Burning Coal Releases the Most CO2 per Unit of Energy of All Fossil Fuels
What are some other statistics on coal’s place in the world?
Five countries contain about 75% of the world's proven coal reserves: the US at 22%, Russia at 15%, Australia and China at 14%, and India at 10%.
About 64% of coal mined in the US in 2020 came from surface mines.
Methane, which can be present in coal deposits, must be vented or captured during mining. In 2019, methane emissions from current and abandoned coal mines added up to 8% of total US methane emissions and about 1% of total US greenhouse gas emissions.
Burning coal releases over 200 pounds of CO2 per million British thermal units of energy produced. Comparatively, the next highest CO2 pollutant is diesel fuel and heating oil at around 160 pounds CO2 per million BTU.
Coal-burning emissions include sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulates, CO2, mercury and other heavy metals, and ash.
—Source: US Energy Information Agency