How does coal affect climate change?

1 Answer
Jan 26, 2016

Coal can contribute to climate change in a few ways.


Coal is one type of fossil fuel. Out of all of the fossil fuels, coal has the highest carbon content, making it the dirtiest of the fossil fuels.

When coal is burned for energy, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide, or CO2, is a greenhouse gas. The higher the concentration of greenhouse gases, the more energy trapped in the atmosphere. With more energy trapped, the planet warms, contributing to climate change.

Methane may also be released when mining for coal. Methane is another greenhouse gas. It is actually worse than carbon dioxide but it does not last as long in the atmosphere as CO2 does.

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