The Coal Boom Choking China

Chinese miners last year dug up 3.87bn tons of coal, more than enough to keep all four of the next largest users – the United States, India, the European Union and Russia – supplied for a year.

The country is grappling with the direct costs of that coal, in miners’ lives, crippling air pollution, expanding deserts and “environmental refugees”.

Desire for change contends with fears that cutting back on familiar technology could dent employment or slow growth, and efforts to cut consumption do not always mean a clampdown on mining.

This is the third installment in the Guardian’s ongoing “carbon bombs” series: investigations into giant fossil fuel projects from around the world that are super-charging global warming, or that have the potential to do so.

This deep-dive into China’s ravenous use of coal is eye-opening not only because it explores the long-lasting impact of burning coal on the nation’s health, but also because it illustrates the country’s outsized impact on global climate change through coal-related emissions.

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