Using some pretty transparent and aggressive scare tactics, coal giant Peabody Coal put out a press release telling Americans that blackouts, like the one that occurred in the third quarter of the Super Bowl, will become more and more likely as we remove coal as an electricity source.
“Coal is the world’s fastest growing major fuel and provides more electricity than any other energy source,” said [Peabody CEO Gregory] Boyce. “Without coal, you might as well turn off half the lights not just for our favorite games but also for our cities, shops, factories and homes.”
While some have unrealistically called for a phasing out of coal-fueled electricity, Boyce noted that such projections ignore the fact that coal fuels the world’s best economies and is projected to become the world’s largest energy source as early as this year.
In fact, there are many other ways to get electricity that aren’t from coal. And while we use a lot of coal now doesn’t mean we have to use it in the future. Peabody’s right: It’s very cheap and very easy. But that comes at a cost.
Peabody Coal, it’s important to remember, was targeted by the Yes Men in one of their most recent campaigns, a site that claimed to give cartoon-branded inhalers to people affected with asthma from living near coal power plants. Peabody has clearly learned a thing or two about guerrilla PR since then.