Coal’s PR Hacks Even More Embarrassing Than You Thought

You have to feel for Vic Svec. He’s a senior vice president at Peabody Energy, the largest private coal producer on earth, and it’s apparently his job to be wheeled out whenever there’s any threat of action on global warming. After James Hansen’s recent Senate testimony, Svec sent this statement to the New York Times:

Blaming big oil and big coal for the broad array of opinions about climate change is disingenuous. If [Hansen] would imprison those who don’t march in lockstep with his views, the jails would be very, very big. It would include thousands of scientists and university professors and the likes of the president of the Czech Republic, a former founder of Greenpeace and the former founder of The Weather Channel.

Here’s John Coleman, the “former” founder of the Weather Channel, giving his fascinating views on climate change:

Here is the deal about CO2, carbon dioxide…I estimate that this square in front of my face contains 100,000 molecules of atmosphere. Of those 100,000 only 38 are CO2; 38 out of a hundred thousand. That makes it a trace component. Let me ask a key question: how can this tiny trace upset the entire balance of the climate of Earth? It can’t. That’s all there is to it; it can’t.

Here’s how I imagine the meeting went as Vic Svec huddled with his staff to draft the New York Times statement:

SVEC: We need three names on our side.

LACKEY: We’ve got Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic.

SVEC: Great. Just make sure he doesn’t start talking about the dangers of “homosexualism.”

LACKEY: And then there’s Patrick Moore, the Greenpeace guy.

SVEC: Didn’t Moore just say we have to stop using fossil fuels due to the threat of global warming? And that “coal causes the worst health impacts of anything we are doing today”?

LACKEY: Eh, who cares. No one will notice except the losers who fuck around on blogs.

SVEC: Ha! Got that right. And who’s number three?


LACKEY: Yeah, that’s the thing. We’re having trouble getting to three.

SVEC: What about Charles Manson? Our focus groups just remember his name, not why they remember it.

MINION: He doesn’t want to be associated with us anymore. Says it hurts his credibility.

SVEC: How about that monkey we’d been training to talk?

LACKEY: He won’t do it either. He told the trainer he felt like we’re insulting his intelligence.

SVEC: Shit. Don’t tell me we’re going to have to go with that Weather Channel moron.

[long pause]

SVEC: Son of a bitch. All right, let’s saddle up.

MINION: One last thing, just looking at the text—how can people be “former” founders of Greenpeace and the Weather Channel?

SVEC: Jesus Christ, do I have to teach you people everything? You obviously don’t understand the first thing about SCIENCE!