Prince Charles joins clamour against coal as industry greenwash steps up

Posted by bex — 14 February 2008 at 5:09pm - Comments

Blimey. First Al Gore, then Nasa's top scientist and now Prince Charles. Yep, Charlie has joined the clamour against new coal and, while he didn't go as far as Gore and call for "rings of young people blocking bulldozers," he did stand up in front of the European parliament and ask:

"Can we really understand the dynamics of a world in which energy and food security will become real issues for everyone? ... Can we possibly allow twenty years of business as usual before coal powered generation becomes clean? Are we truly investing enough in renewable energy?"

A new 'business as usual' coal plant is of course what we're expecting the government to make a decision on in a few weeks' time. The new plant Eon wants to build at Kingsnorth won't be built with CCS (also known as, ahem, "clean coal") technology - and, until CCS becomes available, it will pump out as much carbon dioxide every year as 30 developing countries.

With all this high profile opposition, Eon, it seems, are starting to feel the heat. They've hired spin PR giant Edelman to work on their pro-coal campaign. So you can expect a barrage of greenwash to come spouting forth from Eon over the next few weeks. As the World Development Movement puts it:

"Brace yourselves, in the coming months, you can expect to be inundated with headlines extolling the virtues of: 'Carbon Capture and Storage', 'Clean Coal', 'Energy efficient EON'. Claims which are unproven, implausable and in some cases, impossible."

And the greenwash may not just come from Eon. DBERR - the government department responsible for the decision on coal - has just appointed a new head of strategic communications. The appointee, Neil Spring, was until a couple of weeks ago the chief lobbyist at (guessed it yet?) Edelman.

Interestingly, until recently, one of Edelman's directors was a certain Heather Rogers. Heather Rogers, wife of John Hutton. Yes, that John Hutton - the head honcho of DBERR who gets to make the decision on coal - and this isn't the first time the couple have faced this kind of controversy...

Anyway, you've been warned. The PR onslaught has begun.

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