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Fwd: It is time to kill coal

Our cover this week looks at coal, the main source of greenhouse gases

The Economist

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December 3RD 2020

The Economist this week

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The Economist

Our cover this week looks at coal, the main source of greenhouse gases. In America and Europe consumption has fallen by 34% since 2009. The International Energy Agency reckons that global coal use will never again surpass its pre-covid peak. Yet coal still accounts for 27% of the raw energy used to power everything from cars to electric grids. More important, unlike natural gas and oil, it is concentrated carbon, and thus it accounts for a staggering 39% of annual emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels. If global emissions are to fall far enough, fast enough, the task now is to replicate the West’s success and repeat it in Asia. Technology will help. Solar farms and onshore wind are now the cheapest source of new electricity for at least two-thirds of the world’s population. But the politics of coal are treacherous, even for autocratic governments. If Asia is to complete the revolution started in the West and consign coal to museums and the history books, much work lies ahead.

Zanny Minton Beddoes

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The world this week

Britain became the first country to license a fully tested vaccine for covid-19. The medicines regulator gave its approval to the Pfizer/BioNTech jab following a “rolling review” process, used to assess promising vaccines during a health emergency. Data from the vaccination programme will continue to be reviewed as they become available. Priority distribution will start within a week. America is expected to approve a vaccine soon and the EU by the end of the month.

More from politics this week

Salesforce agreed to buy Slack for $27.7bn, combining its range of business software with a chat platform tailored to companies. United they will increase competition for Microsoft, which has pulled ahead of many rivals in this year of working from home, when firms have relied on cloud services more than ever. Microsoft’s Teams platform has also been a formidable challenger to Slack. Shares in Slack have performed poorly compared with other providers of remote tech.

More from business this week

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