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What didn't stop though is the use of coal as an energy source. More than half of Pennsylvania's electricity is supplied by coal-fired plants and the state still is the nation's fourth largest coal producer.
But coal as it has traditionally been burned is not a clean form of energy and is a big contributor to the emission of carbon dioxide -- a green house gas -- into the atmosphere.
However, scientists and coal producers believe they can make coal a greener, more environmentally friendly fuel. So-called "clean coal" relies on carbon being pumped and stored underground. Carbon capture and sequestration or CCS, as it's called, hasn't been perfected but proponents believe it will save the coal industry and produce thousands of jobs.
Some environmentalists are quite so sure. Some say they have open minds and that coal could play a role in the energy future. Others scoff at the idea of "clean coal."
The recent climate change summit in Copenhagen and the end of electric rate caps in Pennsylvania (for PPL customers) make clean coal and the future of coal a timely topic for Tuesday's Radio Smart Talk.
Steve Gates, National Communications Director for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE)
Published in Smart Talk
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