EPA For Reduction to Industrial Carbon Pollution
Lisa Jackson, the administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), announced new Clean Air Act standards recently to reduce industrial carbon pollution from power plants. The new standards would only apply only to plants built in the future and would not cover existing power plants.
One major drawback to the new proposed standards is that they exempt new industrial plants that burn “biomass” such as trees. Air quality monitoring tests show that biomass power plants emit dangerous particulate matter and other data suggests (according to the EPA) biomass power plants emit more carbon at the smokestack than most fossil-fueled facilities. The new proposed rule doesn’t take polluting biomass facilities into account and would allow their construction with minimal industrial carbon controls.
“Today’s rule makes important strides in reducing carbon pollution from future power plants, but unfortunately gives existing polluters a free pass,” said Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “While the long-delayed release of this critically important pollution reduction rule is welcome, it should be strengthened.”
Air pollution is usually considered any substance that humans introduce into the earths atmosphere that has negative effects on the environment and all those living in it.
There are many different sources of air pollution that contribute to poor health and global warming. Some visible forms of pollution that you may see in daily life are the thick smog clouds hovering over our cities, a smokestack belching fumes, or the cars idling in front of you at a red light.
When we burn fossil fuels such as gasoline the end result is added air pollution which means added carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, to the atmosphere. These kinds of greenhouse gasses are what scientists believe are creating global climate change such as unusual warming and strange weather patterns. Not only does the burning of fossil fuels add carbon dioxide to our atmosphere, the smog created can also lead to acid rain when sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen oxides react with water. This acid rain is damaging to plants, poisonous to aquatic animals, and corrosive to infrastructure among other negatives.
As far as what we cannot see, one negative health impact of air pollution is the increase of particulate matter circulating in our environment. These super fine particulates that make up pollution can lodge in a persons lungs when inhaled and over time lead to asthma, heart disease, or even lung cancer. Coal combustion for energy production is one particularly good example of adding major particulate matter to the environment.
It is easy to see why air pollution not only something that threatens our environment but also our health and lively hood. Luckily there are many things we can do on all levels from our daily lives to government efforts to reduce air pollution. An individual wishing to reduce there personal contribution to air pollution may consider driving less, biking, walking, car-pooling, utilizing mass transit, recycling, and buy making an effort to consume less energy.
Photo Credit: Steven Allen, The Environmental Blog
Reasons to JOIN US include:
- It's absolutely FREE!
- Get Green Tips You MUST know about.
- How to's on going green, saving money, and having fun.
- Keep up-to-date on our posts in cased you missed them.