Coal is still the fossil fuel that is used to generate 40 percent of the world’s electricity. It is also the dirtiest of all fossil fuels. Coal plants churn-out toxins such as mercury, which retards brain development in youngsters, and sulfur and nitrous oxides, which damage lung tissue. Health experts estimate that coal emissions kill 800,000 people a year, most of them poor. Numbers like that and the following statistics bode very poorly for the coal industry’s future.
The Dow Jones Total Coal Market index has fallen by 76 percent in the past five years.
In the United States, 24 coal companies have gone bust in the past three years, and one-sixth of the rest of the industry loses money.
China, still the world’s biggest coal consumer, has seen its demand drop by 1.6 percent.
Coal plants could account for a quarter of China’s water use by 2020, and coal reserves are located primarily in the country’s dri