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Coal is not just a backward energy source that will go the way of chimney sweeps. Coal is essential for creating steel, cement, and agricultural fertilizer, i.e. the pillars of modern society. And most countries rely on it more, not less, each year: "Germany...not only gets more than half its power from coal but opened more coal-fired power plants in 2013 than in any year in the past two decades. In neighboring Poland, 86 percent of the electricity is generated from coal. South Africa, Israel, Australia, Indonesia—all are ever more dependent on coal." The exception is the US, where natural gas has proven an economically competitive alternative.
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In China, coal is essential to creating the modern society its citizenry demands. Coal also poisons its skies and releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Enter carbon capture and storage, or CCS, representing the world's best chance to survive this century while maintaining consistent energy availability (to run schools, government offices, hospitals, and the like). Most energy experts agree that it will be another 100 years before the Earth can live off renewable energy. In the mean time, if all world's coal were used, temperatures could rise by 44 degrees Fahrenheit.