Coal called coal (What is Coal?). Coal is

Coal is such a widely used source of energy that comes with
a variety of positives and negatives. It is a substance that comes with a cost
it might be a cost efficient and an effective material that is a wonderful source
of energy, but it comes with a sacrifice that must be made, which is the
destruction of the environment and the human lives that reside there. Coal is
just one of the few fossil fuels, that can be easily substituted for a more
environment friendly fossil fuel. On the issues of whether coal should or
should not be mined is the realization of the fact that safety comes first and
coal is a danger to the environment and human lives are at risk because of it.

            Coal is a flammable black or brownish-black sedimentary
rock formed during the Carboniferous Period, this period is also known as the
first coal age which happened 360 million to 290 million years ago (What is
Coal?). Coal is identified as a non-renewable energy source because of the fact
that it takes millions of years to form (Siegel). It is created when the
movement of the earth’s crust buries swamps and peat bogs underground, while
underground many of the plants die in the swamps. The heat and pressure from
being below the earth’s surface turns the dead plants into a substance that we
know of called coal (What is Coal?). Coal is found worldwide but in Canada around
90% of Canada’s coal deposits are located in the western provinces, these
western provinces contain around 24 coal mines. The western provinces are
British Columbia with the majority of mines containing 10 mines, then there’s Alberta
with a total of 9 mines, then Saskatchewan with 3 mines, and finally there’s Nova
Scotia with the least amount of mines with a measly amount of only 2 mines (Lorne).
Canada has only a tenth of the world’s coal resources, which is an estimated
amount of 10 billion tons of coal (Page). There are a wide range of coal that
are categorized into four different types and ranks of coal those being Anthracite,
Bituminous, Subbituminous and Lignite. These rankings depend on the amount of
carbon the coal contains and the amount of heat energy the coal can produce.
Anthracite is the most valuable, it is a core resource for the steel industry,
also used for chemical industries. It is sometimes called metallurgical coal,
it can be burned at extremely high temperatures which produces pure carbon or
better known as coke, which is used to make steel. Then there’s Bituminous
coal, it is rarely used for steelmaking, but mainly used as thermal coal for
electric-power generation. Then there is Subbituminous coal which is coal that
supplies thermal power and steam for industries. Also used in coal gasification
and coal liquefaction. Finally, there’s Ignite coal which is the lowest grade for
coal, it is used for the same purpose as subbituminous coal (Page).
  

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While there are many useful things that coal has achieved
for us, there are also the risk that coal brings to table. Coal plants contain
and release the most carbon dioxide from human sources which is a main greenhouse
gas, the release of carbon dioxide into the environment is very dangerous and
is the leading cause of global warming (Shah). A typical coal plant generates
around 3.5 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. There are ways to make coal
clean which means reducing most of the chemicals that are released when coal is
burned by using scrubbers, but the clean coal is still not carbon free and can
still damage the environment drastically These scrubbers are also known to have
a high cost and release really high levels of radiation, the coal plants
release more radiation than nuclear plants (Siegel). There are many dangers that coming with the
burning of coal, when burned coal releases many harmful substances such as
nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide, which is the leading cause of acid rain.
Acid rain is harmful to the forests, wildlife and humans. Burning coal also
releases mercury which is linked to many illnesses such as bronchitis,
increases rates of asthma, lung cancer and birth defects. In addition, coal
burning and mining pollutes the lakes and rivers, and the areas that are around
coal mines result in devastation in the surrounding environment, such as the removal
of trees to build the mining area and pollution of the air and water (Why We
Need to Quit Coal). Moreover, coal mining is also the second highest emitter of
methane, a potent greenhouse gas and results in thousands of deaths each year (Siegel).

Coal is one of the most abundant fossil fuels in Canada and
not just Canada but also even worldwide (Shah). It is more plentiful than any
of the other fossil fuels such as oil and gas, this means that coal is a good
mineral to us since it will take a long time to run out. It can be found on
almost every continent in the world. Coals energy potential is a lot larger
than other fossil fuels such as oil and gas, this means that it can be used for
a longer time (Shah). There is estimated to be around 1 trillion tons of coal
in the world and Canada has around 6.6 billion tonnes of recoverable coal, this
means that Canada can mine then sell or use coal to their own benefit (Page). In
addition, Canada’s GDP is drastically improved with coal mining it is estimated
to about $5.2 billion (Lorne). Some say that coal is useful but it is still
dangerous substance to the environment but there are ways to reduce carbon
dioxide and make clean coal using scrubbers, scrubbers remove most of the
sulfur oxides and other chemicals that cause serious dangers like acid rain and
smog, this will reduce the damage that burning coal affects the environment Coal
is an important source of energy, it’s an easy way to generate energy for a
cheap and effective price. Coal is now being made into a gas and liquid form,
making it easier to use coal and making burning coal much cleaner (Siegel). The
value of coal is indeed great but its not just the material itself it’s the things
that come with the material like the jobs, there are approximately 42 000
people that are directly and indirectly employed by the coal industry, that
makes up quite a bit of jobs for people. Not to mention the fact that in return
for resource development millions of dollars from coal companies each year are
payed as taxes to help build roads, hospitals and schools, an estimation from
around $698 million in revenues were collect to help the public infrastructure
(Lorne).

I believe that coal should not be mined because there are
way more harmful things that coal does to us than there are to how it helps us.
It releases carbon dioxide which is the leading cause for global warming. It also
releases many other different kinds of chemicals like mercury, nitrogen
dioxide, and sulfur. These chemicals cause acid rain, smog, and are harmful to
the human body. There are many other fossil fuels out there that can be used to
replace coal, such as oil and gas, these do not release as much bad chemicals
into the environment, since coal is the leading cause of releasing of carbon
dioxide that means that other fossil fuels can not be worst than coal. On the
issues of whether coal should or should not be mined is the realization of the
fact that safety comes first and coal is a danger to the environment and human
lives are at risk because of it. It is stated that coal is a valuable resource
used to aid us, but in reality it is no more than a resource that causes us
suffering because of all the substances and chemicals that it leaves in it wake
as it is burned or mined.

 

 

 

 

 

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