'Clean Coal' Advocates Blowing Smoke

Investing in carbon sequestration "reckless"
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2008 11:31 AM CDT
This undated image released by the U.S. Department of Energy shows an artist rendering of a next-generation CCS FutureGen power plant.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – “Clean coal” is the buzzword of the moment, with industry groups and presidential candidates swearing by a work-in-progress technique known as carbon capture and storage (CCS), which ultimately buries carbon dioxide emissions deep underground. But Jeff Goodell, writing in Yale Environment 360, doesn’t buy it. “We don’t need to bury our problems,” Goodell writes. “We need to reinvent our world.”

CCS has too many logistical problems to be feasible: For one, the technology to make it work on a global scale necessary for coal plants doesn’t exist yet. It may never. Plus, nobody knows whether all that carbon will really stay underground, or who will be liable if it leaks. Ultimately, Goodell says, “betting our future on an expensive, unproven technology like CCS is, at best, reckless.”