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Clean coal for cars has a dirty side

Getting liquid fuels from coal would not reduce carbon emissions, and would likely increase them

By
6:06pm, October 20, 2008
If the United States tried to achieve independence from foreign oil by making gasoline from vast reserves of domestic coal, the country would probably end up increasing its carbon emissions, a new study concludes.

Researchers found that in realistic scenarios, the mass production of fuel from coal or natural gas would lead to the emission of more climate-changing greenhouse gases than the current oil-based economy. But even in the most optimistic scenarios, which assumed that breakthroughs in technology could be achieved, coal and gas would not help reduce emissions from transportation, the researchers report in the Oct. 15 Environmental Science & Technology.

“In terms of greenhouse gases, this was dead on arrival, so to speak,” says study coauthor Michael Griffin, an environmental engineer at CarnegieMellonUniversity in Pittsburgh and coauthor of the new study.

The authors have done a “remarkable job in

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