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Worth the wait! G20: Quit Coal $$$ Fund Climate Recovery September 30, 2009

Posted by skolmk in copenhagen, G20, tcktcktck.
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G20: Quit Coal $$$ Fund Climate RecoveryPITTSBURGH, PA 9/22/09– Activists unfurled a 30′ banner as international coal conference attendees departed for a tour of a carbon capture and sequestration test facility. The large banner read “G20: Quit Coal $$$/Fund Climate Recovery”.

The banner unfurled at 9 AM on as 20 coal conference attendees boarded the bus. A spokesperson for the coal industry tried to defend industry practices as activists held a ceremony on the sidewalk to apologize to the coal for extracting it and promise to keep it in the ground.

The activists are connecting the dots between dirty energy companies and the obstruction of the global climate and energy treaty process.

Organizers of today’s action oppose false solutions to climate change such as clean coal, industrial bio-fuels and nuclear power. Instead the group promotes truly renewable energy technologies and local solutions as part of a fair, ambitious and binding global climate treaty.

“Real solutions to climate change will support healthy communities with global agreements to reduce CO2 levels to 350 parts per million,” says Sue Massey, an activist visiting Pittsburgh to demonstrate. “Coal has absolutely no part in that process, from the destructive mining to dirty burning to the huge problems with pollution in land, air and water ways. If G20 leaders grew up with coal plants in their backyards, coal wouldn’t get any money in a global climate treaty.”

On the G20 negotiating table this week are hundreds of billions of dollars for economic recovery and climate solutions, which world leaders will bargain and haggle over. Activists fear some of that money will pad the coffers of the coal industry. The presence of the coal conference in the same city, earning the attention of government officials and policy makers is a vulgar affront to genuine progress on climate change.

The coal process has major impacts at extraction, processing, burning and waste disposal, according to the Sierra Club, the nation’s largest and oldest environmental advocacy organization. The group sites clear cutting, erosion and subsistence leading to property damage as side effects of mining, and respiratory diseases from air pollution. It cites mercury levels in breastmilk, destruction of whole ecosystems when miles of streams are covered with mine waste as water issues.

According to the Club, coal is also not the source of employment it usually claims to be. “Estimates of mining production and working coal miners show that between 1985 and 2005 mining production in the US increased 22%, while the number of coal miners decreased by about 55%.” The average income of coal miners has also declined over that period.

Today’s activists sent a bold message to the G20: it is past time to quit their addiction to coal and other destructive energy.

Check out footage of the banner drop and the press conference intervention here.

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