Global Energy Monitor was originally founded as CoalSwarm in 2007, and began as an informal effort by journalists and activists to document over 150 proposed coal plants in the United States. In order to provide a collaborative platform for its research, the group established the CoalSwarm portal on SourceWatch, a wiki developed by the Center for Media and Democracy. In 2008 CoalSwarm expanded its research to include international coal topics. In 2013, CoalSwarm began the FrackSwarm portal on SourceWatch and began publishing CoalWire, a weekly global news digest. In 2014, CoalSwarm released the Global Coal Plant Tracker, which tracks more than 14,000 proposed, existing, and retired coal-fired generating units. In 2018 CoalSwarm released Global Coal Finance Tracker and the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker.