On COP21, “slave-traders” and press independence

Brussels, Sat 19/12/2015 17:18 (corrected Thu 28/01/2016 21:55 to clarify partnership between 350.org and Guardian)

Click to download EURACOAL report on how a more realistic EU climate policy can deliver considerable emission reductions at a lower cost, allow economic growth and provide security of energy supply.

After reading all 1,001 comments made by Guardian readers in response to “Coal lobby boss says industry ‘will be hated like slave-traders’ after COP21” (Arthur Neslen, UK Guardian, 15 December 2015), I have selected the best and republish them below. They offer a rich source of ideas and views on coal, both for and against: clever ones, insightful ones and funny ones. They will influence EURACOAL. The sweetest one sits at the very end, from OrganicPeaBrain. Vitriolic comments were thankfully few in number. I’m sure that many respectable people stand behind their shields of online anonymity, but they should remember that those shields are really only paper thin to the eyes of GCHQ.

We have published the EURACOAL members’ briefing that Arthur Neslen quotes, so that his juicy bits can be seen in their proper context. While we do question the future potential of renewables, EURACOAL has no view on climate science. However, it is fair to say that many in the coal industry are climate sceptics. Skilled miners, well-educated mining engineers and professional geologists have a unique perception; they work with materials that were laid down hundreds of millions of years ago and have a better appreciation than most people of the great planetary changes that have taken place over time. Convincing them is the test of climate scientists.

On climate action, I would go for economic options; as OscarAwesome states below, “The morality follows the economics.” So, we need cheap alternatives to coal. If we have to rely on public support for renewables, then there will be no “energy transition”, just lost jobs. It is easy to destroy things, very easy. Building stable societies is much harder. EURACOAL will continue to say what we think and I sincerely hope that others around the world will be free to do the same.

To that end, an independent media with keen investigative journalists is hugely important in any democratic society. So, it was good to see the Guardian publish the story that needed to be published on how the UN pushed through the Paris Agreement in a way that lacked democratic legitimacy: John Vidal’s article explains this far better than I did in my members’ briefing.

Like all newspapers, the Guardian has had to find a new business model in a world where we expect online content to be free.  The Guardian’s “keep it in the ground” campaign is run in partnership with a US-based organisation called 350.org, founded by Bill McKibben. It’s hard to judge his editorial influence, beyond his insightful and often inciting opinion pieces, e.g. on 13 December when he wrote in the Guardian of a “pack of wolves” at Exxon’s heels and called for illegal action at the “world’s carbon bombs”. Dangerous words, but permissible in the UK’s free press.

The coal industry is portrayed as a bunch of rent-seeking capitalists and, yes, I laughed at the “Australian Coal Mining Company” video on YouTube. In Europe, most coal mining is carried out by state-owned companies, companies such as Kompania Węglowa in Poland. I was there recently to celebrate St. Barbara’s Day, the patron saint of miners (Wizzair €8 flight from Charleroi, no carbon offset). I drank too much vodka with miners who work harder than I ever have to produce the coal that powers the Polish economy. They are good, decent men and women. Like me, they are wage slaves, not capitalists.

Brian Ricketts, Secretary General

Selected comments in response to “Coal lobby boss says industry ‘will be hated like slave-traders’ after COP21” by Arthur Neslen (UK Guardian, 15 December 2015)

red = pro coal
green = anti coal (obviously)
bold = interesting


In the guardian though it’s possible to still believe thatcher should not have shut down still productive coal mines *and* think the burning of coal to generate electricity is bad!

No cognitive dissonance here.

Yin Xing

Good, fuck him. If he’s unhappy it means you’re doing something RIGHT.

James Grant Matkin

Sadly the world has been sold a big lie about both climate change from beneficial C02 and the potential of renewables to light the grid at some future time. Wind and solar will not replace fossil fuels on the grid because they are costly and intermittent with inadequate storage. Hydro power is the best alternative because it is clean and renewable and therefore should be the prime answer now ignored by the environmental movement. The green paradigm is not grounded in reality. Coal power producers like those in India are the progressive players aiming to remove abject energy poverty from the 3 billion living in the dark today not the effete wind and solar inaccessible to the poor everywhere.

Yingguoren2012 > James Grant Matkin

If you’re interested in learning more about the issues you write about then I’d recommend reading ‘This Changes Everything’ by Naomi Klein and have a look at some of the work Elon Musk is doing at Tesla.


If the paris agreement makes coal lobbyists this apoplectic, it must be good!

Sreejith j

They should be treated as ecological terrorists . aka eco-iss


What a smug idiot. Mob rule he says or what I like to call politicians doing a half assed job and pretending to listen to people.

Coal shold be vilified because, like big tobacco, its focused its money on trying to dodge its responsible rather than hold its hands up and try to help.


funny, I was a student in the 84 and the exact same type of posters who are laying into the coal industry now were with me on the picket lines at Orgreave coke plant and the collieries, defending the miners during the strike.


Thousands of years ago Aristotle observed that slaves would always be with us unless people had automata to do the work for them. Slaves have been a routine part of the fabric of virtually all societies for thousands of years.

Precisely which slaver is the hated one? Could it be the Romans, the Greeks, Persians Chinese dynasties or perhaps it was the African slavers that so freely provided slaves from their fellow countrymen to both Arabs for shipment across the Sahara or the Europeans so that they could ship them across the Atlantic.

