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About TED-Ed Originals

TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Emma Bryce
  • Director Outis
  • Narrator Addison Anderson


Additional Resources for you to Explore
What is coal and how does it form? This is a great introduction to the formation of fossil fuels, and here’s more specific information about the different types of coal that exist. The U.S. Environment Information Administration has a huge collection of data, including interactive visuals and maps, all about this fuel, which will give you even more in-depth information.

If you’re interested in learning more about the great smog of London in 1952, read this detailed record, which explains what coal had to do with it. Thankfully, there are special technologies now that we use to keep some of the most harmful emissions out of the sky.

But still, carbon dioxide escapes, contributing to the serious problem of global climate change. You can read how that happens here, and learn more about this greenhouse gas effect that carbon dioxide worsens.

This is where clean coal technologies come in. Here’s a great overview of the different kinds of Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS), and another source containing diagrams that help to explain how these different technologies work. The U.S. Department of Energy provides another good overview, with lots of accessible information about the research that’s being done in this area. And the Environmental Protection Agency shares a huge amount of information about cleaner coal on its website—including why CCS is worthwhile.

When did we get so hooked on these ancient lumps of fuel anyway? This TED-Ed video describes how the Industrial Revolution brought this fuel source firmly into our lives, and another gives us the hard facts about fossil fuels and how they were formed. Looking forward, what’s the plan? This TED-Ed speaker maps out a 40-year plan for energy, and asks the audience to rethink coal’s place in the world. What do you think? Can you now list the pros and cons of coal as an energy source?