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How Much Does Obama Like Clean Coal?

With President Obama playing a cameo role in a recurring TV ad sponsored by American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCE), you may be wondering just what the administration’s priorities are for energy innovation. Rest assured, under the stimulus bill passed by Congress, “clean coal” research will get less than a quarter as much federal money as energy efficiency, conservation and renewables, according to Department of Energy figures released last week.

With the announcement of $3.2 billion in block grants for local governments to spend on energy efficiency and conservation, the total stimulus spending on energy is now clear, notes Lane Burt of the National Resources Defense Council. Efficiency and renewable energy — including assistance to low-income homeowners, grants to state and local governments, federal office building improvements, and support for advanced battery manufacturers — will receive a total of $16.8 billion in the next two years while fossil energy research and development will receive $3.4 billion. That’s more than green crusaders like Al Gore (“Clean coal’s like healthy cigarettes”) would like, but far from a top priority.

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