Even Big Coal finds CEI ad offensive

The coal barons who control the National Rural Cooperative Electric Association have fallen out with the climate quibblers at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) over the think tank's most recent round of ads that challenge the fight against global warming.

Rural electric co-ops are populated overwhelmingly by companies running coal-fired electrical plants and in the past, they were more likely to be part of the problem when it came to climate change disinformation. But now they're trying to rein in CEI - still something of a laughingstock for its earlier “We Call if Life ” ad campaign.

Likely as not, this dispute arose because of copyright challenges that the NRCEA itself faces for using footage of Nobel laureate Al Gore without permission. But in a civilized world, you would have thought that the coal kings and CEI would have settled the issue quietly, as between friends.

Increasingly, it appears, CEI doesn't have any friends.


“Coal barons”? “Big coal”?

Don’t be ridiculous, Richard.

The rural cooperatives are heavily subsidised by money from the US federal government.

I'm happy to admit that electrical cooperatives are outside the (admittedly narrow) scope of my expertise. But as any number of energy majors (or auto manufacturers) know, you don't have to be impoverished to get a federal subsidy these days. Increasingly, it seems that being impoverished is actually a disadvantage.

In any case, according to this link, the NRCEA's members control $100 billion in assets and bring power to 40 million people in 47 states. Of the 3,150  member organizations,  2,000 are publicly owned,  930 are actually co-ops and 220 are “investor owned.”

Looking closer, you see that the publicly owned and co-op members control around one-quarter of the whole operation, while the minority investor-owned utilities control three quarters. These may not be coal barons in the Peabody tradition, but there would be some pretty affluent baronettes in the crowd.

I suspect there are many lovely folks in the NRCEA - that a company like the Kansas coal promoting Sunflower Electric is not necessarily representative of the whole organization - but I think there is a compelling argument to be made that they are “big” and that they are up to the very brim of their waders in carboniferous black rock.

“but I think there is a compelling argument to be made”

So when are you going to make it? Thus far, you haven’t.

” that they are “big”“

Big, small, medium-sized … and that’s relevant, how? Would you have us believe power utilities are run on a mom-and-pop business scale? Or that they should be? What exactly is your “area of expertise”, as none seems to be in evidence here?

” and that they are up to the very brim of their waders in carboniferous black rock.”

And that has what, exactly, to do with the fact that they are heavily subsidised by the government?

But all that aside, at what point to power utilities, which might consume coal become interchangeable with your imaginary “coal barons” – which presumably produce coal?

You seem a little confused on the distinction.

Thanks for that Rob. It hadn’t occurred to me that there might be no connection whatever between the people who produce coal and the people who buy coal and use it to make money - I mean, electricity.

It must be so hard to keep your brain organized, sealing off those little compartments so effectively against the influx of information that a less disciplined person might have found to be overlapping. 

THAT’S the best argument you can come up with to defend your statement?! Truly laughable.

It may also not have occurred to you that the word “distinction” does not mean the same as “connection”.

So, using your “logic”, if your computer uses the Windows operating system, that must necessarily mean you are a toady for Bill Gates and his aspirations.

Christ, at least I have a brain to keep organised …

Using your “logic”, Rob, one would conclude that there is insufficient evidence to prove that gravity is a force on this planet or that this planet is not flat.

Sorry not to have check them when I posted, but you’re quite right, the ads seem to have disappeared into the ether. You’d almost think that CEI was no longer proud of its work …