Al Gore has called on young people to resist the construction of new coal-fired power plants through civil disobedience. Certainly, this is not a time where we should be viewing coal as an acceptable option for electrical generation, and there have been well justified civil disobedience efforts in response to far less pressing issues than climate change. Nonetheless, it would send a rather more powerful message if Gore was willing to personally get his hands dirty on the matter. He may be reasoning that actually participating in some kind of direct action would reduce his influence, by making him easier to label as an extremist. Nonetheless, there is more than a touch of hypocrisy on calling on young people to do something that you think is right, but are unwilling to do yourself.
In any case, actions that expose just how climatically destructive coal is – as well as the simple fact that states like Britain are still planning to build more such plants – would probably be a useful element in our overall response to the climate challenge.