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Coal is on the nose, no matter the branding.

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Christine Milne

Australian Senate Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator for Tasmania

Contact: Tim Hollo on 0437 587 562

media release

Canberra, Wednesday 12 November 2008

Coal is on the nose, no matter the branding

Big Coal’s latest rearguard action to rescue its reputation, re-branding as “NewGenCoal”, will fail as surely as its “clean coal” furphy failed, the Greens said today.

The Australian Coal Association today launched a new branding exercise, acknowledging that the attempt to convince Australians that there is such a thing as ‘clean coal’ has failed.

“Coal, by any other name, is on the nose,” said Australian Greens Deputy Leader and Climate Change Spokesperson, Senator Christine Milne.

“Like the cigarette industry before it, the coal sector is finding that a dirty product will eventually lose its social licence to operate.”

“Governments and the coal sector are working hand in glove to con the Australian people, but Australians are not gullible and don’t share their governments’ faith in ‘clean coal’.

“A website and millions of dollars spent on re-branding will still fail when every major attempt around the world to make coal plants with geosequestration work has fallen over, over budget and behind schedule.

“Instead of throwing good money after bad with this advertising campaign, the coal sector would be better advised to spend its profits diversifying into the renewable energy revolution.”

The launch comes 36 hours after the Government and Opposition joined forces to pass legislation that makes taxpayers carry the risk for companies profiting from geosequestering emissions from coal, rejecting Greens amendments to make companies liable for leakage.

“Instead of giving coal profiteers even more help, absolving them of liability for any leakage from geosequestration, the Rudd Government needs to get on board with the global ‘Green New Deal’ and set Australia up for its renewable energy future.

“Coal’s time has been and gone. It served its purpose and is now being leapfrogged by the jobs-rich, zero emissions energy sources like solar thermal, geothermal and wind power that are already being rolled out across the globe.

“The Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones, and the Coal Age will not end because we have run out of coal. It will end because we can no longer afford not to move to the better, cleaner options that are now available.”