Earth desperately needs people to stop burning coal, the biggest single source of greenhouse gases, to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. But people rely on coal.

Every day, Raju gets on his bicycle and unwillingly pedals the world a tiny bit closer to climate catastrophe.

Every day, he straps half a dozen sacks of coal pilfered from mines — up to 200 kilograms, or 440 pounds — to the reinforced metal frame of his bike. Driving mostly at night to avoid the police and the heat, he transports the coal 16 kilometers (10 miles) to traders who pay him $2, reports the Associated Press.

Thousands of others do the same.

This has been Raju’s life since he arrived in Dhanbad, an eastern Indian city in Jharkhand state in 2016; annual floods in his home region have decimated traditional farm jobs. Coal is all he has.

This is what the United Nations climate change conference in Scotland, known as COP26, is up against.

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