Dec 12, 2008
A "Clean Coal" Christmas?
The coal industry has been pulling out all of the stops over the past year to convince the American public that so-called "clean coal" is here, is the solution to all of our energy problems, and is even good for the environment. Big Coal has spent tens of millions of dollars dogging presidential candidates throughout the primaries, sponsoring CNN's political coverage, throwing up billboards, and flooding the airwaves with thousands of commercials. The effort has largely been managed by the industry's front group, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (née Americans for Balanced Energy Choices). Last Christmas, the group even had street teams dressed as Santa handing out lumps of chocolate coal to congressional staffers as they left Union Station on their way to work. (The irony that "clean coal" and Santa Claus are about equally real was apparently lost on them.)
This year, however, ACCCE took it to a whole new level, rolling out a Christmas-themed online campaign featuring "clean coal carolers." The frosty lumps of animated coal belt out their own vomit-worthy versions of Christmas favorites including "Frosty the Snowman," "Silent Night," and "Oh Christmas Tree." No, you just can't make this s*** up:
Frosty the coal man is a jolly happy soul…
There must be magic in clean coal technology
For when they looked for pollutants
There was nearly none to see.
Nothing says Christmas like black lung, childhood asthma, and global warming!
It turns out things didn't go quite as well as Big Coal might have hoped. Scorn was heaped upon the campaign by blogs , ABC News, and even the new princess of the progressives, Rachel Maddow.
After less than a week, the coal carolers disappeared from Big Coal's website and from their own specially designed Facebook page. (Video lives on here.) The sudden disappearance was then explained by the coal overloads in a cryptically worded blog post claiming that after a fun week "it's time for them to head home for the holidays."
(We're guessing Big Coal's ad man might also have been sent away for an extended vacation.)
For a dose of Reality about clean coal, check out the new campaign that the Sierra Club and the Goreacle have launched. (http://www.thisisreality.org/)
Clean coal as the baby Jesus in "Silent Night" -- now that's I call a real War on Christmas.