We should be thankful that the discovery and continued use fossil fuels has made atomata so commonplace today that slavery is now a rare obscure oddity rather than just a routine miserable fact of life in most of the world today.

Walter Smith

When we start experiencing power outages because of our reliance on unreliables, I mean renewables, the people will demand that the politicians drop the ‘green crap’ and get on with supplying reliable affordable power.

We will have to wait until disaster for action because of human nature, but once the power cuts start the politicians will know their plump cushy positions are on the line and we will start building fossil fuel power stations again.

It won’t matter what some self important diplomats and UN placemen agree at their regular lavish junkets, the people will vote for politicians that will do what is right rather than what is trendy with the left.

CDKBM180715 > Walter Smith

When we start experiencing power outages because of our reliance on unreliables, I mean renewables

Many studies have been done showing that renewables could power the world. Educate yourself.


Wrong, Brian Ricketts. Your industry was hated like slave traders before COP21. Now it will be hated like a world-burning amageddon wreaker, after COP21.

NoMoreMrNice > SGde3a

Dickens nailed it 150 years ago in Bleak House:

“So in familiar conversation, private authorities no less disinterested will remark that they don’t know what this age is coming to, that we are plunging down precipices, that now here is something else gone, that these changes are death to people like Vholes—a man of undoubted respectability, with a father in the Vale of Taunton, and three daughters at home. Take a few steps more in this direction, say they, and what is to become of Vholes’s father? Is he to perish? And of Vholes’s daughters? Are they to be shirt-makers, or governesses? As though, Mr. Vholes and his relations being minor cannibal chiefs and it being proposed to abolish cannibalism, indignant champions were to put the case thus: Make man-eating unlawful, and you starve the Vholeses!

In a word, Mr. Vholes, with his three daughters and his father in the Vale of Taunton, is continually doing duty, like a piece of timber, to shore up some decayed foundation that has become a pitfall and a nuisance. And with a great many people in a great many instances, the question is never one of a change from wrong to right (which is quite an extraneous consideration), but is always one of injury or advantage to that eminently respectable legion, Vholes.”


Coal lobby boss says industry ‘will be hated like slave-traders’ after COP21

That would be an insult to slave traders.

Science has spoken. When it comes to global warming there is no debate, there is no discussion, and there is no opinion. There are those who want to commit mass murder on a global scale with global warming, and those who do not want to commit mass murder on a global scale.

Pete Underdown

Eurogas lobbyist “called for new market-based mechanisms to help leverage investment in the industry.” Translation: subsidies.


mental how the liberal elites make people turn against the very industry which pulled us into our age

Robert Edgerton > alianza

Rather smart to turn against something that on present projections has capacity to near wipe out our species.

Wayne McKenzie

Gas stocks up. I guess we can look forward to increased and more widespread fracking

Mark Hunter

I can’t understand why this guy thinks his industry is not hated now…
Gas and oil is next.

rollingplum > Mark Hunter

With you on that one!

Lovely how they can equate ‘democratic process’ with their capitalistic ideals!


As soon as oil is too hard to get out of the ground all you naive fools will whine and change your tune. Your windmills and solar panels will put us all back into the dark ages in the northern hemisphere.

You can have sensibly managed fossil fuel husbandry, nuclear, hopefully fusion, maybe tidal..or have great big wars that’ll kill off that inconvenient bunch of useless eaters.

SingletonEngineer > xwookey

Global renewables, excluding hydro, last year counted for under 2% of world energy consumption.

lordofthequails > SingletonEngineer

At some point only 2% of carriages on the road were motorized… But nothing with 2% penetration can ever dominate right? That’s why we’re all still traveling by horse.


Unconstructive and disingenuous sooking from Mr Ricketts. Anti-UN boilerplate is always wheeled out by these rich bastards, who are only too happy to embrace global-scale governance measures when it comes to protecting their money and minimising their tax.
Mr Ricketts needs to step down.


I would like to thank the coal industry for the advances in mortality rate, technology, transport, medicine, communication, etc.

Oops, also forgot greening of the planet


A question for the alarmists that populate The Guardian comments section, how many trees do you think would exist if the burning of wood hadn’t been replaced by the burning of coal?


Yep, history sure does give those poor slave-traders a bum rap….along with the National Socialist Party, Khmer Rouge, Military Juntas, the flat earth society and post-Apollo conspiracy theorists.

Ryan Berg

Seems they are angry that all the money they spent trying to brain wash people that ‘coal is good for humanity and will help end poverty’ has failed except with Ex Australian PM’s.
How they can charge people for essentially free things like sun power and wind- Guaranteed- if people had a choice to actively live off the grid from coal and fossil fuels they would.

Adamke > Ryan Berg

Coal is good for humanity. Are you a history denier? It’s amazing that alarmists such as yourself, that enjoy a comfortable lifestyle due to coal want to condemn those burning dung and wood for fuel to continued poverty.


Something that has a profound negative impact on this planet and it has a bad image, well … yes.

I think coal will one day been seen as a historic necessary evil, for that is what it is. We needed it for a short time, to allow us to get to the next step, but it really did us no good at all, environmentally.

