Global mortality rate by energy source 2012

The death rate from coal energy was one of the highest in the world at an estimated 100,000 deaths per terawatt hour, in terms of human and environmental costs. This death rate is based on mining extraction operations as well as the actual use of energy. Air pollution from coal-fired plants has also been of growing concern as it has been linked to asthma, cancer, and heart disease. Burning coal can release toxic airborne pollutants such as mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter. China is still one of the biggest consumers of coal energy with the highest installed capacity of coal plants in the world. The number of fatalities due to air pollution has reached over 2.5 million in the East Asia and Pacific region as of 1990.

Safest energy source

In comparison, nuclear energy was considered the safest energy source, even after the inclusion of nuclear catastrophes like Chernobyl and Fukushima as the vast amount of energy generated offsets these events long-term. There continues to be plans to build several nuclear power plants for regions around the world.

Mortality rate worldwide in 2012, by energy source

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Release date

May 2018



Survey time period


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Statistics on "Global energy industry"

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