Most reputable environmental groups agree that “clean coal” technology is at best impractical, and quite possibly impossible to implement on a large scale. The coal industry and its allies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising strategies devoted to popularizing the idea of clean coal. However, there are currently no coal plants operating in the US that successfully capture and store most of their carbon dioxide emissions, and the technology to do so has proven to be hugely expensive. Even if industry does find a way to effectively capture emissions, storing the carbon in the ground without the risk that it will escape into the atmosphere at a later time is going to be whole nether problem. Effective clean coal technology is certainly not going to be available for many years, and we clearly don’t have that long to wait to begin seriously curbing our greenhouse gas emissions. The general consensus in the environmental community has been that clean coal is a distraction, intentionally manufactured by the coal industry and intended to cloud public perception of coal’s huge environmental costs.
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