The real horrorshows are the people who are supporting nothing but coal/gas/oil for the sake of their own pockets.


The coal industry denying climate change like the tobacco industry denying cigarettes kill people.
The biggest danger to global warming is capitalism


Slavers were hated and vilified with justification: not because they did terrible things, but because they continued to do terrible things after it was discovered that their actions were indeed terrible.
And Big Coals’ actions have been shown to be terrible. if Ricketts continues to do terrible things after he has been shown that they are terrible, then he deserves to be hated and vilified. Tough shit, mate.


I don’t know why he is so upset. Coal consumption is likely to continue rising at least until about 2050. The world can not function without coal as a cheap form of energy. The big threat to coal is not so much COP21, but natural gas. It’s cheap, cleaner than coal and plentiful at the moment. In addition it is cheaper and faster to set up a gas fired power station than one burning coal. Coal can only be made clean by adding a lot of expensive technology. We would still probably be changing over to gas even in a world where no one cared about pollution or CO2. Coal still remains the cheapest source of energy, and so is still the first choice of poorer developing countries , but in developed countries we can afford to pay a bit more as long as it’s not too expensive, and gas fits right in that slot.


“will be hated like slave-traders”?
I’ve every faith that one day they, and the deniers in the media and the high echelons of politics that are in their employ, will be treated like war criminals.

powercat123 > Ministryoftruth

And we’re would be for coal?
Coal powered our industrial revolution
It should not be hated just remembered and thanked.
You would have us sitting in the dark freezing in our caves.

RicardoK > Longerenong

Not sure. I think someone needs to ask Ricketts for clarification. Maybe he’ll go with “if we didn’t have slaves, Barack Obama would never have become president of the United States”. That would be delicious.


“The world is being told a lie”… he’s a brave, perceptive man and I salute him.
Let’s also remember the irony that it was the industrialisation of coal and oil that ended slavery, that it’s only our exploitation of the chemistry of burning that keeps us from the 17th century. If windmills and solar panels can do the same as coal,and oil, that’s fine, but I suspect they never will, only nuclear will. And one day we’ll remember this madness as the result of too much time on our hands and the propensity of people to see what they want to see. -H.

JustHenry > nintiblue

I don’t think you understand the scale of your dreamy scheme. It’s not ‘their call’, it’s simply impossible to do as you suggest. It doesn’t mean they are not ‘smart and agile’. They are what they are. Coal miners. Not magicians.

TheSphincter > JustHenry

They’re not coal miners they’re business executives who are too selfish and lazy to do anything other than look after their own interests. The actual coal miners will be dropped from the payroll the minute they’re no longer required.


No not like the slave industry – they did not have the internet and funding to disseminate lies and misinformation – no, more like the tobacco industry. Yep – coal is the new tobacco,

123FakeStreet > AtraHasis

And how many billions of people have been lifted out of poverty on the back of cheap energy? Far more than its destroyed… Which is not to defend the fossil fuel industry or attitudes like those of Rickett … just saying.

Lauren Fedyna > 123FakeStreet

Exactly. And, so, to the future. How many billions might be lifted out of poverty by solar energy, water or wind?


The head of Europe’s Coal Lobby is right – your polluting industry will be hated.
For all of the lies, deceptions, denial and sponsorship of denialist views while the planet’s environment has been trashed for greedy profit. And he is still in denial by uttering his conspiracy theories against the Paris Climate Agreement to try to save his discredited Coal Industry.
The Coal Industry and the Governments like our Liberal Party Government who backed them are just as bad as the slave traders because they promoted a damaging product for personal gain while people across the World died and suffered from the record weather events that have been inflicted on us by Global Warming and Climate Change.
They refused to listen to the science, they refused to open their eyes to the World’s plight, they didn’t care about the environment, they didn’t care about our children’s future – all they cared about was their own personal gain, greed and short-term profit!

Fomalhaut88 > Darcydee

For all of the lies, deceptions, denial and sponsorship of denialist views while the planet’s environment has been trashed for greedy profit.

Why did you buy the fuel from them then?
Do tell.


The coal industry … having ‘Kodak moment’

Not a moment too soon.

Sambo > Livesley

We are witnessing a power bid by people who see the democratic process as part of the problem and have worked out ways to bypass it.

Is he serious? This is EXACTLY what the fossil fuel industry has been doing for decades. The revolving door between the industry and governmental positions is well documented, as is the vast amounts of money thrown about to by-pass or kill off regulatory legislation, including the denial (and in some cases, blatant lies and cover-ups) of the adverse effects burning fossil fuels cause. There is no defending the use of coal in the 21st century. It served its purpose in the industrial revolution. It is long passed the time to move on. Suck it up Mr Ricketts, your industry is coming to an end. I only hope it is not too late.


the European coal lobby is worried – GOOD

AAserendipityAA > uptherecrazies

Well if it has a few MEP’s on the payroll they will be OK


‘Brian Ricketts, Euracoal’s secretary-general, lashed out at what he called “mob rule” by a cabal of world governments and protesters’

Lets not forget to mention the business leaders, economists, health professionals and religious leaders who are part of this ‘mob’


Don’t fret Mr Ricketts. You can do a lot more with coal than just burn it. You can extract complex chemicals from it – the same way you can make a lot of useful matrierls, such as pharmaceuticals from oil. So keep it in the ground, use it sparingly and allow your children and their children to carry on using it.

