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The Republican National Committee Just Officially Declared That Coal Is “Clean”

Well, that was easy!

 

This story was originally published by Grist and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

The Republican platform committee met in Cleveland the week before the Republican National Convention to hammer out the party’s policies in a Trump era. Not to be outdone by Democrats, who approved the party’s strongest platform language yet on climate change this weekend, Republicans have gone as far as possible in the other direction—by endorsing coal as clean.

After a unanimous vote on Monday, the RNC’s draft platform officially declares coal “an abundant, clean, affordable, reliable domestic energy resource.”

David Barton, a delegate from Texas, proposed the single-word edit to the RNC’s already-glowing list of adjectives on coal in its platform draft. “I would insert the adjective ‘clean’ along with coal, particularly because the technology we have now,” was Barton’s reasoning. (You can watch a clip of the vote on C-SPAN).

For years the coal industry—and at one point, even President Barack Obama—promoted the idea of “clean coal,” that expensive and imperfect carbon-capture-and-storage technology could someday make coal less terrible. But there’s no way it is clean.

The RNC language just happens to reflect the same talking points favored by the lobby group American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, which on its website calls coal “an affordable, abundant and increasingly clean domestic energy resource that is vital to providing reliable low-cost electricity.”

The RNC copied most of that language correctly, give or take a few words.

 

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WHO DOESN’T LOVE A POSITIVE STORY—OR TWO?

“Great journalism really does make a difference in this world: it can even save kids.”

That’s what a civil rights lawyer wrote to Julia Lurie, the day after her major investigation into a psychiatric hospital chain that uses foster children as “cash cows” published, letting her know he was using her findings that same day in a hearing to keep a child out of one of the facilities we investigated.

That’s awesome. As is the fact that Julia, who spent a full year reporting this challenging story, promptly heard from a Senate committee that will use her work in their own investigation of Universal Health Services. There’s no doubt her revelations will continue to have a big impact in the months and years to come.

Like another story about Mother Jones’ real-world impact.

This one, a multiyear investigation, published in 2021, exposed conditions in sugar work camps in the Dominican Republic owned by Central Romana—the conglomerate behind brands like C&H and Domino, whose product ends up in our Hershey bars and other sweets. A year ago, the Biden administration banned sugar imports from Central Romana. And just recently, we learned of a previously undisclosed investigation from the Department of Homeland Security, looking into working conditions at Central Romana. How big of a deal is this?

“This could be the first time a corporation would be held criminally liable for forced labor in their own supply chains,” according to a retired special agent we talked to.

Wow.

And it is only because Mother Jones is funded primarily by donations from readers that we can mount ambitious, yearlong—or more—investigations like these two stories that are making waves.

About that: It’s unfathomably hard in the news business right now, and we came up about $28,000 short during our recent fall fundraising campaign. We simply have to make that up soon to avoid falling further behind than can be made up for, or needing to somehow trim $1 million from our budget, like happened last year.

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