Sunday, November 24, 2013

clean coal

Germany’s Renewable Energiewende: Pioneering Path or Troubled Turn?

This article will examine the challenges to Germany’s policy of nuclear abandonment. Though Germany has made extraordinary moves away from their nuclear program, a full move will be riddled with trials that other countries contemplating such a move could face as well. Germany’s success or failure will likely set the course for the future of renewable energy in Europe and abroad.

A second challenge to the German energy plan is the extent to which the plan’s costs will be absorbed by energy consuming citizens and how strongly that will test their anti-nuclear resolve. Germany’ nuclear decision has largely been seen as fueled by domestic public concern and negative opinion that has been present since the 1970s but strengthened considerably after Fukushima. Though the plan to swiftly end nuclear was heralded by the German public directly after its announcement, eighteen-plus months later, the reality of who is expected to foot the bill for the switch-over is beginning to sink in. Polling reports that Germans still consistently support phasing out nuclear power, but a poll released in October of 2012 reveals that they are not willing to annually pay more than 50 Euros (€) to finance it, while some reports project that German energy bills, already the second highest in the European Union (EU) after the Dutch, will increase between €185 and €250  annually. 

A final challenge to Germany’s nuclear phase-out will be its potential increased reliance on coal and the setback that will pose to its long-term clean energy goals. Since the announcement of the nuclear phase-out, and as of November 2012, Germany has at least ten new coal-fired power plants under construction, many of which were commissioned after the turn from nuclear to compensate for energy lost from reactors. German coal consumption has grown an estimated 1.2% compared to 2010, and EU overall coal imports from the United States (US) have increased by more than 50% in the same time period.

The explanation for this turn to coal can be found by looking to the American gas market, which is currently glutted with cheap natural gas from the shale boom. As a result, American coal is being sold to European markets at low prices. The carbon permits sold under the current EU Emissions Trading Scheme are also cheaper than shouldering the cost of switching to renewables, so utilities companies have been closing gas-fired plants in favor of the coal-fired ones. While these coal plants are cheaper alternatives than gas-fired plants, they generate almost twice as much CO2 than the gas plants, even if they are designed to be “clean coal”. During the most recent February cold snap in Europe, France, a long-time supporter of nuclear energy, turned to Germany for imported electricity on an almost hourly basis, for electricity generated from resurrected idle coal plants. If coal plants are consistently chosen over gas, the incentive to build new gas plants or continue operating current gas-fired plants will decrease, and Germany’s environmental goals will not be furthered. This preference for cheap coal over gas may change if and when the US decides to export natural gas on a large scale, but until then, it seems coal is the most cost-efficient choice during a cold winter, for Germany and its neighbors.

Nov. 18, 2013 5:48 PM EST

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The top U.N. climate diplomat on Monday told the coal industry it should leave most of the world's remaining coal reserves in the ground and start investing in renewable energy sources.

Speaking at a coal summit on the sidelines of a U.N. climate conference in Warsaw, Christiana Figueres said the coal industry needs to change radically to help reduce the carbon emissions that scientists say are warming the planet.

"The world is rising to meet the climate challenge as risks of inaction mount, and it is in your best interest to make coal part of the solution," Figueres said.

The coal event was seen as a provocation by climate activists, who used a crane to reach the ministry's roof, where they unfurled banners criticizing Poland's — and the world's — reliance on coal and other fossil fuels. Police used another crane to take them down, as panelists at the coal summit said that the people in the room, not the people on the roof, have the possibility to change the coal industry.

Coal industry officials at the event didn't directly address her remarks but said the world cannot do without coal because in many countries it's the only available energy source.

"A major aim of the summit has been to encourage open and constructive dialogue on the climate challenge — we're not going to meet our climate objectives if we are not all part of the solution," the World Coal Association, which organized the event, said in a statement.

Polish Economy Minister Janusz Piechocinski, whose country generates about 90 percent of its electricity from coal, said: "You cannot have a low-emissions energy transformation without talking about coal."

