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Conservation Science for a Healthy Planet

In a Stunning Turnaround, Britain Moves to End the Burning of Coal

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Britain is phasing out its coal-burning power plants, with the last one slated to be shuttered by 2025, if not sooner. It is a startling development for the nation that founded an industrial revolution powered by coal.

….The coal-devouring behemoth, and the endless trains of railroad wagons feeding it with fuel from coastal ports, is suddenly a relic of the past. In one of the greatest and fastest energy turnarounds in the developed world, the country that brought the world the industrial revolution – a revolution founded and sustained by burning coal – has cut the cord. King Coal is, almost overnight, being banished from Britain….

…The collapse of coal, the dirtiest of the fossil fuels, has resulted in a sharp drop in Britain’s CO2 emissions from electricity generation. Those emissions fell 50 percent between 2010 and 2016. The average Briton is now responsible for only about a third the CO2 emissions of the average American…

…Last year was the first during which Britain got more energy from wind than coal – 11.5 percent compared to 9.2 percent…

The lingering effect is that Britain is responsible for 6 percent of all the industrial CO2 in the atmosphere today – more per head of population than any large nation, the U.S. included. Yet thanks to the demise of coal, Britain’s emissions are now lower than they have been for more than a century, and they continue to fall. The world needs to follow.

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