Tag Archives: coal industry

How Clean Coal Became Kleen Koal


Dear America,

We can’t believe you took us so seriously.

All these years now, we’ve filled your family rooms with TV ads about “Clean Coal.” We paid many millions for all that PR – what some people are now scandalously calling “propaganda.” We sponsored presidential debates laced with cheery ads about patriotism, energy security, and – of course – Clean Coal. We got candidates from both parties – even Obama! – to sing the praises of Clean Coal. We gave millions to coal-friendly politicians. And they gave us billions of your tax dollars into projects to develop Clean Coal carbon-storage technology.

clean-coal-greenwash2Didn’t our promises make you feel good? Weren’t you proud? Wasn’t it great imagining that we had so much energy right here in America, and that it was – in some vague sense – clean?

But now, look what you’ve done. Somehow, you’ve imagined that we could really make our coal – you know – clean. Actually clean. Clean like maybe about twice as dirty as natural gas. Clean like infinitely dirtier than wind and solar. Not TV-ad clean, but clean – sort of – like what-you-breathe clean.

Sure, we told you we had the technology to make coal clean. We even ran ads featuring scantily-clad models as coal miners extracting coal that technology had made “beautiful.”  Continue reading