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The Republican National Committee Just Officially Declared That Coal Is “Clean”

Well, that was easy!

 

This story was originally published by Grist and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

The Republican platform committee met in Cleveland the week before the Republican National Convention to hammer out the party’s policies in a Trump era. Not to be outdone by Democrats, who approved the party’s strongest platform language yet on climate change this weekend, Republicans have gone as far as possible in the other direction—by endorsing coal as clean.

After a unanimous vote on Monday, the RNC’s draft platform officially declares coal “an abundant, clean, affordable, reliable domestic energy resource.”

David Barton, a delegate from Texas, proposed the single-word edit to the RNC’s already-glowing list of adjectives on coal in its platform draft. “I would insert the adjective ‘clean’ along with coal, particularly because the technology we have now,” was Barton’s reasoning. (You can watch a clip of the vote on C-SPAN).

For years the coal industry—and at one point, even President Barack Obama—promoted the idea of “clean coal,” that expensive and imperfect carbon-capture-and-storage technology could someday make coal less terrible. But there’s no way it is clean.

The RNC language just happens to reflect the same talking points favored by the lobby group American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, which on its website calls coal “an affordable, abundant and increasingly clean domestic energy resource that is vital to providing reliable low-cost electricity.”

The RNC copied most of that language correctly, give or take a few words.

 

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In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

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