Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

Power Consumers Nationwide Tell Peabody to Clean Up Its Act on Climate Change
May 4, 2006

Over 8,000 consumers across the country tell Peabody Energy that coal is not “clean”

Washington, DC— Letters with over 8,000 consumer signatures were sent to Peabody Energy today by Co-op America, a national nonprofit consumer and investor education organization.  Thousands more will continue to be sent in coming months. Consumers are telling Peabody, the world’s largest coal company, to seriously address climate change and halt plans to build new coal-fired power plants, including so-called “clean coal” technology. The letters were sent to Peabody on the eve of its annual general meeting with shareholders. 

“As a major energy company that accounts for 10% of all US energy, Peabody has a special responsibility to change the way it’s doing business and take account of climate change,” said Alisa Gravitz, Executive Director of Co-op America. “Coal can never be “clean.” From its mining, to burning it in power plants, coal is simply an unsafe and dirty source of energy.  Consumers across the country are urging Peabody to move away from coal and invest in truly clean sources of energy, such as solar and wind.  This move will be good for the environment and for the long-term performance of the company.”

Shareholders have been encouraging Peabody and America’s energy companies to improve their record on climate change.  In response to shareholder resolutions, Peabody recently agreed to issue a report on how the company is responding to rising regulatory, competitive, and public pressure to significantly reduce carbon dioxide and other emissions from the company's current and proposed power plant operations.

“Energy companies say that they never hear from their consumers on climate change issues,” said Todd Larsen, Co-op America’s Climate Change Program Director. “Today, Peabody is hearing from over 8,000 of them, and the message is quite clear: Peabody needs to address climate change and stop promoting coal as a clean energy source. This call for change serves Peabody’s long-term interests.  One hundred fifty years ago, people involved in the whale oil trade might have laughed at calls to move into new technologies, but then the world passed them by. Peabody is at an analogous place now, when truly clean energy technologies are about to take off, and they will be left behind.”

The letter to Peabody’s CEO, Gregory Boyce, located at /takeaction/coalpower/, says in part: “The best way to respond to shareholder concerns on climate change is for your company to halt plans to build coal-fired power plants and to stop misleading the public, and spending public money, on "clean coal" technologies, such as the FutureGen Alliance project…. I urge your company to invest in solar and other renewable energy technologies as a way of meeting growing consumer demand for energy. Energy efficiency technologies must also be funded and deployed. Only renewable energy and conservation will provide our country with energy security, reduce global warming, and create competitive jobs for years to come.”

Similar letters from thousands of consumers were presented to Dominion Resources at its annual meeting last week on April 28, 2006.  At the meeting, a shareholder resolution asking Dominion to report out on its response to climate change issues received 22.5 percent of the vote, up from 8.3 percent last year.

About Co-op America: Co-op America is a nonprofit membership organization founded in 1982 that harnesses economic power—the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace—to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. Co-op America’s membership alliance includes more than 75,000 consumers, investors and business leaders. www.greenamerica.org

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