Dobsky betrynol

Yep, Thatcher was right all along, closing down the mines so those evil miners couldn’t have their wicked way with mother nature.
Btw, where did the energy come from that went into building and powering your lapop/tablet?


It is an unfortunate and ill-chosen analogy and ironically serves as a handy emotive label for coal’s opponents. Probably not Mr Ricketts best day. The writing has been on the wall for thermal coal production for some years, with the depressed price of product a rather more profound issue for coal producers than anything politicians or a Global Climate change summit can come up with. The histrionics from the industry now are doubly strange, therefore.
The analogy is also probably factually incorrect. Of course today we have a very low opinion of the official condoned, British run slave trade of the 17th and 18th Century. But at the time the trade was seen as a vital conduit to colonial expansion and as a highly profitable business. Only when expansion into the New World had run its course and world sugar markets become depressed did the long running campaign in the British Parliament to ban the trade gain real traction. The morality follows the economics.


Is it cos coal is black?

stoneshepherd > ID9494400

Ha ha, best comment so far.

Powerspike > ID9494400

You’re suggesting the coal industry run an anti-discrimination case at the UN based on coal’s “blackness”? Brilliant! that will tie up the UN in endless meetings and committees for years…..


Last weekend, the world’s governments agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions

No they didn’t. Please do not mislead your readership. The agreement at Paris did nothing of the sort.


It’s an apt comparison. The 18th century slave trade was an exploitive means of sourcing energy that vastly enriched the west to the point where their dependency itself was exploited by the trade to justify it.

Every time you hear accusations of hypocrisy when you advocate going carbon free “how dare you, when you use a car/bus/electricity/hospital/etc ?” you’re listening to the echoes of 18th century slave traders.

That’s precisely how James featherby, chair of the ethics committee responded when I asked him how the CofE was progressing with divestment at his talk at New Wine in 2013. He simply rhetorically asked the audience how they got to New Wine. Since then, he’s been on the phone to the CEO of Exxon to discuss the CofE’s new policy of fossil fuel engagement.

When you her the cries of “oh we can’t decarbonise, because then other countries will out-exploit us with their oil” then go and read Hansard 1791 on how William Wilberforce’s political opponents persuaded the government not to shut down the trade.

Fossil fuels really do represent energy slavery & what the multi-billionaire owners of energy slavery are really worried about is the coming democratization of energy production. Their feared mob is coming & it’s all of us (with the exception of George Osbourne, a modern-day renewables refusnik 😉 ) http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/15/george-osborne-solar-panels-climate-summit-paris-renewable-energy-subsidies

rockyrex > toekneeabbutt

I always like it when someone mentions Lord Monckton, so that I can post this wonderful link:




Oh I love this sort of malarkey.
“Mob rule”… I saw representative governments come to a jointly accepted agreement. When is democracy ‘mob rule’? – answer: when the decision does not go my way!
“The UN has successfully brainwashed most of the world’s population such that scientific evidence, rational analysis, enlightened thinking and common sense no longer matter.” – To repeat the comment: ‘scientific evidence, rational analysis, enlightened thinking and common sense no longer matter.’ I thought that this describes the coal industry’s rejection of climate science!
In psychology the concept holds that a person may demonstrate ‘projection’, meaning to describe other’s feelings & behaviour in a critical manner. In other words, blame other for being how we are. Operatively, mind you, those who have projection cast upon them are unlikely to demonstrate the feelings & behaviour claimed by the accuser.
Rickett’s has this fault of personality wherein ‘negative projection’ is promoted as responsible and sincere analysis. It has always fascinated me that people with such traits percolate upwards to obtain position and related power & control (including lobby influences). Sure they simply lie – like Trump is in the US – but use intolerant ignorance to ‘validate’ deceptions.
Ordinary people throughout history terminate the influences of such supremacist fascists on a regular basis. They return only because the majority of ordinary people are not dishonest or disingenuous.

dhome0 > c0lath0me

You can understand his frustration. Big Coal and Big Oil have spent billions buying the right political support. The entire US Congress, the Australian Liberals, the British Tories, the German Christian Democrats and a whole plethora of autocratic, homicidal dictators in North Africa and the Middle East. This is not the sort of expertise that comes cheap. Now, it seems that most dangerous of organizations, the ever fractious UN; is going democratic, even socialist! Have seen how many people they will have to “persuade” in the UN? It could run into hundreds of billions. And then there are those renewable energy mobs siphoning away valuable public money that they could add to their already eye-wateringly massive subsidies.
I feel for the man and his problems.

TheSnial liberatorxyz

It’s not really history being rewritten, it depends on when you’re taking about. When the abolitionist movement got momentum from the late 1780s it was quite possible to vilify the trade publicly as people like John Wesley did writing to William Wilberforce:

“I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that execrable villainy, which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you Are all of them together stronger than God O be not weary of well doing I Go on, in the name of God and in the power of His might, till even American slavery (the vilest that ever saw the sun) shall vanish away before it.”


Or William Wilberforce did to parliament (full of the kinds of people who would ‘own’ slaves).


