Photo credit: davipt
The coal industry is very good at touting new technology and less good at actually doing anything about it. There is new technology that's available now, called IGCC, integrated gasification combined cycle, a kind of gasification of coal. But the industry has resisted building these plants. They prefer to tout these plants that are ten or twenty years down the road and continue building the same old thing.
The fact is that carbon dioxide from coal plants has gone up about twenty-seven percent since 1990, and they're continuing to go up. And global warming is an increasing, very urgent problem We need to cut emissions, most scientists agree, by fifty percent or more by the year 2050. And the coal industry is going in the opposite direction ... The fact is that coal can only be considered clean by the narrowest of definitions. It's true that the levels of air pollution of sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxide that Joe [Lucas, executive director of Americans for Balanced Energy Choices] have fallen. But one of the things he doesn't mention is that the coal industry fought tooth and nail against all of those laws that required those reductions during the '70s and '80s and '90s, spent millions of dollars lobbying against them."
—Jeff Goodell, Big Coal, The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future (2006, Houghton Mifflin)