Fossil-fuel makeover: 'Clean' and 'green' is as polluting as ever(Read article summary)
Coal and oil companies are pouring millions of dollars to style themselves as clean and 'green.' But just because they say it doesn't make it true.
David J. Phillip/AP/File
Have you noticed how environmentally-friendly the fossil fuel industry has become? Everywhere I look Iâ€™m seeingÂ ads from coal and oil companiesÂ touting the good things theyâ€™re doing to help people and the planet.
If you watch any of the dozens of recent coal, oil orÂ gas advertisements,Â you would never guess what these industries are really up to.Â They paint a pretty green picture of their industries, making claims likeÂ â€śwe strengthen communitiesâ€ť and pushing forward fictional concepts like â€śclean coal.â€ť
But calling somethingÂ cleanÂ and green doesnâ€™t always mean it is. The sad truth is that polluting coal, oil, and gas companies are pouring millions of dollars to redefine their industries as healthy, clean, and green. Theyâ€™re sweeping their dirty practices (and deadly coal ash) under the rug. Misleading advertising campaigns are just the latest efforts to cover up for the fact that these companies are blocking clean energy jobs, unraveling basic air and water protections, and setting Americans backÂ decades.
Clean energy is an important part of the growing green economy, which already provides jobs toÂ nearly 3 million Americans. In todayâ€™s economy, itâ€™s a wonder that these fossil fuel companies would disparage any job, especially considering that more Americans work in the wind and solar industries than in coal mining.
And our most vulnerable communities are the ones who stand to benefit most from green jobs, because these jobs tend to pay more but have fewer educational hurdles. These are the kind of jobs that help people escape poverty permanently. When polluters stand in the way of clean energy jobs, they add insult to injury.
This point of contention is not to pit one hard-working American against another. The shift towards a clean, green economyÂ would create moreÂ healthy, safe, family-supporting jobs. AÂ recent reportÂ from the Economic Policy Institute found that greener industries grow faster than the overall economy, so further investment in the clean economy will continue to generate a greater number of sustainable jobs that cannot be outsourced.
However, coal, oil and gas companies continue to funnel millions of dollars into advertising and political campaignsÂ who, in turn, vote to stifle the clean energy economy. The result? This Congress is theÂ most anti-environment in history. It has votedÂ more than 300 timesÂ against initiatives to safeguard our air and water, protect public health, and provide job training for American workers in green industries.
The fossil-fueled media blitz will only get stronger as the presidential election draws near. The stakes are high and the competition is fierce in many coal, oil, and gas-dependent swing states, where organizations like the American Energy Alliance will shell outÂ over $2 million to advertiseÂ outright attacks to vilify the clean economy.
We canâ€™t let them get away with covering up the truth. Weâ€™re working to expose green washing on behalf of coal, oil, and gas executives and their compensated spokespeople, with our very ownÂ Gene VashingÂ as a satirical example of just how far those industries will go.