is a combination of physical and biological elements that affect
the life of an organism. When we talk about the environment as it
relates to energy, we are sometimes talking about small areas, like
a pond or a backyard, and sometimes we are talking about the entire
cannot talk about energy without talking about the environment.
They are tied together. Most sources of energy require us to do
something to the earth that we cannot fix. We drill for oil in sensitive
areas. We strip mine for coal in places that will never completely
recover. We store our nuclear waste, knowing that it could be hundreds
of thousands of years before that waste is safe enough for humans
to be around.
Issues and World Energy Use | Clean
Impacts of Hydropower | Help
on the Horizon
Issues and World Energy Use
is a . It occurs naturally. Rotting ,
people, and animals give it off. There are actions humans take that
cause its release. It has two major human-caused sources: fossil
fuel use and land-use changes. Nearly three-quarters of all carbon
dioxide emissions come from fossil fuel combustion. Another environmental
impact is oil spills. In December of 1999, an oil tanker broke in
half off the coast of France. Three million gallons of crude oil
were dumped into the ocean. In November 2000, a tanker's engine
exploded while it was in the Lower Mississippi River. That spilled
over 500,000 gallons into the river. And Prince William Sound, where
the Exxon Valdez ran aground in 1989, is just now coming back to
has different problems for the environment. The hazards of , both transporting it and storing it, are a huge problem. The
U.S. government heavily regulates the nuclear industry in America,
but we are not without our share of accidents. Three Mile Island
leaked a radioactive cloud over Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1979.
And the New York Times recently reported on two spent nuclear fuel
rods that have been missing from a Connecticut nuclear power plant
since April 1980.
disagree even when we try to do the right thing for the environment.
For example, cars are able to run on a fuel called . Ethanol
can be made from many different types of , but the most common
are corn and sugarcane. Advocates of ethanol claim it is a clean
fuel. But an environmental consultant for the American Lung Association
says that is not entirely true. "There may be a lot of good reasons
to promote ethanol, but air quality really is not one of them."
This could be why California, a state with some of the strictest
air quality laws in the country, is angry with President Bush. California
requested a waiver to federal clean-air laws. California requires
MTBE, a petroleum based additive, in its gasoline. The MTBE reduces
the air emissions a car gives off as it burns fuel. The U.S. government
said that California cannot use MTBE any more and must use ethanol
recently published in the journal Science said that more
people are being killed by pollution from vehicles than by traffic
accidents. Devra Lee Davis, the lead author of the study, said that
the fossil fuel we use in our cars and power plants create air pollutants.
These pollutants include , carbon dioxide, and sulfur compounds.
People can get asthma, heart disease, and breathing disorders.
Impacts of Hydropower
dams for hydropower also have an impact on the environment. Usually
rivers are blocked and a lake forms behind the dam. This changes
the entire ecosystem of the environment. Fish that require fast
moving water (trout, salmon) give way to fish that prefer lakes
(carp, catfish). Animals that depended on the fast moving river
have to adapt to the new environment, move to another location,
or even die.
on the Horizon
is research that is helping limit the harmful effects of energy
related pollution. Researches at the University of Texas at Austin
have been working with Ford Motor Company to produce a distillery
unit that works with existing engines to reduce hydrocarbon pollution
put into the atmosphere when we start up a cold engine. Fuel cells
are another hope for the environment. Major car manufacturers are
hoping to have car models available by 2003 that use fuel cell technology.
And several environmentally friendly hybrid cars are already available
(Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight).
Hydropower can do
more than affect the environment. It can change entire economies.
article from ENN.
Market to Market Links
Warming Report Released
Climate change is likely to create more weather extremes such as
flooding and drought
could get boost from demise of MTBE
The petroleum based fuel additive was originally seen as beneficial
because it reduces fuel emissions and boosts octane levels. But
worries about the oxygenate arose when groundwater in California
was found to be contaminated by m-t-b-e.
Senate Passes Energy Bill
In more than five weeks of debate, the Democratic-led Senate has
crafted an energy bill that includes everything from oil exploration
Faces Fight in California
Last week the USDA was touting the benefits of bio-based fuels.
The department implemented a broad plan to encourage its agencies
to begin using biodiesel and ethanol fuels in fleet vehicles.
Gets Boost from USDA
For the past two years, the government has been testing a mixture
of 20-percent soybean oil and 80-percent diesel, commonly known
as "b-20 Biodiesel," in about 150 vehicles at USDAs
Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland. Powering
everything from tractors to tour buses on biodiesel.
Warming & the Ocean
causes Global Warming?
Countires & Global Warming
Academy of Sciences report concludes
the Earth is getting warmer and humans are helping cause it.
global strategy to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases
which scientists believe are warming the Earth.
Nearly 180 nations
agreed to details of a pact
to combat global warming today
the coast of California are hoping the sea floor may offer a way
to reduce the amount of carbon
dioxide in the atmosphere.
A look at the
air conditioning efficiency debate.
ENERGY STAR is a government-backed program helping businesses and
individuals protect the environment through superior energy efficiency
and by lessening consumption.
EPA Clean Energy Programs
The EPA's Clean Energy Programs are working with state policy makers, electric and gas utilities, energy customers, and other key stakeholders to find clean energy solutions.