Amusing Monday: Recall the Clean Coal Carolers?

I’m on vacation this week, so I thought I would remind you of an odd bit of controversy that sprang up at Christmastime two years ago. An “Amusing Monday” item on Dec. 15, 2008, featured the “Clean Coal Carolers” as part of a promotional campaign by the coal industry.

Today, the use of advanced technology to burn coal with fewer emissions remains as controversial as ever. But just last week, Mississippi Gov. Gov. Haley Barbour helped break ground on a new $2.4-billion power plant in his state.

“As long as I’m governor, Mississippi is going to have an energy policy, and our energy policy is more American energy,” Barbour said Thursday during a ceremony at a remote site in Kemper County. Read more at The Meridian Star and Mississippi Public Broadcasting.

So Barbour is not laughing about coal gasification and carbon capture, but I still get a kick out of the Clean Coal Carolers.


Amusing Monday: Brouhaha over lumps of coal for Christmas (Dec. 15, 2008)

I was all set this week to show you an interactive Web site where, with your intervention, lumps of coal could take on human attributes.

Clicking your mouse, you could dress up these coal chunks in various hats and scarfs, pick a background such as a sunny beach or a field of snow, then cue these hard-headed lumps to sing Christmas carols about the benefits of “clean coal.”

It was one of the silliest things I’ve seen this year. Alas, the American Coalition of Clean Coal Electricity, which launched the Clean Coal Carolers, dismantled the Web site at the end of last week, only five days after it went up.

I was able to find a version that someone recorded for You Tube, so you can watch one version of the show in the window below.

ACCCE officials never gave much explanation about why the site was taken down so soon. See the note from Joe Lucas, vice president of communications.

Maybe it was the environmental groups who blasted the display, saying there is no such thing as clean coal. Maybe it was the folks who objected to turning sacred Christmas songs, such as Silent Night, into a public relations stunt. Maybe the ACCCE realized that the ridicule coming down on the site was drowning out the message the organization was trying to get out.

Here’s a video showing the Clean Coal Carolers at work:

The whole brouhaha about this public relations gimmick is fairly amusing. A blogger called Green Mullet had this to say:

Leave it up to one of the most polluting industries in the country, the single largest spewer of mercury in the U.S., to tarnish the spirit of the season with a campaign like this.

One of the songs is called “Clean Coal Night.” Is there a way to get baby Jesus (or big Jesus) to give an endorsement? The singers who lended their voices for these songs might as well be singing “See you in Hell” by the ugly (but great) Grim Reaper, circa 1987.

Another blogger named Envirowonk offered his perspective of how the idea came into being.

The coal industry is actually very serious about developing a technology that can take the pollutants out of coal. Whether that can be accomplished is highly controversial and politically loaded.

Although not amusing, here’s a fairly balanced look at the issue produced in June by a CBS News team headed by Wyatt Andrews.

One thought on “Amusing Monday: Recall the Clean Coal Carolers?

  1. hey,

    I have played the coal lump carolers every year, but I didn’t pay much attention to the palm tree in the background. That might be closest the coal industry ever gets to admitting climate change is real. The coal lumps are from West Virginia – soon to be a flat tropical paradise.

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