The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld part of a complaint by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) that adverts for clean coal being run by Peabody Energy were misleading and should not be used, EurActiv is reporting.
The Peabody-backed Advanced Energy for Life campaign ran an advert in the Financial Times under the banner ‘Let’s brighten the faces of energy poverty’, and advocated the use of ‘clean coal’ as a way to help the worlds’ poorest people access cheaper energy. The campaign’s website states its aim as being “to end energy poverty and increase access to reliable, low-cost electricity around the world.”
However, the environmental group took exception to the promotion of clean coal as an energy solution for the 3.5bn people living in energy poverty worldwide, saying “Coal is dirty. Coal kills. Coal deeply impacts our climate and health.”
The watchdog ruled that “without further information, and particularly when followed by another reference to ‘clean, modern energy’, consumers were likely to interpret the word ‘clean’ as an absolute claim meaning that “clean coal” processes did not produce CO2 or other emissions. We therefore concluded that the ad was misleading.”
They did not uphold the WWF’s complaint challenging the advert’s claim that “energy poverty is the world’s number one human and environmental crisis” and that Peabody was working to solve that crisis, ruling that the claim was a matter of opinion and intent.
Tony Long, WWF’s European Policy Office Director declared himself “delighted” with the ruling, saying “Companies trading and selling polluting energies have a responsibility to be open and honest about their activities and products. The last thing they should be doing is trying to claim spurious environmental benefits from coal consumption. This merely damages the already tarnished reputation of a struggling sector.”
The World Wildlife Fund instead promotes wind power as an alternative. In a page on its website entitled Green Power: Wind as a non-polluting source of energy, the WWF claims that “‘Green electricity’ is power produced from sources that do not harm the environment.” No mention is made on the page of the vast lakes of toxic waste in China created during the rare earth mining process. Rare earth minerals are an essential component in the construction of wind turbines.
The WWF page goes on to claim that one of the benefits of wind energy is that there is “there is no risk of radioactive exposure from wind power.” However, the poisonous mixture includes thorium and other radioactive elements which can cause cancers. This chemical cocktail has leached into the soil for miles around, causing the land to become barren, livestock to die off, and a vast array of serious illnesses in the local human population.
The environmentalist lobby has come under fire before for seeking to prevent development which could improve the lives of people in developing nations. Speaking in a 2007 documentary on climate change for British television, Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace said “The environmental movement has developed into the strongest force there is for preventing development in the developing countries. I think it’s legitimate for me to call them anti-human.”