Both Clinton and Obama have come out for carbon-tax initiatives to counteract global warming effects; both have proposed implementing policies that would cut such emissions by 80% by 2050 over 1990 levels. In general, an environmentally conscious person would have no problems with the stance of either of these two candidates.
But when it comes to specifics, expediency rules...as this from ENN shows:
Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are talking more about "clean coal" and less about global warming as they woo voters in West Virginia and Kentucky -- two states that sit at the heart of the nation's coal economy.
In a bid to draw voters ahead of Democratic primaries in West Virginia on Tuesday and Kentucky on May 20, both candidates are playing up the ascendant role of commercially untested and so far economically nonviable ways of converting America's plentiful coal supplies into electricity without spewing massive quantities of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.
"There is no such animal as clean coal," said Brent Blackwelder, president of the environmental group Friends of the Earth. "We shouldn't be placing our bets on coal to bail us out. We need to be looking at getting rid of coal plants."
The problems faced with creating a "clean coal" burner are shown in this story of failure from Australian Business:
What was touted as Australia's biggest contribution to developing clean coal technology for use around the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions has been scrapped even before it got to first base. BP confirmed yesterday the $2 billion "hydrogen energy" coal-to-gas plant at Kwinana, south of Perth, would not proceed. The plant was to have been constructed by Hydrogen Energy, a joint venture between BP and Rio Tinto, and was designed to burn coal, converting it into water, hydrogen and carbon dioxide.
The hydrogen was intended to be used as fuel for a 500MW power plant supplying electricity for 500,000 homes, while the CO2 was slated to be buried in geological strata between Fremantle and Rottnest Island, Perth's holiday playground. The proposed onshore site was close to BP Kwinana oil refinery and Rio's HISmelt direct iron ore smelting plant.
Back home, similar problems have caused "at least eight clean coal plants, more than a third of those on the drawing board, [to] have been canceled, delayed or rejected by regulators this year. Developers cite soaring construction costs, technology hurdles and uncertainty about regulation of greenhouse gases." from a story in USA Today.
Coal burning plants are considered responsible for over 20,000 deaths every year in the US, and no environmental group seems to believe in the concept of "clean coal."
For other effects of coal mining, see here.