If you think the term “Clean”coal sounds like an oxymoron, you’re on to something. The clean coal promise is little more than a big, dirty lie, and it doesn’t take much research to prove it. And while we blame gas-guzzling SUVs for global warming, emissions from coal energy caused nearly 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in 2010, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

There may be a whole lot of money behind the coal industry, but not enough to mask the truth: Coal, “clean” or not, isn’t the answer to the climate-change crisis — it’s part of the problem. And even if coal emissions can possibly be reduced, clean-coal energy is still very, very dirty. Here are four huge reasons why.

  • Mountaintop removal – Coal companies remove entire mountaintops to get to the coal beneath. In the process, they clear-cut the forest, blast off up to 1,000 feet of mountain with dynamite and then throw the waste into neighboring valleys. With that much mountain to heave onto the low-lying land, entire streams are sometimes completely buried.
  • Coal-mining waste – Coal mining is a filthy process. The mining industry spews 130 million tons of toxic waste into the air and water each year, causing maladies from birth defects to breathing problems to the animals (including humans) who live nearby.
  • Ads like this – The coal industry spends billions on spreading lies through advertising. This commercial is especially heinous, even using footage from an Occupy Wall Street protest to support their propaganda:

  • The technology is lacking – Carbon, Capture and Storage (CCS) is hailed as coal’s savior because it could potentially trap emissions at coal plants and store them, so they don’t pollute the air. But the technology isn’t good enough yet to work on a commercial scale, and we don’t know if it ever will be. Even if it does work, it requires storing billions of tons of gas for eternity — does that really sound like a practical solution?