Activists Storm the Stage at DC Coal-to-Liquids Conference

Today seven activists are facing a crowd of some of the world’s biggest proponents of coal-based energy at the World Coal-to-Liquids Conference 2009 in Washington, DC.


The group, acting as Rising Tide DC, interrupted the planned panel discussion to interject some ideas of their own about the environmental detestation caused by coal technologies. The panel, which began at 4:30 pm, includes representatives of Chevron, the World Coal Institute, the World Petroleum Council, and Consol Energy.

Coal-to-Liquids technologies release excessive amounts of carbon dioxide, much more than the process to refine petroleum. In order to put a clean face on the obviously dirty technology, the industry relies on carbon sequestration — an unproven and unreliable concept. This conference joins together dozens of companies who are willingly taking a step backwards in the energy field rather than joining in the progress of clean energy.

“Its time to stop investing in false solutions. We are facing a climate crisis. It is time to stand up and fight for a sustainable future,” said Emma Cassidy of DC Rising Tide.


The group has unfurled a banner reading “Coal Takes Lives,” a play on the conference’s name, CTL 2009. Two activists made short speeches to the crowd before being escorted out. Others are still waiting on deck.


After filibustering the meeting for roughly 30 minutes, all activists have been escorted off the premises. No arrests have been made.

Photos and video of the action will be available shortly.

Press photo via CTL 2009

8 thoughts on “Activists Storm the Stage at DC Coal-to-Liquids Conference”

  1. I was an attendee at the conference, and the protesters were viewed not only as rude, but basically as naive and uninformed.

    The attendees were mostly engineers, scientists, university professors, and others (including the US Dept. of Energy) trying to find advanced solutions to the use of coal.

    As the recent MIT study reveals, if the world wants to achieve lower CO2 emissions, not only the US, but the rest of the world must find a solution to deal with CO2 from coal plants. China has surpassed the US in CO2 emissions, and other developing nations will turn to coal as well. As a result current analyses indicate that CO2 levels will increase from 29 billion metric tons of CO2 in 2006 to 40.4 metric tons in 2030.

    So rather than be disruptive with a handful of students, only to be the outstanding joke of the conference, I suggest they start building renewable projects that can compete with coal, or get out to the way so that the leaders of the industry can find the solutions we need, like carbon sequestration, co-firing biomass, increased efficiency, and other technologies that will lower emissions no only in the US, but will serve as a template for the rest of the world.

  2. Recent H2 and O2 gas production from solar cells, biologicals, and catalysts have moved the Hydrogen economy forward greatly. Algae based bio-diesel is pushing hard against GM crafted prejudice against the 40% more efficient “Blue Tech” Bio-diesel engines from Europe. Tesla has dealt a decisive blow to the oil folks with its latest model sedan. California’s new “hidden carbon tax” laws are outlawing large piston engine gas-hogs as we speak. China intends exporting its new “Volt” knock-off, now a practical reality, driving on the streets of Shanghai, not vapor-ware in a P.R. office designed to bilk government money. It is a plug-in battery and gas car that gets exceptional mileage. The people who pay car ownership expenses just to get to and from work are beginning to feel undually taxed by this, and no longer enjoy “donating” their driving time and capital investment in a car to the “Status Quo” at their expense, when even the “Slaves” in Chinese factories get free dorms and food for their on-shift cycles! The current system has grown from lack of planning and a free-for-all set of notions into a dehumanizing grid-locked nightmare of living rooms on wheels sitting idling while we wait for a serial system of lights and intersections to suck us dry and broke! Man the buses, get the trains out! Demand longer shifts with longer off-days, demand in-factory free food, showers, dorms, and medical care – paid for by the fvcking corporations, not us! Get out your Union cards, march on government halls and change this rape of our salaries, We earn it, we spend it on us-not foreign interests forcing us to buy oil! Driving patterns will surly change radically when the biggest rip-off of wages ever is revealed to the people! Damn Right! Coal? gasoline? we don’t need it, we need organization, brothers and Sisters, and mass rallies and Change Obama never thought possible! and we need it Now, to get out of the goddamn great republican depression and back on track! To Hell with coal!

  3. It is very difficult to seperate the importation of imported oil from the issue of domestic coal. Both are a hazard…

    When the carbon dioxide is captured from the buring of coal (clean coal), what happens to the carbon dioxide…How is the carbon dioxide dispossed?

  4. Mark, we chose not to publicize this action for obvious reasons; it would be self-defeating to leak information that would inevitably get to the conference planners and police. This was a deliberate decision, and I think reflects well upon our effectiveness, as just the seven of us (plus a great support team) were able to disrupt a conference room in which we were far outnumbered.

    This action had great “leadership;” not in the authoritarian sense of the word, as we operate on consensus-based decision making, but in that we had really bright people coming together with great visions that we were able to synthesize and act upon.

    Maybe you should attempt to organize a similar action; if you can get 700 people involved without broadcasting the event to the cops, then feel free to come in here and judge other folks who are actually getting things done.

  5. 7 whole activists! Young people today are too scared or too self interested. When 700 or 7000 show up, maybe something will be done about it. Activists need better leadership and better communication.

  6. If I put 1 started gas car in a closed garage, after 10 minutes every breathing creature would be dead. My PLANET in my garage. Basic science. LET US GO GREEN NOW, PLEASE. AIR is worth more than money.

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