clean coal

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.”

Some Clean Coal Facts and Fiction on CNBC

CNBC's Mark Haines asks: “How Realistic is Clean Coal,” and Haines does a great job off the top by pointing out that his guest, Steve Miller of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), is funded by the coal industry.

This type of disclosure is important, as it provides viewers with some valuable context when hearing what Mr. Miller has to say. As Miller states on the show, his organization ACCCE is funded by:

“The coal producers, railroads and other transporters, generators… we got them all, manufacturers as well.”

Rick Santorum's dirty words

November 7, 2006 was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day for a lot of Republicans. It's the day the Democrats won the majority in the US Senate and House. Über-conservative Republican Senator Rick Santorum was one of the Republicans who lost his seat that day; it was the “largest margin of defeat for an incumbent Senator since… 1980.” Ouch .

Determined not to be relegated to the “where are they now?” column, Santorum has been keeping his conservative fan club happy with his semi-regular opinion pieces in the Philadelphia Inquirer. He pontificates on his favorite subjects, like “family values ” and “evildoers “.

However, today Santorum digresses, and puts on his “clean coal” salesman hat.

General Electric Press Release Claims CO2 "a possible" Factor in Climate Change

Coal-energy powerhouse General Electric states in a May 28th, 2008 press release that “C02 is a possible contributing factor to climate change.”

This claim by General Electric, one of the largest power producers in the world, was made despite the scientific evidence, and the world's governments (including the US) now in agreement that greenhouse gas emissions caused by the burning of fossil fuels are heating our planet.

Say Goodbye and Adios "Clean Coal"

A few days ago, the ACCCE released a new, stunningly vague advertisement called “Adios,” that is somehow supposed to put America's mind at ease, and/or scare us about a future without coal. Here's the video, and the text:

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