Editorial: Peabody backs a cynical take on global warming and carbon dioxide – St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis’ own Peabody Energy is putting its money behind a Texas-based foundation whose apparent job is to promote the benefits of carbon and stoke public skepticism of wind and solar energy. There’s no other way to explain this than pure greed. Peabody would sell out the planet’s future survival just so it can artificially extend the profitable life of a dying coal industry.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation receives millions of dollars from major fossil fuel companies to promote the positive aspects of pumping billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the air. Foundation executives even go so far as to suggest that the burning of fossil fuels saves lives, while alternative energy sources like solar and wind power threaten life. One official had the gall to state that fossil-fuel carbon dioxide is the “elixir of life.”
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Jason Isaac, the foundation’s director of “Life:Powered,” says his mission is to “raise America’s energy IQ.” Apparently, he thinks America is dumb about climate change and needs to smarten up about the wonderful benefits of burning fossil fuels. “I’m thankful to live a high-carbon lifestyle and wish the rest of the world could, too,” he tweeted on Thanksgiving. “Energy poverty = poverty. Decarbonization is dangerous and deadly.”
Instead of complaining about climate change, Americans should celebrate the nation’s carbon-rich heritage, he suggests.
In the foundation’s view, the first thing Americans can do — and Peabody apparently stands ready to help with financing — is to fight the pernicious growth of solar and wind farms in places like West Texas and off the New England coast. The Texas group has tried to fight wind power by arguing that the turbines are noisy and pose a public health threat.
The vast, windswept prairies of West Texas are now home to one of the largest collections of wind farms in the country. Residents there who previously put up with the overwhelming stink of cattle yards and the noise and fumes of oil pumpjacks and gas-fracking rigs are recorded on a foundation video complaining — and actually shedding tears — about the disruption from swishing wind turbines. Even though the Texas group asserts the noise is as loud as a jet plane, its YouTube video fails to demonstrate with audio any semblance of the noise the interviewees claim.
Anyone who saw television footage of the devastation in Florida from Hurricane Ian, record flooding in Pakistan, the rampant wildfires in California and other climate disasters should compare that deadly devastation with the swish of a wind turbine and ask: Who do these guys think they’re fooling? Peabody knows that Americans are rapidly turning away from coal for good reasons. Coal was great for fueling 19th century industrialization, but it’s nothing short of a cynical waste of investor money to celebrate this polluting fossil fuel in the face of 21st century global-warming catastrophes.