How things really are: cutting through the spin . . .
The ‘Clean Coal’ Con
So-called ‘clean coal’ is based on the capture and storage of carbon dioxide from the combustion of coal. It is commercially unproven. No one can say with certainty that it will ever work or be affordable. If it does work, even the backers of ‘clean coal’ admit that it will not be available for at least 15 years, which is too late to avert a climate catastrophe.
Current cost estimates for ‘clean coal’ make it more expensive than wind and retrofitting existing power stations would be impractical. There are no confirmed suitable geological sites in NSW for burial of coal residues.
‘Clean coal’ is a marketing term, not a technological reality. Read more about the 'clean' coal con here.
Jobs in Hunter mines
Jobs in Hunter mines have fallen from 10,000 in 1990 to about 6800 in 2003, according to New South Wales government figures, while production has doubled. For every unit of energy produced by conventional fossil fuels, we could create three to five more jobs in renewable energy than we have in coal. 
Between 1996 and 2001, the number of coal mining jobs in the Lower Hunter fell to 3,560 : a drop of 27%. In the rest of the Hunter, the number fell 18% to 2,443. Mining of all kinds (which is mostly coal) makes up just 2% of employment in the Lower Hunter (or 4,099 jobs), and 8% in the rest of the Hunter (2,717 jobs). 
Greenpeace analysis shows that the global cost of coal was at least €360 billion last year alone, by looking at very modest CO2 damage costs, health costs and mining accidents. Today, coal is used to produce nearly 40% of the world’s electricity. However, burning coal is one of the most harmful -hence expensive - practices on the planet. (Nov 2008). Download the Greenpeace report “The True Cost of Coal” by clicking here
The Baseload Deception
Coal and nuclear advocates – and ill-informed politicians – claim that renewable energy cannot provide ‘baseload power’ and use this assertion to justify building new power stations. They could not be more wrong.
Geothermal, solar thermal and wind can provide energy reliably. Locating wind generators in a diversity of sites smooths out fluctuations. Much of the so-called baseload demand has been deliberately created because turning off large coal-fired generators when they are not needed is expensive and difficult.
Phasing in solar hot water to replace off-peak electric systems would remove the need for any new baseload power in NSW for many years to come.
Read more from Green's MLC John Kaye concerning the baseload mythe here . . .
or click here to consult John Kaye's "No new coal - no electricity privatisation" campaign web-site.
3/4 of mining profits go off-shore
Four foreign-owned multinationals dominate Australia's coal industry: BHP Billiton, Xstrata, Rio Tinto and Anglo-American. They produce 72 per cent of Australia's coal. So most of our coalmining profits disappear overseas. In 10 years, coal industry employment has fallen, while exports have boomed and coal prices skyrocketed. 
The “Safe Nuclear Power” Myth
Nuclear power is promoted as a greenhouse solution. But the risks and costs of nuclear energy are huge. Despite 50 years and billions of dollars of research, there is still no solution to the waste problem. The costs are so high that massive subsidies would be necessary. Nuclear power stations are uninsurable.
Nuclear power is not carbon neutral. Mining, milling and enrichment of uranium uses lots of energy and water and produces significant greenhouse gases.
When low quality ore is used, all that will be left after a few decades, the energy consumed in preparing the fuel can become so great that the nuclear fuel cycle will emit more CO2 than an equivalent gas-fired power station.
Carbon Trading: the Devil’s in the Detail
Putting a price on emissions is important because it creates fairer competition between energy sources and sends a signal to consumers. Carbon taxes are the simplest and most effective way of achieving this.
A well-designed cap-and-trade scheme can work, but initial permits must be auctioned off, not given away to heavy polluters; the price penalty for exceeding the cap must be high enough to enforce compliance; total emissions under the scheme must decrease every year and there must be no exemptions for heavy industry.
Voluntary Carbon Offset Swindles
Many offset schemes are nothing more than marketing hype to deceive well-meaning people, with some making consumers pay more for activities that would happen anyway.
Offsets involving tree planting to soak up CO2 are particularly problematic.
Under current regulations, there is no guarantee that a plantation will not be cut down and it is very difficult to calculate the quantity of CO2 locked up. Any offset programs should be tightly regulated by the government to ensure they live up to their promises.