Related topics: carbon dioxide · fossil fuels

Germany looks to step up coal exit timetable

Bowing to public pressure on climate change, Germany on Thursday promised to speed up its exit from coal power generation and to pay operators compensation in a strategy instantly rejected by environmental campaigners.

It's a small (coal-polluted) world, after all

A study published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry underscores that the release of pollutants in one region can have implications beyond its borders; emphasizing the dire need for global collaboration on environmental ...

Natural gas drives record CO2 emissions in 2019

Global carbon emissions boosted by soaring natural gas use are set to hit record levels in 2019 despite a decline in coal consumption and a string of countries declaring a climate emergency, researchers said Wednesday.

Global carbon emissions increase but rate has slowed

Global carbon emissions are set to grow more slowly in 2019, with a decline in coal burning offset by strong growth in natural gas and oil use worldwide—according to researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA), University ...

Carbon intensity of power sector down in 2019

Engineers from Carnegie Mellon University's Scott Institute for Energy Innovation have compiled carbon emissions for the U.S. electric power sector for the second quarter (Q2) of 2019 as part of the CMU Power Sector Carbon ...

Planned fossil fuel output swamps Paris climate goals

Oil, gas and coal output already planned or in the pipeline will overwhelm efforts to cap global warming at levels consistent with a liveable planet, the UN and leading research groups warned Wednesday.

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Coal

Coal is a readily combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock normally occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure. It is composed primarily of carbon along with variable quantities of other elements, chiefly sulfur, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen.

Coal was formed from layer upon layer of annual plant remains accumulating slowly that were protected from biodegradation by usually acidic covering waters that gave a natural antiseptic effect combating microorganisms and then later mud deposits protecting against oxidization in the widespread shallow seas — mainly during the Carboniferous period — thus trapping atmospheric carbon in the ground in immense peat bogs that eventually were covered over and deeply buried by sediments under which they metamorphosed into coal. In this manner, over time, the chemical and physical properties of the plant remains (believed to mainly have been fern-like species antedating more modern plant and tree species) were changed by geological action to create a solid material.

Coal, a fossil fuel, is the largest source of energy for the generation of electricity worldwide, as well as one of the largest worldwide anthropogenic sources of carbon dioxide emissions. Gross carbon dioxide emissions from coal usage are slightly more than those from petroleum and about double the amount from natural gas. Coal is extracted from the ground by mining, either underground or in open pits.

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