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  • Writer's pictureMaya Ardon

What is Coal?

Written by: Maya Ardon

"largest anthropocentric source of CO2 contributing to climate change"

As a primary fossil fuel source, coal is a combustible rock consisting of carbon and varying amounts of other elements (commonly hydrogen, sulfur, oxygen, and nitrogen). Like other fossil fuels, coal is formed through the effect of heat and pressure on peat (soil composed of dead organic material, resulting from decaying plants) over millions of years. It is naturally-occurring and non-renewable. Coal is an important fuel source globally, but its extraction and consumption has extremely negative implications on the environment. It is the largest anthropocentric source of CO2 contributing to climate change, as well as global warming through the greenhouse effect. Its combustion has many health effects on humans, including a variety of respiratory complications.


Coal explained. U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). (2021, October 19). Retrieved November 3, 2021, from

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