ACCCE’s Wild and Crazy Advertising Claims Debunked

Read time: 2 mins

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) is running ads on the websites of the Washington Post and The Hill citing a potentially fraudulent survey which claims that “72% of opinion leaders support coal electricity.”

Brian Angliss over at Scholars and Rogues tears the ACCCE claim apart, revealing how the coal industry’s favorite front group is cooking up some crazy statistics in an effort to convince the public that three quarters of America’s “opinion leaders” just can’t get enough coal into the fire that’s wrecking our climate. 

Angliss asked ACCCE to cough up the methodology for this prestigious survey of theirs, but didn’t get a response.  So he ran some rough calculations of the ACCCE definition of “opinion elites” against Census Bureau and labor statistics data and found that as little as 0.4% of the country would qualify as “opinion leaders” in ACCCE’s test.  Errors abound in other aspects of ACCCE’s survey acumen, according to Angliss.

“In summary, the survey as its described in the ACCCE press release suffers from a number of critical problems: an amazingly tight definition of the survey’s population, no defined margins of error for any of the questions individually or for the survey in its entirety, an unexplained discrepancy regarding how many years the poll has been taken, and an outright lie,” he wrote.

A more accurate description of ACCCE’s survey would be “We handpicked 600 filthy rich people and coal industry executives for our survey, and (only) 72% say that coal is the greatest thing ever, so it must be true.  Forget renewable energy, let’s burn this mother down!”

In the cautious lingo of a scientist, Angliss concludes that “it’s almost certainly accurate to say that the ACCCE advertisement is unsupported bunk.”

Almost certainly, indeed.

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If you actually shut down the coal industry the number of “opinion leaders” demanding coal power be put back on line would be more like 99%. There is just too much money involved to do anything about coal now. Too much demand for power and desperation to keep the economy going.

There is just too much money involved to do anything about coal now

I disagree.  Yes, there is too much money involved and too much demand to eliminate all coal plants.  However, this does not mean we need to build new ones, nor does it mean those plants can’t lower their emissions by 20%, and nor does it mean we should refrain from putting a price on carbon so it’s true costs aren’t externalized.  We can do LOTS about coal RIGHT NOW without putting that industry and those workers out of business – and without impacting other sectors of the economy – while still lowering emissions towards a sustainable target.

72% sounds about right. People who depend on coal know it to be the only currently viable means (other then nuclear) to provide them with the energy they need.

The coal ‘users’ might not realize it, so they can’t be blamed until they know what they do and cause to the environment. It’s the responsibility of the participating companies as well to inform the right thing to their customers.

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