Clean Coal talking point: "Near Zero-Emission Free Electricity"

Clean Coal talking point: "Near Zero-Emission Free Electricity"
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The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (bought and paid for by the coal industry) was stumping its “clean coal” message in Huntington, West Virginia last week. If you aren’t already skeptical about the notion of so-called clean coal, then check out this less-than-hopeful message from clean coal spindoctor Cathy Coffey:

We believe that technology within the next 10 to 15 years will be developed and tested so that we will be able to produce near-zero emission-free electricity from coal.” (My emphasis).

The message is carefully crafted and the “10 to 15 years will be developed and tested” message is subtle enough to be passed right over. The clean coal message might even leave you feeling a little hopeful.

The truth is that yes in the next 10 to 15 years there is the possibility that technology to capture greenhouse emissions could be “developed and tested.” The problem is most estimates find that it will take another 10 to 15 years on top of that to deploy carbon capture and sequestration on a commercial scale.

In other words, the earliest we might possibly see commercial-scale near-zero emission free electricity from coal will be around the year 2040. Way too little, way too late if we listen to the scientists at the world’s top academies who are saying we require a cut in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 25-30% below 1990 levels by 2020.

Given that the US coal industry is responsible for about 30% of the country’s total emissions of greenhouse gas, a promise of “emissions-free” electricity by 2040 means we’re in for a lot of trouble if we continue to swallow the coal-is-clean talking points.

Clean Coal talking point: "Near Zero-Emission Free Electricity"

Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmogBlog.

He runs the digital marketing agency Spake Media House. Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning.

Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks.

Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder.

Prior to DeSmogBlog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health.

In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groundbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications.

Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

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