The long-term future for coal looks bleak. The recent UN climate change conference in Paris called for an end to the use of fossil fuels. However, coal remains one of the world’s most important sources of energy, fuelling more than 40% of electricity generation worldwide, with many developing nations relying almost wholly on coal-fuelled electricity. Coal has been the fastest growing energy source in recent years and is essential for many industrial activities, but the coal industry is hugely damaging for the environment. A major driver in climate change and causing around 40% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, coal fuel comes at a high environmental price. Furthermore, mining and air pollution kill thousands each year. A timely addition to the series, this book critically reviews the role of coal in the 21st century, examining energy needs, usage and health implications. With case studies and an examination of future developments and economics, this text provides an essential update on an environmental topic the world cannot ignore.