The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a right-wing think tank, has announced it is holding a counter-protest to the Capitol Climate Action, the biggest civil disobedience on climate issues in U.S. history. They’re calling it the “Celebrate Coal! and Keep Energy Affordable” rally.

A better name might be the “Celebrate 24,000 Dead Americans!” rally, because that’s how many people toxic pollution from coal-fired power plants kills every year, costing Americans $167 billion in additional health care costs.

Other titles CEI could have chosen:

Celebrate Unemployment! Coal kills jobs. Investments in energy efficiency create more than twice the number of jobs as investments in coal, according to the latest numbers from Professor Robert Pollin and Heidi Garrett-Peltier at the University of Massachusetts. Every dollar sunk into a coal plant, even if it’s spent making it marginally cleaner, is a job creation dollar almost half wasted. New coal plants are so expensive that they actually cost jobs.

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Celebrate Economic Collapse! As the biggest U.S. source of global warming pollution, coal is a major contributor to the $271 billion annual drag on the economy global warming is projected to cause by 2025 (it’s already causing a multi-billion drag). Unless we solve the climate crisis, it’s going to be that much harder to overcome our economic woes.

Celebrate Weather Disasters! Expect more intense (and possibly more frequent) hurricanes like Katrina and Rita in a global warming world — and many more climate refugees.

Celebrate Species Extinction! According to the journal Nature, “New analyses suggest that 15-37% of a sample of 1,103 land plants and animals would eventually become extinct as a result of climate changes expected by 2050.”

Celebrate Mercury Poisoning! Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of man-made mercury pollution. Mercury from coal pollution can interfere with the development of babies’ brains and neurological systems. One in six babies born in America (as well as Jeremy Piven) have elevated levels of mercury in their blood, putting them at risk of learning disabilities, developmental delays, and problems with fine motor coordination.

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If it was up to CEI, we would still have lead in our gasoline, no seatbelts in our cars, and more pesticides in children’s food. These are the guys who backed deregulation of Wall Street CEO’s — and are now opposing action on climate to get the economy back on track.

If Congress listens to CEI and Big Coal, we won’t be able to solve global warming, switch to clean energy, and create the millions of green jobs we need to put people back to work and restore prosperity.

You can help make sure they don’t by signing up for the Capitol Climate Action here.

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