We know we have our critics, but the least our critics can do is get their facts right.
Daniel Weiss of the Center for American Progress wrote a rambling post on his blog about the amount of money ACCCE members spend on research and development but failed to keep his facts straight.
Weiss said that ACCCE members “spent less than two cents in research on ‘clean coal’ for every $1 of profit” – where did he get these figures? Did he have a comparable number from other energy sectors? (Because it has always been my experience that the private sector funding, at least for federal R&D programs, has always enjoyed higher private sector participation than say, other energy sector projects.)
Also, how did Weiss account for the high number of projects going on in the private sector without any public funding that is not easily known to the public because they are developing proprietary technologies? (I was just on a panel last night with one such entrepreneur.)
The figure Weiss quoted is useless without the context of other industries or any consideration for these other factors. It shows that he’s just repeating the “party line” if he was to run down coal, without providing any credible alternatives.
Also, Weiss didn't address the fact that many ACCCE members are highly diversified companies with revenue and investments coming from many sectors of the economy (not just coal), meaning they may invest varying amounts of their research and development budget on clean coal technology (CCT).
Calling GE (an ACCCE member) a “coal company” is like calling JP Morgan Chase “a place where you get change for a dollar,” and I’ve pointed this out to Weiss several times, but he still ignores this huge flaw in his work.
And remember, CCT (as coined by Congress) refers to an entire suite of technologies that work to produce electricity from coal while achieving significant reduction in air emissions. For years, this has meant reductions in sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and other gases. And the next generation of CCT will include technologies that capture and store CO2.
By the way, I tried to post this comment on the Center for American Progress Web site, but unlike our blog, Weiss’ article won’t accept comments.
Next time around, I hope Weiss is a little clearer.