Energy Consumption and Air Pollution

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The focus of this paper is to explain some of the relationships between energy consumption and air pollution. Personally, when I first started thinking about the topic, I thought I already had the answers. The equation was pretty simple and did not take much thought: higher energy = higher air pollution. This thought was incorrect, as I quickly found out. The very first website looked at showed that over the last thirty years, energy consumption and air pollution do not always go hand in hand. However, in some places throughout the world, this does still hold true. Both sides of this will be discussed as well as a few alternative energy sources that would help to reduce pollution even further.

Based on of the website sponsored by the Foundation for Clean Air Progress (FCAP), many changes have been made in the last thirty years that have affected the rate of air pollution as energy consumption has increased. The FCAP is a non-profit foundation in the private sector aimed at educating the public on air quality improvements. The FCAP obviously hold a bias towards the improvement of air quality over the last 30 plus years, but also back it up with gathered data from reputable sources. In a 1999 poll the FCAP commissioned, roughly 61 percent of the respondents felt that air pollution had increased while only roughly 22 percent felt that the air quality was increasing. The FCAP also conducted a study that compared both air quality and energy consumption at national levels. The study began analyzing national information from 1970, when the Clean Air Act was enacted and state level information since 1985 from sources at both state and federal levels, such as the Environmental Protection Agency. The first area covered in the study was that energy consumption has definitively grown. Within the U.S., the study shows how overall consumption grew by 41 percent in the time period of 1970 – 2000. The study broke it up into four categories and showed growth...
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