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Why is coal no longer number one fuel in United States?

Coal is fossil fuel that has many negative environmental impacts, and the most harmful of them all  is global warming driven by carbon emissions which are released into the atmosphere by human activities connected with coal burning.

The latest report from North Carolina State University and the University of Colorado says that from 2008 to 2013, coal usage decreased from about 50 percent of U.S. power generation to around 30 percent, which is news that is certainly well accepted by many environmentalists.

However, the downside of this news is that this rapid decline in coal usage is not primarily related with strict environmental regulations but rather with less expensive natural gas and the availability of wind energy.

Natural gas, though still contributing to global warming and climate change, is doing less damage to our atmosphere in comparison with coal as the dirtiest fuel of them all.

The rapid drop in natural gas prices made this energy source extremely popular and led to shutting down of many coal power plants across the United States.

Coal proponents blame strict environmental regulations, calling it a "war on coal" but this is only minor factor that led to decline in coal usage.

The researchers discovered that "if in 2008 natural gas had been available at 2013 prices and wind power had been available at 2013 levels, coal power use would have dropped significantly compared to what was observed in 2008."

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