The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recently reported their findings that greenhouse gas emissions have fallen 10 per cent from 2010 to 2012, as power generators make the switch from coal to natural gas. The Energy Information Administration, part of the Department of Energy, said U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions have fallen to their lowest level since 1994 — great news for we Ontarians, who get exposed to air pollution from our neighbours to the south.
Their study collected emissions data from over 8,000 of the largest polluters in their nation. Of the thousands of facilities studied, fossil fuel power plants were the largest source of emissions – at roughly 40 per cent. The most polluting plant, located in Georgia, emitted 21.8 million tons of CO2 equivalent. Other such plants were found in Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. They will be the main objective targeted by Washington’s proposed plan to regulate emissions by June of next year. (Ironically, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania have Marcellus Shale gas deposits right under their feet.)
This comes hot on the heels of the World Health Organization’s cancer agency classifying the very air we breathe as cancer causing. This is the first time experts have made such a classification.
Data indicates that 223,000 deaths worldwide were due to air pollution and particulate matter. From now on, these pollutants will be classified as Group 1 human carcinogens, alongside asbestos, plutonium, silica dust, ultraviolet radiation and tobacco smoke.
Obviously, clean, affordable and reliable natural gas can and should be part of the greater plan to move towards a cleaner world.
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