Since the beginning of industrialization in the 19th century, coal has had a significant impact on the world’s energy supply. To this day coal is still one of the leading energy sources among all non-renewable resources. The use of hard coal, the most important type of coal, has even increased as a share of total global energy production in the last few years. Coal also has by far the largest reserves of all non-renewable energy resources.
The United States is ranked second in the world for coal production and coal consumption. Production showed a slight decrease over the last few years, and reached the equivalent of around 455 million metric tons of oil in 2015. Among the strongholds of U.S. coal mining are the Appalachian states West Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania, as well as Wyoming in the West. The majority of the top coal producing mines in the U.S. are located in Wyoming.
The current rise in global coal production is a result of growing demand and consumption. In 2015, global coal consumption exceeded 3.8 billion metric tons of oil equivalent. In 2005 this figure stood at approximately 3.1 billion metric tons of oil equivalent. Ambitious economic giants China and India are largely responsible for these developments. Some 64 percent of China’s rapidly growing energy consumption is supported by coal. Although U.S. coal consumption has shown a slight decrease in the last ten years, some projections predict a significant increase until as late as 2030.
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