PolluterWatch Exclusive: The Many Faces of Fred Palmer
Today, PolluterWatch infiltrated a briefing sponsored by coal industry front group, the United States Energy Association. The event featured notorious climate denier and Peabody Coal shill Fred "I'm just a lawyer" Palmer. The briefing, held in front of close to one hundred administration officials, energy policy wonks, and Congressional staff, was an unchallenged opportunity for Palmer to greenwash the coal industry, promote fabricated science, and paper over his own statements from the recent past.
While he didn't win any awards for "truthiness" during his 45-minute presentation, Palmer proved his mettle as an effective coal propagandist and impressed us with how deeply he believes his own spin about Peabody's dirty product. Below are a few of our favorite moments from his rich presentation.
Palmer the Born Again "Greenie"
Perhaps the most interesting "lump" from this coal sales pitch was the introduction of the term "green coal." It seems that despite having spent hundreds of millions of dollars branding the term "clean coal," Peabody and friends are now hoping to convince policymakers and the public that their product is "green."
Fred Palmer tries to die dirty coal a dark shade of green. No one falls for it.
Don't think of coal, just think of blue skies and green pastures.
The "coal is green" canard only works if you believe that greenhouse gasses are healthy for our planet and it inhabitants. Conveniently, Palmer actually does. Palmer spent 20 years running the Greening Earth Society, a group devoted to the laughable myth that increased coal and fossil fuel emissions will promote a bounty of biological growth and prosperity across the globe. Not long ago he was quoted, here saying that "every time you turn your car on and you burn fossil fuels and you put CO2 into the air, you're doing the work of the Lord."
Unfortunately, at today's presentation, Palmer sang a different tune, waxing poetic about the potential of "green coal" to cut emissions over the coming decades. Why, if dirty coal emissions are good for us, would Fred Palmer brag about his industry's supposed efforts to cut them? Since when is the "Lord's work" no longer worth doing?
Palmer the Philanthropist
The next revelation of the day was also quite the surprise - before he is a businessman or coal emissions enthusiast, Fred Palmer is a philanthropist.
That's right. Palmer wants to save the world's poor from "energy poverty." The reason, they are poor, he argues in several slides, is because we are not buying and burning enough of his company's product to keep them alive.
The solution, according to Palmer? "Green" Coal. It's hip, it's new, it's colorful. Just mix in some yellow sunshine and some soft blue sky, and you're ready to bring salvation to struggling populations all over the world. It turns out the fossil fuel industry's extensive propaganda campaign is rooted not in profit and greed, but rather in a deep concern for the world's poor.
Because it's "immoral to not touch coal."
Palmer the "Truth Teller"
If you're shocked and disappointed that Fred Palmer was permitted to spew his propaganda to influential government officials unchallenged today, feel fortunate at least that you didn't have to sit through it. We plan to focus some more time on his presentation in the near future, but in the meantime, we'll leave you with the last slide from Palmer, a poetic tribute to the power of dirty coal in our daily lives - no wonder he wears a coal lapel pin!
Coal is life.