Coal burning has existed for centuries, and its use as a fuel has been recorded since the 1100s. It powered the Industrial Revolution, changing the course of first Britain, and then the world, in the process. In the US, the first coal-fired power plant – Pearl Street Station – opened on the shores of the lower East River in New York
City in September 1882.1 Shortly thereafter, coal became the staple diet for power plants across the world.
Executive summary: Today, coal is used to produce nearly 40% of the world’s
electricity. However, burning coal is one of the most
harmful practices on the planet. It causes irreparable
damage to the environment, people’s health and
communities around the world. The coal industry isn’t
paying for the damage it causes, but the world at large is. It’s this cost – the true cost of coal – that this report
reveals, showing and quantifying its effects on people
and the environment around the world.
Spiralling energy demand means that the use of coal is
on the rise– and at an alarming rate. Between 1999 and
2006, coal use around the world grew by 30%. Similar
increases are predicted for the future if we do not reduce our dependence on this dirtiest of fossil fuels.
Num. pages: 92