Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Coen Brothers Ad: 'clean coal' Is Greenwash

Award-Winning Filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen have an ad that is taking on the Coal Industry. Its part of a campaign by the Reality Coalition; a joint project of the Alliance for Climate Protection, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation and Sierra Club. The Reality Campaign tells the truth about coal today – it isn't clean. They are challenging the coal industry to come clean.

See the ad here.

Clean coal is a term used widely by the coal industry to describe traditional coal energy generation outfitted with a variety of emissions-capturing technologies. As they don't yet exist, they are greenwash.

Efforts to develop coal capture-and-storage technology have been under way for years. The idea is to grab the greenhouse emissions and stuff them underground where they will — theoretically, anyway — do no harm. But little progress has yet been made.

The Reality Coalition promises a whole series of Coen brothers ads — which were designed and produced by Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the Boulder, Colo., agency behind the “Truth” anti-tobacco campaign.

It is unclear whether the ads are having the intended effect — that is, nudging the coal companies to more quickly develop carbon capture and storage — or merely convincing people that improving the greenhouse emissions of the coal industry is an impossibility.

“The only practical way to prevent CO2 levels from going far into the dangerous range, with disastrous effects for humanity and other inhabitants of the planet, is to phase out use of coal except at power plants where the CO2 is captured and sequestered." - NASA's Jim Hansen

Most types of coal station, the CCS requirement will only apply to 20-25% of each station's emissions - leaving the other 75-80% to pump into the atmosphere as usual. This is a bit like deciding to carry on smoking, but cutting the end off all of your cigarettes so you inhale less smoke. For every one tonne of carbon captured before 2020, three will be released into the atmosphere .

No commercial scale CCS plant exists anywhere in the world. What if, for whatever reason, it hasn't worked out according to plan by 2025? We will have built the new power stations into our national energy budget and closing them down will be impossible without massive disruption to the UK's energy supply.

As the executive director of Greenpeace, John Sauven, put it:“CCS technology is still fraught with uncertainties. If Miliband doesn't show the necessary leadership to completely rule out unabated coal, then all the evidence suggests that's what we'll get.”

Hattip channel 4 news and href="http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/26/the-coen-brothers-do-clean-coal/ ">greeninc

The brothers Joel and Ethan Coen make popular oddball films like “Fargo” and “The Big Lebowski.”

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