On the anti-coal hippie trail

HOGSBACK has had a bellyful of public figures getting political or business mileage out of bagging coal.
On the anti-coal hippie trail On the anti-coal hippie trail On the anti-coal hippie trail On the anti-coal hippie trail On the anti-coal hippie trail

It seems political or business figures who want to prove their environmental bona fides with the local media just spout off against coal ad nauseum.

This week we were treated to bearded ex-hippie turned billionaire Virgin founder Richard Branson giving us unsolicited advice on how we should ditch coal and run our economy on renewables.

"I'm afraid that Australia must stop selling coal overseas to China and it must stop using coal in Australia," he told the Sydney Morning Herald. "It is the most damaging thing that it can do.

"I would suggest the Australian government create a revolution in clean energy, which can create thousands more jobs than coal could ever produce."

Branson has a long history of pulling off stunts to draw attention to his latest business venture.

What comes to mind is his cameo appearance in a go-kart in the video clip for XTC's 1980 hit Generals and Majors and his inane insistence that Michael Oldfield's instrumental masterpiece Tubular Bells - Virgin's very first record - should have vocals.

To make things worse, Branson sees himself as a pioneer of mass travel to outer space.

This would end up being an exorbitant user of fossil fuels and be even more destructive to the earth's atmosphere.

You don't see Branson telling the US or NASA to stop its space program because of the burning of all that rocket fuel is bad for the environment.

On the political front, Greens politicians went as far as branding the pro-coal members of the Australian government as "arsonists" and blaming them for the fires that are spreading across New South Wales and Queensland.

It must have seemed like a good sound bite at the time and it ensured that the Greens got airplay during the bushfires but at what cost to the truth?

As usual it is coal that is the whipping boy for all and sundry in need of a headline.

Hogsback reckons that if Aussie coal miners decided to take all this unsolicited advice to heart and give up on the coal industry, it would take more than a publicity stunt to get Australia back on track.