I'm not one to get too excited about coal. Still, the potential for advanced technology to make the fuel less harmful as an emitter of carbon has me at least interested in its potential use to complement renewable fuels, not replace them. ExxonMobil's (NYSE:XOM) recently published Carbon Risk Report caught many, including me, off guard by how the energy behemoth recognizes climate change while also saying that it's highly unlikely that it would stop selling fossil fuels for decades. This has me thinking that the coal sector may attract more investors who see a depressed energy subset and who may think upside is worth the capital risk.

If you think that clean coal (and yes I know that is a weird thing to say) has a chance to be a part of the energy picture Exxon is painting, companies like Arch Coal (NYSE:ACI) and Peabody Energy (NYSE:BTU) could be worth a second look. I want to reiterate that I am staunch supporter of renewable fuels and that any bias toward coal stocks is strictly from a financial perspective. 

John Licata has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.