Experts say it prevented more deaths than it caused, and prevented more carbon dioxide equivalent emissions than it released. Overwhelmingly, the best scientists in the world are telling us that our activities are causing climate change – based on troves of data and millions of measurements collected over the course of decades on land, in air and water, at sea and from space.Â. Contact Us to ask a question, provide feedback, or report a problem. Their plan comes with a big hitch for utilities. Researchers at the Georgia Institute for Technology say they've developed the first tool that can make those predictions. If there are 50 parts per billion of arsenic or more in a water sample, one in 100 people may get cancer by drinking it. "All areas in Southern Company's service territory have air quality that meets the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter, which is the focus of this study," the company said through a spokesperson. Climate change is one of the greatest environmental challenges we face. Pollution control can make power plants safer: Flue gas combustion modification can change oxygen content or temperature of combustion to reduce the amount of partially oxidized nitrogen compounds. Sulfate deposits, according to the EPA, dropped by over 55 percent in the Eastern U.S. between two observation periods – from 1989 to 1991 and 2009 to 2011. Reduced power plant emissions have cut acid rain: National restrictions on air pollution has cut sulfur dioxide emissions, which has reduced the amount of acid rain reported and introduced into lakes and streams. By comparison, municipal waste combustors reduced their emissions by 96 percent and medical waste incinerators by 98 percent, to just one emissions ton per year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Fossil fuel-fired power plants are the largest source of U.S. CO2 emissions. Electrostatic precipitators can trap solid or liquid particles from gas streams using electric charges, while flue gas deacidifiers can remove nitric and sulfuric acids via solid basic oxide reactions or wet scrubbers. "This is another means of managing.". By using the researchers' model, an electric grid operator could know when more pollution was likely to form and then ramp down coal plants, swapping in natural gas or another, cleaner source instead. Coal plants are a leading source of carbon dioxide emissions, accounting for 1.7 billion tons in 2011. Southern Company, which via its subsidiary Georgia Power operates the four large coal plants highlighted in the study, said that it has already invested billions in meeting current air standards. Of the major energy sources, natural gas represented a 33.8 percent share in 2016, and coal represented 30.4 percent. Here are 15 facts and statistics that put it all into perspective. The pollution that forms downwind of a power plant depends on shifting factors in the air. Yes, according to Thomas, who says the technology could be used in developing countries where pollution controls are not being installed. The story is part of a special series that explores energy issues. The Georgia Tech team also wants to apply the model—which could also help forecast the formation of ozone, the subject of new pending U.S. standards—to emissions from cars and trucks. The Mercury and Air Toxic Standards that went into effect in 2011 aim to limit how much pollution coal-fired power plants can emit; after some delay, a final finding was released in 2016 supporting the benefits of reducing mercury and other toxins. All rights reserved. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Total U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Economic Sector in 2012, Health and climate effects of carbon pollution, Learn About Carbon Pollution From Power Plants, Clean Power Plan Resources for Communities, Changes in weather and precipitation patterns, Changes in ecosystems, habitats and species diversity, Worsening smog (also called ground-level ozone pollution), Increasing the intensity of extreme events, like hurricanes, extreme precipitation and flooding, Increasing the range of ticks and mosquitoes, which can spread disease such as Lyme disease and West Nile virus. Ask a question, provide feedback, or report a problem fuel-fired plants. All into perspective life: cooling water intakes draw fluid in at a rate! Sources, natural gas are used to generate … carbon pollution and power plants discharge polluted water Many... Developed the first tool that can make those predictions Academy of Sciences a lot hour. 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