clean coal

Thu, 2008-10-16 11:08Kevin Grandia
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Report outlines major risks of "clean coal"

The Union of Concerned Scientists has released a report today outlining the considerable risks associated with so-called “clean coal” and carbon capture and storage technology (pdf.)

Clean coal has been a persistent theme throughout the US election, with presidential candidates on both sides of the political ledger touting the message that coal is somehow clean. As coal industry commentator and author Jeff Goodell puts it best: 

Clean coal” is not an actual invention, a physical thing – it is an advertising slogan. Like “fat-free donuts” or “interest-free loans.”

Mon, 2008-10-06 02:26Jeremy Jacquot
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Biden – Palin: Finally, A Real Debate about Climate Change and Energy

Would she or wouldn’t she? To tell from the lavish – some would say obsessive – coverage that preceded the vice-presidential debate in St. Louis, Missouri, last week, the question that was on every self-respecting pundit’s mind was: “How, or, to be more precise, how poorly, will Palin fare?”

Following a series of highly publicized interviews in which she had “distinguished” herself for her absolute lack of grasp of foreign and domestic policy issues – citing Alaska’s proximity to Russia and her whirlwind tour of Iraq as examples of her “substantial” experience.

Wed, 2008-09-03 14:18Kevin Grandia
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Grilling Clean Coal at the Republican Convention

Blogger Matt Stoller is at the Republican National Convention and he had the chance to ask members of the “coal is the best thing ever” team - bought and paid for by the coal industry - whether they thought coal is actually clean. 

No surprise that they had no idea:




Fri, 2008-08-29 12:09Emily Murgatroyd
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NY Time's Andy Revkin on the 'Allure of Clean Coal'

On his NY Time's DotEarth blog, journalist Andy Revkin writes:

This enduring notion — that the world can have its coal and climate, too, by pumping the carbon dioxide from combustion into the earth — has been promoted by institutions including Peabody Energy, the world’s biggest coal company (see its coal-sales ticker here), and the Natural Resources Defense Council. A group that pushed the clean-coal theme at the Democratic convention, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, will be heading to the Republican convention next week. Environmentalists have attacked the group as the latest in a string of industry propaganda mills.

Tue, 2008-08-26 11:11Kevin Grandia
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Clean Coal swag at Democratic Convention eliciting cynical repsonse

On the ground sources at the Democratic National Convention are telling us that people aren't buying the clean coal propaganda being shoveled out by a major coal industry front group at the event.
Tue, 2008-08-26 10:24Kevin Grandia
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Clean Coal propaganda at the Democratic Convention

People attending the Democratic National Convention in Denver this week are the target of a $2 million advertising and PR blitz by a coal industry-funded front group called the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) whose goal is to sell the idea that coal is somehow clean.
Tue, 2008-08-05 20:28Kevin Grandia
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Friends of Coal, Friends of Coal Industry

Readers have asked us to take a look at a West Virginian organization calling themselves the “Friends of Coal.”

According to their website, the Friends of Coal is a “… volunteer organization that consists of both West Virginians and residents from beyond our borders.” Sounds all very grassroots. Just a group of citizens joining together to cheer on the glories of coal.

For a volunteer organization Friends of Coal are very well-heeled - how many volunteer groups have a sponsored race car, run television ads and send logo-ed frisbees to the troops in Iraq?

Wed, 2008-07-30 20:41Page van der Linden
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Coal Industry's ACCCE mixes apples (coal) with oranges (wind)

Over at the Clean Coal Front Group Soapbox (er, blog), ACCCE Vice President of Communications Joe Lucas has a new post entitled:

All New Technologies Take Time to Develop

He basically claims that wind and solar power projects take an indefinite amount of time to become fully operational for commercial use, and therefore we shouldn’t be criticizing him and the “clean coal” industry for how long it will take carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) to become commercially feasible.

Simply put, his post is flat-out disingenous.

Here’s Lucas’ post:

A favorite sound bite from critics of the coal industry is that CCT and carbon sequestration aren’t viable energy solutions because they will take too long to develop. When pressed for an alternative, these critics repeat a mantra of their own: more wind, more solar.

And they’re right. We’re going to need every resource we’ve got to meet our future energy needs – wind and solar included. But just like clean coal technology, these renewables also need time for development. As we’ve discussed here before, we’re a long way from mass implementation of wind and solar power – there are still some kinks to work out.

Just this week it was announced that Oregon regulators have approved construction of a new wind farm that developers say could be the world’s largest. The only problem? They don’t know when it will be operational.

As we said, these things take time.

I contacted Jérôme Guillet, a wind energy expert, who has written multiple articles for the reality-based blogosphere. He had this to say about Mr. Lucas’ post:

[Since Lucas is] referring to that big Oregon windfarm that just got its permits, he’s chosen the wrong target. The longest part is usually the part before obtaining the permits - choosing the site, making wind measurements, asking for all the authorisations and permits, getting access to the land, etc… Once you have the permits, you’re usually less than a year or two from construction, which itself takes 6-12 months.

The article to which Lucas links is behind a subscription wall, so we have to do our own search for news about the Oregon wind farms. The wind farm is scheduled to go online in about two years, which goes along with Guillet’s statement.

Guillet continues:

So we’re talking a couple of years, a delay that could certainly be shortened if it were a real priority, because the project is, by then, designed, the technology is available and the construction is fairly simple. Comparing that to CCS which is not an industrially proven technology, where you’re talking about an unknown number of years before people will actually look at investing money into commercial projects, let alone build them, is patently silly.

Basically, if there are (or had been) any uncertainties with the Oregon project, they would have nothing to do with technical uncertainties; they would have to do with business logistics uncertainties.

Guillet nails it. Lucas’ assertions are silly.

Fri, 2008-07-11 09:51Emily Murgatroyd
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US coal jobs bleeding while renewable technology booms worldwide

While coal industry mouthpieces like the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity tout coal as the second-coming of Jesus for the United States, the latest Vital Signs report shows that coal industry employment has fallen by half in the last 20 years, despite a one-third increase in production. 

According to the new report out today by the Worldwatch Institute, a transition to renewable energy sources promises significant global job gains at a time when the coal industry has been hemorrhaging jobs for years.

Wed, 2008-06-25 20:45Page van der Linden
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Choice Words for James Hansen From Big Coal Exec

Andy Revkin's New York Times Dot Earth has published a letter from Vic Svec, Senior Vice President for Peabody Energy, the largest private coal company in the world, reacting to the statement made earlier this week by NASA's Dr. James Hansen that top executives of coal and oil companies should be tried for “crimes against humanity and nature.”

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