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Global Warming and the Environmental Protection Agency

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Global Warming and the Environmental Protection Agency

Rainy Tigert

The American Constitution, History 303

Martin Connor

March 17, 2008

Global Warming and the Clean Air Act

Introduction

In America, a new battle rages. The enemy is far more deadly than any other enemy our nation has faced. Its advanced weapons are a mystery that scientist have struggled to discover from the beginning of time. Conquering with sneak attacks and deadly forces of nature, our biggest enemy is our own environment.

There is no doubt that devastating storms have existed long before human beings began chopping down trees or polluting the air with carbon dioxide and other heat-therapy gases, but scientist believe that our depleting ozone is causing our rapidly warming atmosphere to contribute to the rise of super-storms. More people are becoming aware of the adverse effects of our new enemy, global warming. Through the wide spread media and personal experience, citizens are seeing the effects of global warming. Our opponent’s weapons of choice are increased wild-fires, extreme drought, melting glaciers and fiercer hurricanes, such as Katrina. Americans are rightfully fearful for the future of our nation and our world.

Thesis

Is global warming a natural occurrence, a man-made phenomenon, or a combination of the two? The answer to that question is often debated. We cannot control Earth’s nature, but we can concentrate on ways humans can help with the problem. Since carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases are proven to be major pollutants, causing the shrinking of the ozone layer, legislation must be put in place to reduce these emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air Act are enforcing recent laws and beginning to address these issues. Carbon dioxide from car emissions contributes to the majority of air pollution. “The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the gases that cause global warming are pollutants under the Clean Air Act. The court also found that the U.S. government has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping gases (Quote).” The Environmental Protection Agency or EPA sets the standards for all air pollution. They are currently putting the pressure on congress to act on global warming. Since the results of global warming could prove to be devastating, it is imperative that government and international communities vigorously address these issues.

Clean Air Act

“In October 1948, a thick cloud of air pollution formed above the industrial town of Donora, Pennsylvania. The cloud which lingered for five days, killed 20 people and caused sickness in 6,000 of the town's 14,000 people (http://www.epa.gov/ air/caa/peg/understand).” Chilling events like this one continued to take place until federal and state laws were passed including the Clean Air Act of 1963. In 1970 congress passed stronger laws within the Clean Air Act and established the Environmental Protection Agency. On January 23, 1990 congress met in the city of Washington to address the Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Act was drastically amended to provide health protection and ample air quality. The newly amended Clean Air Act also met the needs of unaddressed problems. Most of these problems had to do with the ozone. Although global warming may not be specifically addressed in the Clean Air Act, the problems addressed are factors that contribute to global warming.

The first title of the Clean Air Act or CAA was put into place to prevent and control pollution that leads to the destruction of our ozone layer, which is causing global warming. In Title I, Air Pollution Prevention and Control, four major issues are addressed: air quality and emission limitations, ozone protection, air quality deterioration prevention and plan requirements for non-attainment areas. Section 101 of Title I, found that air pollution was increasing due to industrial development, urbanization and increased motor vehicles. This growing amount of complex air pollution has lead to increased dangers to welfare and public health. The pollution is affecting livestock, crops, air and ground transportation and deteriorating property. We are seeing the effects of deteriorating properties with the increase in wildfires and the melting glaciers. These are also alleged symptoms of global warming. In section 101, sub-titled Finding and Purpose, air pollution prevention is defined by congress as “the reduction or elimination, through any

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