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Clean Coal: Reality or Rhetoric? 


What is Clean Coal?

Is it Really Clean?

Clean Coal Technologies

Clean Coal in the Media

The Cost of Clean Coal

Case Studies

References & Links

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Clean Coal: Reality or Rhetoric?

What is Clean Coal? 

While this new spin on the idea of clean coal has been thrown around the media so often lately, the phrase is actually over fifteen years old, but its meaning has shifted since the phrase’s initial introduction. The term “clean coal technology” technically refers to any technology that reduces pollutants produced by coal-burning plants that was not widely used before the Clean Air Amendments of 1990.[1] Soon after the phrase’s introduction, it was originally focused around the problem of acid rain, which can be a consequence of the emissions like sulfur and nitrogen produced by coal-burning power plants, and its effects on forests and watersheds.[2] However, now society is aware of additional problems that are associated with the burning of coal for fuel, such as those associated with mercury emissions (health effects of mercury in fish that is consumed), microscopic particles causing smog and problems for people with respiratory illnesses, and the impact of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide on climate change.[2]

Works Cited:
[1] America's Power. <>.
[2] “Clean Coal Technology and the President’s Clean Coal Power Initiative.” Fossil Energy. US Department of Energy.


    Figure 1: A forest destroyed by acid rain


Figure 2: More icebergs like this one are melting faster as a result of climate
change caused by carbon emissions

Last updated:  5/9/2008


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