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    How to Make a Coal Company Lose $300 Million With a Single Email

    Written by

    Brian Merchant

    Senior Editor

    Here in the states at least, coal power is dying out fast. But in case you're keen to help speed the process along, what with all the catastrophic risks burning that stuff poses to the climate and all, perhaps you should take your cues from Jonathan Moylan, Australia's anti-coal activist du jour.

    All you have to do, it turns out, is whip up a fake press release announcing that a massive coal company of your choosing has been denied a $1 billion loan due to environmental malfeasance, and poof—said company's stock value evaporates like a pool of piss on a Saharan sand dune.

    That's what Moylan did, anyway. He released the following fabricated document, which purported to announce that ANZ bank had denied funds to a major Australian coal company.

    Whitehaven, the major Australian coal company in question, immediately lost $314 million in stock value. I mean, this thing just plummeted. It's kind of incredible. Shares are recovering now that the move was discovered to be a ruse, but the impact on the news cycle is permanent.

    It's yet another example of green activists exploiting the ultra elastic, micro-scoop hungry media environment to exact real-world impacts from straightforward digital sleight of hand. The Yes Men excel at this, of course, most recently with their 'malfunctioning oil rig replica' viral stunt lampooning Shell. Anonymous, meanwhile, is targeting TransCanada and other tar sands-involved companies, released private personal data online.

    Obviously, the coal and oil companies targeted are pissed. But considering the massive stores of capital they have at their disposal to run PR campaigns and lobby governments, these stunts are mere David-esque slingshot stones. And completely fair game.