OWS Environmental Working Group Condemns “Clean Coal” Advertisement, Challenges ACCCE to Debate
NEW YORK - We at Occupy Wall Street Environmental Solidarity condemn The American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy's recent advertisement, “Clean Coal: Now's the Time”. Part of a $40 million dollar campaign promoting so called “clean coal”, the ad appropriates footage of an Occupy Wall Street demonstration, claiming, “It is time we move beyond rhetoric.” The ad implies that the coal industry offers solutions where as our grassroots movement for social and economic justice offers rhetoric.
If our objective as a society is to kill workers, pollute our atmosphere, give children asthma, and to feed the coffers of the dirty power industry than coal does in fact offer a solution. ACCCE's ad says it is time we move past rhetoric, we agree. Clean coal? Where is it? The term is nothing but rhetoric. Twenty percent of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions, which scientists have linked to global warming, stem from coal.
The disaster at Massey Energy's non-union Upper Big Branch Mine in April 2010 killed 29 workers. The coal industry has shown as little regard for the public's safety as they have for that of their own miners. One in 10 children in the US suffer asthma, in large part due to the 500 tons of airborne particulate matter emitted by coal yearly. Research from the Environmental Protection Agency indicates that pollution from coal-fired power plants has shortened the lives of tens of thousands of people in the US. A study by Abt Associates linked coal to 30,000 deaths a year. Alpha Natural Resources, which has acquired Massey, took in $7.1 billion last year without paying so much as a penny in taxes.
Occupy Wall Street offers a different vision for the world; one which respects the rights and aspirations of the 99% while building for a sustainable future. This means moving away from industries such as coal which are sub-prime mortgaging our future, towards renewable energy, and updating our nation's electrical and transport systems. Solar radiation alone could provide enough electricity to power the world 6,000 to 10,000 times over annually. The time is now.
Such a “green” project would create hundreds of thousands if not millions of jobs, revitalize our economy and mitigate against the perils of climate change. Funds for such a project can be derived from taxing the rich and ending subsidies to highly profitable, tax-loophole hopping corporations in the fields of nuclear, natural gas, oil and especially coal. But ultimately this effort requires a massive social shift in the balance of power in the US out of the hands of the 1% and into those of the 99%. In the spirit of moving beyond rhetoric, Occupy Wall Street Environmental Solidarity challenges ACCCE to a public debate.