The Environmental Injustice of Clean Coal

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The energy industry has been creating campaigns to promote clean coal that has moved climate change and national energy conservation to position coal as a feasible clean source of energy and the best option available that can be used to alleviate climate change. This essay will focus on the summary of the article The Environmental Injustice of Clean Coal: Expanding the National Conversation on Carbon Capture and Storage Technology to Include an Analysis of Potential Environmental Justice Impacts (Tyree & Greenleaf, 2009).

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With the improved understanding of climate change the policy makers of the United States now understand and appreciate of the impact of emissions from fossil fuels to the environment. There has been a debate on the available alternatives that can be used to shift America from its dependence on fossil fuels and the likelihood of the alternatives being exploited to fight climate change (Tyree & Greenleaf, 2009).

According to the article, clean coal is defined as burning coal that does not have a huge impact on the environment. When it comes to the context of climate change, clean coal refers to burning coal in an efficient manner or burning it in a way that decreases the emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Carbon capture and storage (CCC) is a technology that can be used to burn coal without emitting carbon dioxide into the air and this reduces the environmental impact created by carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon capture and storage is composed of three components: capture, transport and storage of carbon dioxide. According to the article, carbon dioxide can be captured in three ways, and none of them is technologically and economically viable (Tyree & Greenleaf, 2009). Despite the various methods that can be used to capture carbon dioxide, the environmentally relevant technology is not cost effective.

Clean coal can be used to mitigate climate change (Tyree & Greenleaf, 2009). However, science has not been able to support the industrial scale of carbon capture and storage. Nevertheless, many people argue that technology can be used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Coal has been one of the cheapest forms of energy in the past decades. This has created a competitive advantage over the cleanest but expensive sources of energy such as natural gas and oil (Milanez & Fonseca, 2012). Apart from the low prices of coal, coal has been the worlds leading power supply and will probably continue providing the world with energy. Coal is abundant in China, United States, and India and thus, these countries account for forty percent of carbon dioxide emissions.

According to Tyree & Greenleaf (2009), the critics for environmental justice argue that carbon capture and storage can upsurge the green injustices that are related to the use of coal. They claim that clean coal refers to the consumption of fuel without suffering the harmful consequences. The advocates of carbon capture and storage fail to acknowledge the health effect of coal on societies that are located near the burning sites. The critics of environmental justice further claim that societies are subject to the upsetting effects of coal even if carbon is stored and captured. The ecological and social impacts of coal tend to increase with the growing use of carbon capture and storage technology. Even if the technology reduces the carbon dioxide emissions, the effects they have on the environment outweigh the benefits (Milanez & Fonseca, 2012).

The article concludes that the American public is keen to move to a clean and new renewable energy economy. The economy would translate to the creation of more jobs, clean environments, and safer workplaces. This can substantially transform an economy. The public would understand how the use of energy can affect the environment, economy, and public health. With this understanding, the people would adapt to use of energies that have a little negative impact on the environment.


Tyree, S., & Greenleaf, M. (2009). The Environmental Injustice of Clean Coal: Expanding the National Conversation on Carbon Capture and Storage Technology to Include an Analysis of Potential Environmental Justice Impacts. Environmental Justice, 2(4), 167-171.

Milanez, B., & Fonseca, I. F. (2012). Climate Justice: framing a new discourse in Brazil. Local Environment, 17(10), 1063-1073.

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