Coal accounts for less than 30 percent of the world's energy supply but more than 40 percent of energy emissions, according to the International Energy Agency.

Figueres, who was criticized by some climate activists for attending the conference, noted coal's role in economic development since the industrial revolution but said it's come at "an unacceptably high cost to human and environmental health."

She said aging, high-polluting coal plants must be closed and new plants should implement technologies that allow for emissions to be trapped before they are released into the atmosphere. Such technologies are expensive and currently not widely used.

To bring down CO2 emissions to levels that would avoid dangerous levels of warming, most of the existing coal reserves must be left in the ground, Figueres said.

"Some major oil, gas and energy technology companies are already investing in renewables, and I urge those of you who have not yet started to join them," Figueres said.

Back at the U.N. conference later Monday, she told reporters she didn't expect any major shift in the industry's deployment of capital anytime soon.

"They really need to do a major, major rethink," Figueres said. "So I don't expect them to stand up immediately and go, 'We are ready for the challenge right now,' but I do expect them to take the message very seriously."

That message was echoed by U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern.

"The world runs significantly on fossil fuels right now and that's not going to change overnight," he said. "But at the same time if we're going to get a grip on climate change ... the balance of energy in countries all over the world is going to have to tilt much more toward non-fossil sources."

Coal emissions have declined in the U.S. as some power plants have switched to lower-priced natural gas. But they are growing fast in China and India to meet the energy needs of their fast-growing economies.

Coal industry officials say significant emissions reductions can be achieved by improving the efficiency of coal-fired plants. But in the long term analysts say expensive carbon-capture technologies need to be implemented to make the deep cuts required to slow climate change.


Associated Press writer Karl Ritter contributed to this report.

Dear Friend,
Historic Blair Mountain, the site of one of the largest labor uprisings in U.S. history, in 1921,1 is under assault by the coal industry.
Coal companies want to use explosives to destroy Blair Mountain through a process called mountaintop removal mining — the most destructive form of coal mining there is.
West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has the power to save Blair Mountain, but so far has refused to use it.
But our friends at Appalachian Voices think that national pressure on him right now could save Blair Mountain. So we're joining them in calling on the governor to spare Blair Mountain from destruction.
In the Battle of Blair Mountain, in 1921, coal miners fought for human dignity, fair working conditions and the right to organize. That's a big part of the reason why coal companies like Arch Coal and Alpha Natural Resources are so intent on destroying the mountain.
Local activists have been fighting for years to protect historic Blair Mountain, but with several permit applications currently moving forward, we need Governor Tomblin to feel public pressure now.
If he doesn't use his executive power to stop the coal industry's dangerous plans, the results for West Virginia will be disastrous.
In addition to permanently scarring historic Blair Mountain with explosives, the industry would dump dangerous pollutants into the headwaters of the Spruce Fork watershed, damaging stream ecosystems, putting fish and amphibian populations at risk, and potentially contaminating drinking water supplies. Mountaintop removal mining has also been linked to increased rates of cancer and birth defects.2
West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has the power to save Blair Mountain, but he's not going to use it without strong public pressure.
Thank you for fighting to save historic Blair Mountain.
Josh Nelson, Campaign Manager 
CREDO Action from Working Assets

1. Chris Hedges, "The Battle of Blair Mountain", Common Dreams, 7/16/12
2. Paul J. Nyden, "Study: birth defect rates higher in MTR areas, West Virginia Gazette, 6/21/11

SEPTEMBER 26, 2012 2:00 A.M.
Obama’s War on Coal

One of the most significant challenges in addressing global climate change is reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions resulting from the use of coal.

Coal use, primarily for the generation of electricity, now accounts for roughly 20 percent of global GHG emissions.

Rising energy demand will continue to drive up coal consumption, particularly in countries with large reserves such as the United States, China and India.

Coal is cheap.

Coal can provide usable energy at a cost of between $1 and $2 per MMBtu compared to $6 to $12 per MMBtu for oil and natural gas, and coal prices are relatively stable.

