Despite the recent push for clean energy, coal and its exchange traded funds (ETFs) could still find a home as more nations join the fight to combat global warming.

In fact, coal is the world’s fastest-growing fuel based on consumption. So much so that it leaves crude oil and natural gas in the dust.  The demand is on the rise, too: consumption of coal grew by 5.7% over the past five years, compared to 1.4% for oil and 3% for natural gas. This trend is expected to remain in place as populations grow. Global demand for the dark commodity is expected to grow 55% by 2025, states Sham Gad of Investopedia.

There is an abundant supply of coal, enough to last the United States for decades, if not centuries, and it is one of the most inexpensive energy sources around.  Lastly, as industrial production improves and the demand for steel increases, the demand for coking coal, the coal used in making steel, is expected to increase, states the Associated Press.

Although coal seems like a winner, there are negative aspects of the energy producing commodity.  The biggest disadvantage of coal is the hazardous gases it produces in the atmosphere when it is burned.  However, clean technology has come a long way, such as carbon-capture technology, which many hope will mitigate the negative effects of coal.

  • Market Vectors Coal ETF (NYSEArca: KOL): which is up 110.9% year-to-date

  • PowerShares Global Coal Portfolio (NASDAQ:PKOL): which is up 102% year-to-date.

For more stories on coal, visit our coal category.

Kevin Grewal contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.