Al Gore Takes on Clean Coal

by: Matt Stoller

Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 13:21

Even as King Coal is trying to put a $6 billion coal plant in Virginia, Al Gore and a whole lot of DC green groups are beginning a campaign to point out that there is no such thing as clean coal.  Their web site is This is Reality.  This is part of a larger movement to wean us off of fossil fuels, which Congresswoman Donna Edwards has already endorsed.  

The Reality campaign is the first TV campaign to go after the coal industry directly, and hopefully it will demystify this industry's power.

Matt Stoller :: Al Gore Takes on Clean Coal

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"Clean Coal" is just PR baloney (4.00 / 2)
King Coal's PR dollars were well spent on promoting the "Clean Coal" brand but it's PR, not science.  "Clean Coal" is like "Healthy Cancer" or "Painless Tooth Extraction" -- it just doesn't exist.  The industry is going to spend like crazy to promote "Clean Coal" -- who do you trust?

Glad to see this. (4.00 / 1)
Clean coal is an oxymoron today.  It's fine with me if they do research, but we're years away from it.  It's just greenwashing.

This is the kind of thing (4.00 / 1)
that progressives should be transferring all that leftover election energy to. It's an extremely complex issue involving energy independence, employment, environment, and whether to go all-out for renewable energy development or fall back on "clean coal" and/or nuclear.

Today, partly in response to pressure from environmental groups, Bank of America announced it is phasing out financing coalco mountaintop removal as a mining technique. There's still a long way to go, but this could prove a turning point in the fight against coalco impunity. It's a good foundation for the left to build on if we want to develop genuine political power independent of political party.

Great comment (0.00 / 0)
1) I am so happy about this ad and what it implies
2) B of A...very interesting.  Maybe the financing of environmentally destructive industrial practices could be pursued a la divestment from Sudan?  Approach boards of directors with moral pleas?

[ Parent ]
Praise for NRDC (0.00 / 1)
According to the Kos diary on this topic, it was all about the NRDC meeting of Bank of America bigwigs and doing a fact-finding tour.

Stoller, you rag on the NRDC a lot (not a problem in and of itself) but this seems like a good moment to praise some very forward-looking work by a national organization.

[ Parent ]
Al Gore is a hypocrite... (0.00 / 0)
Elitist Al Gore's mansion uses 20 times more coal than the average American's. Now he wants to stop other people from using as much energy as they want? He is completely discredited from having any opinion on energy use. What a blatant hypocrite!

And you are (0.00 / 0)
either a troll or an inept parodist.  

[ Parent ]
Gosh, what a Terrible Ad, UCK, Awful (0.00 / 0)
I can't fully express how awful that ad is.  It is confusing.  What is the connection with the desert and the lie that is "clean coal".  It is a terrible waste.  Sorry, but that ad is bad -- it says nothing.  

This isn't Gore's finest hour (0.00 / 0)
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, i.e. the I.P.C.C. wrote a "Special Report on Carbon Capture and Storage".  This report is one of the foundations of the belief that many have that carbon capture is worth pursuing.  

Gore is simply wrong. His line that carbon capture is "not anywhere close to being reality" or that it is nothing more than "a cynical and self-interested illusion", contradicts the IPCC who say the technology is "economically feasible under specific conditions" right now.  The "specific conditions" are either a carbon tax as in Norway, or a niche market for liquid CO2 as in enhanced oil field recovery schemes involving injection of CO2.  No new technology needs to be developed.  All that is needed for widespread implementation is to start building the full scale plants.  The reason no one is doing it is no one wants to pay.  This is the last step in bringing any new promising technology onstream.  The way Gore is talking, carbon capture is still at some early research stage.  Its preposterous.  

The IPCC all have Nobel prizes for promoting awareness of climate change, just as Gore does.  The main difference is that the IPCC are very conservative scientists who don't say anything unless they can agree.  When they can agree on something, what they say is very authoritative.  


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