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Coal
Exposed: The Truth behind Coal Industry Ads

In response to growing concerns about global warming, increasing demand for cleaner energy, and strengthening opposition to individual new coal plants the coal industry has launched a more than $30 million advertising and public relations campaign under the name of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE).

The member list for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, also known as Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (ABEC) reads like a who's who of the worst polluters, including two of the top 10 global warming polluters in the world - Southern Company and American Electric Power - as well as mining companies like Massey Energy with over 4,000 documented Clean Water Act violations.

Using both covert and open front groups, like America's Power and Clean Coal USA, the coal industry and ACCCE are running TV, radio and print advertisements across the country, making concentrated efforts to "green" their dirty industry.


Truth: Moving beyond coal will not force us to "say goodbye to the American way of life." Quite the opposite, in fact; ending our dependence on coal can actually help improve our lives and our health, while also saving our cultural heritage from destructive mining and creating family-supporting, American jobs. Using existing technology and American innovation, we can lead the world with a clean energy economy and better the American way of life.


Truth: We agree. We can use technology and American ingenuity to fight global warming, keep energy affordable and create a secure energy future. But to be successful, we need to start now. We can't put off action for another decade until new coal technology is developed. We need to start using the clean technologies we have available today to meet our energy needs. Increasing our use of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources - like wind and solar power - can secure our energy future and help avoid the worst consequences of global warming.


Truth: Despite industry claims of advanced clean coal technology, the fact is that an overwhelming majority of the new plants the industry is in such a rush to build will use the same kind of old technology that creates the global warming problem we're trying to solve now. One day we may be able to capture and store carbon emissions from coal plants, but even the CEO of Duke energy believes "you have to think about carbon capture as decade and a half off."

But we don't have to wait for clean energy. We have the technology and the know-how today to meet our energy needs with increased efficiency and renewable energy, like wind and solar power.


Truth: Coal does currently provide almost half our electricity. But it doesn't and shouldn't have to stay that way. In fact, continuing to depend on coal will be a costly mistake. Not only have the costs of building new coal plants risen dramatically, there are innumerable costs to society associated with asthma attacks, devastating mountaintop removal mining practices and global warming. Recent studies by independent economists have found that there are cleaner, cheaper ways to meet the growing demand for energy and increase energy security—all while creating jobs and helping to fight global warming.

Seen an outrageous ad? E-mail it to Virginia.cramer@sierraclub.org to have the truth exposed.


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