I was looking through the Clean Coal website today, and ran across an in-house blog post that annoyed me.
I think the title to this post sums up the main problem with "Clean Coal." The fact is, CO2 and other greenhouse gases are the main environmental problem of our time. Without addressing CO2, you don't get special points for simply complying to relatively weak environmental standards. Those standards address the problems of the past without addressing the problem of the present. Coal is the biggest point source emitter of greenhouse gases, so its up to you to step up to the plate.
Until you (the coal industry) have demonstrated that you can actually build a plant that will reliably sequester CO2, we can't afford to build a single conventional coal plant. Any coal plant that is built should have something to prove, a solid commercial demonstration of a carbon sequestration technology. We had a plant out here in Virginia that tried to claim it was "clean coal compatible" by setting aside a piece of land where they would place a sequestration plant when it became available. The claim was shot down because it was patently ridiculous.
Until you can demonstrate sequestration technology works, you cant build any new plants and truthfully claim that they are "Clean." Building plants now on the hope that this unproven technology works is a risk we simply can't afford to take.