So when you read Hansard from 1791 it is the pro-slavers who apologetically defend their exploitation and Wilberforce who is on the attack. He could not have done that if general opinion loved slavers and hated abolitionists.

examinator Timbo2015

Why? Yes their self interested histrionics is well over the top And I deplore their ‘the sky is falling’ fear campaign that will unnecessarily panic people and investors. The last thing the world needs now is another financial disaster.
The stock markets and investments are very vulnerable to ‘panic talk and rumours of disasters’. once a run starts it’s very difficult to stop it and like it or not lots of ordinary people pay the price.
Do you have any idea how many people depend on coal for jobs and or have no other option?
For years I have been decrying the conservative ( read hysterical right who view the world as either black or White).
Get real we NEED an orderly and Calm transition.
These self interested bozos should be roundly and quickly condemned for their Hysterical “chicken Little” antics.
What is also unhelpful are ignorant or myopic zealots at the other end Na Na Naing. Throwing fuel onto the fire. No body wins with that…. in fact it’s not about winning or losing some theoretical argument. Anthropogenic Catastrophic Climate Change is Way too important to set it back into another war of competing emotions and egos.


Your fuel doesn’t drive the cars that stop children using our streets.

It’s the oil industry we hate, not the coal industry.


The Paris conference was all smoke and mirrors. The planet will burn and humanity will suffer, but the 1% will make money right up to the end.

Panos Pavlakakis > waunarlwydd

Nah, the planet will be juuust fine. We think we’re trying to protect the environment from us, but we should realise that it’s ourselves we must protect from the environment (or our environment from The environment). The planet will go on nicely without us on thankyouverymuch

HairyMarysCanary > Panos Pavlakakis

the most balanced, nearest to the truth comment on this whole string. Did you see the CO2 levels way back in the Carboniferous ?

Perspective is lacking. Human consumption is the problem.


MakeMyBed > musterfritz

1 year, 5 years, 50 years, 100 years?

What will replace the 2.7 gigawatts of power output from lignite coal plants?

Why did they waste the money building them?

prefec2 > MakeMyBed

Because we have a coal lobbyist as minister of economics who cannot do something against the stronghold of social democrats in Northrhine Westphalia by harming RWE and E.ON.

AAserendipityAA > DaneelOlivaw

I tend to mix wood and coal…

Funnily enough Polish coal is cheap at the moment and so just had a delivery of 2 tonnes


It is only thirty years ago that the people who were defending the miners now want to close the pits. In thirty years time they will, no doubt, be whining because their last good idea was wrong.

NoSuddenMovements > BigMach

That’s actually what he means. That the left are using the universities to control the world again. And it works every time. Suckers! (Although you may require tinfoil to believe this).


No-one should be vilifying the coal industry. These are transitional times. Coal mining communities are rightly proud of their heritage and doing a filthy job creates a camaraderie but it is set to decline. Even so I suspect it will be around for a long time to come. It is always interesting that the unions and big business, for all their differences, are ultimately reduced to making common cause when they are both working for unpopular industries like defence, coal or oil. Set against them are ecologists, liberals, greens, scientists and the majority of the population in advanced democracies who have never learnt to love heavy industry.


…the coal industry fears it will be squashed by a clean energy juggernaut.

It will be squashed by a fracking and LNG juggernaut. The fossil fuel biz is cannibalizing its own market, consolidating and the knives coming out for the pollution laggards. Fair enough, but this is emphatically not front and centre in the spin about the growth of renewable energy. Never once in history have intermittent renewables replaced coal in any major economy because of their low power density and because grid scale storage doesn’t exist.

rockyrex > siff

This item sums up the problem for so-called climate sceptics:


There is no evidence supporting the so-called climate sceptics, whose position changes all the time.

There is the expert research, summarised by long-standing professional scientific organisations such as the Royal Society:


which has existed since the 17th century…

Or there are random opinions on websites run by a collection of eccentrics and conspiracy theorists.

Barry Purkis

The Slavers are vilified because what they did was judged wrong in retrospect., I guess that Brian Ricketts will be proved correct.

MochynSaes > Barry Purkis

Slave owners were handsomely compensated when slavery was abolished. Beware the analogy at other levels.


Will no-one think of the miners?

AlanJameson > Nonkey1

Probably just as many as think of the teamsters, farriers, wainwrights, wheelwrights, harness makers and others put out of work by mechanisation of agriculture. And what of the sailmakers? Blacksmiths? Boilermakers? Fullers? Tailors? Shoemakers? Armourers? The world goes as it will, and not as we would have it. Frankly, coal strikes me as far too valuable a resource to be wasted in mere production of heat; it is a fantastic warehouse of chemical substrates and intermediates, as people well knew in the 19th Century.

prefec2 > Nonkey1

We rather think of the minors.


Coal stinks, time for him to diversify and move on

Mailman11 > toadwarrior

Yeah lets rely on fart power and hot air.

Nonkey1 > TheRoyalMint

No, hang on, comrade. Let’s not forget the gallant miners.

Coal … not dole!

Or is it dole, not coal?

This leftist thing can be really hard work, isn’t it?


When people’s statements start being called ‘extraordinary diatribes’ they probably have a legitimate reason to complain.

