The Coal Crier

By: Mariah Munroe and Victoria Ciavarra

All about Coal!

About 55% of the country's energy needs is met by coal. Coal is a sedimentary organic rock that contains a lot of carbon. After the coal forms, it is mined to be used as an energy source by burning it. One advantage of using coal as a power source is that it is a mature industry; therefore it experiences slower, more stable growth rates in earnings and sales. Another advantage of using coal as a power source is that, for now, there is an abundant supply and it is relatively inexpensive. One disadvantage of using coal as a power source is that it is nonrenewable, which means that there is only a finite amount of it on earth. Another disadvantage is that it is the greatest contributor to global warming. There are sever environmental, social, and heath and safety impacts of coal mining.

Coal Must Be Mined Sensibly

The article "Coal Must Be Mined Sensibly" describes how the use of clean coal mining and processing methods can ensure that a greater share of our coal reserves are put to use, and in a sustainable manner. The government has recently adopted various initiatives to introduce clean coal technologies in India through various R&D programs, demonstration plants, pilot studies, etc. The quantity of coal predicted to be used in the future is questionable though, as it may be difficult to get that much of coal either domestically or through imports. Some projections estimate the import demand for coal in India alone by 2030 at a level that is as high as total coal traded in the global market now. A sharp rise in Indian import of coal could cause a steep rise in international coal prices. We need technologies that will be clean, and will also convert large part of our coal from non-usable to usable. This would also help prevent the steep rise in coal prices.

Heard on the Street: U.S. Coal vs. the World

The article "Heard on the Street: U.S. Coal vs. the World" discuses how Climate change is just one front-the U.S. coal industry's adversaries. Using coal as an energy source also causes harm to people. China's imports of coking coal were soaring to feed its steel mills, rising to almost 50 million tons in 2011 from less than 8 million tons in 2008. The price jumped to more than $300 per metric ton in early 2011 from about $130 in 2009. It is said that Chinese coal demand is insatiable. The International Energy Agency doesn't see it peaking until sometime in the 2020s. Although, it could happen sooner because Beijing has realized that a growth model skewed towards heavy investment is unbalancing the economy and poisoning the environment.

Coal Should Not Be Used For Energy

The many harmful effects of using coal as energy are not worth the risk. Burning coal produces large amounts of carbon dioxide which leads to global warming and climate changes. Burning coal also produces harmful byproducts and gas emissions such as sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide. All of those byproducts cause pollution to the environment and can cause acid rain. Coal mining it's self also ruins the environment and puts people in danger, especially the coal miners. Underground coal mining is especially dangerous because cave-ins and explosions are common. Also, strip mining ruins habitats. Coal is a nonrenewable resource and is quickly depleting because we are using too much of it. Coal should not be used as an energy source.