While coal is inherently not a green source of energy due to its non-renewable resource status, there are many options that can allow coal to be used more efficiently and cleanly than it currently is. In the most high tech example, coal can be used in a process called gasification to release clean burning hydrogen gas from water. The hydrogen is in turn used to create energy in a much cleaner process than conventional coal buring plants utilize.
We can leave it in the ground. The best thing the US and the world can do for our long-term viability is place a permanent cap on the amount of coal we use worldwide and stop pretending that we can have our coal-powered progress and a sustainable civilization, too.
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