Air quality is becoming a severe problem, threatening the sustainability of our planet. For example, in 2013, 5 billion tons of carbon dioxide were released into the atmosphere due to human activities in the United States. Carbon dioxide is a green house gas that contributes to global warming. “Rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels, and more extreme weather events will intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict,” according to Chuck Hagel, former U.S. Secretary of Defense.
China is as an example of rampant air pollution from burning fossil fuels. During a recent period of several years, the Chinese were building one coal-fired, electric power plant per week. The air is so engulfed by smog in northern and eastern China that a Canadian company is selling bottled air.
What has been accomplished so far to mitigate global warming? The Clean Air Act, originally passed in 1973, is designed to protect human health and the environment from the effects of air pollution. Progress reducing air pollution includes cutting ground-level ozone and reducing pollutants that contribute to acid rain, such as oxides of sulfur and nitrogen.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “On August 3, 2015, President Obama and EPA announced the Clean Power Plan – an historic and important step in reducing carbon pollution from power plants that takes real action on climate change.” Some members of Congress oppose this plan.
“In the first lawsuit to involve a planet, Judge Thomas Coffin of the United States Federal District Court in Eugene, Oregon, ruled recently in favor of twenty-one plaintiffs, ages 8 to 19, on behalf of future generations of Americans. This is a landmark, constitutional, climate change case brought against the Federal Government.”
Now is the time for us to be inspired by these twenty-one plaintiffs. What can we do to help them and ourselves?Acid Rain, Carbon Dioxide, Clean Air Act, Climate Change, Earth Day, EPA, Judge Thomas Coffin, Ozone, SBIR Consultant