UPDATE: After taking too many lumps, ACCCE pulls plug on Coal Caroler campaign!! See details.
Bless their dirty little black hearts...the industry hacks responsible for the infamous Coal Carolers decided to pull from their website the parody of "Silent Night" in the face of public ridicule and media scorn. Here is the explanation provided on the blog of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE):
"The Clean Coal Carolers are getting a lot of attention around the Internet this week. I'm not surprised that people who don't think coal has any place in America's energy future don't seem to appreciate the clean coal carolers.
"MSNBC Rachel Maddow, for example, didn't like the the use of 'Silent Night' in our original group of songs. I'll put my years as a Sunday school teacher, church deacon and church musician up against just about anybody else when it comes to understanding hymnology and respect for religious traditions.
"That said, before we even received one response to our blog, we decided to remove the 'Silent Night' tune from the Clean Coal Caroler feature. That's not to say that we agree with Rachel Maddow's claim that it was inappropriate. It is merely a recognition that the facts of promoting energy independence, keeping energy costs affordable and investing in new technologies to make coal an even cleaner energy option is so important, we don't want there to be any impediment for getting that message out.
"But remember that this cuts both ways. So you might want to be sure that we'll make our list and check it twice for things we might find offensive too."
So let me get this straight. ACCCE is suddenly sensitive to the fact that one of its holiday carols might offend? What this corporate front group should realize is that the entire concept of cute, cuddly coal lumps singing odes of joy to the dirtiest fossil fuel on the planet is morally repugnant.
NRDC is a member of the new Reality Coalition, a national grassroots and advertising effort to tell a simple truth: in reality, there is no such thing as "clean coal." No matter how many times or ways Big Coal's PR flacks try to spin it, coal is -- and always will be -- dirty.
The industry's shameless spin and putrid propaganda cannot hide the truth that coal is a climate killer and a threat to natural resources and public health. Consider the facts:
- Burning coal is a leading source of global warming pollution.
- Burning coal is the dirtiest way we produce electricity.
- CO2 emissions from U.S. coal-based electricity are greater than emissions from all the cars and trucks in America.
- There are no homes in America powered by 'clean' coal.
- The coal industry is spending millions advertising 'clean' coal, but not a single 'clean' coal power plant exists in the U.S. today.
On that last point, the Center for Media and Democracy reports that ACCCE -- and its predecessor Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (ABEC) -- early quadrupled its budget for PR, advertising and "astroturf" organizing in the past year. Recall that ABEC (which has since merged into ACCCE) sought to influence the presidential election with a $35 million campaign touting "clean coal" in key primary and caucus states. The front group paid CNN $5 million for advertising and co-sponsorship of at least six presidential debates. (For some added fun, check out our parody ABEC website.)
Under the auspices of front groups, the coal industry also has increased its lobbying efforts. During the first half of 2008, for example ACCCE/ABEC spent $4.7 million on federal lobbying, "more than any other organization ... devoted exclusively to influencing climate change legislation," according to the Center for Public Integrity.
Setting aside Big Coal's lobbying largesse and marketing blitz for a moment, let's get back to the cartoon Coal Carolers. What bothers me most about this lame yet lighthearted gimmick to 'sell' coal as safe to the American people is not only the dirty lies being propagated, but the utter lack of decency in this campaign's delivery. Face it, coal kills. Here is just one of many sobering statistics: Pollution from U.S. coal-fired power kills nearly 24,000 people each year, and is responsible for more than 38,000 non-fatal heart attacks per year.
God bless us everyone...(indeed).