- House and Senate negotiators reach two-year budget deal
- Congress seeks ban on in-flight calls
- Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy site sold to owners of Townhall, HotAir: report
- GM’s Barra to be first woman to run top American carmaker
- China: Poisonous smog is a military asset, if you think about it
- Texas woman admits to sending ricin to Obama
- Ron Paul on son Rand: ‘I think he probably will’ run for president
- Cold War heats up again in the Arctic: Russian airfield reactivated after 20 years
- 6-year-old boy suspended for sexual harassment over kiss
- Voters deciding Mass. congressional contest
Groups spend millions in ‘clean coal’ ad war
Interest groups spending tens of millions of television ad dollars in a fight over carbon emissions and the existence of “clean coal.”
Coal industry magnates, who would lose big if new pollution standards are signed into law, spent between $35 million and $45 million on advertising this year - most of it on television ads aired during the 2008 campaigns - pitching “clean coal” as a new environmentally friendly fuel.
But the concept of “clean coal” is somewhat nebulous - it encompasses a number of techniques for reducing pollution by chemically washing coal or capturing and storing emissions - and the most effective technology, carbon sequestration, is still 10-15 years from being built for American plants.
The marketing campaign, as well as a relatively low investment in researching “clean coal” technologies according to one study, have environmentalists and liberal think tanks calling foul on the coal companies.
To that end, environmentalists led by former Vice President Al Gore launched a counter-attack earlier this month, buying advertising disputing industry claims that “clean” coal exists. Spokesmen for different groups involved in the campaign did not immediately answer questions about how much money was being spent on their advertising campaign, but have called it a multi-million dollar effort in previous comments.
The Reality Coalition launched a second television ad Monday, a parody of a coal executive smelling a lump of “clean coal,” which leaves a black smudge on his nose as he deadpans for the camera.
“Clean coal” supporters say the fact that carbon sequestering technology is not market-ready nationally is not in dispute, and that the environmentalists have put words in their mouths.
“There are all kinds of options we’re pursuing,” said Joe Lucas, senior vice president for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy, a group of 48 coal companies and power plants that have spent heavily on the “clean coal” marketing campaign.
“The industry is stepping up to help with carbon reduction, that includes educating the public about why investing in new technologies is very important,” Mr. Lucas said.
President-elect Barack Obama has supported investing in “clean coal” technology. The Center for American Progress (CAP), a liberal think tank with deep ties to the incoming Obama administration, however skewered coal supporters in a study released Monday.
The coal industry’s marketing campaign is akin to American carmakers lobbying strategy that led to the need for a bailout, said Dan Weiss, who co-authored the study on how much the coal industry has spent advertising and lobbying for clean coal, versus how much it has spent on research.
“They spend very little in research and spend a lot of money in trying to convince people not to make them do anything,” Mr. Weiss said on a conference call with reporters. “The hypocrisy comes in when you look at what they’re actually doing.”
Mr. Weiss estimates that for every $17 members of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy earned in profits in 2007, they spent $1 on researching carbon reduction technologies.
But the CAP report had one coal supporter laughing at its premise.
“These are silly reports; they’re nitpicking little reports that pull a datapoint out and make a big issue out of something that is largely irrelevant,” said Frank Maisano, spokesman for the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, a coalition of utilities and transportation companies.
“They haven’t grappled with the reality that coal is a major part of keeping the lights on in this country,” he said.
About the Author
Tom LoBianco has covered energy and environmental policy, including the climate change bill making its way through Congress. From 2007 to 2008, he covered Maryland politics from the Times’s Annapolis bureau. Tom hold’s a master’s degree in political science from Northeastern University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park. He spent two and a ...
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Harry Reid's visa pressure cooker
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Obama's antics at Nelson Mandela tribute: Jovial conversation, handshake with Raul Castro
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
A column dedicated to discussing politics, national security, civil liberties, and education.
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
The “Silver Tsunami” created by aging Baby Boomers is hitting America. Let’s explore how we adjust to it, enjoy it and defy negative expectations about age.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow