced just two days earlier, sought to reduce power plant emissions of carbon dioxide — a major cause of global warming — by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030. Because the rules are likely to fall most heavily on coal-fired power plants, which emit more carbon than other forms of electricity generation, states that produce and burn coal (mostly led by Republicans) are adamantly opposed to them. Because West Virginia is especially dependent on coal production, it has been selected by Republican leaders and industry lobbyists to lead the charge against the new rules.

“These regulations, if allowed to proceed, will do serious harm to West Virginia and the U.S. economy,” Morrisey said. “That is why we are taking quick action to bring this process to a halt.”

Although pleading the case for West Virginia, which has suffered a sharp rise in unemployment due to the closing of many of its coal mines, Morrisey is clearly acting as the mouthpiece for a larger alliance of coal producers, power utilities, and Republican strategists who seek to sabotage any progress on climate change. As the New York Times revealed recently, this alliance (don’t call it a conspiracy!) originated at a meeting of some 30 corporate lawyers, coal lobbyists, and Republican strategists at the headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington last year.

“By the time Mr. Obama announced the regulations at the White House on [Aug. 3rd],” the Times reported, “the small group that had begun its work at the Chamber of Commerce had expanded into a vast network of lawyers and lobbyists ranging from state capitols to Capitol Hill, aided by Republican governors and congressional leaders. And their plan was to challenge Mr. Obama at every opportunity and take the fight against what, if enacted, would be one of his signature accomplishments to the Supreme Court.”

This process gained further momentum on August 13th, when Morrisey and 14 other state attorneys general petitioned a federal court in Washington to block action on the EPA rules, in the first of several expected legal challenges to the Obama administration measure.

As Laura Gottesdiener demonstrates so graphically in today’s post, many West Virginians are indeed suffering from the decline of the coal industry. But if they allow themselves to be used as pawns in a struggle by King Coal, corporate lobbyists, and Republican hard-liners to fight progress on climate change, they are doing themselves (and the rest of us) an enormous disservice. Nothing can save the coal industry in the face of market forces — especially the boom in natural gas extracted from shale deposits via fracking — and the relentless advance of climate change. If Morrisey and his cohorts had West Virginia’s true interests at heart, they would be petitioning for federal funds to turn the state into an innovation center for clean energy — the only sure path to economic growth in a climate-ravaged world. In the meantime, let TomDispatch regular Gottesdiener take you on a tour of what’s left of King Coal’s once mighty domain.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Science • Tags: Coal, Environment 
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  1. Eustace Tilley (not) [AKA "Schiller/Nietzsche"] says:

    In the face of the approaching apocalyptic catastrophe of ever-worsening global warming, libtard TomDispatch continues to hold out the feel-good hope of “…clean energy — the only sure path to economic growth in a climate-ravaged world.”

    Stop the legerdemain, Green Hucksters. A 32% reduction of CO2 emissions by power plants by the year 2030 in the US (What about China? Are we going to continue to support their industrial pollution by buying their junk?) is not nearly enough to slow runaway global warming. What about automobiles, Obongo? Are you going to stop moving Black Settlers out of the cities into the newly-bulldozed Greenlands using federal government money? Why don’t you ask Your People to drive their cars only on even-numbered days as a voluntary step towards the goal of saving the planet? They can demonstrate their moral superiority to Selfish Ecofucker Whitey thereby. See if they’ll comply out of loyalty to their High Chief.

    California — the Salad Bowl of America — is drying up, and you are continuing to hold out the mirage of “economic growth”? By 2030, Americans will be lucky to be able to feed themselves and their children. Check out NatureBatsLast and you will see that the “solutions” of politicians to the global warming challenge are pathetic; they are meant to appease ignorant Green Yuppies who think they are “helping the planet” by driving around in a Prius.

    The King is not dead. Modern Man want juice for his gadgets; the late great Planet Earth be damned.

  2. jtgw says:

    Well if we want these soon-to-be ex-coalminers to find new jobs, maybe we should at least not force them to compete with millions of poor desperate immigrants?

  3. ” The regulations, announced just two days earlier, sought to reduce power plant emissions of carbon dioxide — a major cause of global warming ”

    A major cause of something that’s not happening.

    • Replies: @Eustace Tilley (not)
  4. iffen says:

    Excellent writing!

  5. @Bill Jones

    Na ja, dass ist wirklich so? Then I’m not quite sure what to make of this from New Scientist:

    “Climate change is causing the North Pole’s location to drift, owing to subtle changes in Earth’s rotation that result from the melting of glaciers and ice sheets. The finding suggests that monitoring the positions of the pole could become a new tool for tracking global warming.

    Computer simulations had suggested that the melting of ice sheets and the consequent rise in sea level could affect the distribution of mass on the Earth’s surface. This would in turn cause the Earth’s axis to shift, an effect that has been confirmed by measurements of the positions of the poles.

    Now, Jianli Chen of the University of Texas at Austin and colleagues have shown that melting due to our greenhouse-gas emissions is making its own contribution to the shift.”

    Hypothesis: Big Oil has enough money to pay whore scientists and whore journalists in the MSM to push any narrative they choose. Just as the MSM can brainwash people into believing that diversity is strength and that blacks commit murders at an equal rate to whites or Asians, they can brainwash the lazy and ill-educated into believing global warming is a “myth” pushed by Evil Scientists like James Hansen and Michael Oppenheimer. (Chevron’s and Exxon’s motives in pointing out “the truth” are pure, of course.)

    And Bill Jones will swallow it all, hook, line, and rod.

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