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University of Toronto Mississauga

ENV100 Lecture NotesMar 5 2012 Fossil Fuels Intro continued Reading Chapter 15Fossil fuel use has environmental supply and strategic implicationsImplications of continued fossil fuel dependency o 1 Environmental concerns o 2 Supply concerns o 3 Strategic concerns1 Environmental concerns Coal mining affects the environmentStrip mining causes severe soil erosion and chemical runoff o Acid mine drainagesulfide minerals on exposed rock surfaces react with oxygen and rainwater to produce sulfuric acid o Mountaintop removal causes enormous damage Coal mining harms human healthSubsurface mining is harmful to human health o Inhalation of coal dust can lead to fatal black lung diseaseMining companies must restore landscapes but the impacts are still severeCosts to repair damages of mining are very high o These costs are not included in the market prices of fossil fuels which are kept inexpensive by government subsidiesCoal contains impurities that are released when it is burnedCoal is the most abundant but least environmentally friendly fossil fuelSulphur mercury arsenic other trace metalsSulphur content depends on whether coal was formed in salt water or freshwater o Coal in the eastern Canada is high in sulfur because it was formed in marine sedimentsWhen highsulphur coal is burned it releases sulphates o Contributes to smog and acidic depositionCoalfired power plants contribute to air pollutionProvince of Ontario data coalfired power plants are responsible for a significant proportion of the hazardous air pollutants emitted in Ontario o 147of nitrogen oxides NOxo 237of sulphur dioxide SO2o 139of greenhouse gases CO2 equivalentso 226of mercury Hg Ontario Ministry of Environment CoalFired Electricity Generation in Ontario 2001
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