Coal is inherently higher-polluting and more carbon-intensive than other energy alternatives.

However, coal is so inexpensive that one can spend quite a bit on pollution control and still maintain coal’s competitive position.

U.S. 2012 coal exports, supported by rising steam coal exports, are expected to break their previous record level of almost 113 million tons, set in 1981. Exports for the first half of 2012 reached almost 67 million tons, surpassing most annual export volumes dating back to 1949. U.S. coal exports averaged 56 million tons per year in the decade preceding 2011. If exports continue at their current pace, the United States will export 133 million tons this year, although EIA forecasts exports of 125 million tons.

Total U.S. coal exports, including both steam and metallurgical (met) coal, were almost 13 million tons in June 2012, surpassing April's record-setting amount by 0.2 million tons. June was also the third consecutive month of exports surpassing 12 million tons. The global economy has been slowing, especially in China, the world's largest coal consumer by a large margin. As a result, EIA does not expect coal exports to continue at their current pace. Exports in August, the latest data available, reflect some of the weakening global demand for coal, falling 2 million tons from the record June levels. While declines in export levels inject some uncertainty, exports remain elevated with lower August exports still 13% above August 2011 levels. As a result, 2012 is still expected to surpass the 1981 record.

This increase in exports marks a significant reversal from the general downward trajectory of U.S. coal exports beginning in the early 1990s, which bottomed out in 2002 just under 40 million tons, the lowest level since 1961. Coal exports in 2011 rose 171% from 2002, with only a brief interruption by the global recession. Export growth accelerated after the recession, with consecutive post-2009 growth of more than 20 million tons per year, a level of growth not seen since the 1979-to-1981 export boom. Current data for 2012 (through August) show coal exports are growing even faster and should more than double 2009 export levels, buoyed by growth in U.S. steam coal.

Increases in steam coal exports come after years of losing ground to met coal exports. While met coal has typically held a larger market share of U.S. exports than steam (its share remained relatively close to 55% over a prolonged period), between 2009 and 2011 met coal averaged two-thirds of U.S. coal exports. However, current data (through August 2012) show that steam coal exports are rebounding, growing about 50% in 2011 and on track to grow another 50% in 2012. In a near mirror image of 2010, steam exports are now driving U.S. coal export growth, accounting for 95% of the annualized 2012 export increase—pushing coal exports to likely reach their highest level on record this year.

WASHINGTON – House Democrats joined Republicans Friday in voting to restrain environmental regulators from hurting the coal industry, battling what mining-state lawmakers call a "war on coal" that just cost another 1,200 jobs.

The 233-175 vote to approve the "Stop the War on Coal Act" marked the final vote in the chamber until mid-November. Nineteen Democrats joined the majority in voting for the bill.

The proposals would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from restricting greenhouse gases, quash stricter fuel efficiency standards for cars and give states control over disposal of harmful coal byproducts. The vote coincides with a fresh campaign-trail effort by Mitt Romney to hammer President Obama over the impact the EPA's policies have had on the industry. It also comes after company Alpha Natural Resources announced earlier this week that it was eliminating 1,200 positions, closing eight coal mines across three states. The company cited a difficult market in which power plants are switching to abundant, less-expensive natural gas and "a regulatory environment that's aggressively aimed at constraining the use of coal."

House Speaker John Boehner, in a statement Friday on the vote, blamed the "war on coal" for the job loss and said the House bill reins in the administration's most damaging new energy regulations and holds them accountable for the economic impact of several others."

The legislation, though, is dead on arrival in the Democratic-led Senate, and Obama has already threatened a veto should it ever reach his desk.

Republicans and conservative groups are working to saddle down-ballot Democrats with Obama's environmental policies, which are unpopular in energy-producing battleground states such as Virginia and Ohio. They argue that no source of jobs or affordable energy can be spared amid a still-weak economy, with unemployment at 8.1 percent, and reliance on oil from the tumultuous Middle East.

