Companies, PR, and lobbying

Both corporations and government entities are involved in mining coal and generating power from that coal. In the United States, two dozen entities are responsible for 70 percent of U.S. coal-fired generating capacity. Leaders include Duke Energy, American Electric Power, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and Southern Company. Coal mining in the United States is concentrated in even fewer hands, with Peabody Energy the largest.

In both China and India, mining is dominated by state-owned companies, Shenhua Group and Coal India. In Australia, leading companies include BHP Billiton (the world’s largest mining company), Peabody, and Xstrata.

The coal industry has long been known for an aggressive approach to lobbying, political donations, and greenwashing. Perhaps the most famous PR effort by coal is the clean coal marketing campaign. As described in CoalSwarm’s article on clean coal, the campaign has its roots in the coal industry’s efforts to market “clean coal” or “smokeless coal” prior to World War II.