Fossil Fuel Dependency And Americans Essay

2555 words - 10 pages

Fossil Fuel Dependency and AmericansThe purpose of this paper is to look at some of the environmental issues that Americans face today stemming from fossil fuel dependency. Rapid industrialization and social change have raised the standard of living for millions of American people. Because of this higher standard of living, American's face many critical issues pertaining to the environment due to fossil fuel dependency. Fossil fuel dependency is a major contributing factor to air pollution. If this country does not get a hold on the air pollution issue due to fossil fuel dependency it will become a challenging issue for the country, and could put a strain on the entire world.Americans rely heavily on fossil fuels i.e. coal, petroleum etc. Fossil fuels are burnt for their energy value and used for electricity, power plants, and automobiles and so forth. Refined fossil fuels such as gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel fuel that are burned by motor vehicles, aircraft, tanker ships etc. cause the air to be polluted with unhealthy toxins. Burning fossil fuel releases large quantities of carbon dioxide (C02), a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere affecting the environment. Demirbas, A. (2006) "Currently, it is estimated that CO2 contributes about 50% to the anthropogenic greenhouse effect."Some major sources of air pollution due to fossil fuel dependency in large cities are power plants and vehicle emissions. Increasing problems associated with industrial growth and the fossil fuel dependency threatens the wellbeing of the country. Americans place a huge demand on power plants for electricity used in businesses and households that is creating more air pollution. Automobiles use petroleum which also adds to air pollution issues by way of vehicle emissions. Dangerous levels of sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, and other harmful chemicals released into the atmosphere create issues with smog and the ozone.Fossil Fuels for Power PlantsCoal burning is one of the major sources of America's sulfur dioxide emissions produced from power plants and accounts for more than half of the nation's electric power generation (Hardy, D. Rath, B., and Marder J., 2007). Coal is the main fossil fuel that emits the most carbon dioxide and pollution over oil and gas. Continuing to use coal as the major resource will eventually change the atmosphere and cause devastating environmental changes. Carbon dioxide and sulfur-containing coal emits sulfuric acid, the main constituent of acid rain (Hardy, D. Rath, B., and Marder J., 2007). In addition, Demirbas, A. (2006) noted that "At the present time, coal is responsible for 30-40% of world CO2 emissions from fossil fuels."The U.S. Department of Energy is aware of the environmental challenges due to fossil fuel dependency and the burning of coal. Since industry accounts for a majority of America's coal use, The U.S. Department of Energy has devised a plan to work with industrial associates and university researchers to develop a range of...

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