Coal has been used as an energy source for hundreds of years and was part of international trade in as long ago as the Roman Empire.
Coal provided the energy which fueled the Industrial Revolution of the 19th Century and also launched the electric era in the 20th Century.
37% of the electricity generated worldwide is produced from coal.
Coal is by far the cheapest source of power fuel per million Btu, averaging less than half the price of petroleum and natural gas.
The world's iron and steel industry depends on the use of coal.
The value of coal produced in the United States each year is nearly $20 billion.
Coal is directly responsible for the existence of more than 90,000 U.S. jobs and nearly one million jobs directly and indirectly.
Coal mining has a combined direct and indirect impact of $161 billion annually on the U.S. economy. This is $596 for every U.S. citizen.
The federal government receives more than $11 billion annually in taxes and fees from the coal industry.
State and local governments receive nearly $9 billion each year in revenues.
Developing countries' demand for coal will double through 2020, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Coal reserves are spread over almost 100 countries. Proven coal reserves are estimated to last over 200 years with current production rates. In contrast, proven oil and gas reserves are equivalent to around 40 and 60 years.
Total World Electricity Generation
*Other includes solar, wind combustible renewables, geothermal & waste
Source: IEA Key World Energy Statistics 2001 Edition