Friday, April 18, 2008

If coal is so good...

...then why do we need advertisements to convince us?

Coal's media campaign just got a huge anabolic shot in the arm, but the message remains the same: let's burn more coal, let's make the taxpayers pay for it, and lets spend a lot of money conving you it's a good idea.

Check out their latest marketing attempt below. Too bad it doesn't come with the list of sideeffects we are used to from pharmaceutical adds (higher electricity prices, medical bills, etc.). Interesting that all the "believers" featured can't seem to spit out the word "coal." Hard to be a convincing believer when you appear to be embarrassed by your message.

COAL: The industry and its allies fire up a new outreach effort
Christa Marshall, ClimateWire reporter

The lobbying and outreach operation pushing for clean coal just got bigger, and its newest representative is not ruling out the prospect of a mandatory cap-and-trade

A new coalition that includes more than 40 U.S. companies -- including Peabody Energy and Duke Energy Corp. -- announced it will develop a federal lobbying effort on climate change and bring new advertising to the airwaves. It aims to push Congress to adopt legislation that includes a workable regulatory framework for carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.

"So many people in this country still don't know half of their electricity comes from coal, and in some states it's more than 90 percent, " said Stephen Miller, the president of the new group, American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE).

"It's America's fuel, and we have to tell them that."

In addition to coal producers, companies from the electricity generation, transportation, energy technology and equipment manufacturing industries will fund and constitute the new organization.

ACCCE consolidates two predecessor groups, the 1992-founded Center for Energy and Economic Development (CEED) and Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (ABEC), the backer of the pro-coal "America's Power" campaign. That campaign will continue under the new organizational structure.

CEED previously focused on environmental policies at the state and regional levels, a structure that Miller said needed updating in today's political landscape.

The new coalition will not only establish a new federal lobbying presence but also stand behind a set of 12 principles for formulating national "carbon management" legislation, which recognizes a mandatory cap-and-trade program as an option, according to Miller.

A 'big step' for 'America's fuel'
"For a group getting coal industry money to signal an openness on cap and trade feels like a big step forward to me," said Manik Roy, director of congressional affairs at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. "A lot of companies wouldn't have done that in the past."

Still, the coalition emphasized that such a mandatory system would have to stick with the 12 principles, which include a request that any emission cuts be "reasonable," with an understanding that many technologies to reduce emissions are not yet
commercially available.

The other 11 points, available on the coalition's Web site, range from a call for CCS to "become commercially deployable as soon as possible," with a solid stream of funding, to an emphasis on deploying U.S. technologies for carbon capture overseas via the State Department.

The group expects to take a position soon on the climate change legislation sponsored by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.), although Miller expressed concern to E&E TV that the bill may "push too far and too fast."
Renewable energy, natural gas, nuclear power and energy efficiency also should play a role in cutting emissions, said Miller, even if that means less coal being used at some power plants.

Asked about that point, Kraig Naasz, the president and chief executive of the National Mining Association, which represents many coal companies, said "we believe the nation is well-served if [energy] comes from a diversity of sources -- including energy savings through energy efficiency."

And a bigger pot of money for national advertising "Our analysis shows, however, that the nation will need more coal -- even in a carbon-constrained environment -- along with other fuels and increased efficiency," Naasz said, adding that he supports the 12 objectives and ACCCE's communications effort.

The prospect of increased advertising on clean coal doesn't worry the Sierra Club, which has called for a timeout on new coal-fired power plants because of their current role in emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

"Every day, more money is being thrown into this campaign to try and convince the public that this dirty fuel is a smart move for energy," said Alice McKeown, who works on coal issues at the Sierra Club. "It's a sign that they are worried they are losing the battle."

ACCCE's formation has roots in an ABEC meeting in the fall of 2006 where industry members heard that "the mood of the country was shifting" and a more aggressive communications strategy was necessary. After that push, member companies have provided the coalition with a roughly $38 million annual starting communications budget that is expected to increase, Miller said.

"We'll be able to run advertising nationally, but also target messages in states and congressional districts," Miller said. "We didn't have a big enough campaign and pot of money to do that before."


DavidACCCE said...

I find it interesting that most people who are discussing the new coalition gloss over the REAL news:

For the first time, we have over 40 coal-related companies agreeing to federal regulation of carbon dioxide, provided our 12 principles are met.

ACCCE / ABEC / CEED Guy said...

Thanks for the free advertising!!