Here’s a funny one for ya: The picture above is just one of several billboards that greeted me on my journey to my sister’s house in Pittsburgh last weekend. They all extolled the clean and green credentials of coal and some even noted that the dirtiest fuel around had received no bailout money (not true- $3.4 billion in the economic stimulus package was set aside for CCS).
But what I am wondering about here is what exactly do we mean by clean? I ask because as I drove into Pittsburgh, an area dependent on this “cleaner, greener” coal, I drove by another sign- an air quality alert board informing me that the air for that day in the city was unhealthy to breathe. That certainly doesn’t jive with my definition of clean but perhaps the coal industry is using a different metric.
Coal is dirty. There is no getting around it. The hype in recent years around “clean coal” amounts to little more than a greenwash campaign from an industry responsible for climate change, mercury poisoning, asthma and a number of other health and environmental effects.
This month, I am embarking on a trek to document the damage caused by this dirty energy source. I will be taking you along on my journey so that you can see for yourself how coal is harming people and the planet.
My trip will take me to Australia, China, Indonesia and Thailand. The cost of coal in these countries was revealed last year with the release of Greenpeace’s report, True Cost of Coal. My visits are intended as a follow up to that report as I will be visiting the very same areas to see how the struggle against coal continues.
So stay tuned! You’ll hear more from me in a minute.