New fuel economy standards that cut tailpipe emissions -- set for model years 2017-2025 -- would be gutted by the act. So would the EPA's ability to regulate gases blamed for global warming. A 2007 Supreme Court ruling cleared the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases under its authority to control air pollutants, but the legislation amends the Clean Air Act to preclude any taxes or regulations on greenhouse gases.

Another provision would forbid the Interior Department from issuing any new rules that threaten mining jobs or U.S. coal production through the end of 2013. The package also would create a new agency to study how EPA rules harm jobs and energy prices.

The measure also would give states broad control over disposal of coal ash, a waste product from power plants, and protection of water quality near mining operations. Also nixed would be EPA standards for mercury and air toxins and a "good neighbor" rule that protects states that are downwind from polluting power plants.

Rep. Bill Johnson, who authored the act, challenged Obama to follow through on his State of the Union vow to support an all-of-the-above approach to American energy.

"This is not about climate change," said Johnson, R-Ohio. "If it's a public health, public safety, national security issue, certainly common sense regulations are appropriate. Regulations that are based on fact and science -- not based on political rhetoric or an environmentalist agenda."

The measure's passage dovetailed with a broadside against Obama in battleground Ohio, a coal-mining state. Republican Mitt Romney's campaign released a television ad Wednesday entitled "War on Coal," in which a coal worker declares that "Obama's ruining the coal industry."

Energy issues have flared in several competitive House and Senate races this year, with Democrats seeking distance from Obama and their party. In West Virginia, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, facing re-election in November, has embraced the GOP's "war on coal" language and echoed their attacks on the EPA. Both candidates in North Dakota's tossup Senate race have criticized Obama for hampering energy production.

Democrats voting with Republicans Friday to support the package included West Virginia Rep. Nick Rahall and Pennsylvania Reps. Jason Altmire and Mark Critz.

The White House, warning that the bills wouldn't survive Obama's veto pen, said the legislation rolls back public health safeguards and measures that will save Americans money -- and not only on their gas bills. Obama officials pegged the annual savings from the health benefits of the rules at up to $90 billion.

Debate over the measures exposed a growing rift between those in Congress who champion cheap energy regardless of the source and those whose constituencies demand they stand up for coal. Massachusetts Rep. Edward Markey, the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, said Republicans were breaching their own principles by favoring coal over natural gas, the price of which has plummeted in recent years.

"The Republicans are saying there is a war on coal, but the only battle coal is losing is in the free market to natural gas," Markey said.

U.S. coal production is actually at its highest levels in two decades, says the U.S. Energy Information Administration. But American power plants are burning less of it, meaning more and more coal is being exported to other countries. Meanwhile, more efficient extraction methods have reduced the number of coal miners employed in the U.S.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read more:

However, one area that is salient to American voters is coal. Obama’s War on Coal has been brutal for thousands of families who live in states along the Appalachian Trail. With new greenhouse gas regulations the EPA is doling out, it’ll prevent the creation of new plants and is scheduled to shut down 10% of existing coal plats that are operational today.

Greenpeace has just unearthed a bunch of old coal industry ads, and the results are pretty amusing for anyone who tracks the propaganda campaign waged by America's biggest energy thug.  Take the phrase "clean coal," for example, which sounds like it emerged from a focus-group session on Madison Avenue in the late 1990s.  In fact, the industry has been using the phrase in advertising copy since at least 1921, when a New York coal company pitched clean coal as if it were a forerunner of Viagra, promising that "clean coal will develop more heat and make for mutual satisfaction."  

Fossil Fuel Industry Ads Dominate TV Campaign

WASHINGTON — When Barack Obama first ran for president, being green was so popular that oil companies like Chevron were boasting about their commitment to renewable energy, and his Republican opponent, John McCain, supported action on global warming.

As Mr. Obama seeks re-election, that world is a distant memory. Some of the mightiest players in the oil, gas and coal industries are financing an aggressive effort to defeat him, or at least press him to adopt policies that are friendlier to fossil fuels. And the president’s former allies in promoting wind and solar power and caps on greenhouse gases? They are disenchanted and sitting on their wallets.

