"Anyone concerned about the effects of human activity on the environment should be immediately skeptical of the phrase 'clean coal.' The first clue should have been the usage of the term by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, an advocacy group for coal mining and utility companies. The exact meaning of "clean" in 'clean coal technology' is slippery, but ACCCE's web site defines it this way:
Clean coal technology: Any technology to reduce pollutants associated with the burning of coal that was not in widespread use prior to the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.
So 'clean' really means 'cleaner.' It refers to any techniques that improve on practices that were less regulated before 1990."