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Coal carbon capture gets U.S. boost

WASHINGTON, July 17 (UPI) -- The United States and China are racing to see who can make dirty coal cleaner by trapping emissions and pumping them deep underground, sources said.

The technology, called carbon capture storage, got a boost last month when President Barack Obama announced a $1 billion revamp of a near-zero-emissions coal-fired power plant in Illinois called FutureGen. China's project is named GreenGen.

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The first country to prove that carbon capture works would be in the enviable position of being able to export the technology elsewhere, Sarah Forbes, a senior associate at the World Resources Institute, told CNN.

Cleaner coal is necessary because nearly half of U.S. power comes from coal, which accounts for an estimated 80 percent of the nation's air polluting CO2 emissions, Forbes said.

Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar can't ramp up fast enough to replace coal, said Scott Anderson, a senior policy adviser at the Environmental Defense Fund.

"We're not champions of coal at EDF, but we're realists," Anderson said.

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