The Environmental Ethics Of Coal Essay

The Environmental Ethics Of Coal Essay

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Augustus Kaskons
Environmental Ethics

Coal Kingdom

Coal was used in the 1700’s by the English, and found that burning coal was cleaner and hotter as opposed to wood charcoal (Department of Energy). However, in the second half of the 1800’s, even more uses for coal were discovered (Department of Energy). Coal was used for blast furnaces to make steel, to generate electricity, home heating, and today we use coal mainly for electricity (Department of Energy).
So what is coal? “Coal is a fossil fuel and is the altered remains of prehistoric vegetation that originally accumulated in swamps and peat bogs. The energy we get from coal today comes from the energy that plants absorbed from the sun millions of years ago”(World Coal Association). Coal is the main way that the United States generates electricity. Power plants that generate electricity through the burning of coal are known as coal fired power plants.
Where is coal found? “Coal reserves are available in almost every country worldwide, with recoverable reserves in around 70 countries. The biggest reserves are in the USA, Russia, China, and India” (World Coal Association). “There are an estimated 892 billion tonnes of proven coal reserves worldwide. This means that there is enough coal to last us around 110 years at current rates of production. In contrast proven oil and gas reserves are equivalent to around 52 and 54 years at current production levels” (World Coal Association).
The way coal is extracted is by mining. In laymen’s terms, coal is extracted by digging mines where the coal has been located, and then workers go in and extract the coal manually. There are some machines that are also utilized in order to make the extraction process more efficient, and funny eno...


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...both the environment and humans, is because it is cheap, reliable, supports families, and economies. In our anthropogenic view of the world, coal is an amazing substance and we owe our technological advancements to coal and fossil fuels alike. There are trade offs with everything when it comes to the environment; coal is not excused from this rule. We are developing several new ways of harnessing energy naturally and without carbon emissions such as, solar power, wind power, geothermal power, and hydro power. Those are just a few of the ways we are now trying to generate energy. The benefit of these methods is that there is no carbon emission, and they don’t use fuel in order to generate electricity, which means they can continue to utilize the renewable energy sources for centuries. Coal is not an evil substance, and without it humans wouldn’t be where we are today.

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