Pollution Essay: Climate Change

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Homes, towns, cities, states, nations, and countries around the world are all addressing the issue of global climate change. Individuals are beginning to realize the importance of greenhouse gas emissions and keeping our environment clean. Towns and cities are implementing new conservation programs, energy saving incentives, and many other environment-friendly initiatives. On the federal level, the U.S. government under President Bush, launched a “historic initiative [that] brings together the resources and expertise of thirteen federal agencies.” (2) The Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) is aimed at solving some of the major aspects of climate change, such as expanding the knowledge of the climate, advancing climate change science, and improving on existing technology. Countries around the world are cooperating together to improve the climate change situation as well. Together we are taking the initiative to improve our surrounding environment.

The U.S in particular has aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 18% over the next ten years. Climate change research and technology will also increase especially as the president’s 2003 budget reported a $700 million increase in funding for climate change-related programs (1). In addition, the President has issued reforms to “ensure that businesses that register voluntary reductions are not penalized under a future climate policy, and give credit to companies that can show real emissions reductions” (2). The U.S. has also initiated improvements in the transportation industry. There are exisiting tax incentives in place for buyers of cleaner emissions cars, like the Honda Insight, Honda Civic Hybrid (gas and electric), the Toyota Prius, or other clean-fuel vehicles (3). Clean-fuel vehicles are defined as motor vehicles designed to be propelled by one of the following fuels:

- Natural gas
- Liquified natural gas (LNG)
- Liquified petroleum gas (LPG)
- Hydrogen
- Electricity (e.g., some gasoline/electric hybrids)
- Any other fuel that is at least 85% alcohol or ether (e.g., E85) (3).

On January 9, 2002, U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham announced a new public-private partnership between the Energy Department and the nation's major automakers to promote the development of hydrogen as a primary fuel for cars and trucks. The Freedom CAR (Cooperative Automotive Research) would allow for hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicles that emit no harmful air pollutants, only water if pure hydrogen is used (5). The Freedom CAR project replaces the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) which pushed the development of hybrid gasoline-electric cars.

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(5). This new research in the area of hydrogen fuel-cells would dramatically change our economy and society as we know it. If we can successfully harness the energy behind the reverse electrolysis (hydrogen and oxygen to form water vapor, heat and electricity), we can expand the use of hydrogen fuel-cells to many other devices and start to phase out the pollution producing energy sources (6). The potential resulting economy will no longer be a crude oil based economy, rather a hydrogen based economy. Similar production facilities will be needed as well as transportation methods to distribute this fuel (4). This will obviously impact our society and economy, and be much more healthy for us and the environment.

In conclusion, the combined implementation of these programs and incentives both domestically and internationally will bring us closer to our Kyoto Protocol goals set in 1997 (7). The future is still hopeful for our nation and the earth as we continue to “slow the growth of greenhouse gas emissions, and -- as the science justifies -- to stop, and then reverse that growth” (2). As President Bush said, “The Earth's well-being is also an issue important to America. And it's an issue that should be important to every nation in every part of our world. The issue of climate change respects no border. Its effects cannot be reined in by an army nor advanced by any ideology. Climate change, with its potential to impact every corner of the world, is an issue that must be addressed by the world (8).” Global climate change is something that needs to be addressed, and the sooner the better.

Works Cited:

1) “Bush Administration Launches Historic Federal Climate Change Initiatives”. US Climate Change Science Program. (Accessed 23 Nov 2003) <http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/pressreleases/pressrelease24jul2003.htm>.

2) “Executive Summary – Climate Change”. The White House. (Accessed 23 Nov 2003) <http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/02/climatechange.html>.

3) “Tax Incentives for Hybrid Vehicles”. EPA. (Accessed 23 Nov 2003) <http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/tax_hybrid.shtml>.

4) Zorbas, Stephen. “Hydrogen Economy and the Freedom Car”. The National Hydrogren Association of Australia. (Accessed 23 Nov 2003) <http://www.hydrogen.org.au/Hydrogen-Economy.htm>.

5) “Abraham Announces Program to Develop Hydrogen-Powered Vehicles”. The United States Mission to the European Union. 9 Jan 2002. <http://www.useu.be/Categories/Evironment/Jan0902AbrahamHydrogenVehicles.html>.

6) “Fuel Cells FAQ”. (Accessed 23 Nov 2003). Virtual Technologies, Ltd. <http://www.virtualtechnologiesltd.com/FAQs/FAQ-Fuel_Cells-Virtual_Technologies.htm>.

7) “The Kyoto Protocol”. Matthews, J. EGEE 101 Lesson 10 Online Course Content. (Accessed 23 Nov 2003). <http://cms.psu.edu>.

8) “Overview: The Need for the Best Available Science to Address Global Climate Change Issues”. 24 July 2003. <http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/stratplan2003/vision/overview.htm>.


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