The Immorality of Coal

The coal industry seems determined to fight for profits at the expense of the global environment, perversely attempting to capture the moral high ground by claiming that coal is essential to ending energy poverty. In fact, at this point in history, coal is not good for anyone.

SYDNEY – Momentum seems to be building for a global deal at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris this December. With this sense of optimism comes a keen awareness that the use of fossil fuels must be phased out globally as rapidly as possible. Indeed, the idea that greenhouse-gas emissions should be reduced to zero by 2050 is gaining wider acceptance.

Early movers are already shaking things up. Universities, pension funds, churches, banks, and even the heirs to the Rockefeller oil fortune are pulling their money out of fossil-fuel assets or are considering the possibility of divestment – an option made increasingly attractive by the swiftly falling cost of renewable energy.

In the face of this progress, though, one sector stands apart. The coal industry seems determined to fight for profits at the expense of the global environment. Perversely, it is furiously attempting to capture the moral high ground by claiming that coal is essential to ending energy poverty.

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