This year’s campaign on behalf of fossil fuels includes a surge in political contributions to Mitt Romney, attack ads questioning Mr. Obama’s clean-energy agenda, and television spots that are not overtly partisan but criticize administration actions like new air pollution rules and the delay of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.

“Since Obama became president, gas prices have nearly doubled,” said one advertisement by the American Energy Alliance, a group financed in part by oil executives. “Tell Obama we can’t afford his failing energy policies.”

With nearly two months before Election Day on Nov. 6, estimated spending on television ads promoting coal and more oil and gas drilling or criticizing clean energy has exceeded $153 million this year, according to an analysis by The New York Times of 138 ads on energy issues broadcast this year by the presidential campaigns, political parties, energy companies, trade associations and third-party spenders.

That tally is nearly four times the $41 million spent by clean-energy advocates, the Obama campaign and Democratic groups to defend the president’s energy record or raise concerns about global warming and air pollution. The Times rated presidential campaign and national policy ads by whether they promoted fossil fuels or pushed clean energy and conservation, regardless of their sponsors, using ad and spending data compiled by Kantar Media, a company that tracks television advertising.

The lopsided nature of the energy messages this year contrasts sharply with 2008. Back then, global warming was a top public concern, and green ads greatly outnumbered those for fossil fuels, $152 million to $109 million, according to the analysis by The Times, which looked at 184 energy-related ads. In 2008, Chevron, one of the nation’s leading oil companies, trumpeted its investments in geothermal power, and Mr. McCain spent millions of dollars on ads featuring solar panels and wind farms as part of a solution to global warming.

But climate change legislation died in Congress, Republicans gained a majority in the House, and pocketbook issues like the price of gasoline began dominating public discussion. After imposing a yearlong oil and gas drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico in response to the disastrous BP spill in 2010, President Obama recast himself as favoring an “all of the above” energy strategy, allowing the industry to drill offshore as deep as ever and moving to open up new regions like Alaska’s Arctic waters.

The shift left many fossil fuel critics disillusioned and unwilling to do much to support the president. “It’s hard to think of any environmental activist who is enthused about anything Obama does these days,” said Brendan Cummings, senior counsel for the Center for Biological Diversity, which challenges the industry on drilling plans. “Obama’s explicit embrace of fossil fuels and implicit embrace of all the environmental degradation that entails are almost indistinguishable from the policies of the Bush administration.”

Mr. Obama’s policy decisions on the Keystone pipeline and clean air rules did not win him friends in the fossil fuel world, either. Many of the industry’s titans are going all out to elect Mr. Romney, who has promised to open up more land and coastline to oil and gas drilling, end wind and solar power subsidies and curb regulations that discourage burning coal for electricity.

“The stakes are high,” said Steve Miller, the recently retired president of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, which has spent about $12 million on pro-coal television ads, according to the Kantar data. “Our goal is to assure that whoever is elected will have seen a groundswell for coal in swing states.”

The Times analysis shows that ads with energy themes have played an outsized role in the 2012 campaign season, with energy earning more frequent mentions than every other issue except jobs and the economy.

Energy first emerged as a major advertising topic during the last presidential election. Back then, one of the biggest spenders was the Alliance for Climate Protection, an environmental group backed by former Vice President Al Gore that spent an estimated $32 million on ads urging legislation to combat global warming.

This year, the alliance, now called the Climate Reality Project, is not buying television ads at all, focusing instead on social media, training and organizing. “Whatever we would spend, it would just be washed away in this sea of fossil fuel money,” said Maggie L. Fox, the group’s chief executive.

Other clean-energy players, particularly from the solar industry, are also keeping a low profile after Solyndra, a California solar module manufacturer that received half a billion dollars in federal loans, declared bankruptcy and became a favorite Republican target.