And on that bombshell, I’m going to have a mince pie with the last of the brandy cream. And bollocks to the lot of you


The coal lobby have failed to address the overpopulation problem as well as other uses that coal can be used for. They should have lobbied for financial assistance.
If the coal industry had put together a paper which was convincing and clearly showed that green house gases would decease as a result of a large decrease in the human population numbers to a sustainable level , then the coal industry could have a sustainable future, Also the coal industry needed to convince the Paris Forum that they should receive large sums of money to change their industries direction. Instead of using coal as an energy source it needs to get into the plastics and pharmaceutical business. The coal industry should be looking to take over from oil as the big producer of plastic fibres and products. The coal industry has wasted its opportunities .
Fighting the out going tide is stupid.


We are witnessing a power bid by people who see the democratic process as part of the problem and have worked out ways to bypass it.”

Spoken like a man who was out happy pissing out the tent and got kicked out and pissed on. Welcome to the world of the pissed on.

Stephen Schultz

I get annoyed with people who pretend that they aren’t part of the fossil fuel using world, and equally annoyed with fossil fuel people who think burning coal and oil was their idea.

“The absence of unambiguous support from the EU negotiators towards proposals, for instance from Canada, to retain references to just transition and decent work in the operational part of the agreement has been extremely disappointing,” said Luca Visentini , the general secretary of the European Trades Union Confederation.

Has anyone got a clue what this means? He’s not happy about something, but what?


This is extremely worrying. If there’s no more coal what will we use for our snowman’s eyes?

recliner > Fitzoid

We’ll have enough unburnt coal to give snowmen eyes for all eternity. And even more importantly, we’ll have snow to make them.


I’m sitting here smiling until my ears want to drop off. A top name in the smooth, mendacious, “affable” (I bet!) coal lobby has just dropped his trousers in public and shat on the floor. Then smeared his own face with the turds. This will not be forgotten.


97% + of energy used in UK today came from coal, gas, oil and nuclear
See a problem, yet?


Dear Coal lobby
At least I will not hate you. I respect coal,miners and those who are trying nuclear fusion.
I hate those of our variety of animals who could, by concerted action, cut the use of all energy by half. How? Stop inter-planetary and such excursions. Close down , AFTER 23:00. Hours, all cinemas, TV stations. Stop selling any more smart phones, I Pads, computers. Stop importing strawberries and such stuff from half way round tbe world in December.
You get the drift? Oh. And instead of using grapes grown in Kent for making champagne, use it to make alcohol and drive the cars and buses, HGVs on alcohol. This is a mad mad world. SAVE IT, said Barbara Castle forty years ago when we were short of fuel. Nowadsys, nobody saves fuel.


Yes they will, and rightly so.

Anyone peddling such out-dated and polluting fuel sources needs to face trial for crimes against humanity.

Lams88 > eraizer

Our whole economy pretty much relies one way or another on fossil fuels either through trade or for the generation of power. We should get rid of fossil fuel use, but to claim people providing the fuel should face trial, then so should everyone that uses the power generated from it. I would imagine you are one of those people.

rockyrex > yourcomment

You need to read this about ‘consilience’:


The current scientific understanding of this matter is based on a vast number of strands of evidence in a very wide range of scientific fields.


Don’t worry coal companies. The people will still want to buy your product. It will be a few decades at least before nuclear reactors can replace all the coal plants.

Gitfinger > AlgyMoncrieff

We’ve burnt coal for centuries – long before anyone realised that releasing that much carbon was a problem. The problem of burning coal is the amount being burned – it’s only became a serious problem in the last two hundred of so years. Industrial society and mass consumerism is incompatible with ecological care, the laws of thermodynamics see to that. To make stuff we have to consume stuff and that consumption will always be destructive, there are no perpetual motion machines or “clean” nuclear power generators that just store up their problems for another generation. We’re still trying to clear up the Hanford site after more than 60 years.

As sure as shit if the lights go out and people start getting cold there won’t be many who oppose coal then. Human industrial society and planetary well being are fundamentally incompatible.

Dappler > AlgyMoncrieff

“Ricketts is an affable and respected figure” clearly that is a deception.

Actually, he really is.

This is the interesting thing about the media nowadays. There’s so much utter bollocks, and inane polemics flying around, immediately something appears to go against the evidence, clearly it must be bollocks. It’s a sad position to be in. Once upon a time there was a duty to report the truth, and trust was a valuable commodity to be built upon, not raped. I understand your scepticism here, I really do, and equally I’ve only seen a couple of your posts, and doubtless you’ve only seen a couple of mine, but all I can say is this article didn’t need that statement to be in it. It did add a little context and depth, but it wasn’t a key point.


The coal industry should not invoke science. You have tried to ignore us, stamp us out, lobbied for fig leaf research -set up to fail- and vilified us for decades.


Ocean inertia, methane release, and albedo are uncontrollable and vigorously at play (as well as a host of other feedbacks). The planet has the controls now. We are 40 years into the anthropocene – years that cannot be taken back.

People will be hated. But the planet doesn’t know from hate. Our common destiny is locked in and on track.

romantotale17 > rockyrex

Ricketts is evidence that we are now in the Twatocene.


We are left with a hard choice, do we listen to the people making all the profits or the people that want to make all the profits?

SeanThorp > Voltairine

the coal industry is already hated.

So much hated that all of us are using the electricity they help produce.

