Announcements – April 6, 2011 Exam 2 - Wed April 20 (two weeks from today)
Announcements – April 6, 2011 Matt Richtel Pulitzer Price winning journalist from the New York Times " The Scorpion and the Frog, How Journalists and Scientists Can Learn To Trust Each Other (though occasionally they shouldn't) ." Matt’s talk (about 30 minutes) will be followed by a discussion of Science and Journalism with a small panel of colleagues from science and the media. Thursday, April 7 at 11:00 a.m. Beckman Auditorium
EPA Announces Landmark Greenhouse Gas Regulations Plan For Nation's Biggest Polluters 12/23/10 A press release from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that new standards granted under the Clean Air Act will be implemented in 2012 to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the Unites States. The EPA's new plan will establish standards specifically for fossil fuel power plants and petroleum refineries, both of which combine to represent roughly 40 percent of GHG pollution in the United States.
Mar 16, 2011 House panel rejects EPA's greenhouse gas rules A U.S. House panel has voted to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., has written a bill that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. By a vote of 34 to 19, House Energy and Commerce Committee passed a bill Tuesday that would strip the E.P.A. of its authority under the Clean Air Act to limit the emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases from power plants, oil refineries and other sources.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/04/opinion/04krugman.html?_r=1 Congressional hearing on climate science “expert witnesses”: Economist Lawyer Professor of marketing Scientists (2)
Congressional hearing on climate science “expert witnesses”: Professor of marketing – discussed past cases that are “analogies to the alarm over dangerous manmade global warming” — included problems such as acid rain and the ozone hole that have been contained precisely thanks to environmental regulation.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/04/opinion/04krugman.html?_r=1 Congressional hearing on climate science “expert witnesses”: Lawyer - the E.P.A. can’t declare that greenhouse gas emissions are a health threat, because these emissions have been rising for a century, but public health has improved over the same period.
Congressional hearing on climate science “expert witnesses”: Scientist - Prof. Richard Muller of Berkeley, a physicist and climate change skeptic, has been leading the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project Reported that his group’s preliminary results find a global warming trend “very similar to that reported by the prior groups.”
Side Benefits of reducing emissions
Reduced air pollution
Reduced human death, disease = lower health care costs & increased productivity
Improved energy efficiency
Reduced dependence on fossil fuels, foreign oil
Reduced need for expensive new power plants
Increased investment in alternative energy technologies
Who reaps benefits and who pays costs?
CNN Booming China's acid rain 'out of control' November 30, 2004 China's explosive economic growth is outpacing environmental protection efforts, leaving the country awash in "out of control" acid rain. Acid rain fell on more than 250 cities nationwide and caused direct annual economic losses of $13.3 billion, equal to nearly three percent of the country's gross domestic product. Two major causes were the rapidly growing number of cars and increasing consumption of cheap, abundant coal as the country struggles to cope with energy shortages and meet power demand. China is the world's largest source of soot and sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions from coal, which fires three-quarters of the country's power plants.
Third of China 'hit by acid rain' Sunday, 27 August 2006 One third of China is suffering from acid rain caused by rapid industrial growth, an official report quoted by the state media says. Pollution levels have risen and air quality has deteriorated, the report found. This comes despite a pledge by the authorities to clean up the air.
CNN, November 16, 2004 Study links smog increase, urban deaths CHICAGO, Illinois (Reuters) -- Increases in air pollution caused by cars, power plants and industry can be directly linked to higher death rates in U.S. cities. Reducing such ozone pollution by about 35 percent on any given day could save about 4,000 lives a year across the country. The conclusion came from a look at 95 urban areas where about 40 percent of the U.S. population lives, comparing spikes in ozone pollution there with death rates from 1987 to 2000. Ground-level ozone typically increases when temperatures rise. While short-term increases have been recognized as causing jumps in hospital admissions, this study provides strong evidence of short-term effects of ozone on mortality," said Francesca Dominici, an author of the study.
March 14, 2008 Documents Show EPA Lessened Smog Restrictions At President's Request (AP) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agreed to weaken an important part of its new smog requirements after being told at the last minute that President Bush preferred a less stringent approach, according to government documents. The disagreement concerned the amount of protection from ozone, or smog, that should be afforded wildlife, farmlands, parks and open spaces.
