Writing in The Globe and Mail Thomas Homer-Dixon and Julio Friedman put forward a misleading argument about coal. Specifically, they argue that converting it to gas below ground makes it more acceptable as a fuel source, because underground coal gassification “uses an inaccessible, dirty resource for largely clean energy.” This is only remotely true when the technology is used with (as yet non-existent) carbon capture and storage technology. Until such technologies are proven to be safe, economical, and effective, it is not acceptable to contemplate the further use of coal as an energy source.
Simply put, the carbon trapped in coal absolutely must be kept in the ground, if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change. Trumpeting any coal-based technology that will add greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere is simply irresponsible, especially in a developed country like Canada that already has a shockingly high level of emissions.