Our guest bloggers are Daniel J. Weiss and Alexandra Kougentakis, a Senior Fellow and the Director of Climate Strategy and a Fellows Assistant at the Center For American Progress Action Fund.
Yesterday, the Center for American Progress released “Clean Coal Smoke Screen,” which documented that the coal and utility companies that belong to the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) have invested only a paltry percentage of their profits to develop technologies to reduce global warming. ACCCE attempted to push back by releasing a list of research efforts to capture coal’s global warming emissions:
The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) today released a list of more than 80 carbon capture and storage demonstration and research projects, predominantly underway in the U.S., proving again that the coal-based electricity sector is moving aggressively towards bringing advanced clean coal technologies to the marketplace domestically and abroad.
In fact, this list did not prove that ACCCE members are “moving aggressively” in carbon capture and storage research. A quick review of the list found that most of these research projects are undertaken by the Department of Energy in cooperation with non-ACCCE entities. The projects on the ACCCE list fall into the following categories (projects before 2001 are not included here):
— 18 with ACCCE members in a joint CCS-related project
— 18 are joint National Energy Technology Lab and regional Carbon Sequestration and Leadership partnership projects
— 13 are joint DOE-university projects
— 12 projects are joint projects between DOE and non-profit or non-ACCCE for-profit partners
— 8 projects are joint DOE-U.S. energy lab projects
— 10 are foreign projects
— 6 are joint projects by the DOE or National Energy Technology Labs and regional Carbon Sequestration and Leadership partnerships; while the partnerships in this group include ACCCE members, these particular projects did not include ACCCE members as primary sponsors
— 1 with an ACCCE member partner in a non-CCS project
— 1 project is funded by the DOE only
— 2 are private projects by non-ACCCE members
Only 18 out of 89 projects on ACCCE’s list are CCS-related projects involving investment from ACCCE members. Sixteen of the 18 were recognized in the Center for American Progress analysis, which relied on information provided by ACCCE members. Two additional recently announced projects that were not on the ACCCE list were accounted for by the Center for American Progress as well. All the ACCCE list proves is that the federal government has undertaken many CCS projects with little monetary involvement from the “coal-based electricity sector.”
Our study found that ACCCE companies made 17 times as much money in 2007 alone as their total multi-year investment in CCS research –- a fact not refuted by ACCCE’s press release. Despite this miniscule investment in carbon capture and storage, we fully expect ACCCE and its member companies to continue to urge Congress to delay and weaken greenhouse gas reduction proposals, and to use taxpayer dollars to fund the research the coal industry should be doing themselves. Hopefully, Congress will not be fooled by the clean coal smoke.