This year, the oil, gas and coal industries combined have spent more than $153 million on ads promoting fossil fuels and attacking renewables, according to the New York Times. Thats almost four times the amount spent on clean energy advertising in the same time frame.
Its also a third more than was spent by the fossil fuels industries in 2008.
So what message is worth the record amounts of advertising dollars?
Well, as it turns out, the fossil fuel industries really dont like regulation, the EPA, or president Obama, and they want the voting public behind them.
Though the dirty energy industries dislike of Obama seems a bit misplaced, (between allowing widespread fracking and his support of drilling offshore and in the arctic, Obama has given the fossil fuel lobby plenty) it does make sense that they would support Mitt Romney. After all, Romney is not concerned with healing the planet, and neither are the oil and coal corporations of America. Its a natural fit.
However, the majority of the fossil fuel funded commercials are actually repeats of the same messages that the Big Coal and Big Oil have been trumpeting for years
A recent Greenpeace investigation in to coal advertising over the last 40 years has found that the fear mongering and hysterical accusations made today by coal companies that regulations kill jobs or coal can be clean for instance are literally decades old.
The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), a coal front group, has spent $12 million dollars so far this year on ads that, except for being in color and on youtube, could have been straight from 1970.
The stakes are high, said Steve Miller, the recently retired president of ACCCE. Well, hopefully Mr. Miller is high if he thinks people will buy the same tired deceptions that the coal industry has been threatening us with for years.
Jesse Coleman is a researcher with the Greenpeace Investigations team. His focus is on front groups, fracking, and the oil and gas industry. Jesse's work has been featured in The Guardian, The New York Times, The Colbert Report, Al-Jazeera, MSNBC, and NPR.