1. Anthracite is the most desirable type of coal because of its high heat content and low sulfur. It is less common. (Stages of Coal Formation)
2. Coal is extracted underground in dangerous circumstances (accidents and black lung disease).
3. Area strip mining is used to extract coal close to the surface. Scars from this mining are rarely restored after mining is finished.
4. Mountaintop mining has polluted 470 miles of West Virginia’s streams and displaced thousands of families.
5. Coal is usually transported by trains.
1. Sixty-two percent of the world’s electricity is produced by burning coal. It is the world’s most abundant fossil fuel.
2. The U.S. has 22% of the world’s proven coal reserves. Russia has 15%, and China has 12%.
3. Coal reserves in the U.S. should last for about 300 years at current consumption rates. China's reserves are about 35 years.
4. If coal consumption in the U.S. increases by 4% a year – as the industry projects – the reserves would last only 64 years.
5. Coal has a severe environmental impact on air, water, and land, and over one-third of the world’s annual CO2 emissions come from coal.
6. Coal emissions cause thousands of premature deaths, at least 50,000 cases of respiratory disease, and several billion dollars of property damage.
1. These procedures require that 50% more coal be mined and will add 50% more CO2 emissions to the atmosphere.
2. These techniques are not possible without huge government subsidies.
3. A consortium of major oil companies is working on ways to reduce CO2 emissions during the coal gasification process; this could mean that it would be a cheaper, cleaner way to produce electricity.