This book examines five rhetorical strategies used by the US coal industry to advance its interests in the face of growing economic and environmental pressures: industrial apocalyptic, corporate ventriloquism, technological shell game, hypocrite’s trap, and energy utopia. The authors argue that these strategies appeal to and reinforce neoliberalism, a discourse and set of practices that privilege market rationality and individual freedom and responsibility above all else. As the coal industry has become the leading target and leverage point for those seeking more aggressive action to mitigate climate change, their corporate advocacy may foreshadow rhetorical strategies available to other fossil fuel industries as they manage similar economic and cultural shifts. The authors’ analysis of coal’s corporate advocacy also identifies contradictions and points of vulnerability in the organized resistance to climate action as well as the larger ideological formation of neoliberalism.
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