Voltairine > SeanThorp

… having virtually no practical say in the matter.

SeanThorp > Voltairine

Same as driving a car or building a big bonfire out of used car tyres, everybody can choose to do so or not to do so.

Voltairine > SeanThorp

The world as it is now was made for these things long ago, making the reduction / avoidance of such things nearly impossible for the average person on their own, and requires substantial government intervention … which is paralyzed by plutocratic, big business and big money, that keeps fighting this in every conceivable way at every conceivable moment as much as they possibly can get away with … especially to include coal bosses.

SeanThorp > Voltairine

The world as it is now was made for these things long ago, making the reduction / avoidance of such things nearly impossible for the average person on their own

I believe that’s nonsense, more people don’t drive cars than do drive cars, billions of people don’t use electricity or only use it irregularly, besides people are free to generate their own clean electricity.

I really don’t think people hate the coal industry like you say they do. I hate Rupert Murdoch, so I don’t give him money for Sky TV or his newspapers, however I’ve met plenty of people who claim they hate Rupert Murdoch but they still give him money. I think it might be like that.

Voltairine > SeanThorp

Doing those things requires time, work and money, not snapping ones’ fingers, and this is extremely difficult, as I stated, for the average person, particularly given the gargantuan piles of corruption and propaganda supplied by big business and big money to defend / deny climate-irradiating misbehavior. And obviously plenty of people do, in fact, hate the coal industry.

SeanThorp > Voltairine

Doing those things requires time, work and money, not snapping ones’ fingers, and this is extremely difficult, as I stated, for the average person

Not really, all it requires is the will, you either do a thing or you don’t. Like I say most people on Earth don’t use cars, very many use no or little electricity and largely they’re the poorest people on Earth so you can’t argue that its about money, after all not using a car or an electric oven is alot cheaper than using one. Many people pretend to care but only so long as they can direct the blame away from themselves. If they really cared they’d walk or take the bus, or stop burning so much electricity that’s made from coal.

thedrum > SeanThorp

Over 30% of households (including me) are renters. There is no choice but to buy electricity from retailers. Same goes for anyone living in a strata plan (unless your strata management is very progressive).
Your earlier post said

Same as driving a car or building a big bonfire out of used car tyres, everybody can choose to do so or not to do so.

Note the presence of the word “everybody”.
This is false.

Voltairine > SeanThorp

Yes really, absolutely it does require a lot of time, work and money. People in the U.S. have been raised and set their entire lives around the use of cars and electricity. To blithely insist that it wouldn’t take a great deal of time, work and money is what’s absurd.

SeanThorp > Voltairine

To blithely insist that it wouldn’t take a great deal of time, work and money is what’s absurd.

Even if we accept the loopy notion that not using cars or electricity is in fact more expensive than using them, then still, if people really cared they’d do something about it like Thooley up above. But the fact is they don’t really care, they pay lipservice and then try to foist the blame for what they do onto the governments they elect and the power companies they give money to.

Voltairine > SeanThorp

It’s the transition that takes the time, work and money, which is why government must help.

bndjapan > SeanThorp

This is one of the more interesting strands I’ve read in recent memory. Both sides have valid positions.

SeanThorp makes a good point that taking personal responsibility to do the things you can (eg by boycotting companies you find appalling) is important. Put money with mouth.

Voltairine and her side however are also correct in stating that the default setting is (puposely) set up in a way that makes that very difficult. for many people in industrial countries (important point because if you live in a place where nobody is assumed to drive or be able to check their email or where theres no coal to buy or electricity to have you boycott coal by default) just about impossible (add a big cheers to all who forge ahead anyway).

Seanthorp counters saying- if those obstacles are too big that proves people dont care as much as they say.

Voltairiners retort that these problems are not caused by regular peoples’ individual choices and so its unfair to insist it is everyones responsibility to solve it. Some people such as the ceos of energy firms and policy makers have clearly more power and responsibilty (‘you could fit the people responsible for the majority of co2 emissions on a bus’) . They like privatizing the profit and sharing the costs with all of us. The fossil fuel industry can emit the majority of greenhouse gases and tell the rest of us to take 5min showers if we are serious about wanting to stop climate change.

It is the classic personal change vs systemic change argument. It is a false dichotomy of course. If there are more people who walk the talk, more will be inspired to do so too, and as more people do so it becomes easier. ‘Be the change you want to see!’ But– that usually does not work by itself (anymore, though in another age it may have). Research on Boycots shows they are only effective as part of organized campaigns aimed at affecting systemic change. (I hate to tell u seanthorp your boycott of murdoch, valiant as it is, by itself has no effect other than making you feel better).

By all means, lets boycott coal wherever we can As individuals and communities AND get your govt, pension fund, etc. to stop throwing money at them.

Therfore: http://gofossilfree.org !


As well it should be, too. The evil of coal is news?? Seen the air in Beijing lately?

Luminaire > peterjyianilos

Seen the air in Beijing lately?

‘See’ and ‘air’ not being words that normally belong together, makes the point on a whole other level – I like it.

JeffNK > peterjyianilos

Well you can’t see air. And you can’t see carbon dioxide either.


This guy needs either to prove the science is wrong, or to provide evidence that there is a global conspiracy to fake the science.

If he can’t do either, he’s jumped the shark.

