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Fossil fuels: global production, 1800–2200


coal | oil

Humans started burning fossil fuels at a recognizable scale in the mid-to-late 1800s, and have consumed roughly one-third of the planet’s technically and economically recoverable stock of fossil fuels. Half of this consumption has occurred since 1985. Projections from resource experts, although quite approximate, suggest that we are approaching peak consumption for oil (some assert the peak has already passed). Perhaps more surprising, projections also indicate that peak coal may be decades off, not a century or more, since much of the coal resource now looks too costly to recover. The detailed methodology and sources used to create this chart can be found by clicking here.

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