Coal is regarded as a non-renewable resource, meaning that it was formed at times during the earth's history, but significant amounts are no longer forming. Therefore, the amount of coal that now exists below the earth's surface is, for all practical purposes, all the coal that humans have available to them for the foreseeable future. When this supply of coal is used up, humans will find it necessary to find some other substitute to meet their energy needs.
Large supplies of coal are known to exist (proven reserves) or thought to be available (estimated resources) in North America, the former Soviet Union, and parts of Asia, especially China and India. According to the most recent data available, China produces the largest amount of coal each year, about 22% of the world's total, with the United States 19%, the former members of the Soviet Union 16%, Germany 10%, and Poland 5% following. China is also thought to have the world's largest estimated resources of coal, as much as 46% of all that exists. In the United States, the largest coal-producing states are Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska, Illinois, and Colorado.
Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Cluster compound to ConcupiscenceCoal - Origins Of Coal, Composition Of Coal, Properties And Reactions, Environmental Problems Associated With The Burning Of Coal