“We have used coal to our economic advantage in the U.S., fueling our industrial growth from the first years after the War of Independence and in the past century helping to bring electricity to nearly every home and hamlet in our country. There is no denying that our use of the coal that eons of biological and geological processes bequeathed us has brought great benefits. As a society we have decided to tackle many of the health and environmental problems caused by coal’s use and we are doing a good job addressing a number of these problems. Indeed, the U.S. leads the world in addressing many of the problems caused by coal’s use.”
Wise words indeed. Who could be the author of such sagacity? Sen. Inhofe? The president of the National Mining Association? Not quite.
Those words came from one David Hawkins, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Climate Center, and were delivered before the House Energy and Commerce Committee this week. Should we take Hawkins’s paean to coal seriously? Does Hawkins himself really believe it?
It’s hard to tell. On the same day he delivered his testimony, the NRDC launched an ad campaign, defended the following day by Hawkins, comparing pollution from “dirty power plants” – read: coal-fired power plants – to weapons of mass destruction. Those dastardly power companies, which use coal to “deliver electricity to nearly every home and hamlet in the country,” are causing, according to the ad’s sinister voiceover, “death and disease and global warming.” And further: “We have the technology to stop it, but the polluting power companies won’t.”
So, to get this straight: the U.S. leads the world in addressing many of the problems caused by coal, but power companies won’t address those problems; coal is good, but it’s a weapon of mass destruction.
Makes eminent sense.