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EDITORIAL: The war on coal

We’re all inconsiderate carbon polluters now

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We've had the war on inflation. The war on waste. The war on terror. There's even a war on women somewhere, though nobody has actually seen it. Now the World Bank is enlisting in the war on coal, following the White House in opposing the digging of affordable energy out of the earth. This is bad news for developing nations desperate for the cheap energy they need to climb out of poverty.

In all but "rare cases" the bank will henceforth reject any attempt by an impoverished country to finance a coal-fired power plant, the easiest energy source to exploit. The World Bank is eager to appease the zealots who believe that man exhaling carbon dioxide will damage the cosmos. Nations of the world must render carbon as a sacrifice lest terrible storms and disasters be unleashed upon the earth.

Daniel P. Schrag, an adviser to President Obama, cheers the administration's promotion of conflict. "Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they're having a war on coal," he tells the New York Times. "On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what's needed."

To avoid speaking plainly of the anti-coal agenda, the left consulted the Thesaurus again and came up with a new label to describe what ails us. Since the world, cantankerous and unpredictable old thing it is, isn't warming after all, so "global warming" was retired. The climate isn't changing, either, so "climate change" was sent to slogan paradise. Mr. Obama introduced the latest poll-tested phrase, "carbon pollution," in a speech the other day at Georgetown University. "This plan begins with cutting carbon pollution," said Mr. Obama, "by changing the way we use energy — using less dirty energy, using more clean energy, wasting less energy throughout our economy . Convince those in power to reduce our carbon pollution. Push your own communities to adopt smarter practices. Invest. Divest. Remind folks there's no contradiction between a sound environment and strong economic growth." (Anyone who breathes is a dirty rotter.)

By using the word "divest," the president gave tacit support to the fringe effort to persuade managers of university endowments, retirement accounts and government pension funds to withdraw funding from businesses tied to the affordable energy industry.

All's fair in (love and) war, so borrowing a tactic from the 1970s and '80s that persuaded university endowments, pension funds, retirement funds and government investments to divest from any company that did business with South Africa, the global warming/change/polluter troops could take billions of dollars from America's fossil-fuel companies, which are critical to economic growth. That would make the war on coal and other affordable energy sources very dicey, indeed.

Neither America nor the developing world can afford to wage this unnecessary war. Taking coal out of the power equation makes electricity more expensive, driving up the price for all goods and services. We can't afford that. Instead of waging war on coal, the World Bank and Mr. Obama should consider giving peace a chance.

The Washington Times

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