Coen Brothers Make New Anti-Clean Coal Spot

Updated, with additional details.

The Reality Coalition, set up by five environmental orgs to debunk the notion that there is such a thing as “clean coal,” is introducing a new ad spot directed by the Coen Brothers, to be introduced in broadcast and online media today.


Joel and Ethan Coen agreed to do the spot after the coalition’s Boulder, Colo., based ad firm Crispin Porter + Bogusky sent them the script.

The coalition is fighting what they call a “misinformation” campaign by the coal industry to convince the public that there is such a thing as “clean coal,” or that it is possible in the near future, as a way to divert attention from the need to curb carbon emissions.

But even President Obama mentioned clean coal in his speech before Congress on Tuesday.

He pledged to invest “fifteen billion dollars a year to develop technologies like wind power and solar power; advanced biofuels, clean coal, and more fuel-efficient cars and trucks built right here in America.”

In a conference call, Bruce Nilles, national coal campaign director for the Sierra Club, which is part of the coalition, said, “We remain highly skeptical whether it can be done, a, technically, and, b, whether it makes economic sense.”

The groups also in the coalition include Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection, the National Wildlife Federation, the National Resources Defense Council and the League of Conservation Voters.

The Coen Brothers said in a statement, “We were excited to be part of this important project and tell another side of the ‘clean’ coal story.”

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