I opened my inbox the other day and thought I must be dreaming: the venerable progressive organization MoveOn is taking on coal-to-liquids (CTL). This is from an email they sent to their over three million members on Wednesday:

In the next few weeks, Congress could vote to DOUBLE the amount of greenhouse gases America produces from our cars and planes.

It’s the greatest single threat to solving the climate crisis in a decade.

It sounds crazy. But Congress is rushing through a package that could lock us into liquid coal as our country’s new energy source for transportation. For every mile driven, coal-based fuels produce as much as twice as many greenhouse gases as petroleum. That means even a Prius would drive like a Hummer.

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The legislation would take billions in taxpayer dollars to build up to 10 more dirty coal plants, provide taxpayer subsidies when the fuel can’t compete on the open market, and guarantee that the government will buy this fuel no matter what.

The industry promises to clean up after itself, but "clean coal" doesn’t exist yet — it’s pure fiction. While some technology is being tested to capture the greenhouse gas before it goes into the air, no one knows if it will work. But the plants will be built regardless.

To make matters worse, the financial outlook on this technology is shaky, which means taxpayers could be left holding the bag. According to an MIT study, we could spend $70 billion to replace just 10 percent of current gasoline use. And by the time we bring the technology to market, it is likely that cheaper, cleaner fuels will be available for less money.

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These snake oil salesmen are in the Capitol in force — selling Congress a line that kicking our oil habit is easy if we just commit billions in taxpayer money to coal. And some in Congress are buying it — even folks who have been with us thus far on the climate crisis. But with this bill, they’re gambling with the future of our planet.


MoveOn has a petition against CTL. Please sign it. If they get a substantial number of signatures they’ll get good media coverage and some leverage to fight this madness in Congress.

Coal is the enemy of the human race. Sign the petition.