Abstract A series of porous carbons (PCs) was synthesized from nonporous metal-organic coordination polymers (MOCPs), using in-situ polymerized phenol resin as a carbon precursor. The optimized PC has a BET surface area of 2 368 m2/g and an equilibrium CO2 adsorption capacity of 2.9 mmol/g at 300 K and atmospheric pressure. The porous structure of the PCs can be controlled by the formulations of the carbon precursors and gelation/aging time. Meanwhile, the evaporated Zn from the thermal decomposition of the MOCPs acts as an activation agent during carbonization, which eventually improves the microporosity of the PCs. The CO2 equilibrium adsorption capacity increases with increasing Brunauer-Emmett-Teller surface area of the PCs.