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Globalization and the Production and Consumption o

f Coal in the U.S.A.

Lauren A. Gonder
Athens State University
SO400, Globalization and Culture, Dr. Malcolm Cort
Globalization and the Production and Consumption of Coal in the U.S.A.

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According to our textbook, globalization is a set of processes through which the world is becoming a single place CITATION Chi14 l 1033 (Chirico, 2014). This doesn’t mean that we are all following the same sets of rules or governed by the same government. We are all connected through several different systems that make us feel as though we are a part of a single place. Globalization has been around for quite some time, beginning with trade and travel. Different ideas, technologies, and people were moving from East to West, and when those people returned home, they brought the new ideas and technologies with them. The internet and social networking has brought us even closer together. We are constantly interchanging products, services, ideas, and views from all over the world. These exchanges and interchanges are good for everyone involved, but if something goes awry in one part of the world, it can and will affect another part(s). Take Brexit for instance, the Brexit was when the United Kingdom left the European Union and received a new Prime Minister. The U.K.’s vote had a direct effect on the U.S.’s economy as the domino effect began CITATION For16 l 1033 (Foroohar, 2016). Ireland, Belgium, and the Netherlands were also affected by Brexit.

The many components of globalization affect every facet of society. The bases of globalization are often linked between economic and political. The economic side of globalization consists of material acquisitions through assembly, production, goods, services, and labor CITATION Car13 l 1033 (Carrell ; Heavrin, 2013). Every industrialist and businessman has the right to establish industry, trade, and commerce abroad, with free exchange of capital, goods, and technologies between countries. The most relevant and important aspect of globalization is imports and exports. Trade has been around for centuries and it continues to be a strong part of our world today. When one country or nation has a staple or service and another country has something else to offer, they use trade. Economist argue that trade among nations makes the world a better place, but trade can also be one of the most antagonistic of political issues, domestically and internationally CITATION McD17 l 1033 (McDonald, 2017). Usually when trade occurs, the nations involved produce their staple or service cheaper than any other. When that staple or service is bought, then the living standards of the producing nation rise. Trade is a notable example of how globalization keeps us connected.

Coal production has been around for years and is an inexpensive and abundant fuel source CITATION EIA17 l 1033 (EIA, 2017). There are 2 operations based on mining coal, surface mining (strip mines) and underground mining. Extracting coal on the surface is performed by using explosives and the water that drains from the valleys that form may contain pollutants that can harm wildlife CITATION EIA17 l 1033 (EIA, 2017). Underground mining has lesser effects on the landscape, but the ground above the tunnels can collapse and the acidic water can drain from abandoned mines. Methane gas is created from these underground coal mines and can seep up into the air. In 2014, methane emissions from mining coal above and below the surface accounted for about 10% of total methane emissions and 1% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions CITATION EIA17 l 1033 (EIA, 2017). Sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon dioxide are the principal emissions resulting from burning coal. The particulates in the smoke from burning coal can contribute to the smog we get from our cars, trucks, and other factories.

If coal mining and the pollutants it produces isn’t restricted, there will be severe irreversible consequences to our environment, air quality, and water sources. Even when the impurities are removed from coal, the results can be devastating. In 2000, the largest black water spillage occurred in Kentucky and contaminated the Coldwater and Wolf Creeks CITATION UCS l 1033 (UCS). We are already seeing the effects of the future of carbon dioxide regulations with the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts passed by Congress. Power companies are starting to integrate the future price of carbon into their costs for new plants, and has seriously impacted their decisions on whether to build new coal plants CITATION UCS l 1033 (UCS). The future of coal mining could be irrelevant as new productions of energy are created.

In 2015, U.S. coal production dropped more than 10%, which is the lowest production level since 1986 CITATION Par16 l 1033 (Park, 2016). Consumption of coal for electric power generation dropped 13% and employment associated with U.S. coal dropped 12%. The employment rate for coal production was at its lowest since 1978. According to the Global Energy Statistical Yearbook in 2017, coal production dropped 3 consecutive times in 2016. Although the U.S. and the U.K. has moved away from coal production due to emissions and stricter environmental regulations, Southeastern Asian countries continue to use coal from their energy production. The trends speak for itself that the U.S. needs to be putting more attention on moving away from coal and into a cleaner choice of energy production.

As the stronger more developed country advance and evolve, the lesser developed countries can learn from mistakes made and successes won. Economic and political advances and even mistakes by more developed countries can be learned by the lesser developed countries. The connectivity through technology and commerce keeps us all moving towards a similar standpoint.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Carrell, M. R., & Heavrin, C. (2013). Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining: Private and Public Sectors. United States: Pearson.

Chirico, J. (2014). Globalization: Prospects and Problems. United States: SAGE Publications, Inc.

EIA. (2017, February 1). Coal Explained: Coal and the Environment. Retrieved from
Foroohar, R. (2016). Why Brexit Really Is a Big Deal for the U.S. Economy. TIME Business. Retrieved from
McDonald, B. (2017, July 29). International Trade: Commerce among Nations. Retrieved from
Park, B. (2016). Today in Energy: In 2015, U.S. coal production, consumption, and employment fell by more than 10%. U.S. Energy Information Adminstration. Retrieved from
UCS. (n.d.). How Coal Works. Retrieved from


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