The Greenwash Brigade

Both candidates tout "Clean Coal" — but it doesn’t exist!

Jim Nicolow Oct 27, 2008

Holy crap. Is the onslaught of “clean coal” internet ads driving anyone else nuts? You can’t open a news website without being subjected to greenwash about the benefits of coal. “It’s what powers America.” No duh! Coal is responsible for a majority of carbon emissions. That’s the problem! It’s like touting grain alcohol as a cure to alcoholism.

Talk about lipstick on a pig. “Clean Coal” is apparently an oxymoron that both party’s candidates can support. Saying it’s clean doesn’t make it clean. Come on Barack, come on John. Can one of you show some leadership on this issue and stop parroting the coal industry’s coal-is-great message? Coal mining is an environmental disaster and coal burning is a climate change disaster.

The technology simply doesn’t exist. We’re decades away from Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). The Energy Department just pulled the plug on the $1.8 billion FutureGen project, previously slated to be the first coal-fired plant with CCS.

Architecture 2030’s report, “The 2030 Blueprint, Solving Climate Change Saves Billions,” reveals that our buildings are responsible for three quarters of our electricity use. The report calculates that building energy efficiency can “produce” electricity (by reducing demand) at 1/6th the cost of Coal with CCS (and one fifth the cost of nuclear).

While coal with CCS is at least 20 years out and a single nuclear plant takes 8 to 12 years to get online, energy efficiency measures can be implemented today – at today’s prices with off-the-shelf materials, appliances and equipment.

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