Mermaids, Aliens and Bigfoot Want You to Believe in Clean Coal

One group uses the stuff of our imaginations to teach lessons about clean coal.


Last week, a British paper reported that aliens were interfering with one town's clean energy. Now Sasquatch and a mermaid have joined the mix. The Reality Coalition, a group dedicated to clearing up misconceptions about clean coal, has put

up a clever ad campaign in D.C.'s Metro Center, where mythical creatures tell public transit riders that clean coal is just a big greenwash. Just in time for the onslaught of tourists who will be passing through the station on their way to president-elect Barack Obama's inaugural parade, the Coalition hopes the Reality Campaign ads will help people realize that clean coal is no more a present reality than the alien, bigfoot and mermaid pictured holding big chunks of it. More photos below.

The Reality Campaign lists and dispels rumors about clean coal, along with their sourcing, which you can check out at

  • There are no homes in America powered by "clean" coal.
  • "While you might have heard the phrase ‘clean’ coal during the presidential campaign, it's actually an oxymoron."
  • There are roughly 600 coal plants producing electricity in the U.S. Not one of them captures and stores its global warming pollution.
  • Virtually all the new coal plants that have been proposed will, just like their predecessors, release 100 percent of the CO2 they produce into the atmosphere, where it will linger—and contribute to global warming.
  • An investment in wind power produces almost three times as many jobs as the same investment in coal power. And an investment in solar power produces almost four times as many jobs, and energy efficiency, almost thirty times as many jobs as coal power.
  • Unlike its mythical costars in this campaign, clean coal is not nearly as elusive. The topic is especially important as the Obama administration will decide whether it is worthy of funds in the stimulus package, and also as Energy Secretary nominee Steven Chu refines his position on the topic (He originally called it a "nightmare," but is now saying that it can be done).

    Less importantly but no less interestingly, it appears that a microtrend has begun: climate change and mythical creatures. Do we link global warming and climate change to aliens and imaginary beings, as climate-change denier Michael Crichton once did, because we don't want to take personal responsibility?

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