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"Clean Coal" Alive and Well in VP Debate

The results are in. The phrase "clean coal" did make several appearances in the vice presidential debate: Joe Biden used it four times. Sarah Palin used it twice. Gwen Ifill used it four times.

Biden said:

We believe -- Barack Obama believes by investing in clean coal and safe nuclear, we can not only create jobs in wind and solar here in the United States, we can export it. China is building one to three new coal-fired plants burning dirty coal per week. It's polluting not only the atmosphere but the West Coast of the United States. We should export the technology by investing in clean coal technology.

Later he said:

Oh, on clean coal. My record, just take a look at the record. My record for 25 years has supported clean coal technology. A comment made in a rope line was taken out of context. I was talking about exporting that technology to China so when they burn their dirty coal, it won't be as dirty, it will be clean.

Palin said:

But also in that "all of the above" approach that Senator McCain supports, the alternative fuels will be tapped into: the nuclear, the clean coal. I was surprised to hear you mention that because you had said that there isn't anything -- such a thing as clean coal. And I think you said it in a rope line, too, at one of your rallies.

Ifill said:

Let me clear something up, Senator McCain has said he supports caps on carbon emissions. Senator Obama has said he supports clean coal technology, which I don't believe you've always supported.

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Comments (7)

jaiderbertoli Author Profile Page:

wow very interesting http://www.jaiderbertoli.com/

greensolutions Author Profile Page:

Coal-fired power plants wouldn't be clean even if only rainbows and butterflies came out of the smokestack.

Where do you think the coal comes from?

MINING! Mostly mountain top removal mining. Yes, very "clean" in the sense of cleaning off entire mountains, leaving a toxic, barren moonscape. Even if you could care less about saving wildlife and forests in the abstract sense, you can't deny the fact that forests are literally providing the air we breathe and purifying the water we drink and attempting to stabilize the climate. I'm talking about ecosystem services--provided free of charge by nature or for trillions of dollars with toxic side effects by humans--take your pick.

It sure takes a lot of energy to do that mining, too. Where do you think that comes from? Some other "clean" process like oil drilling and the wars associated with that?

There is no such thing as clean coal and there never will be such a thing. You couldn't even have clean coal IN THEORY, let alone reality. PERIOD

Those who know that clean coal is an oxymoron are not going to win the debate by talking about emissions. There are theoretical ways to clean up emissions. There are no theoretical ways to clean up mining.

caldwin Author Profile Page:

According to the US department of Energy, coal gasification offers one of the most versatile and clean ways to convert coal into electricity, hydrogen, and other valuable energy products. Coal gasification electric power plants are now operating commercially in the United States and in other nations, and many experts predict that coal gasification will be at the heart of future generations of clean coal technology plants.
So "clean coal" is no myth.

eagle2roost Author Profile Page:

With over 40% of our electricity coming from coal, both parties want to avoid unrealistic promises, such as "no coal". Both parties also acknowledge that burning coal causes problems that must be addressed, thus the promise of "clean coal" which is just a short way of saying we can do better with the coal we have. The real difference between the parties on coal is how important fossil fuels are to their overall energy plan. Obama has focused on clean tech and will put more money into developing alternative energy sources. McCain will do the opposite, expanding our fossil fuel supply ("drill baby drill") with a smaller amount of $ going to alternatives. I agree that it would be a much stronger platform for Obama to clarify that there is no such thing as "clean coal" but that we can invest in "cleaner" coal and carbon capture as a bridge to large scale renewable energy production.

rzwilling Author Profile Page:

Clean coal is a myth. Your other article is quite helpful - http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/postglobal/energywire/2008/10/the_clean_coal_myth.html

parsonsscott Author Profile Page:

Democrats have already lost: http://www.obamamccainbidenpalin.info/

swinko05 Author Profile Page:

Biden says whatever he thinks will work for the vote. He lied about McCain over and over, and he knows it, That makes him a liar.

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