Negative Effect of Current Coal Energy
As the world is literally heating up, so is the pressing, controversial topic of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) publishes a climate change report every 5 years; the 2014 report is the most alarming report thus far. The long report is the collaborative work of more than 800 climate scientists and governmental representatives. The report is shocking, and it should be. The IPCC concludes that human activity is the cause of climate change, just as smoking causes cancer. The increasing living standards of industrialized nations are resulting in an increased use of coal energy. Along with the growing population, coal is being used at extravagant rates and increasing. Unfortunately, coal poses a threat to the future of humanity, and we are the direct cause (Richardson, 2014).
Global warming is threatening to destabilize human society unless we make immediate and drastic changes to our lifestyle, particularly our usage of energy resources. Coal happens to be the most abundant, and therefore, the least expensive of Earth's energy sources. Due to coal's abundant supply and low price, the world burns eight billion tons of coal a year, providing for 40% of the world's energy, and 39% of the carbon dioxide emissions (Nijhuis, 2014). The IPCC report makes it clear that the more carbon dioxide emitted, the more numerous and more severe consequences society must face. Climate change is not one simple consequence of humanity's actions, rather the spark from which all other consequences are derived. Climate change, carbon dioxide emissions, and ultimately coal, are the cause of declining food crops, water supplies, and human health (Holthaus, 2014).
The number of undernourished people across the globe is already at 842 million. Increasing temperatures mean decreasing agricultural opportunities, leading to an increasing number of hungry people (Naturals, 2013). The looming question is whether or not we can produce enough food to feed all of Earth's people due to climate change and less arable lands. Given the effects of global warming, a crop biologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, describes our agricultural dilemma as “farming in hell” (Kolbert, 2012). In the summer of 2012, the United States Department of Agricultural (U.S.D.A.) declared over 1,000 counties in 26 states to be natural disaster areas due to dryness (Kolbert, 2012). The U.S.D.A.’s projected corn yield for 2012 was 12% higher than the actual yield for that year. That same summer the U.S.D.A. recorded an increase in corn prices by 40%. Researcher and agricultural ecologist, David Lobell, from Stanford University, determined that corn is more vulnerable to rising temperatures and drought than previously thought. There is new fear that global warming may mean slashing heat-sensitive crop yields. An older study predicted that by 2050 wheat crop yields may decline by 30%; now this prediction looks...