Muckraker: Grist on Politics

A coalition of national environmental groups, under the moniker “Reality Coalition,” today launched an ad campaign spotlighting the fact that “clean coal” doesn’t actually exist.

The groups are spending several million dollars on print, broadcast, and online ads, as well as a website. The campaign is a shared effort of the Alliance for Climate Protection, League of Conservation Voters, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sierra Club.

“The reality is that there’s not a single home or business in America today powered by clean coal,” said Brian Hardwick, director of communications and development for the Alliance for Climate Protection. “It is high time for the coal industry to come clean and admit to the American people that today clean coal is not a reality. No matter how much they say it in their advertising, coal can’t truly be clean until the plants can capture the global warming pollution. With so much at stake, we can’t afford to hang our hats on an illusion.”

The television ad (watch it below) started running this morning on national cable networks, including CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Headline News, Comedy Central, and History Channel. It will also run during the Sunday morning shows this weekend, including Meet the Press on NBC, Face the Nation on CBS, and Fox News Sunday.

The groups’ print ad [PDF] shows a door labeled “Clean Coal Facility Entrance” with an empty field on the other side of it. “In reality, there’s no such thing as clean coal,” it reads. That ad will run in Backpacker, Body and Soul, Economist, Family Fun, Fast Company<, GQ, National Geographic , New Yorker, Real Simple, Rolling Stone, Scientific American, Time, and The Week

The ads were designed and created by the agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the same agency that created the once-ubiquitous “Truth” anti-tobacco ads. Asked how much they’re spending on the campaign, Hardwick would only say it’s a “substantial buy” in the multi-millions. “It’s competitive with what the coal industry is doing … We’re not prepared to give [the figure] away to the industry,” he said. “Keep ‘em guessing.”

Hardwick said the campaign doesn’t have an end-date at this point: “We’re prepared to run this on an ongoing basis.”