THE BLOG
04/20/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Busting the Clean Coal Bulls**t

"Clean coal" is not an actual invention, a physical thing - it is an advertising slogan. Like "fat-free donuts" or "interest-free loans." - Jeff Goodell

That was the money quote in an article by Jeff Goodell that he wrote as the first post of a new site I launched last year called Coal is Dirty. Our goal was to start to hammer back at the myth of clean coal.

Funnily enough, Google indexed Jeff's post so that it came up when you searched the phrase "clean coal bullshit." I actually got a couple of nasty comments about Jeff's use of the term, but he's a passionate guy on this subject and is as frustrated as many of us are about this multi-million dollar coal is clean spin job.

Since launching that blog and its poor little single page orphan Coal is Clean, the opposition has grown to this blatant attempt to greenwash and I wanted to share some of the great posts from other bloggers who are out there everyday helping to breakdown this manufactured myth.

How America Can Break Its Coal Addiction (Or: no, coal isn't necessary)

Very simply, 50% of US electricity comes from coal at this time. This is a serious portion of the overall US carbon load. It is also a major source of mercury and other pollutants worsening our lives. And, just remember, clean coal is like dry water -- it simply doesn't exist other than in advertising slogans.

Celebrate, C'mon! (Seriously, please c'mon)

Anti-coal protesters out on Monday: ~2,500 Pro-coal protesters out on Monday: 15 + the guy pictured in the link above.

On Monday afternoon, pro-coal activists like the impassioned young man shown in the above link gathered near Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. as part of a "Celebrate Coal!" counter-protest against a massive anti-coal rally taking place at the nearby Capitol Power Plant.

"Clean" Coal and "Healthy" Cigarettes - Coal Industry Huckster Won't Admit Burning Coal Causes Climate Change

Joe Lucas has a hard job. He's the PR huckster that heads up the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, the front group that shills for the coal industry.

The Myth of Clean Coal: Rest in Peace

It just goes to show you that even $10-20 million worth of advertising won't buy you love.

The "clean coal" myth was swamped this December and January by the coal ash spills in Tennessee and Alabama. Here are just some of the views on how the image of "clean coal" is now in tatters.

Canada Dumps Vital Renewable Energy Incentives for "Clean" Coal

Canada's Conservative government released a federal budget last week that would kill off the country's main program for developing renewables and channel most of the money from a new "Green Infrastructure Fund" into carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, or so-called clean coal.

The Coen Brothers Take On 'Clean' Coal

The Reality Coalition has a new campaign ad exposing the lie behind "clean" coal. This one was directed by Academy Award winning film makers, Ethan and Joel Coen, and includes the great line, "clean coal harnesses the awesome power of the word clean".

Coal Rush Update: 57 New Plants Put on Ice

Last year I posted a summary of CREDO Action's efforts to stop the construction of new coal-fired power plants. We've continued this work in 2008 and 2009, and notched up victory after victory -- totalling 57 plants cancelled since we started this work in 2007.

Fox and The Wall Street Journal Don't Get It: Americans Want Action on Global Warming and Clean Energy

Despite what the Wall Street Journal would have you believe, the election on Tuesday did not indicate opposition to action on global warming and clean energy. In fact, we are now seeing more and more evidence that the opposite is true.

WV State Senator Drinks 'Coal Slurry' to Shame His Colleagues into Action

West Virgina State Senator Randy White (D-Webster) stood up on the state floor (video in link) yesterday and asked his fellow Senators to join him in drinking the discolored water that average citizens have to drink every day. Not a one joined him.

Another One Bites The Dust: Coal Victory in Iowa!

At 8:30 this morning Alliant Energy, a subsidiary of Interstate Power and Light, announced its plans to abandon construction of a 649 MW coal plant in Marshalltown, Iowa.

ATTN Matthew Wald at the NY Times: Does This Look Like "Environment-Friendly" Coal to You?!

Writing today for the New York Times, Matthew Wald looks at the increased prospects for new coal plants that capture and store their CO2, due to investments in CCS demonstration plants included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

This is "Clean Coal": Massive Coal Sludge Spill Dwarfs Exxon Valdez Disaster

Let's see how the "clean coal" PR hucksters at the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity try to spin this tragic news: a retention pond holding toxic coal ash slurry burst Monday in Roane County, Tennessee, releasing over half a billion gallons of potentially toxic sludge that swept into the nearby town of Harriman and contaminated tributaries of the Tennessee River.

Kingston, TN sings "Auld Lang Sludge" (Update #2)

The results are preliminary, but they're so high -- and in such conflict with official results -- that the scientists and activists felt that releasing the data was very important. Here's the official press release, a video on it, and a NYTimes article on it too. If you're in the area and your community gets water from the Clinch River downstream of the Emory, I'd strongly recommend bottled water.

What If We Took the Coal Industry's "Clean Coal" Promises At Their Word

The coal industry has an image problem. They know it. And they've been spending millions of dollars on a PR ad push to convince the world that a "cleaner" variety of coal is around the corner. They can make something called "clean coal" a reality, they say.