Read original article on TIME.com [HERE]
Wednesday, Nov. 05, 2008
Taking On King Coal
By Bryan Walsh
Nothing could sway the Dominion 11 from their mission–not the cops and certainly not the prospect of free food. Early on the morning of Sept. 15, activists from a range of environmental groups formed a human barrier to block access to a coal plant being built by Dominion in rural Wise County, Virginia. As acts of civil disobedience go, this wasn’t exactly Bloody Sunday. The police took a hands-off approach and even offered to buy the protesters breakfast if they unchained themselves. (They declined.) But the consequences were far from trivial. The activists who had formed the barrier to the construction site were arrested and charged with trespassing, and they eventually paid $400 each in fines. That’s nothing, of course, compared with the punishment the Dominion plant will inflict on the environment. If completed, the plant will emit 5.3 million tons of CO2 a year into the atmosphere, roughly the equivalent of putting a million more cars on the road.
The future of coal will dictate the future of the climate. Plants in the U.S. that burn this low-cost, high-carbon fuel account for about 40% of the country’s greenhouse-gas emissions, not to mention other air pollutants. Right now there are about 600 coal power plants in the U.S., and an additional 110 are in various stages of development. Without ways to capture the carbon burned in coal and sequester it underground, new plants all but guarantee billions of tons of future carbon emissions and essentially negate efforts to reduce global warming. “Business as usual can’t continue as long as coal is destroying the climate,” says Hannah Morgan, 20, one of the Dominion 11. “We are not going to back down.” Continue reading