Trees also absorb sunlight, reducing the greenhouse effect, whereas flat grasslands reflect more sunlight (21 percent) back into the atmosphere, increasing the greenhouse effect. With the loss of enough mountains and trees, the hot winds will not condense until they collide with the Atlantic Ocean's air currents, causing a drought on the Eastern seaboard.
As for global warming, not only will the burning of the extracted coal be a major contribution, but over one-fourth of the increase in greenhouse gases comes from deforestation and land-clearing activities, which release high levels of methane, nitrous oxide and carbon into the atmosphere. To compound the problem, the use of nitrogen fertilizers to promote new growth in the leveled areas contributes even more nitrous oxide to the atmosphere.
Global warming is a serious problem, and coal is one of its biggest contributors. The coal industry, and some other industries, spent $13 million on advertising campaigns trying to debunk global warming. Yet, over 2,500 leading scientists say we must cut carbon dioxide levels now. One of the framers of the Kyoto treaty, Dr. Kilaparti Ramakrishna, says that if global emissions are too high 12 years from now, there will be little chance to avoid climatic catastrophe.
The argument that West Virginia needs more level areas may have some validity, but, if so, it should be limited and "planned" leveling adjacent to cities and done in environmentally sensitive ways.
Mountaintop removal's assault on the environment is not unlike what genocide was to humanity during the Holocaust of World War II. It is also a blasphemy to God's creation. It should be stopped now!