Certain environmental groups, like the Sierra Club, are still running their own television commercials this year in support of Mr. Obama’s policies. And the wind industry is on a campaign to win renewal of a major tax credit. But “we are being outgunned by orders of magnitude,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “There is just no way we can compete with some of the richest companies in the history of the world.”

The American Petroleum Institute, backed by the nation’s largest oil and gas companies, is the top energy spender this year with its “I’m an energy voter” campaign. Although the ads avoid explicitly endorsing any candidate, they clearly echo policy stands taken by Mr. Romney and the Republicans: opposing regulations that might slow down drilling and denouncing Mr. Obama’s proposal to eliminate oil industry subsidies.

“New energy taxes could hurt drivers and families,” one ad says. “Better to produce more energy here, like oil and natural gas. That will help the economy. That’s good for everyone.”

The petroleum institute has spent an estimated $37 million so far on television ads, according to the Kantar data, more than it spent in all of 2008. And it is just one of nearly two dozen groups — including Americans for Prosperity, backed by the oil billionaire David H. Koch, and Crossroads GPS — that are running advertisements this year advocating more fossil-fuel production or condemning spending by the Obama administration on solar and wind projects.

“These are companies and industries that clearly feel threatened,” said Ken Goldstein, president of Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group. “And when companies and industries with resources feel threatened, they air advertisements.”

The fossil fuel industries have also used more subtle tactics, like mobilizing miners to wear pro-coal hats and shirts at candidate events and placing a coal industry logo on the cars for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Nascar team.

Their trade associations have targeted swing states like Ohio, Colorado, Virginia and Pennsylvania, where there are established operations like coal mines or fast-growing new efforts, like fields where natural gas is extracted through hydraulic fracturing, a technique that could face new restrictions from regulators.

GRUNDY, Va. -- More than 5,500 people turned out Sunday afternoon at a mountaintop park in remote Buchanan County to show their support for coal.
With the "War on Coal" rhetoric that's been on a lot of Republicans' lips this election season, a lineup of political speakers that included Matt Romney, son of Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, came to talk about the resource that powers both the electricity and the economy here.
"Right now our country is in dire straits," Matt Romney said, promising that his father, if elected, would make the nation energy independent by 2020. "We can't ignore the vast natural resources we have in this country: coal, natural gas, oil."
In coal country, the issue is complex. On one hand, the Appalachian coal industry has been steadily losing jobs in recent decades, due in part to mechanization and declining reserves. On the other hand, new policies implemented by the Obama administration have had a painful, immediate impact.
It was clear in the mood of the crowd Sunday. Some talked about how thousands of recent coal industry layoffs have impacted their families and communities; others said they go to work every day wondering if they will still have a job when they get there.
"The only promise Obama kept was to kill coal," said Jerry Shortt, a coal miner from Richlands who was laid off temporarily right after Labor Day -- and learned Friday that for him, along with 189 other employees at the mine where he worked, the layoff would be permanent.
"You see all these people? I bet you a quarter of them's laid off," he said. "I know a lot of people that did [vote for Obama] that are not going to next time. Hope turned into damnation."
THE WAR THAT COAL MINERS and companies perceive is one being fought on several fronts, said Barbara Altizer, executive director of the Eastern Coal Council, one of five industry-funded groups that sponsored Sunday's rally.
"They come at us on the air side. They come after us on the water side. They've stopped the permits, so that's like starving us. And EPA has started… allowing various anti-coal groups to run things into the ground."
On the air emissions side, two new sets of EPA rules have cut both the present and future use of coal.
First, new air emissions standards prompted utilities to announce the closure of dozens of coal-fired power plants, cutting the demand for coal and costing jobs. In some cases, utilities chose to convert those units to natural gas, which because of new technology for extraction has become relatively cheap and plentiful. Rules for coal-fired boilers have also affected factories and other facilities that use industrial boilers.
Second, a new proposed EPA rule would require any new coal-fired power plants to be constructed with technology to control carbon dioxide emissions -- technology that's not been fully developed. With this proposal, even state-of-the-art coal burning technology, like that being used at the new power plant that just opened in nearby Wise County, couldn't be permitted, utility officials have said.
On the water pollution side, coal mines are now subject to new restrictions in obtaining the permits needed from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Targeted specifically at mountaintop mines in Appalachia, according to industry supporters, the change effectively prohibits modern surface mining and has also created significant problems for deep mining.
At the same time, hundreds of mining permits have been suspended in limbo for the years of the Obama administration, with the federal agencies in charge of processing these permits choosing to simply take no action.

