The US is facing a coal dust crisis that could last for decades and could lead to the end of all fossil fuels by 2100, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that CO2 emissions from burning coal have reached levels exceeding their historic levels in just a few decades.
They said that while CO2 levels have been declining, emissions from other pollutants have continued to rise.
Coal dust pollution has been linked to health issues such as respiratory disease, heart disease and lung cancer.
The study, published in the journal Science Advances, analysed the air and soil conditions in the US over the past 30 years and found that coal dust is a major driver of climate change.
It found that emissions from coal were higher in the years that were warmer and drier and also during periods when the US experienced extreme weather.
Coastal communities across the US are also facing rising CO2 pollution.
Coals burning for power and industry contribute more than 25% of the US’s CO2, but they have been blamed for causing the largest amounts of climate disruption and global warming.