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Climate Hope: On the Front Lines of the…

Climate Hope: On the Front Lines of the Fight Against Coal (2010)

by Ted Nace

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This is probably the most hopeful book on global warming I've yet to read. It details actions of a disparate anti-coal grassroots movement, from 2007 to about mid-2009. During that time they were able to block almost all new proposed coal power plants from being built, about 150, through demonstrations, protests, legal action and on-line coordination.

Coal is the single biggest source of global warming, if we continued burning oil at current rates but got rid of coal, it would basically solve 80% of the problem and prevent the worse of the effects of global warming. In other words, we could keep burning oil and not worry about it (for now) if we got rid of coal. Compared to oil, coal is fairly easy to stop burning, in the US there are only about 600 coal burning electric plants, a much easier target than millions of cars. Coal is often seen as the cheapest/easiest source of electricity, but that is only true if the side effects are ignored - mountaintop removal, particulate matter causing early deaths from respiratory disease, mercury and other heavy metal poisoning, acid rain destroying forests, among other things. Compared to wind power, coal is much more costly and damaging. As well, coal supplies are not infinite and how long they will be cheaply available is an unknown. All these factors and more have basically stopped new coal power plants from being built since 2007.

The book ends with a 40 page appendix listing chronologically all the protest actions taken against coal, the people involved should be recognized for heroism. Going up against existing industries to force change is a messy, dangerous and thankless job. It is like the civil rights movement or labor movement in the early 20th century. It left me with a huge sense of pride and relief to be living through and seeing real change in my lifetime that future generations will look back on with gratitude.

--Review by Stephen Balbach, via CoolReading (c) 2011 cc-by-nd ( )
  Stbalbach | Jan 10, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0615314384, Paperback)

In the spring of 2007, after Energy Department analyst Erik Shuster circulated a document revealing that 151 new coal-fired power plants were slated for construction, climate scientists sounded the alarm. Coal is the most carbon-intensive and plentiful of the fossil fuels. If the wave of massive new facilities was built, there would be little chance of preventing greenhouse gases from reaching truly dangerous levels. In response to the crisis, hundreds of local and regional groups, along with a handful of national groups, rose to the challenge of blocking the wave of proposals. Climate Hope: On the Front Lines of the Fight Against Coal reveals for the first time the organizing methods and political tactics that enabled underdog activists in state after state to take on and defeat Big Coal, one of the most politically dominant industries in America. By late 2009, following two years of intense mobilization, opponents had derailed at least 109 proposed plants, bringing the coal boom to a sputtering halt.

The fight to stop coal is a bright spot in the worldwide effort to fight global warming. According to Dr. James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, phasing out coal emissions is "80% of the solution to the global warming crisis." The grassroots organizing methods developed by the movement to stop new coal-fired power plants provide a positive example of ordinary people mobilizing, fighting, and winning. Learn more at ClimateHopeBook.com

Chapter 1: The 80% Solution
Chapter 2: 151 Time Bombs
Chapter 3: Inside the Swarm
Chapter 4: But We'll Freeze in the Dark!
Chapter 5: What About China?
Chapter 6: Hurricane Politics
Chapter 7: Kansas
Chapter 8: Direct Action
Chapter 9: The Education of Warren Buffett
Chapter 10: Progress Report: 59 Coal Plants Down
Chapter 11: Unicorns, Leprechauns, Clean Coal
Chapter 12: War Against the Mountains
Chapter 13: The Grandmother Rebellion
Chapter 14: Cowboys Against Coal
Chapter 15: Sierra
Chapter 16: Taking It to the Streets
Appendix A: Protests Against Coal
Appendix B: Coal Plants Cancelled, Abandoned, or Put on Hold

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:33 -0400)

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