Clean Coal Carolers from an Industry Run By Morons

Oh Technology, to the tune of O Christmas Tree

We have had much sport with the marketers of the concept of the oxymoronic "Clean Coal" over the years, but they have never reached such a low as the jaw-dropping train wreck of a marketing campaign that is the Clean Coal Carolers. For perhaps the first time I am thankful for copyright regulations that will permit the estate of Walter Rollins, writer of Frosty the Snowman, to sue the butts off these jerks for writing:

Frosty the coal man is a jolly happy soul
There must be magic in clean coal technology
For when they looked for pollutants
There was nearly none to see.

This post really writes itself, but so many others had something to say:
Deck the Halls (with clean coal)

Joe Romm at Climate Progress:
In the twisted minds of the industry Mad Men who put this together, it makes perfect sense to turn songs about the birth of Jesus into songs about "clean coal....I'd say clean coal had jumped the shark, but I think you have to actually exist first before you can become self-parody."

Kevin Grandia at DeSmogBlog:

This latest publicity stunt is absolutely absurd and shows just how far the coal lobby is willing to go to market their dirty product as somehow being clean. In fact, I think you should send this to everyone you know, show them how ridiculous this clean coal marketing has actually become.

Clean Coal Night

Dave Loos at Envirowonk imagined the Mad Men scene where they pitched this:

ACCCE Marketing Genius: Good afternoon sir.

Director, ACCCE Public Relations. Come on in, what's up?

Sir, I have an idea for a holiday-themed addition to our Web site. I wanted to fly it by you before I have the Web folks get to work on it.

Really, I thought we had agreed to spend December's marketing budget sponsoring CNN programming and dictating on-air talking points like we did a few months ago.

AMG: Yes, of course. We can still do all that. This idea won't cost us much at all.

Great. Let's hear it.

: Well everyone likes Christmas carolers, right? And everyone obviously likes coal, since it's such a clean, reliable and inexpensive source of energy in these challenging times. So naturally it makes sense to combine the two.

Mmmmm. Go on.

So what if we were to dress up pieces of coal, add some crude animation, and have them sing a variety of holiday carols?

Wow! Coal and Christmas. I don't see how that could have any negative connotations whatsoever. More at Envirowonk

Frosty the Coalman

NRDC called them "the creepiest thing since California's singing raisins" but had some fun making up their own lyrics:
Coal Black Night (To the tune of "Silent Night")

Kick the Coal (To the tune of "Deck the Halls")

Liquid coal is a big folly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Gives a gift to old Peabody,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Some in Congress like to coddle,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.
They must know it's a boondoggle,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Coal for fuel is such a bummer,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Might as well just buy a Hummer.
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Driving cars fueled by coal fire,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Will make the ocean levels higher,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Liquid coal is no solution,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Doubles global warming pollution
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

So we urge our Senators,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Don't give in to polluters.
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

clean coal carolers image

As did Its getting hot in here, where we repeat the first and last verse of the Twelve days of Coal Christmas, you can figure out the middle ones:

On the 1st day of Christmas my true love said to me:
There's no such thing as clean coal

On the 12th day of Christmas Bank of America gave to me:

12 destroyed communities
11 unemployed workers
10 asthmatic children
9 flattened mountains
8 sludge-filled rivers
7 poisoned elementary schools
6 paid off politicians
5 coal silos
4 melting glaciers
3 coal trucks
2 blackened lungs
and theres no such thing as clean coal

And in case you have forgotten why this is an issue in all of the happy singing,the Union of Concerned Scientists reminds us:

Ah, if only fun outerwear and corny songs could erase coal's dirty statistics. The 1,430,000 tons of coal burned in a typical 500 megawatt coal plant produces:

* 3.7 million tons of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main greenhouse gas, and is the leading cause of global warming. There are no regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S.

* 10,000 tons of sulfur dioxide. Sulfur dioxide (SOx) is the main cause of acid rain, which damages forests, lakes and buildings.

* 10,200 tons of nitrogen oxide. Nitrogen oxide (NOx) is a major cause of smog, and also a cause of acid rain.

* 500 tons of small particles. Small particulates are a health hazard, causing lung damage. Particulates smaller than 10 microns are not regulated, but may be soon.

* 220 tons of hydrocarbons. Fossil fuels are made of hydrocarbons; when they don't burn completely, they are released into the air. They are a cause of smog.

* 720 tons of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas and contributor to global warming.

* 125,000 tons of ash and 193,000 tons of sludge from the smokestack scrubber. A scrubber uses powdered limestone and water to remove pollution from the plant's exhaust. Instead of going into the air, the pollution goes into a landfill or into products like concrete and drywall. This ash and sludge consists of coal ash, limestone, and many pollutants, such as toxic metals like lead and mercury.

* 225 pounds of arsenic, 114 pounds of lead, 4 pounds of cadmium, and many other toxic heavy metals. Mercury emissions from coal plants are suspected of contaminating lakes and rivers in northern and northeast states and Canada. In Wisconsin alone, more than 200 lakes and rivers are contaminated with mercury. Health officials warn against eating fish caught in these waters, since mercury can cause birth defects, brain damage and other ailments. Acid rain also causes mercury poisoning by leaching mercury from rocks and making it available in a form that can be taken up by organisms.

* Trace elements of uranium. All but 16 of the 92 naturally occurring elements have been detected in coal, mostly as trace elements below 0.1 percent (1,000 parts per million, or ppm). A study by DOE's Oak Ridge National Lab found that radioactive emissions from coal combustion are greater than those from nuclear power production.

More on the fantasy that is Clean Coal
Greenwash Watch: AmericasPower
There Is No Such Thing As Clean Coal
The Reality: There's No Such Thing As Clean Coal (Video Clip)
Clean Coal: If It Can't Make It There, It Can't Make It Anywhere

More Great Moments in Coal movies: Parodies of the Coal Industry

"Though a bit dated now - the spot was originally aired in mid-2005 - this effort by GE to promote its "eco-imagination" campaign remains a classic in what not to do in green marketing. GE was eventually pressured into dropping the ad campaign after it received numerous complaints from coal mining families. " Great Moments in "Green" Advertising: GE's "Sexy Coal Miners" Commercial

Watch this wonderful parody of coal;Coal: Cheap. Abundant. Cheap.

Clean Coal Carolers from an Industry Run By Morons
We have had much sport with the marketers of the concept of the oxymoronic "Clean Coal" over the years, but they have never reached such a low as the jaw-dropping train wreck of a marketing campaign that

Related Content on