Worldwide future problems involving coal may become as acute as those now involving oil, say geologists at the ninth International Congress of Carboniferous Stratigraphy and Geology, held at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. At the opening session, Gordon H. Wood, Jr., of the U.S. Geological Survey, and Jack A. Simon of the Illinois State Geological Survey discussed the world coal situation to the end of this century. They said that energy problems will increase in the next 20 years and into the next century unless there is ‘vigorous planning and action’ by political, industrial, social, scientific, environmental, and financial leaders.
A few countries have sufficient coal for currently projected needs, but most countries have little or no coal, they said. Problems of world dependence on countries with large coal resources may become similar to those now prevailing with oil. The Soviet Union, United States, People's Republic of China, United Kingdom, Australia, West Germany, Canada, and Union of South Africa contain 97% of the world's coal resources.