GGR333H5 Study Guide - Final Guide: Counterintuitive, Kyoto Protocol, World Bank

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9 Jan 2011
GGR333 Lecture 12
Intro: Many types of pollution (water, air, acid rain)
Historical perspective: common misconception
Air pollution is getting worse
Peak: Greco-Roman Era
Rome (city)
Classical era
Air pollution (wood) ~ 6000 yrs.
Industrial revolution: (coal burning)
Alkali factories
oHydrochloric acid emissions
-Acid rain killed trees and crops
-Streams and rivers polluted
Context: But in some of worst places (Manchester) no movement against air pollution. WHY?
Smoke =
- Industrial progress
- Employment
- Prosperity
Smoke was inevitable and innocuous accomplishment of meritorious act of
Clean air = poverty and starvation
Can smoke be good for you health?
Lancet 1892 editorial against London smoke
350 tons of sulphur thrown into air in one winter day
Enormous amount of sulphurous acid generated from it
Things also improve in US…even Pittsburgh.
Air quality transition ~1900
oCleaner energy sources (oil, hydro, natural gas, nuclear)
oMore efficient combustion technology (coal)
oElectrostatic precipitation
(US estimates of overall dust collection efficiency for power plants)
-1960s smoke problems virtually solved in most common urban areas.
In Short: air pollution is not a new phenomenon gotten worse and worse
(2) Energy and air pollution (fundamentals): main components
Criteria pollutants:
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Definition: substances added to air by human activity that adversely affect environment
Pollutants are in the form:
osmall particles of solids (particulates)
oSmall droplets of liquid suspended in gas (aerosols)
Criteria Pollutants: World bank…
1) Carbon monoxide (CO)
-Produced primarily in automobiles
-Only health hazard when emissions highly concentrated (heavy urban
2) Sulphur oxides (mostly sulphur dioxides)
Suffocating odour
Mostly coal burning
Severe health effects when concentration is high (killer smog) but harvesting effects
3) Particulates: (or total suspended particulates, TSPs)
Particulate matter:
Health effects: can worsen pre-existing heart and lung conditions
Particulates (only 10% human- made, but concentrated in cities)
Primary natural sources: Dust from dry soil
Primary industrial – industrial smelters and electric power plants
4) Nitrogen oxides
NOx exists in various forms
NO (laughing gas)
Nitrogen dioxide
diNitrogen pemtaoxide
Element oxidized (N) air (78% N) used in fuel combustion
NO2 (especially) when combined with hydrocarbons photochemical smog
-Ground level ozone responsible from smogs ordour
-Can damage plants
-Can irritate the lungs
Element oxidized (nitrogen) ~ air (78% N) used in fuel combustion
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