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"The KyotoProtocols, agreed to by many Nations, would benefit the world's environment. Choose One Type of Fossil Fuel currently used and outline the possible advantages and Disadvantages of reducing the use of that fuel."

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Introduction

"The Kyoto Protocols, agreed to by many Nations, would benefit the world's environment. Choose One Type of Fossil Fuel currently used and outline the possible advantages and Disadvantages of reducing the use of that fuel." Reducing the use of coal, as outlined in the Kyoto Protocols would not only have its advantages, but its disadvantages as well. In 1997 the 'Kyoto Protocol' was negotiated, outlining plans for "Developed countries to reduce their Green House gas emissions by, on average, 5.2% below 1990 levels in the period 2008 to 2012."1 This concern for emissions arose from the growing awareness of global warming, of which the burning of coal for energy is one of the largest contributors of carbon-dioxide emissions, however, reducing the use of coal would have its drawbacks, as well as its benefits, as this paper will outline. As a readily available and comparatively cheap source of energy, it is one that developing worlds rely on and developed worlds relish. Unfortunately it's more eco-friendly, renewable replacements are not always a practical option in relation to location or economy of a country. On the other hand, the cost of reducing C02 emissions, its extensive transportation needs, not to mention its significant contribution to Global warming are all reasons to encourage the reduction of its use. Reducing the use of coal as an energy source would greatly ease the effects of Global warming, for, Carbon Dioxide constitutes for 64% of the green house gases present in the atmosphere, far greater than its nearest competitor Methane, at only 19%2. ...read more.

Middle

In spite of of all of these known facts, Coal is still the most popular source of energy simply because of its extensive availability, especially in the USA and Russia where coal fields are in abundance. "The United States reserves of coal are estimated to be about 31% of the total world deposits, about 3.2 trillion short tons of the estimated reserves between nine and twelve trillion tons."6 This accessibility means that coal is also one of the cheaper fuels to acquire. It is estimated that by 2030, coal demand will rise by 53% until it covers 45% of the worlds power needs.7 As a result of this immense availability, Coal prices are much lower than those of other fossil fuels such as Crude oil or Natural gas. These two vital factors make Coal an energy resource that most are unwilling to give up, they are not, nonetheless, the only reasons. The Coal Industry generates millions of jobs, from the mining sector to the Corporation heads. Cutting back on coal as a fuel would mean cutting back on these jobs, a task that nobody is eager to take on. If the use of coal as an energy source is reduced, there needs to be a replacement source for that energy and the most logical replacement would be a renewable source such as hydroelectric power, solar power, wind power or Nuclear energy. ...read more.

Conclusion

A lot of money is spent in Nuclear plants, ensuring that everything is in working order and all employees are safely protected, this, combined with the big "what if", are usually what turns people away from this particular energy resource. Nevertheless, Nuclear energy does not produce smoke or carbon dioxide therefore, contributing to global warming is not an issue. It is also extremely efficient, as huge amounts of energy can be had from small amounts of fuel, effectively resulting in small amounts of waste. Reducing the use of coal, as outlined in the Kyoto Protocols would be enormously beneficial for the environment and for future generations, however, it would also bring with it huge ramifications for the present generations. People are used to a certain way of living, and any cut-backs or compromises are not usually welcome. Loss of jobs, along with the probability of paying more for their electricity, at least for a while, are circumstances that most citizens will not welcome. It is obvious that in order to help the environment, and effectively ourselves, certain sacrifices have to be made. The renewable choice is the right choice, but coal, is definitely the more appealing one. In the end, it must be remembered that our sources of fossil fuels are not infinite and eventually, whether we choose to or not, alternate energy sources will have to be tapped into. We should use the time we have now, to improve on and perfect renewable resources, instead of shunning them because of their little "inconveniences". ...read more.

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