LONDON — Friday was the first full day since the height of the Industrial Revolution that Britain did not burn coal to generate electricity, a development that officials and climate change activists celebrated as a watershed moment.
The accomplishment became official just before 11 p.m., when the 24-hour period ended.
Coal powered Britain into the industrial age and into the 21st century, contributing greatly to the “pea souper” fogs that were thought for decades to be a natural phenomenon of the British climate.
For many living in the mining towns up and down the country, it was not just the backbone of the economy but a way of life. But the industry has been in decline for some time. The last deep coal mine closed in December 2015, though open cast mining has continued.
Coal-fired power generation contributes heavily to climate change; burning coal produces twice as much carbon dioxide as burning natural gas. …
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