Global Coal Usage Reaches 44 Year High

Earlier this week, BP issued its annual "Statistical Review of World Energy" report. According to the report, coal was the fastest-growing fossil fuel worldwide last year, and "coal's share of global primary energy consumption reached 30.1 percent, the highest since 1970". Despite a decrease in coal usage by North America and Europe over the past several years (due in large part to cheaper natural gas), global coal consumption has risen to new highs, driven by the growing and power-hungry markets of China and India. And, as might be expected, worldwide carbon emissions grew again last year, by another 2.1 percent. Despite increasing urgency from the scientific community to reduce carbon emissions to head off climate disaster, and the small but growing use of renewable energy sources, coal appears to be the fuel of choice at the moment, and predictions are that its usage will continue to rise.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Pascal Pochard-Casabianca / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: 5/13–5/19

    The world’s fastest shed in Wales, France welcomes a new president, a portrait of the late singer Chris Cornell on stage in Atlanta, a new eruption of Mount Sinabung, and much more.

  • Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters

    Venezuela's Crisis Deepens, Protests Escalate

    Since April 1, daily anti-government  protests across Venezuela have frequently devolved into clashes with riot police, leaving thousands arrested, hundreds injured, and 43 dead.

  • Reza / Getty

    A Trip to the Dead Sea

    The Dead Sea, on the border between Israel and Jordan, is the lowest and saltiest body of water in the world—and experts say it is on course to dry out by 2050.

  • Kin Cheung / AP

    The 'Coffin Homes' of Hong Kong

    AP photographer Kin Cheung spent time recently photographing some of the tiny subdivided housing units in Hong Kong, known as “coffin homes.”

Join the Discussion