The ACCCE's Magical Mystery Carbon Storage Adventure

Hey, kids, it's time for another bedtime story from the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a.k.a. the ACCCE!

Today's story is told by ACCCE's vice president for communications, Joe Lucas, in a spin festival er, opinion column in the Fort Wayne, Indiana Journal-Gazette.

Clean coal is crucial to energy future

He talks about the importance of coal-generated electricity and jobs in Indiana, and then goes cherry-picking, throwing in a Credibility-Building Science Quote™:


In a recent issue of Scientific American, Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and of the United Nations’ Millennium Project, writes: “technology policy lies at the core of the climate change challenge. Even with a cutback in wasteful energy spending, our current technologies cannot support both a decline in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and an expanding global economy. The key is new low-carbon technology, not simply energy efficiency.”

Lucas rapidly claps his hands over his ears and ignores the most important part of Sachs' article... as in, the rest of the science. Sachs' Scientific American discussion includes:


CCS [carbon capture and sequestration], for example, depends on the ability to capture carbon dioxide at the power plant at low cost, transport it by pipeline over significant distances, and sequester it underground safely, reliably and durably. All these components are close to deployment, but each faces major challenges. Carbon capture is most promising for new types of coal-fired plants (notably, the types called integrated gasification combined cycle, or IGCC, and oxygen-combustion) whose cost and reliability are yet to be proved. A vast new network of carbon dioxide pipelines would require major regulatory and policy support, with environmental and property rights hurdles. The geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide at large scales must also be proved, carefully monitored and environmentally regulated.

Sachs is clearly in favor of CCS, but at least he discusses the problems, and acknowledges that things are still in the nerd (experimental) stages.

Let's get back to Lucas' bumbling spin:


The question isn’t whether we’ll use coal (we will); the question is how we’ll use coal. The answer is, “cleanly.”

With the right investments in technology, coal will help power America through the 21st century with ultra-low emissions, including zero emissions of pollutants regulated by federal and state clean air laws and the capture and storage of carbon dioxide.


We need to explore all options from coal to nuclear to natural gas and wind.

However, coal will remain a part of America’s energy outlook for the foreseeable future and beyond.

He ends the column with "the [Democratic] presidential candidates agree...", as if obvious pandering by (non-energy scientists) Senators Obama and Clinton somehow lends credibility to Lucas' argument.

What a confusing mix of cherry-picking from a scientific discussion, empty statements on "how coal power is really clean", and "if politicians think it's great, then it must be!"

Not terribly convincing, Mr. Lucas. You're trying very hard to sell the ACCCE's fantasy that coal is "clean", and that CCS can work.

It can't. The science is clearly against everything you and your friends are saying.

Get ready for the uphill battle of your life. We're the clean, green, fighting machine that's looming in your coal-smudged headlights.

Cross-posted on our affiliate site, DeSmogBlog.