Letter: Fuel of the future

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Sir: You comment (Business Outlook, 4 December) that "the Government should admit that coal has no future".

Taking the world as a whole coal is almost certainly the fuel of the future. Reserves of coal are about 10 times the reserves of oil, and coal will still be available long after both oil and gas have been exhausted. It therefore must make sense to keep our productive mines open now rather than have them shut so that the reserves they contain are permanently closed off.

Germany, whose coal is far more expensive to produce than ours, recognises this and subsidises its coal industry to keep it going.