There is no such thing as "clean coal!"
December 23, 2008-Reality Coalition offers new ad to combat 'clean coal" tripe-by John Blair, valleywatch.net editor. First it was American for Balanced Energy Choices (ABEC). That grew into American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity which has spent most of 2008 and millions of dollars in a futile effort to convince people that clean coal is not a contradiction in terms.
Nearly everyone knows that there is no such thing as "clean" coal. At least those people who are not given campaign cash by the coal and utility industry or those who depend on coal for their livelihood.
It is really simple to understand that coal mining alone is filthy, destroying entire ecosystems as forests are cut and the earth scarred by huge machines.
But then coal is burned leaving a legacy of acid rain, fine particles, ozone formation which results in the death of humans and other species.
And, even when it is "gasified," the supposed cleaner way to consume the black carbon laden mineral, it still emits a stream of climate change causing carbon dioxide at as ratio of about two pounds of CO2 for every pound of coal consumed.
When it is used up, there remains gigantic piles of waste, sometimes a sludge, sometimes a solid but always a mix of foul chemical concoctions that find their way to ground water and streams which people, animals and vegetation need simply to survive.
Sometimes bad things happen to those waste products, like the waste "ash pond" that collapsed yesterday in Roane County, TN, burying or flooding at least a dozen nearby homes.
To answer the ridiculous claims of "killer coal" and it minions, a coalition of several big enviro groups, have set out to set the record straight with an advertising campaign of their own. Calling themselves, ThisisReality.org.
In recent days, the airwaves have been loaded with a commercial depicting a desert scene that is supposed to be a clean coal plant. While that commercial is sarcastic on the surface and requires the viewer to "get it" that clean coal does not exist, seeing it enough will surely persuade most viewers.
Now, the coalition has produced a new ad, shown above as a YouTube movie. It is called Smudge because the coal executive depicted smudges his nose when trying to convince viewers that coal even smells good.
As an organization that has long fought new coal plants and demanded that mining be done in more responsible ways, Valley Watch is kind of disappointed that so much money is being spent on advertising that is sarcastic or cute.
Instead, we would prefer a more direct approach that shows the real Reality of strip mining and its effects on the earth. Or, perhaps, a kid who is profoundly mentally retarded because his mother consumed fish that were contaminated with mercury emitted from a nearby coal plant.
Perhaps those harder hitting commercials will come later, Who knows? But in the meantime, we all must do everything we can to reduce or eliminate coal from our energy mix. Clean coal does not exist and never will. It harms our health. It harms our planet and yes, it stinks.
All that talk about carbon capture and sequestration must be understood in context. After all, coal is God's and nature's method of capturing and storing carbon and it is arrogant for any of us to think we can improve upon that.