What are the major types and sources of airborne pollutants?
What are the issues with ozone?
Has the Clean Air Act been effective?
Atmosphere - air above the earth
78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 1% carbon dioxide, water, other gases
Divided into four zones: Troposphere, Stratosphere, Mesosphere, Thermosphere
Decrease in density further from Earth
Troposphere is where weather takes place
Stratosphere contains most of the ozone
Airborne particles mix, dilute, but remain in atmosphere
Accumulate in direction of winds
Can lead to health problems
Adults with asthma :
14 million (6.9%)
17.5 million (7.7%)
Children with asthma :
6.3 million (8.7%) Number of deaths:
2006 4,269 (2001)
7.1 million (9.6%) 3,447 (2007)
Primary air pollutants
Materials that when released pose health risks in their unmodified forms
Secondary air pollutants
Primary pollutants interact with one another, sunlight, or natural gases to produce new, harmful compounds
Primary Air Pollutants
Five major materials released directly into the atmosphere in unmodified forms.
Particulate matter (2.5 m and 10 m)
189 substances are regulated under the Clean Air Act
Carbon Monoxide (CO)
Produced by burning of organic material (coal, gas, wood, trash, etc.)
Automobiles biggest source (80%)
Decreases because of fuel efficiency, catalytic converters
Offset by increase in number of cars, time spent driving
Cigarette smoke another major source
Carbon Monoxide (CO)
Toxic because binds to hemoglobin, reduces oxygen in blood
Not a persistent pollutant, combines with oxygen to form CO 2
Most communities now meet EPA standards, but rush hour traffic can produce high CO levels
Organic compounds with hydrogen, carbon
From incomplete burning or evaporated from fuel supplies
Major source is automobiles, but some from industry
Small pieces of solid materials and liquid droplets (2.5 m and 10 m)
Examples: ash from fires, asbestos from brakes and insulation, dust
Easily noticed: e.g. smokestacks
More attention, more regulation
Can accumulate in lungs and interfere with the ability of lungs to exchange gases.
Some particulates are known carcinogens
Those working in dusty conditions at highest risk (e.g., miners)
pollution decreased 88% from 1970 - 2000
Sulfur Dioxide (SO 2 )
Produced by burning sulfur containing fossil fuels (coal, oil)
Coal-burning power plants major source
Reacts in atmosphere to produce acids
One of the major components of acid rain
Sulfur Dioxide (SO 2 )
When inhaled, can be very corrosive to lung tissue
1306 banned burning of sea coal
1952 “killer fog”: 4,000 people died in 4 weeks
tied to sulfur compounds in smog
Nitrogen Oxides (NO, NO 2 )
Produced from burning of fossil fuels
Contributes to acid rain, smog
Automobile engine main source
New engine technology has helped reduce, but many more cars
Sulfur dioxides and Nitrogen oxides combine with water in the atmosphere to form sulfuric acid and nitric acid
The pollutants remain airborne for ~1-3 days and travel 250-750 miles
Combine with water in the atmosphere, fall back as rain, snow, etc. – water with pH more acidic than normal rainfall.
US and Canadian governments officially recognized effects in 1986
Effects of Acid Rain
Can degrade buildings and monuments made of limestone
Effects of Acid Rain
Can acidify freshwater lakes (pH<4.7)
Disrupt physiological processes
Release of toxic compounds normally bound to soil (e.g. aluminum)
Inhibition of nitrification, build up of ammonia
Causes loss of game fish & other desirable species
25,000 lakes in N. America altered by acidification
Midwest lakes often on limestone, which neutralizes acids
Secondary pollutants formed by reaction of nitrogen oxides and HC with sunlight
Includes ozone (O 3 )
destroys chlorophyll, injures lung tissue
ground-level ozone is “bad ozone”
Biggest problems in cities, mountains can make it even worse
Mountain ranges, wind directions lead to thermal inversions
when cool air is trapped below layer of warm air
pollutants accumulate, aren ’t released to upper atmosphere
Indoor Air Pollution
In U.S., 90% of time spent indoors; inside air often more polluted than outside air
Problems with weatherized building: little air exchange