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Another week, another coal greenwashing attempt implodes on impact

Having learned no lessons from spectacular failures to greenwash coal with campaigns such as “Australians for coal”, the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) is again throwing money at another ill-advised, desperate advertising campaign: “Little Black Rock”.

Like the faked “Advanced Energy For Life” social media campaign, the industry is again using money and misinformation to spin an illusion that #coalisamazing, when it is one of the dirtiest, most harmful fuels on the planet.

As expected, on launch it went down like a helicopter in trouble:

The MCA’s expensive print, television, and social media campaign puffs its chest out by pointing at disputed job figures, but it also tries pushing the old Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology myth again, claiming that CCS is already “reducing CO2 emissions from coal power by up to 90 per cent”, citing Canada’s Saskpower plant.

Also known as Boundary Dam, the plant uses the sequestered carbon to aid oil extraction – undermining the point of sequestering the carbon in the first place. In reality, money for CCS research has been cut again and again, while what little remains is spent promoting coal in Australia and overseas.

Attempts to humanise and greenwash coal continue to fail because everyone knows coal harms human health, damages economies, and is fundamentally incompatible with a healthy climate. Coal is not “good for humanity”, it’s not good for coal companies, and it not only harms human health and the climate,  it threatens the very existence of small island states like Kiribati. Such attempts to promote coal has been a hallmark of the industry in the face of regulation, and not just in Australia – as can be seen by this archive of US coal industry ads.

After bringing down two Prime Ministers with advertising campaigns, the mining industry thinks it can buy a future for coal, but the market has already spoken. Mining employs less Australians than McDonalds or the horse industry, and as the market dives the coal industry is rapidly shedding jobs as mines scale back operations, sell for a dollar, or close up shop altogether.

The industry has to spend huge amounts of money telling people #coalisamazing as it has nothing left in its bag of tricks. To admit defeat would be to admit that coal is not amazing and must be kept in the ground.

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