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Hannah Ritchie, Max Roser, Our World in Data


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Geography, Mathematics

Resource Types

  • Interactive Media
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables

Regional Focus


Annual CO2 Emissions from Coal

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  • This interactive chart, map, and table show data on global annual carbon dioxide emissions from coal.
  • In the table and chart view, users can see data for carbon dioxide emissions from coal all the way back to pre-Industrial Revolution times.
Teaching Tips


  • Users can download the data.
  • The data shows changes in coal use and carbon dioxide emissions over time in different countries, allowing for multiple comparisons.
  • Users can choose to view one country's carbon dioxide emissions due to coal at a time or global data all at once on the map. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be able to read line graphs to understand the data.
  • Students should understand that coal use contributes to carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Teachers may want to go over the unit of measurement used in the graphs (millions and billions of tons of carbon dioxide.) Some students may need help conceptualizing such large units.


  • Students could analyze the change in the use of coal over time in different countries and discuss why some countries use more coal than others.
  • Geography and social studies teachers could ask students to look at the history of China and India's carbon emissions from coal and have them discuss why these countries currently use so much coal. Students can research how population size, economic growth, and industrialization may have influenced the amount of coal used in China and India. Then students can look at the history of the United Kingdom and the United States' carbon emissions from coal and research the same topics.
Scientist Notes

The resource presents CO2 emissions from coal sources. Although some countries like Cameroon, Chad Republic, Cape Verde, etc. recorded 0 tonnes from 1751-2019, this could arise as a result of data unavailability. Above all, the method used in quantifying the metrics is valid and the resource is recommended for teaching.

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
      • HS-ESS3-1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.9.9-12 Evaluate the influence of long-term climate variability on human migration and settlement patterns, resource use, and land uses at local-to-global scales.
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