Perhaps you've seen it the Clean Coal: AmericasPower.org ads in their cool greens and blues that run on television frequently. The folks in those ads "believe" that we "can do it." The "it" is carbon capture technology, which of course does not yet exist in any form applicable to large scale power generation.
As my husband is all to aware, my reaction to these commercials is to make very loud, rude noises.
I've said it before, and before that, and I'll say it again there is no such thing as "clean coal" and there never will be.
Even if -- and that's a big if given the huge costs involved -- large scale carbon capture technology is developed, that does not make coal "clean." Because the more coal we extract the "dirtier" and more environmentally devastating coal mining becomes; says she who lives in the midst of Kentucky's coal fields.
Think about this -- what benefit is there to sequestering the carbon produced by burning the coal, if the process of mining the coal removes vast acres of forest cover reducing the natural carbon sinks?
I see dozens of so-called-reclaimed strip mines every week (as I drive around my area on the way to work and shopping), some more than 15 years after the actual mining. None have trees on them. Sparse grass is what most sport for years. A few shrubs perhaps after a decade. Few are usable for any purpose. Strip-mining is seriously depleting the watershed and environmental sink values of Appalachian forests.