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China's attempts at modernising its energy industry will cause more than 100,000 coal workers to be laid off immediately, while hundreds of thousands more will be retrenched in the coming years. The state-owned coal conglomerate, which employs three million workers, intends to close down 30 mines this year, after determining their level of efficiency.
In Britain, however, where the government has had to rescind on its efforts to shut down coal mining, a non-governmental organisation, Friends of the Earth, has unveiled a plan that would provide a market for 40 million tonnes of coal by 2005. The FoE plan envisages switching off all nuclear power plants producing 10 per cent of power from renewables and halting the policy of dash-for-gas.
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