And the bad news for coal / good news for humanity just keeps rolling in.

According to a new poll (PDF):

75 percent of Americans — including 65 percent of Republicans, 83 percent of Democrats and 76 percent of Independents — would "support a five-year moratorium on new coal-fired power plants in the United States if there was stepped-up investment in clean, safe renewable energy — such as wind and solar — and improved home energy-efficiency standards."

This is nice too:

Only 15 percent of Americans think the federal or state governments should be investing in "converting U.S. coal into diesel fuel or synthetic natural gas." By contrast, 66 percent of Americans — including 53 percent of Republicans, 75 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of Independents — said "if the government is going to invest in an energy solution, it should be in renewable technologies such as wind and solar … and only in the context of conservation steps designed to eliminate the wasting of energy."

Just to twist the knife, here’s a bit from the E&E writeup (sub. rqd.):

While the survey asked if respondents would favor phasing out coal plants in favor of wind and solar power, it did not mention the possibility of using technology to capture and sequester coal plants’ carbon dioxide emissions. CSI senior fellow Gail Pressberg said they did not include carbon sequestration as an option because “it’s not yet a scientifically proven method.”

“We didn’t see any point in talking about it yet,” Pressberg said.

Ha. That’ll make coal boosters howl, but it’s exactly right. The coal industry is trying to win present-day support on the basis of largely hypothetical and extraordinarily expensive future technology. The media’s done a horrible job calling them on it, but it’s about time they started.