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It’s not a new story.
In the 1920s, American electricians were using coal and oil to heat their homes and get by.
But then the world switched to electricity from wind and solar, which have the added benefit of being clean.
And while the industry’s share of the US electricity market has increased from 9 percent to about 22 percent over the last few decades, there’s still a lot of coal left in the ground.
As the US economy continues to boom, more Americans are going to need electricity.
That means more coal-fired plants to burn, more carbon emissions and more pollution.
And when the industry has its way, those problems will get worse.
The industry has tried to convince Congress to ban coal, arguing that the carbon pollution it releases from burning fossil fuels is causing the world’s warming.
The coal industry has countered that emissions of carbon dioxide are still low, and that there’s little to no risk of catastrophic climate change.
But the climate crisis has been the driving force behind the coal industry’s lobbying, and a recent report from the Natural Resources Defense Council found that it’s trying to influence the administration to ban the coal.
Now, as coal plants close, many American electric workers are being asked to choose between jobs and the environment.
The new report, “The Energy Industry and the Climate Crisis: How Industry Has Undermined Environmental Policy and Sought to Influence Climate Policy,” comes from the NRDC’s Global Climate Program.
It’s an analysis of how coal-burning power plants in the US are struggling to keep up with the nation’s energy needs.
The report finds that as a result of the industry lobbying and pressure to adopt policies that promote carbon capture and storage technology, there is no federal carbon tax, or a national limit on carbon emissions, and an outright ban on coal-power plants in America.
NRDC executive director Bill McKibben says it’s not surprising that coal has become the top environmental threat to our country.
“In the face of climate change, coal power plants and the coal mining industry are fighting to retain the privilege of keeping carbon emissions in the air, the air that feeds the climate,” he says.
“This is a big problem for the United States, and it’s a problem for our climate.”
The coal companies have also worked to get Congress to pass legislation that would ban carbon capture technology, and to pass laws that would protect against lawsuits against the companies for pollution caused by carbon capture, or CCS.
The NRDC found that in 2015, the energy companies spent $8.4 million to lobby Congress, and more than $3.5 million to influence state and local officials.
The companies also spent $5.6 million lobbying Congress on climate change policy, and another $2.4 billion on lobbying state and municipal officials.
And they spent $11.6 billion on their lobbying efforts, according to NRDC.
That’s an average of more than two lobbying expenditures per person.
As a result, the report found that the coal companies spent more than 20 percent of their campaign money on lobbying efforts.
NRCD is calling on the White House and Congress to act on climate policy.
“The Trump administration needs to enact an urgent plan to reduce carbon emissions from the coal, oil and gas industries, and hold accountable those who pollute the environment,” says Rachel Rippel, NRDC senior director for climate change and clean energy policy.