Coal is a vital part of our everyday lives. It is a definite asset when it comes to homes, construction, and industry. Coal has great economic value, being processed into coke (the fuel, not soda) and the more commonly known charcoal. Other forms of this well-known fuel include coal gas, coal oil, coal kerosene, and coal tar. A lot of these substances you have probably already heard of. It is almost hard to believe that coal is so common and has so many uses in our world today.
You may not be aware of the fact that our species is rapidly devouring many fuels and natural resources, including coal, and we are losing more every day. You may think that coal, like most minerals, cannot reproduce itself, but this knowledge is incorrect. This fuel actually can be restored. Over time and a variety of weather, dead plants are buried deep into the earth's crust. These plants are mashed together, mixed with dirt, hardened, and then resurface again as newly developed coal. Unfortunately, this is a process taking a time period of over one million years, so we will run out of coal in the near future nevertheless.
The reason the coal of our planet is disappearing so quickly is the fact that coal products are in high demand. This is so because we have already used up a large amount of our petroleum and natural gas. They are so scarce that coal is used as an alternative as heat and mainly electricity. The amount of coal used has increased greatly in the 1970's, '80's, and '90's in the United States.
Unlike petroleum, scientists have no estimates about how much coal is left in the earth. They also have no knowledge of how much we have already used up, although they estimate we have used a lot and are quickly running out. China is the world's lead producer of coal, producing 1,478,100,000 standard tons a year. The U.S. is second, trailing by only about 400,000 tons. Our planet is running out of coal, and fast. This is why we need to find some kind of way to prevent the loss of (or create) more coal. We need to ensure a safe future for our planet!