01/10/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Coal's Sacriligeous Caroling

In a time of year when it can be hard to go into public
without being overwhelmed by Christmas carols, the sound of jingling bells can sicken many of us. And, it is hard for many to associate this season and carols with any form of religiousity due to the mass commercialization of across the spectrum of holidays of Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza, and ...

And, basically every single religious song has been parodied or spun off in multiple ways so that any idea of purity seems dead. Thus, it surprised me that I was shocked at the latest parody of a set of Christmas Carols courtesy of the coal industry's mouthpiece, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE): the "Clean Coal Carolers" with a set of lyrics that take their truthiness and deception to a whole new level of depravity.

The Clean Coal myth

Last week, Al Gore and a coalition of leading environmental organizations launched This is Simply put, despite all the glowing ads that you've seen and bipartisan romancing of clean coal, "clean coal" remains not much more than powerpoint slides and technological dreams that might (MIGHT) work in 20 years or so, at a very high cost. What is the reality today?

Simple fact: COAL IS DIRTY! From mountain top removal, through distribution, burning, and the waste, whether fly ash deposits, particulates into our lungs, mercury in the oceans, or CO2 in the atmosphere.

Going caroling with Coal

You, too, can go caroling with lumps of coal. Normally institutions working to destroy humanity's future don't receive links from me, but the absurdity of this simply astounds. To the music of "Deck the Halls", you will get to cloth your lumps of coal (clean scarfs, hats, ear muffs rather than with ventilators for black lung disease and clothing smudged with coal ash) and then "set the scene" (winter scene, desert island with sailboats in the background, birds flying over green mountains with a sunrise, or a bird on an electrical wire in city in winter -- note, they don't provide more honest choices like a smokestack spewing pollution or animals dying on a heap of fly ash or dirtied snow in the devastation from mountain top removal (MTR) mining. Now that you've set the scene, time for caroling. Your song choices:

  • Frosty the Coalman
  • Clean Coal Night
  • Abundant, Affordable (Adeste Fideles)
  • O' Technology (O Christmas Tree)
  • Deck the Halls (with Clean Coal!)
  • Jingle Bells

Let us take a look at just the first of these:

Frosty the Coalman is a Jolly Happy Soul
He's Abundant here in America and he helps our economy roll

Frosty the Coalman is getting cleaner everyday
He's affordable and adorable and helps workers keep their pay
There must have some magic in Clean Coal technology
For when they looked for pollutants, there was nearly none to see

Frosty the Coalman is a Jolly Happy Soul
He's Abundant here in America and he helps our economy roll

Thumpity Thump Thump ... Thumpity Thump Thump ... Look at Frost Go.

Toward Energy Independence we go ...

Let us repeat, "clean coal" is an oxymoron on multiple levels. But the fantasy the coal industry is trying to sell is that the key coal pollutants are already being capture when, for example, we are decades away (based on current optimistic estimates) from any widespread capability to capture and sequester carbon dioxide. Decades away, that is, if we ever get there. But, if one joins these ever so cutely dressed lumps of coal, you will have the idea that this is already in place, that coal is "abundant, affordable" and already "clean" today. From "abundant, Affordable":

And we can count on clean coal for years to come.

The audacity of lying in such a direct fashion, not even twisting truth, but simply creating a fiction is amazing. The absurdity of creating lumps of coal to promote these lies moves beyond pitiful and dismaying to disgusting.

The families of those 24,000 people dying prematurely per year, in the US ALONE, from coal-fired power plant pollution might not be laughing along with ACCCE's "Clean Coal Lies Caroling'. As per Kevin Grandia,

Nothing like mercury emissions, asthma attacks, and melting ice caps to get me in the holiday spirit.

Some other reactions: