Friday, January 16, 2009

Can Coal Be Clean?

The new 'clean' coal ad campaign hauntingly resembles Joe Camel that was used to promote cigarettes more than 15 year ago. This Is Reality is a tool to educate people about the realities of coal power and to serve as an activist for change.

So how can you call something obviously dirty - clean? Moreover, get away with it and have the public believe it? Here are some facts from This Is Reality:

New coal industry ad: "Part One of clean coal has taken place in recent years, as billions of dollars in new technologies scrub away emissions."

The Reality: Burning coal is the dirtiest way we generate electricity. While federal regulations have required coal plants to reduce some pollutants, the industry has not prevented a single pound of CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere.

New coal industry ad: "America has more coal than any nation...The more we use it, the less we need to rely on foreign energy."

The Reality: America's most abundant energy resources are the sun and wind, which are limitless and free. The more we use those, the less we need to rely on foreign energy, carbon-polluting energy, or costly fuels.

New coal industry ad: "Eventually, carbon capture and storage will allow plants to recycle the CO2 back underground in deep storage or even oil fields, increasing US oil production..."

The Reality: Eventually perhaps. But there are roughly 600 coal plants producing electricity in the U.S. and not one of them captures and stores its global warming pollution.

Oddly enough, there are no homes in America powered by 'clean' coal. The EPA says CO2 emissions from U.S. coal-based electricity are greater than emissions from all the cars and trucks in America. Virtually all the new coal plants that have been proposed will, just like their predecessors, release 100 percent of the CO2 they produce into the atmosphere, where it will linger—and contribute to global warming.

Here is some food for thought: "An investment in wind power produces almost three times as many jobs as the same investment in coal power. And an investment in solar power produces almost four times as many jobs, and energy efficiency, almost thirty times as many jobs as coal power." Earth Policy Institute, November 2008

1 comment:

Adrian LaRoque said...

Stop of using coal would be the goal. Unfortunatly the use is over 60%. West Virginia suffers a lot with this demand.