As alternative energy sources gain popularity among politicians and their consumers, the Big Coal industry is spending millions in a desperate attempt to improve its image. One of the most common greenwashing terms is “clean coal.” This oxymoron is usually used to describe efforts to make coal plants environmentally friendly by capturing the greenhouse gases that they emit. I believe Melange puts it quite well:
A coal plant that captures some (or even all) of its CO2 emissions is NOT “environment-friendly” by any stretch of the imagination. “Slightly-less-deadly,” certainly.
That post goes on to mention major problems with coal, such as mountaintop removal. If you have ever entertained the thought that coal could be clean, I recommend that you look into that practice.
The truth is, there is no such thing as clean coal. As This is Reality points out, there is currently not a single power plant that captures its GHG pollution. While Big Coal insists that it is commited to carbon capture and sequestration, its supporters have actually been fighting energy progress for years.
Coal is still the dirtiest energy source, and if we really want to move forward, we need to focus on the future. At the end of the Stone Age, wasn’t it lucky that people didn’t just try to make their rocks harder? Coal is the stone club of the 21st century. Let’s see if we can move on to bronze shields.