Views on commodities and energy
Environmental groups call “clean” coal a fairy tale
What do Bigfoot, a mermaid, an alien from outer space, and clean coal all have in common?
None of them exist, according to several environmental groups.
Organizations such as the League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Wildlife Federation have launched a multi-million dollar media onslaught aimed at knocking down claims that power can be generated from coal now in an environmentally safe manner. The so called “reality” campaign features a television commercial with a man touting “clean coal technology” in a barren field and print ads with fictional creatures holding lumps of coal. The message of the ads is “In reality, there’s no such thing as clean coal.”
How to handle America’s abundant coal supply is likely to remain a contentious issue as U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s incoming administration tackles climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Coal-fired power plants generate about half of U.S. electricity supplies, and account for about 40 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions — the biggest single industrial source.
Obama has expressed support for the development of technology that would allow coal-burning power plants to trap and store carbon dioxide rather than releasing it into the atmosphere. Such technology is commercially untested and currently economically nonviable.
Coal industry trade groups, such as the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, say that they are committed to carbon reduction strategies and coal power is necessary to provide Americans with affordable electricity.
Until the carbon capture and storage technology is developed, however, environmentalists behind the Reality Coalition say on their website “coal will remain a major contributor to the climate crisis.”