President Donald Trump thinks that “clean coal” is coal that has been cleaned after being mined.
Let that sink in.
Trump thinks that they wash coal.
It’s just one of the many baffling things that Trump said during his off the rails Arizona speech.
Coal is not clean, and can’t be cleaned. The entire idea of “clean coal” is a myth to begin with. It refers to an expensive process that reduces pollution by capturing carbon dioxide when the coal is burned. It’s not something that can be mined. It’s also a non-commercial technology. Robert Murray, the CEO of the country’s largest private coal mine, doesn’t believe it even works. “Carbon capture and sequestration does not work,” he said last month. “It is neither practical nor economic.”
There also hasn’t been a “war on coal,” as Trump claims. According to a study by the Department of Energy, environmental regulations and renewable energy subsidies “played minor roles” in coal reduction. The truth is that coal just isn’t profitable anymore. “[Coal] plants that have retired are old and inefficient units that were not recovering their operations and fuel costs, much less capital cost recovery,” the report says.
There’s also the “second, brand new coal mine” Trump bragged about. Only, there isn’t one. There is a renovated coal mine reopening as a metallurgical coal mine, likely driven by China’s steel industry and not by Trump fighting for coal miners. And it won’t helpcoal miners much anyway since it will also only create a few dozen jobs, at most.
So, nobody wants coal, China needs a particular type of coal, “clean coal” is at best uneconomical and at worst, a myth. Fact is, coal cannot be physically cleaned.
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