Not for quite a while. We still depend on coal for most of our energy. Only when renewable fuels are in much greater supply will we be able to shut down coal plants. I do think this will happen eventually, because politicians are finally starting to get serious about averting climate change.
Yes, eventually we will run out of coal. Though it is very likely we will stop using coal power much sooner because of concerns over climate change. Coal is an extremely dirty energy source and one of the primary causes of global climate change. I would imagine the US will stop using coal within the next two decades, we will switch to use more nuclear and renewable energy sources. Examples of renewables would be solar, wind, hydro power, geo thermal, or wave power. It will likely take longer for the developing world to stop using coal, possibly as long as a century.
America has a large amount of coal reserves, about 275 billion tons which is enough coal to provide power for America for the next 250 years. I believe that by investing more in renewable energy sources and by increasing public pressure for renewable energy resources coal power plants could eventually be shut down. This is dependant on the efficiency of renewable energy, the price, and the public perception of renewable energy sources. One thing that could be a problem for shutting down coal power plants is the jobs that would be lost, laid off workers would have something to say.
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