Think the UN IPCC latest report is a game changer? Think again.

The message from the UN IPCC reports over the past several months is unmistakable:

It’s worse than we thought just 5 years ago.

It’s going to get worse.

It’s the fault of humans burning fossil fuels.

We have to break our addiction to fossil fuels.

There are viable options, including wind, solar, energy efficiency (maybe nuclear and natural gas)

Above all, we have to get rid of coal, the dirtiest of the fossil fuels

Who is going to argue with this?




Plenty of people/industries/governments who will try to muddy the waters, selecting one energy source that suits their needs while ignoring the overall response needed for climate change fixes. Here some likely or already articulated arguments.



 c.  Jeanne Silverthorne



Australia: Right. We have to get rid of the dirty emissions from coal and we’re right there with you. So here’s to carbon capture and storage (CCS) that will get rid of emissions while we move full steam ahead with exploiting our coal reserves. And we’re sure someone will come up with a workable CCS technology that we can afford. If not, oh well, we tried.

India: We understand the need to reduce the harmful health effects from burning coal, but don’t tell us to abandon coal as it’s our only hope to build our economy and society, like you all did, and get out of poverty.

UK: We’re right there with you to aggressively develop our natural gas resources through fracking. But let’s not push onshore wind since it offends our conservative brethren out there in the lovely English countryside, and their voters. Luckily we don’t have to worry about the industrial flaring stacks, groundwater pollution and other adverse impacts from fracking since they don’t seem to bother our constituents and we’ll control planning permissions to ensure fracking gets a free hand.

China: Coal emissions are killing our air, and people, and shale gas is creating lots of problems for our countryside, but what are we to do since we are so big?

Exxon Mobil: We appreciate all the fuss about leaving fossil fuels in the ground, or oceans, but really what government will dare limit extraction and consumption of cheap energy? We just don’t see that happening as cheap energy is essential and any steps to address climate change risks “need to be taken in context with other realities we [sic] face, including lifting much of the world’s population out of poverty.” ExxonMobil as defender of the poor!

Koch Brothers: Here’s some more money to deflect attention away from the source of our incredible wealth, our beloved fossil fuels.

Ireland: Thank God none of this has anything to do with more cows?



“Coal will be a main energy source for ‘decades and decades’,” says Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt, Guardian (14 April 2014).

Sunita Narain, “Coal politics in an unequal world,” Down To Earth (15 April 2014).

“Windfarms have the power to change communities and political allegiances,” Guardian (04 April 2014).

“Exxon Mobil says climate change unlikely to stop it selling fossil fuels,” Guardian (01 April 2014).

“Irish government seeks leeway on EU emissions targets,” Irish Times (15 April 2014).




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