04 May 2011 /

coal fired computer

By YoHa (yokokoji and harwood) with jean demars
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The Coal Fired Computer (2010) reflects on the complexities of the global fossil fuel reliance, and in particular the displacement of coal production to emerging economic superpowers like India and China after the UK miners' strike in the 80s; and how subsequently coal transforms our health as we have transformed it. Today coal produces 42% of the world’s electricity, and in many countries this rate is much higher (more than 70% in India and China). Coal fired energy is integral to the production of the 300,000,000 computers made each year. 81% of the energy used in a computer's life cycle is expended in the manufacturing process, now taking place in countries with high levels of coal consumption. The common perception is that wealthy countries displaced coal dust into the lungs of unrecorded, unknown miners in distant lands, however coal returns into our lives in the form of the cheap and apparently clean goods we consume

Image courtesy of Graham Harwood.

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