Refuse Allegiance to Coal by Chris Hedges

by Chris Hedges
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
Nov. 23, 2009

There are some 614 coal-fired power plants in the United States, and it is up to us to shut them down. No one in the White House will do it. No one in Congress will do it. And no one at the coming U.N. climate change conference in Copenhagen will do it. We will build local movements to carry out acts of nonviolent civil disobedience to halt the burning of coal, or the polar ice caps will continue to dissolve, the Greenland ice sheet will disappear, the glaciers in the Alps, the Himalayas and Tibet will melt, and widespread droughts, rising sea levels and temperatures, acute food shortages, disease and gigantic mass migrations will envelop the globe. We are killing the ecosystem on which human life depends. One of the major polluters is coal, which supplies about half of the country’s electricity. NASA’s James Hansen has demonstrated that our only hope of getting our atmosphere back to a safe level—below 350 parts per million CO2—lies in stopping the use of coal to generate electricity. We are currently at 390 parts per million carbon dioxide.

“The world political system is not about to keel over and give us a treaty that will get us to 350 parts per million anytime soon, or in fact do anything of great note,” the writer and environmental activist Bill McKibben told me when I met him in New York City. The author of “The End of Nature” and “Deep Economy” said: “The news that the Obama administration had punted on the Copenhagen talks is discouraging. The good news, to the extent that there is any, is that we finally have the beginning of a real global movement about climate change.”


via Truthdig

Copyright © 2009 Truthdig

Chris Hedges spent two decades as a foreign reporter covering wars in Latin America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. He has written nine books, including Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (2009) and War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2003).

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9 responses to “Refuse Allegiance to Coal by Chris Hedges

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  7. Curbing the use of cola to generate electricity if definitely the quickest and surest way to reduce te carbon footprint. Switching to nuclear is counterproductive because when all the carbon is calculated in its production, there is o net saving. Alternative sources of electrical generation need to be explored as coal fired plants are being shut down.

    If non-violent change does ot work, violence can be expected!

  8. I am hoping that the failure of Copenhagen will lead to a much more aggressive movement to stop Global Warming.

  9. Copenhagen is looking more and more like a potentially disastrous catastrophe should the US and Chinese Administrations fail to commit to making significant changes. None of us want it to fail, but even the organisers are now beginning to thing of contingencies…

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