A Curse of Coal? Exploring Unintended Regional Consequences of Coal Energy in The Czech Republic

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Abstract

Focusing on coal energy from a geographical perspective, the unintended regional consequences of coal mining and combustion in the Czech Republic are discussed and analysed in terms of the environmental injustice and resource curse theories. The explorative case study attempts to identify significant associations between the spatially uneven distribution of coal power plants and the environmental and socioeconomic characteristics and development trends of affected areas. The findings indicate that the coal industries have contributed to slightly above average incomes and pensions, and have provided households with some technical services such as district heating. However, these positive effects have come at high environmental and health costs paid by the local populations. Above average rates of unemployment, homelessness and crime indicate that the benefits have been unevenly distributed economically. A higher proportion of uneducated people and ethnic minorities in affected districts suggest that coal energy is environmentally unjust.

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