He can’t do either, of course.



There is the expert research, summarised by long-standing professional scientific organisations such as the Royal Society:


which has existed since the 17th century…

Or there are random opinions on websites run by a collection of eccentrics and conspiracy theorists.

If he’s been so easily hoodwinked by those non-expert people, he’s a poor choice to be in charge of anything.

tempestteacup > Beersmith

You misunderstand what he means when he refers to democracy.

For his brand of capitalists, there is only one form of democratic expression, and that is the free market, which recognizes nothing but supply and demand and against which any form of government or multilateral regulation is the thin end of a socialist wedge.

But let’s be fair. They are no slave traders, who were mostly working with government collusion for the sort of colonial monopolies his free market heart would rebel against (unless the monopoly was being lobbied by his good self). They are more comparable to the pharmaceutical and industrial businesses that sailed merrily through the Nazi remilitarisation and WW2, supplying the munitions with which Europe drenched itself in blood.

In other words, a far nicer bunch of chaps.

peterjyianilos > groxy550

Because coal is an extremely inefficient and filthy source of energy. Where have you been? Clean coal is like dry water.


Those quotes don’t quite fit an “affable and respected figure” surely ? The words he uses – lies, mobs, cabals, threats to democracy – those are not the words of an affable man.

If we’re lucky, his raving is the death-rattle of industries that put profit before society.

KofiAnnan > JamesValencia

Indeed. If he can make such pronouncements in the public, no climate change scientist would want to run into him in a dark alley.

Persianwar > KofiAnnan

Presumably a dark alley where the lights have failed because the wind stopped.

Hobbes4 > JamesValencia

It’s the ‘threats to democracy’ bit that really gets me. Corporate lobbyists are surely the very epitome of a threat to democracy? Being as they are, unelected, profit-driven moneymen attempting to influence government policy to their own ends.

Bluetractor > JamesValencia

“put profit before society” ?…….would there even be a ‘society’ without some form of ‘profit’ ?..

KofiAnnan > Persianwar

where the lights have failed because the wind stopped.

Or because the air is thick with coal smoke! Whichever it is, the coal enthusiasts would have no qualms about exercising violence to protect the security of their income streams.

motherchicken > JamesValencia

Well its a professional lobbyist’s job to be affable and respected , he wouldn’t get any work if his public behaviour was reserved and irritable. I hope the man himself has some family support or a good counsellor, he’s going to need it.

rockyrex > AllieClark

The science behind this matter is not new.

If AGW is fake, or a scam, this conspiracy began in the 19th century:


…. fooled every professional scientific organisation in the world:


…. and even fooled a major investigation funded by climate sceptics:


What an amazing plot it would need to be.

It would need to involve many tens of thousands of scientists, in dozens of countries, in physics, geology, and many other fields of science, over the last 150 years.

Meanwhile, a real conspiracy, the Watergate cover-up, involved fewer than 100 people, but it unravelled in around 2 years.

The problem with so-called climate sceptics is that the current scientific concept of climate change exhibits ‘consilience’:


That’s an excellent summary of the challenge for so-called climate sceptics.


“The UN has successfully brainwashed most of the world’s population such that scientific evidence, rational analysis, enlightened thinking and common sense no longer matter.”

The UN runs the worlds carbon trading scheme, which has collapsed due to fraud and corruption, a strong CDM is needed to support the political consensus essential for future climate progress, therefore they must do everything in their hands to keep it working.

The campaign for this support comes from fear of climate change from another UN agency

This is like VW doing it’s own emission testing.

KingInYellow > Suxtobu

The UN runs the worlds carbon trading scheme, which has collapsed due to fraud and corruption,

And no matter how many times you post the same lies, it does not make them true.

The campaign for this support comes from fear of climate change from another UN agency

The issue of Climate Change and AGW predates the IPCC by nearly a century and was actively discussed as far back as the 1960’s.

All the best.

rockyrex > Suxtobu

AGW is inevitable, given what has been known since the 19th century:


…. so it is possible that the UN sent agents back in time to bribe Arrhenius to publish that paper in atmospheric physics……..


It’s alright ….. `Dave and Gideon George’ will look after you. Here Brian, have a nice chunk of Northumberland to dig up for your opencast coal…….

JosephMcD84 > prefec2

I propose to offer this man’s industry an amnesty: if his industry can fund a successful campaign that targets and stops illegal deforestation, overfishing and habitat destruction that we see through much of the world, especially the developing habitat rich world (eg. Sumatra), then I propose we go easy on his what-could-be-politely-called “transitional energy source” industry for a little while.

In other words, like a cop offering a plea bargain to a crook: if the coal industry promises to weed out even bigger environmental vandals than they are, we’ll give them time to transition their investments to renewable clean energy sources. Sound like a fair deal?

RhysGethin > Djerbecca

If the coal companies can’t diversify during the next 30 – 50 years

Coal companies don’t have 50 years, they’ll be gone in less than 20.

jungney > prefec2

Hated? He ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. Wait until the show trials start. They’ll be the top ticket in town and I can’t wait.

OrganicPeaBrain > jungney

I have always loved having a coal fire in the grate. It is one of my earliest memories. When I was 11 years old my parents installed gas central heating. They divorced soon afterwards and it was never the same.