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Problems with Coal as an Energy Source

What are some of the environmental issues that surrounds the use coal?
What are the nonliving and living factors that contribute to or are affected by the problem?

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Coal-burning power plants are the single largest source of some of the worst air pollutants, including particulate matter, acid-rain-forming sulfur dioxide, and mercury. In the US they are also the single largest emitters of greenhouse gases. Coal plants can be built in such a way that they produce less pollution, but because of the additional expense this is often not done. Because it is efficient and readily available, it is becoming the fuel of choice in the developing world. Its burning also creates ozone in the lower atmosphere, where it is a pollutant, impeding the transpiration process of the plants. Its mining can damange large tracts of land.

The primary effect of coal combustion is the release of CO2 into the atmosphere. This causes increased temperatures, as well as altering its chemistry. Just as the ocean is evaporated into the atmosphere, gases from the atmosphere are also incorporated into the ocean. Therefore, the increased CO2 composition in the atmosphere has had an effect on aquatic organisms. Oceans ...

Solution Summary

The issues caused by coal as an energy sources are discussed. The living and nonliving factors that contribute to these issues are analyzed.