In the first decade of the 21st century, clean coal emerged as an incredibly contentious and politicized term. The roots of this contentiousness lie in the larger context of the mostly partisan debates in the United States over climate change and its root causes and solutions. In the most general terms, those on the American Left see “clean coal” as a bit of marketing deception, a term put forth by the coal lobby to convince the American public that burning coal can be made “clean” through technological know-how. For many liberals and others, clean coal symbolizes the great lengths energy companies will go to in order to convince the American public that global warming is either not a problem or is easily solved with technology. ...

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