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‘Clean coal’ doesn’t exist

Just a friendly reminder that Trump's energy rhetoric makes zero sense.

US President Donald Trump CREDIT: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images.
US President Donald Trump CREDIT: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images.

At his 2018 State of the Union address on Tuesday night, President Trump declared that he has “ended the war on energy” and “ended the war on clean coal.” He referred to clean coal as “beautiful.”

It’s not clear what exactly Trump is taking credit for here, as neither war is rooted in reality.

The U.S. did not struggle to produce domestic energy prior to Trump’s declaration earlier this year that he would usher in a “new era of American energy dominance.” Production of energy in U.S. has increased steadily since 2005 due to cheaper solar and wind and rise in natural gas production.

Trump seems to think that “clean coal” is literally coal that is cleaned after it is extracted from the ground, which is not true. Even aside from the dubious premise here, the technology associated with “clean coal” — carbon capture and storage, which takes the emissions from coal power and buries them underground, essentially removing them from the atmosphere — is expensive and largely unproven at the commercial level.

Even Robert Murray, executive of the country’s largest privately-held coal company and staunch Trump administration supporter, has admitted that carbon capture and storage is largely a fantasy.

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“Carbon capture and sequestration does not work,” Murray said in July of 2017. “It is neither practical nor economic.”

In the video above, watch Democrats react to Trump’s State of the Union. Their faces say it all.