New gen coal website has its critics

THE Australian Coal Association has garnered considerable mainstream media scepticism from a press conference announcing the launch of its new interactive website dedicated to “new generation” coal, climate change and renewable energies.
New gen coal website has its critics New gen coal website has its critics New gen coal website has its critics New gen coal website has its critics New gen coal website has its critics

 

Blair Price

The Australian Associated Press has labelled the new website, which features a smooth animated green and blue planet at its upper centre, part of a “charm offensive to persuade the public it is not a climate change villain”.

Keeping to a similar theme, the Australian newspaper labelled the $A60 billion coal industry “the villain in the climate change debate”, and alluded the new website was part of a fight-back campaign.

Even Reuters UK got in on the rib-kicking, calling it an advertising campaign launch from a coal industry “facing accusations it is a climate change culprit”

However, the criticism is perhaps expected as a quick inspection of the new website (http://newgencoal.com.au/) does reveal bold statements in large type that “everyone can do a little” with reducing carbon dioxide emissions and that the “Australian Coal Industry is doing a lot”.

In a press release, the ACA said the decision for the launch of the new website was grounded in research conducted by polling company UMR – which discovered there was little public knowledge about the coal industry’s moves to reduce carbon emissions from burning coal and little understanding of low emissions coal technology.

The ACA also referred to a study by International Energy Agency which stated that carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology could cut global emissions by as much as 20% by 2050.

“As a result of this research and other feedback, the black coal industry decided that providing a world-leading website where the public could learn and ask questions about CCS technologies would be of immediate benefit in the complex climate change debate,” ACA executive director Ralph Hillman said.

“Every effort has been made to ensure that, whilst this website is clearly an initiative of the Australian black coal industry, information is presented objectively and supported by the established scientific and research community.

“Australia is at the forefront of the development of these technologies, a fact recognised by the federal government’s recent initiative to establish a Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute in Australia.”

On the emphasis of the “new generation” coal terminology, the ACA said clean coal was a term first used over a century ago to describe smokeless anthracite and later to describe the removal of nitrous oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions from power stations.

The New South Wales Minerals Council said the website featured extensive information about low emission coal technologies, including CCS and onsite interviews with scientists and engineers behind it.

“While this website is an initiative of the coal industry, every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is factual, peer reviewed and inclusive of the full suite of energy solutions, including advanced renewables,” the NSWMC said.

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