In the United States, coal mining accounts for about 50% of all electric power. Coal offers several benefits as a traditional source of energy. Therefore, the future of coal remains strong.
Though many consider the production of coal to generate negative environmental factors, it does have its advantages.
1) Coal is a far cheaper source of energy than natural gas, oil, or nuclear energy. Although hydro-electric power is a competing energy source, it must deal with issues such as public resistance, and stability of river levels.
2) Coal provides energy independence because it reduces the need for importing oil.
3) Coal mining provides jobs to many families.
In spite of these bonuses, coal mining is among the worst contributors to environmental pollution. Emission of greenhouse gases cause global warming. Many believe that these factors contribute to the polar ice caps melting.
Future of coal in question
Not surprisingly, there is societal and political resistance to the continued use of coal. Some of the reasons for opposing it include:
1) An abundance of natural gas
2) Clean, renewable energy sources being developed
3) Protecting the environment from continual pollution
This dilemma poses the question: “What is the future of coal as an energy source?”
Will it be easy to stop using coal as an energy source?
Without question, coal is a popular energy source, because it is cheap and produces about 40% of the world’s electricity. Nevertheless, coal has significant shortcomings.
1) Coal is the dirtiest energy source.
2) Coal produces about 39% of global emissions that pollute the environment.
3) Coal poisons many fresh water streams.
4) Thousands of coal miners die every year from mining-related accidents.
Is coal mining in jeopardy?
In spite of this, coal continues to be utilized all over the world as an energy source. Many families depend on coal mining for their livelihood, therefore lobbyists put pressure on legislators to preserve the coal mining industry.
According to experts, it will not be long before adverse climate change issues and health concerns become directly attributable to global emissions. Only then will public outcry become so intolerable for politicians that they will pass legislation to stop or reduce the use of coal.
New energy options
The good news is that cleaner energy options are now available in the form of solar power, natural gas, wind power, and hydro-power. Numerous countries are actively pursuing the use of clean energy, and this trend will continue as society becomes convinced that it’s imperative to save our planet.
For the benefit of future generations, the use of clean energy is the responsibility of today’s generation. If experts could learn how to produce coal without polluting, the future of coal as an energy source could remain attractive. For now, coal mining troubles most environmental groups.