In an increasingly carbon-constrained world, it is easy to overlook the positive contributions that modern coal activities make to today’s society. This is predominantly the case in the developing world, yet these impacts often go undetected by the media in the West. A lack of access to energy services is a barrier to tackling many aspects of poverty, including improving health and education outcomes, productivity and economic development. Worldwide, one billion people still suffer from energy poverty due to a lack of access to electricity.1 New energy investment must reflect local conditions, and it is no coincidence that countries afflicted by energy poverty have turned to coal-fired power. Furthermore, Western governments must not lose sight of the commitments they made to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to build better livelihoods for the world’s poorest (see Figure 1). This means recognizing the role of coal as a dependable and affordable source of electricity.
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