CLEAN COAL, it's the two-word catch phrase the coal industry has used for years as it tries to convince the world its climate changing energy source has a future.
While the term “clean coal” is rightly met with ridicule and derision by many, up until this week it has been allowed to stand — at least in the world of advertising.
But now the UK’s advertising authorities have told Peabody Energy that it can no longer freely dangle its “clean coal” mythology in front of consumers without explaining itself.
The advert, devised by global PR agency Burson-Marsteller, claimed that Peabody was using “today’s clean coal technologies” to “improve emissions”.
In an adjudication, the Advertising Standards Authority said:
Notwithstanding the fact that “clean coal” had a meaning within the energy sector, we considered that without further information, and particularly when followed by another reference to “clean, modern energy”, consumers were likely to interpret the word ”clean” as an absolute claim meaning that “clean coal” processes did not produce CO2 or other emissions. We therefore concluded that the ad was misleading.
The ASA said that the complainant, environment group WWF, had argued the term “clean coal” was misleading and that it “implied that the advertiser's impact on the environment was less damaging than was actually the case”.