May 19, 2015

Top 10 Coal Producing Countries in the World

3 min
Long-touted as a potential path, if not the destination, to the world’s energy future, “clean coal” is about as big of a joke today...

Long-touted as a potential path, if not the destination, to the world’s energy future, “clean coal” is about as big of a joke today as duck and cover being an effective way of surviving a thermonuclear blast.

It had a short time when people took it seriously. Then those people grew up. But insults aside, let’s get into the specifics of how dirty those lumps from Santa Claus are.

The Union of Concerned Scientists says of coal on their website, “Coal is cheap, plentiful and dirty— as cheap as dirt, as plentiful as dirt, and as dirty as dirt— since after all, coal is little more than dirt that burns.” Coal is about 40 to 90 percent carbon by weight, depending on which of four classifications it falls into: lignite, subbituminous, bituminous and anthracite. Toward the end of that range is when carbon content—and therefore energy content—is the greatest.

While all coal types are utilized—and can be found in the United States—let’s focus on bituminous, which is the most commonly found coal in the country. Bituminous coal has an energy content of roughly 24 million Btu per ton and took about 300 million years to form. When burned, the coal gives off 205.7 pounds of carbon dioxide per million Btu of energy, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Ironically, this is the cleanest of the four coal types, though not by very much at all.

For comparison, burning diesel fuel produces about 161.3 pounds of carbon dioxide per million Btu of energy. For gasoline it’s 157.2 pounds and for natural gas it’s 117 pounds flat, making natural gas polluting, but still the cleanest of the fossil fuel sources.

Why is all of this important? Because while the United States is in the middle of an energy renaissance with massive amounts of natural gas being tapped like never before and a thriving renewable energy industry finding its stride, we still leaned on coal to produce 40.39 percent of our energy in 2013, which is the most recent full year that the EIA has data for.

However, comparing 10-months totals to the two previous years, it looks like coal is on track to be used for even more electric generation in 2014.

While the United States is no stranger to coal, we at Energy Digital were curious about which other countries are hard at work mining the dirty fuel. So according to EIA data—which is as recent as 2012 totals at this time—these are the 10 countries who mine the most coal. It’s worth mentioning that China alone produced more coal in 2012 than all of North America combined—almost four times over.

10. Kazakhstan138,917.7 thousand short tons, 8.22 percent increase from 2011

9. Poland158,197.1 thousand short tons, 3.61 percent increase from 2011

8. Germany217,144.3 thousand short tons, 4.47 percent increase from 2011

7. South Africa285,831.5 thousand short tons, 2.59 percent increase from 2011

6. Russia390,152.1 thousand short tons, 9.94 percent increase from 2011

5. Australia463,783.2 thousand short tons, 4.60 percent increase from 2011

4. Indonesia488,112.3 thousand short tons, 22.89 percent increase from 2011

3. India649,643.9 thousand short tons, 2.50 percent increase from 2011

2. United States1,016,458 thousand short tons, 7.23 percent decrease from 2011

1. China4,025,377 thousand short tons, 3.80 percent increase from 2011

So if all of this information about “dirty coal” is getting you down, here’s a video from GOOD about some of the key points about coal with personified little lumps of anthracite (maybe) dancing to your heart’s delight. Bear in mind the video was made in 2011 so some of its statistics have changed a bit since then.

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Mar 20, 2020

Top 10 ways to prepare for COVID-19

Georgia Wilson
3 min
Energy Digital sets out Gartner’s Top 10 ways organisations can prepare for a pandemic, via effective operational risk management
Energy Digital sets out Gartner’s To...

Energy Digital sets out Gartner’s Top 10 ways organisations can prepare for a pandemic, via effective operational risk management. 

As the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to develop, many businesses are left uncertain as to whether their risk mitigation plan is sufficient. 

In a recent webinar conducted by the research and advisory firm just 12% of 1,500 people believe that their business is highly prepared for the impact of COVID-19, while 56% believed themselves to be somewhat prepared, and 11% believed themselves to be very unprepared. 

“Most organizations have done some pandemic planning but still have many unanswered questions about whether they have done everything they can to manage risks,” says Jim Mello, Senior Director, Advisory, Gartner. 

Establish a preparedness framework

Establish a team that represents all critical business functions. These people will report directly to executive management and are responsible for prioritising the importance of business activities and organise them in tiers for response and recovery.

Monitor the situation

It is important to ensure that organisations monitor the rate in which the infection is spreading and its severity. Many rely on the World Health Organisation for information.

Revise finance

Be sure to revise revenue forecasts and communicate with investors, as well as suppliers in regards to any potential finance issues. It is important to ensure that the business has the working capital to ride it out. 

Ways to ensure this include: working capital checks, seeking loans or government-sponsored financial relief.

Extend personal hygiene and cleaning protocols

It is important to comply with any changes to workplace regulations. In addition, it is important to establish protocols for staff returning from infected areas, as well as extending existing hygiene activities.

Review HR 

Ensure close monitoring of absenteeism rates for signs of problems. It is important to identify critical staff in order to make sure the company can continue to function in their absence and be prepared for up to 40% absentee rates.

In addition to reviewing HR policies and procedures, it is important to maintain a level of sensitivity when it comes to engaging with employees and workplace preferences. 


Establish a communication programme

People can feel out of the loop quickly. Establish a spokesperson appropriate for the situation who can maintain lines of communication. In addition, organisations should establish pre-approved messages and scripts for various stakeholders.

Review the impact on the operation

Although this may seem overwhelming, the team established to represent all critical business functions should identify key areas to consider. It is important to maintain a connection with the reality on the ground in countries affected.

Key questions to consider: is transport functioning? Have holidays been extended? Where can operation continue and where do they need to stop?

Review IT 

IT business functions tend to be relatively well-prepared for business continuity. However, it is important to assess the supply chain for critical equipment and keep extra inventory if required.

In addition, organisations should keep in mind remote data centre management and cloud options for critical systems as well as enabling remote working programs and rescheduling any non-essential IT work prioritising key applications. 

Review pandemic plans to identify any gaps in response

Conduct a preparedness exercise by validating roles and responsibilities as well as recovery requirements and procedures, in order to identify any gaps in the recover capabilities and resource needs.

Review after-action

Following the establishment of a pandemic plan, identify three lessons learned, key observations or improvements for the exercise. After establishing these organisations should priorities the short and long term follow up actions.

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