UK: Keep calm and coal-free
It’s Monday, June 3, and Great Britain is ringing the death knell for the country’s coal industry.
Coal production fueled Europe’s industrial revolution, but today the U.K. is going to great lengths to leave it behind. Great Britain just lasted a fortnight (a fancy way to say “two weeks”) without burning any coal — the first time since the 1880s.
“As more and more renewables come onto our energy system, coal-free runs like this are going to increasingly seem like the new normal,” a National Grid spokesperson told Bloomberg last month when the country first hit seven days without coal.
But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows: This is not a total coal-to-renewables shift. For the most part, that coal power has been replaced by natural gas. Though natural gas burns cleaner than coal, it’s hardly a climate solution since the extraction and burning process still releases greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane.
Still, huzzah Great Britain! It would be nice if it were 52 weeks, but two is a great start.
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