Can we Debate our Energy Future, not Hymnology?

Posted by Joe Lucas at 3:19 pm, December 11, 2008

The Clean
Coal Carolers
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's 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.

10 Responses to “Can we Debate our Energy Future, not Hymnology?”

  1. Of course…I’d be remiss not to point out that clean coal technology encompasses more than just CO2 capture. It includes any advanced technology that reduces the environmental footprint of electricity generation.

  2. Ashton Whitcomb says:

    Hey Joe! Interesting that the only comment on this message board is from someone who works for ACCCE. I guess dissent isn’t tolerated. Well here’s some to brighten your holiday season: Clean coal is a joke. No commercial plants exist! ZERO!!!! It WILL drive up energy costs (arguably a good thing). Also, coal is finite, and will likely peak in about 15 years, so the off the cuff remark about coal being our power source into the next century is a silly lie. You should probably hang yourself for working for such an organization. I would. Check out and learn something about energy.
    Happy Holidays! Stay warm!

  3. I understand that you felt a bit stung by the criticism over the “Coal Carolers” but face it, it was a bad and kind of strange idea.
    instead of investing money in a greenwash of coal, why not put that cash into the technology to clean it up. CO2 sequestering is an interesting idea, and one that needs to be explored. Meanwhile fire your ad agency and take a long look at your marketing efforts.
    Face it you have a captive market for the time being. Power companies are not switching from coal tomorrow.
    Hope you have a good holiday season and keep up the work on really cleaning up the coal biz.

  4. ben says:

    Coal is killing us:
    -in the mines
    -in the air
    -in the climate
    Who would take hymns about Jesus Christ and make those things sound good?
    Sun, wind, and water give us all the energy we need.
    That’s the hymn of thanks I’m singing.

  5. Atlanta says:

    You turn “Christ the savior is born” into “Plenty of coal for years to come”? How on earth (and heaven) is that not sacrilegious? (And in case your (professed) respect for religious traditions didn’t teach you this, sacrilegious means “grossly irreverent toward what is held to be sacred”…as in Christ the savior.)

  6. Fenwick says:

    You make baby Jesus cry.

  7. I’d like any new visitors to know that last night there were numerous comments on this page slamming the concept of Clean Coal and the Caroler propaganda stunt, and just like the coal carolers themselves, the comments have mysteriously disappeared.

  8. Joe Lucas says:

    Hi Rory:
    I assure you that no comments “disappeared.” We enjoy a free-ranging discussion and reject comments only if they are vulgar and/or resort to name-calling instead of discussing the issues.

  9. Jennifer says:

    She wasn’t complaining that you used “Silent Night”, she was pointing out that you used beloved carols and singing coal lumps to spill your “clean coal” propaganda. Its the same marketing technique like those toy cigarettes kids were given in the 40s. Clean coal is a stunt and a joke. Sequestering carbon dioxide isn’t going to happen for ears (and what would happen during an earthquake?) Our coal resources are finite and dirtier than oil! They would provide jobs to no one but W.Va and PA. Cars don’t use them, trains don’t use them and they are the highest emitters of greenhouse gases.
    We need to stop overpopulation and preserve our water. We need to move our cities inward before the waters flood them. We need to save our fish stocks. We need to stop desertification. What can clean coal do for any of those problems?

  10. Matt says:

    Every single taxpayer in this country has been paying for clean coal power research for decades. It’s called clean coal because it’s substantially cleaner than the prevalent existing coal technology. The term is not and has never been defined as zero carbon emissions. And there are in fact two clean coal power plants that have been in operation in the US for over a decade, near Wabash, IN and Tampa, FL, and there are several more in operation around the world and in various stages of design. The only reason there are not more is because you, the people of this country, do not want them. You make this choice when you elect your state governors and Public Service Commissions and federal officials who set EPA regulations. What you don’t seem to get is that power companies are regulated and mandated by the state PSCs to implement the least cost technology that is within the environmental laws. Even if power companies wanted to build all renewable energy plants, they would not be allowed to by the officials you all approve of by choosing to live in this country. The reason is that it would economically cripple the country to do so. Only a balanced portfolio of energy sources can solve the problems we face, and this includes using fossil fuels in the cleanest, most economical manner. It’s the same principle used in investing – diversification to limit risk and maximize long term gain.