Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Hi, this is Alex from MinuteEarth.

  • Coal is... just the best, you know?

  • It contains LOTS of energy that you can release simply by setting the coal on fire, yet it's

  • stable enough that you can store it loose in a box, unlike nearly every other major

  • fuel.

  • Plus, it's one of the most abundant and widely distributed fuels; in lots of places

  • you can basically just start shoveling and boom!

  • Coal!

  • Because of these great properties, we started using coal thousands of years ago to stay

  • warm and cook, and more recently, to fuel the ironworks, steam engines, and electricity

  • of the Industrial Revolution, which led to, y'know, the modern world.

  • Today, coal still supplies more electricity than any other source, and there are underground

  • reserves that could power humanity for over 100 years.

  • But for as long as coal has been awesome, coal has also been the worst.

  • Mining coal has led to accidents and diseases that kill coal miners, and burning coal has

  • coated our cities, homes and lungs with layers of soot and poisonous chemicals, and left

  • behind piles of toxic ash that pollute waterways.

  • Okay, so coal has really sucked.

  • But apparently not enough to stop us from burning it.

  • Sure, there have been some attempts to stop, even as far back as 1306, when complaints

  • about the increasing stench of coal smoke in London led the King of England to ban coal

  • in the city.

  • But Londoners had already chopped down all the nearby trees that could've been used

  • as an alternative fuel source, and not having any fuel stunk more than coal, so within a

  • few years, coal was back.

  • Plus, ancient Londoners didn't actually know that coal was harmful.

  • They just disliked the smell.

  • But today's different.

  • We now know without a doubt that using coal causes serious harm to our air, our water,

  • and our health - killing millions of people each year.

  • We also know that coal is causing serious new problems: it's the biggest driver of

  • the global climate crisis that's flooding cities, lowering crop harvests, and destabilizing

  • society.

  • And we can actually do something about it now too (besides, you know, making videos

  • about it).

  • If we must use coal, we can mine it without humans, and we can try to bury the pollution

  • it produces.

  • But we also no longer need to use coal at all; we now have alternatives like wind and

  • solar and hydro and nuclear, which are way safer than coal, way better for the climate,

  • and on the whole, way cheaper.

  • It may take a while before we can fully replace the energy source that made and still powers

  • the modern world, but it's high time we try to go coal turkey.

  • This video was made in partnership with Bill Gates, who, through Breakthrough Energy, is

  • working to expand clean-energy investment and support the innovations that will lead

  • the world to net-zero carbon emissions.

  • To learn more, visit: GatesNotes.com or click the link in the description.

Hi, this is Alex from MinuteEarth.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 US coal fuel energy led electricity burning

The Best Worst Energy Source

  • 7 1
    joey joey posted on 2021/04/30
Video vocabulary