AUTHOR’S NOTE: I originally wrote this as satire. But now I fear that some sly coal lobbyist will use this tactic to garner support for building even more greenhouse gas-emitting, coal-fired power plants.
(Taps mic. Clears throat. Speaks loud.) “Members of the City Council, on behalf of South Side Coal Energy I would like to thank you all for allowing us to speak about opening up a brand new coal-fired power plant in your city. (A screeching sound rings out from the sound system).
“As you know, a coal-fired power plant can bring many economic benefits to your community….” (Shouts heard in the background: “Climate change is real!” “Clean coal is a myth!)
(City council president bangs gavel to restore order.)
“Let me cut right to the chase. You need coal energy because of two words: Climate and Change. That’s right. We at South Side Coal know that climate change is real. The planet is getting hotter. We are here to help.
“Last summer, your city had an unparalleled heat wave in which a lot of people died. Why? Because, according to your mayor, let’s see if I have the exact quote here.” (Shuffles papers.) “Here it is (spoken staccato): ‘We had no plan. How could we know something like this would happen?’
(Shakes head in dismay. Speaks in somber tone.)“Now it’s time for a plan. No more throwing your hands up in the air. No more ignorance. South Side Coal Energy can help.
“Because of climate change—that’s right, I said it—your city will have more extreme heat events.
“Now, I know that some of you,” (looks to protestors in the back row), “may say coal-fired power plants are contributing to the climate crisis… and you may be right. But you must acknowledge that here in this city, you have a looming public health crisis. Heat waves will get worse.
“Unlike the previous administration, you must be prepared.
“Energy from coal is a time-tested, affordable way to get more energy in the right now so you don’t experience another heat-related human disaster like you did last summer.
“We at South Side Coal are committed to doing everything we can to make sure your citizens, your places of business, and your hospitals have access to affordable and ample electricity to power your air conditioning during these heat waves.
“South Side Coal will help your city achieve its goal of eliminating human suffering during the next heat wave. In so doing we could even be saving the life of the very person who will go on to solve the global climate crisis.
“For the sake of every citizen in your city, I implore you to support South Side Coal. Thank you.”