A few days ago, the ACCCE released a new, stunningly vague advertisement called “Adios,” that is somehow supposed to put America's mind at ease, and/or scare us about a future without coal. Here's the video, and the text:
We wish we could say “farewell” to our dependence on foreign energy, and we'd like to say “adios” to rising energy costs.
But first, we have to say “so long” to our outdated perceptions about coal. And we have to continue to advance clean coal technologies to further reduce emissions including the eventual capture and storage of CO2.
If we don't, we may have to say “goodbye” to the American way of life we all know and love.
Clean coal. America's power.
It's only 32 seconds long, but could easily be condensed to less than a second:
We're starting to get a little desperate here, please, please believe this.
Here are some stills from the ad,with some of the coal hard facts.
Think you'll live to a comfortable old age with more coal fired power plants around? Think again:
According to the American Lung Association, 24,000 people a year die prematurely because of pollution from coal-fired power plants. And every year 38,000 heart attacks, 12,000 hospital admissions and an additional 550,000 asthma attacks result from power plant pollution.
Coal-fired power plants release over 40% of total U.S.CO2 emissions, which contribute to global warming, which will in turn profoundly affect US agriculture. A recent USDA report (pdf) says:
The [draft] report finds it is “very likely” that climate change and historic land management practices will cause major disruptions to western rangelands and the livestock industry that relies on them. “The evidence… over the past two centuries provide indisputable evidence that warming, altered precipitation patterns, and rising atmospheric CO2 are virtually certain to have profound impacts on the ecology and agricultural utility of rangelands.”2
Despite coal industry claims that coal mining creates lots of jobs, the truth is that coal mining employment has been declining for decades, due to increased use of machinery instead of manpower. In West Virginia alone, coal mining employment has plummeted from 126,000 miners in 1948 (who produced 168 million tons of coal), to just 15,000 miners employed in 2005 (who, with the help of machinery, produced 128 million tons of coal).
If the ACCCE has their way, you might not be able to count on enjoying those casual football games with the guys:
Residents of coal mining communities have increased risk of developing chronic heart, lung and kidney diseases. A recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that in the 14 counties where the biggest coal mining operations are located residents reported higher rates of cardiopulmonary disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, diabetes, and lung and kidney disease.
Your kids' health is endangered by emissions from coal fired power plants:
The ACCCE warns you that you “may have to say 'goodbye' to the American way of life [you] know and love…” unless the US turns to “clean coal” as an energy source. That's a myth:
As author Jeff Goodell reveals in his book “Big Coal,” the claim that the U.S. has 200 or 250 years of coal left is “based on old studies that haven't been updated since the '70s. Those studies themselves were based on studies from the '20s and '30s.”
Goodell points out that “we've been mining coal in this country for 150 years – all the simple, high-quality, easy-to-get stuff is gone. What's left is buried beneath towns and national parks, or places that are difficult, expensive and dangerous to mine.”
US coal production has already peaked. Turning to more coal-fired power plants for our energy will not decrease our dependence on foreign oil.
So, a warning to US television viewers: think before you believe what you see and hear in that ACCCE advertisement. The images are pleasant and happy, but they do not represent the reality of shifting US energy sources to coal-fired power.
Yes, we should be saying adios and goodbye… to coal.