There’s no doubt that coal is one of the most impactful energy sources of the last two centuries. For better or worse (and a lot of people would argue for worse), coal has provided billions with the energy to light up the planet.
Without coal, the world would be a very different place today. But how sustainable is coal as an energy source? It depends on how you look at it.
With the abundance of natural gas as an energy source, many have been wondering if coal is still a viable energy source. Some think that coal is a necessary evil to meet the world’s coal demand.
However, there are several reasons why coal is not a sustainable energy source.
- First, it is a fossil fuel. Burning fossil fuels, such as coal, releases harmful toxins into the environment.
- Second, coal can be hazardous to the human body. Many miners suffer from black lung disease and an increased risk of cancer from inhaling coal dust.
- Third, it is not easy to find new locations to mine coal. The search for coal in new areas can harm the environment.
Coal Power Impacts
Coal is the fossil fuel that produces the most energy worldwide, and as a result, it has become one of the most demonized. But is coal truly the bad guy it seems? The answer is a bit more complicated than yes or no.
There are – and will continue to be – problems associated with coal production and consumption that we need to deal with, but there are also upsides.
Coal power plants produce more carbon dioxide than any other kind of power plant. While this is not a surprise since coal is the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel, it is still important to keep in mind the negative environmental impacts of coal power plants. (And, of course, the main issue is not the carbon dioxide, but rather the other pollutants released from these plants.)
Coal impacts: air pollution
Coal is a fossil fuel obtained by mining, and burning it is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.
In the U.S., coal is the source of 40% of all electricity generation, and more than 83% of electricity generation from coal-fired power plants in the U.S. is from plants built before 1970.
While some of these plants are being retrofitted with emission controls, and it is possible to reduce emissions by 30%, ambient air quality still suffers (especially in urban areas) due to particulate pollution from coal-fired power plants.
While we often think of coal as an abundant, cheap source of energy, most of us don’t really think about what happens when we burn coal. Energy production is a major cause of air pollution, which is a significant factor in climate change.
Coal impacts: water pollution
The effects of coal on the environment have been much publicized in recent years. However, it is worth considering how coal mining itself, as well as the burning and mining of fossil fuels in general, can affect water quality.
In short, coal mining can have a profound affect on water quality, as well as the ground and wildlife in the areas where the coal is sourced.
Coal ash is a byproduct of coal-fired power plants and can be found in wet or dry form. Typically, the wet form is stored in large surface impoundments, while the dry form is stored in landfills. When coal ash is spilled, it can contaminate nearby waterways and ground water.
Coal is the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel, and it also uses the most water to produce electricity. In fact, it requires so much water that coal-fired power plants contribute approximately 90% of all coal ash, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Coal ash is a by-product of coal combustion and contains metals and compounds such as aluminum, arsenic, chromium, lead, mercury, and nickel, which, if released into the environment, can contaminate the soil and water.
Coal impacts: global warming
Coal is a huge source of energy for the world, but is it good for us? This blog post will discuss the global warming impact of coal. There are three main sources of energy that currently power the world: coal, natural gas, and oil.
Coal is the second most-used source of energy, behind only oil. It is a cheap but environmentally dirty way to produce energy.
Coal is used to generate about 40 percent of the electricity used in the United States. It is also used to produce about half of the electricity used in South Korea and about a third of the electricity produced in China.
By far the biggest problem with coal is that it is a huge source of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which are the leading
If you’re an avid reader of the news, then you probably already know that coal is one of the dirtiest fossil fuels in terms of its impact on global warming.
Burning coal produces more carbon dioxide than burning other fossil fuels, such as natural gas or oil. Carbon dioxide is the main gas responsible for global warming.
For example, it can take years for the carbon dioxide that is released when burning coal to be removed from the atmosphere by natural processes.
‘Coal is still king’ in Southeast Asia even as countries work toward cleaner energy
Despite the efforts of many Southeast Asian countries to wean themselves off of fossil fuels, coal is still king: it currently generates 70 percent of the region’s electricity, a recent report from IRENA showed. By 2030, coal could still be providing two-thirds of this power, despite a planned increase in renewable energy and an expected slow-down in demand for coal.
After decades of explosive growth, coal’s popularity is waning in some of the world’s largest economies. The U.S. is on track to phase out coal power by 2030, and China is planning to cut coal consumption and increase natural gas and renewable energy use to meet its climate targets. Even as countries move away from coal, however, places in Southeast Asia are embracing the fuel more than ever. That’s bad news for the region’s air quality and for its climate targets, but the good news is that coal is only one part of the energy mix. Southeast Asia is also rich in renewable energy, and countries are beginning to harness it.
Coal is the most abundant fossil fuel in the earth’s crust. This means that the carbon-rich rock can be extracted and burned in large quantities without running out for millions of years. However, coal is also a fossil fuel, which means it is not a renewable energy source. The burning of coal releases carbon dioxide, which is a major contributor to global warming, and also mercury, which can cause health problems.