Theoretically YES w/ 100 percent certainty… humans survived for more than 100,000 years without using coal (or any type of fossil fuel for that matter). But since we rely so heavily upon coal for our energy needs, and so much support infrastructure has been built up upon this industry, it is going to be quite some time before coal is completely phased out. We need to invest in new technologies which are not harmful to the environment, so I do believe coal will be completely abandoned (hopefully within the next 50 years) because we A) don’t need to be producing quite so much energy in the first place, and B) there are much cleaner (less polluting and tough to get to) fuel sources—such as, solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, bio-mechanical, and the like. If fusion power because a realistic possibility within the next 50 years, there is no doubt that coal, oil, and natural gas will all be completely phases out by the turn of the 22nd century… and once again humans will be able to breathe easily, as the environment begins to restore itself to a balanced equilibrium (assuming we can cut carbon emissions from other processes, like transportation and manufacturing, as well)… it will be a nice (soot free) day when this happens!
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