Coal is a readily combustible black or brownish-black rock.
It is the largest single source of fuel for the generation of electricity world-wide, as well as the largest world-wide source of carbon dioxide emissions, slightly ahead of petroleum and about double that of natural gas.
Coal is extracted from the ground by coal mining, either underground mining or open pit mining (surface mining).
On this basis the world has over 200 years of coal reserves at current rates of consumption. Significant deposits of coal exist in all of the world’s major continents and production is wide spread, including some of the world’s most stable economies.
The following table describes the distribution of known coal reserves across the world.
||% of total
|Former Soviet Union
|Rest of World