| ||Coal is still a very popular source of energy throughout the world. In South Africa, coal is used to produce 94% of electricity and, unlike any other country, nearly 30% of its liquid fuel. However, the country is not managing to satisfy its electricity demand and is considering opening new coal power stations based on a bank loan of 3.7 billion dollars made to the World Bank. In 2007, over 27% of the energy consumed in the world came from coal. Even if most of the mines in Europe have closed over the past decades because they were not very profitable, elsewhere, it is still being extracted with the help of a cheap workforce. With coal veins that are close to the surface, open cast mining damages the landscape and requires large investments. However, the working conditions of miners are supposed to be less difficult than in underground mines. Growing energy demand should maintain mining activity during the 21st century because there is a lot of coal left and reserves can easily be exploited. However, exploiting coal poses problems because its combustion generates excessive pollution, especially CO2 which is a greenhouse gas. To fight global warming, coal consumption will have to be reduced or we will have to learn to live without it.
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