Take Action!
Clicking here will automatically add your name to this petition to President Obama and Obama for America:
"It is both misleading and cynical to claim that President Obama is more pro-coal than Mitt Romney. President Obama, please urge your campaign to pull this ad, and be a leader toward a better way forward than dirty coal."
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CREDO Action | more than a network, a movement.
Dear Friend,
Part of leadership is having the courage to tell the truth even when it's difficult.
And right now we need leadership from President Obama to overturn a decision by his campaign to run radio ads in Ohio which promote coal and incredibly actually criticize Mitt Romney for saying (when he was a different person, in 2003) that the pollution from coal plants kills people.1
The reality is that Romney's campaign is being buoyed by a massive injection of cash from fossil fuel polluters like the Koch brothers. And he's pulling his pro-coal talking points straight from the Tea Party. So an ad suggesting that President Obama is more coal-loving than Romney isn't just cynical, it's misleading.2
The ad reflects clear political pressure President Obama is feeling in swing states like Ohio.
But is the Obama campaign actually misguided enough to think that anyone whose number one issue is promoting dirty coal would also be misguided enough to vote for Obama instead of Romney?
The real story is that, while President Obama has a mixed record on coal, he's done some very good things — things Mitt Romney would reverse on day one. Even though the Obama campaign ad criticizes Romney for saying that coal pollution kills people, President Obama's EPA has implemented the long-overdue Clean Air Act update to limit, for the first time, toxic mercury pollution from coal plants. It also introduced the Carbon Standard, which, while it does little to fundamentally reduce pollution, is a vital recognition of the need to cut off polluters' ability to freely dump climate-heating carbon pollution into our atmosphere.
President Obama's have-it-both-ways, "all-of-the-above" rhetoric threatens not just to undermine these policies and others that support clean energy, but to undermine the progressive support for his candidacy that helped usher him into office in 2008.
The people of Ohio know that fossil fuel pollution tends to punish most those who can least afford to move away from it. From lung disease for generations of miners who have been left with no choice but to work in coal mines, to water pollution which increases cancer rates, to power plant pollution which causes everything from asthma to neurological damage. And of course the climate pollution from burning coal is an ominous and growing cloud over all of our futures.
As the leader we elected on his lofty promises to stop the rise of the oceans and heal the planet, President Obama should be laying out a better way forward. Not perpetuating the myth that burning coal has a viable place on a livable planet, or criticizing "Etch-a-Sketch" Romney for a fleeting and long-gone true statement about dirty coal.
Thank you helping to keep our country moving forward, not backward.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager 
CREDO Action from Working Assets

P.S. — Here's the full transcript of the ad:

Barack Obama: "I'm Barack obama, candidate for President, and I approve this message."

Narrator: "When he ran for President, Barack Obama pledged to support clean coal and invest in new technologies. And here in Ohio, coal production has increased 7% since Obama took office. Ohio coal jobs are up 10%. Obama's also made America's largest investment ever in clean coal technology. A $5 billion effort to create the next geneartion of coal fired plants. And under Obama natural gas production is at an all time high. With shale gas deposits across Appalachia, thousands of good jobs are on the way. And Mitt Romney? He's attacking the President's record on coal. But here's what Romney said in 2003 at a press conference in front of a coal plant: 'I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people. And that plant, that plant kills people.' So when it comes to coal, ask yourself: Who's been honest, and who's playing politics?"

Barack Obama: "Paid for by Obama for America."

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