When it come to "clean coal," well-known writer Jeff Goodell put it best:
"Clean coal is not an actual invention, a physical thing - it is an advertising slogan. Like 'fat-free donuts' or 'interest-free loans.'"
Buying into the idea of "clean coal" is like buying into any other marketing department-derived "great new thing that you have to have." Clean coal does not exist today and the reality is that coal will not be clean for a long time to come.
Blogger Matt Stoller is at the Republican National Convention and he had the chance to ask members of the "coal is the best thing ever" team - bought and paid for by the coal industry - whether they thought coal is actually clean. And the response Stoller got speaks volumes about where the "clean coal" idea is coming from:
It's not lost on me that the women in this video are just the hired help and I wouldn't expect them to be well-versed on the ins and outs of the coal industry for the paltry sum they are most likely being paid. But that's my point: the big push for "clean coal" we are seeing during this election cycle is not an issue being driven by Jane and Joe average voter or even a grassroots group of citizens who are truly concerned about America's energy future. This is a well-financed marketing campaign to manufacture the appearance of major support for the dirtiest energy source in the world.
I mean seriously, how can anyone get jazzed about coal if they aren't getting paid to do it? Especially when there are so many new and exciting technologies out there that could start a renewable energy revolution in America. Now that's something to get excited about, that is if everyone sees through the thin green veneer of the coal industry's propaganda machine.
Follow Kevin Grandia on Twitter: www.twitter.com/kgrandia