Question: How long until the earth runs out of coal?

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  1. It depends on how quickly we use it of course! One estimate I have seen that at current rates of usage there is 150 years worth of proven coal reserves.

    However, there is more coal that is not so easily accessed with current technology – I saw another estimate that there might be 3000 years worth in this category.


  2. The coal will be around for 100s maybe 1000s of years but it cost more to extract from the earth. This is because the sources will be more challenging to get to.


  3. Matthew and Mark have covered the time frame.

    As we harness the power from coal improves more efficiency, the longer this resource will last. However, I think humans will probably turn to other sources of energy long before the coal deposits run out.

    For me, other sources of energy be it solar, wind, hydro, wave or geo-thermal are far more appealing – IF we can get them to work more effectively – as they are non or low polluting and renewable. 😀


  4. I agree with James: I think that renewable sources of energy are on the rise. It will be interesting to see what hammers the final nail in the coffin for coal: limited supply (and therefore expense) or the switch to greener energy sources. I do hope it’s the latter!