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Subject: Aboitez power plant
The proposed coal-fired power plant of Aboitez Power Corp. has just received the endorsement of the presiding officer of the Davao City Council, Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. Although this is unfortunate considering that coal is by far the dirtiest pollutant and its burning has been contributing to global warming, and is linked to environmental and health issues ranging from acid rain to asthma, there is hope because Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio has objected to this project.
The study relied on computer modeling to compare EPA data on power plant emission levels and dispersal patterns with results of epidemiological studies by Harvard University in 1993 and the American Cancer Society in 1995, said Ledford.
The data came from 2002 for soot — microscopic particles linked to asthma, heart disease and other health problems — along with acid rain-causing sulfur dioxide and smog-forming nitrogen oxides, Ledford said.
Some in the coal industry and the U.S. Department of Energy refer to carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) as the latest in “clean coal” technologies. The “clean coal” terminology is generally not endorsed by professionals in CCS, and is actively opposed by environmental organizations that favor CCS. CCS is a means to capture carbon dioxide from any source, compress it to a dense liquid-like state, and inject and permanently store it underground. Currently, there are more than 80 carbon capture and sequestration projects underway in the United States. All components of CCS technology have been used for decades in conjunction with enhanced oil recovery and other applications; commercial-scale CCS is currently being tested in the U.S. and other countries. Proposed CCS sites are subjected to extensive investigation and monitoring to avoid potential hazards, which could include leakage of sequestered CO2 to the atmosphere, induced geological instability, or contamination of aquifers used for drinking water supplies.
Supporters of clean coal use the Great Plains Synfuels plant to support the technical feasibility of carbon dioxide sequestration. Carbon dioxide from the coal gasification is shipped to Canada where it is injected into the ground to aid in oil recovery. Supporters acknowledge that economics can be problematic for carbon sequestration.
The Asian brown cloud is a layer of air pollution that covers parts of South Asia, namely the northern Indian Ocean, India, and Pakistan. Viewed from satellite photos, the cloud appears as a giant brown stain hanging in the air over much of South Asia and the Indian Ocean every year between January and March, possibly also during earlier and later months. In some humidity conditions, it forms haze. It is created by a range of airborne particles and pollutants from combustion (e.g. woodfires, cars, and factories), biomass burning and industrial processes with incomplete burning. The cloud is associated with the winter monsoon (November/December to April) during which there is no rain to wash pollutants from the air.
One major impact is on health. The 2002 study indicated nearly two million people die each year in India alone from conditions related to the brown cloud.
The second assessment study was published in 2008. It highlighted regional concerns:
- Changes of rainfall patterns with the Asian monsoon. The observed weakening Indian monsoon and in China northern drought and southern flooding is influenced by the clouds.
- Increase in rainfall over the Top End and Kimberley. A CSIRO study has found that by displacing the thermal equator southwards via cooling of the air over East Asia, the monsoonwhich brings most of the rain to these regions has been intensified and displaced southward.
- Retreat of the Hindu Kush–Himalayan glaciers and snow packs. The cause is attributed to rising air temperatures that are more pronounced in elevated regions, a combined warming effect of greenhouse gases and the Asian Brown Cloud. Also deposition of black carbon decreases the reflection and exacerbates the retreat. Asian glacial melting could lead to water shortages and floods for the hundreds of millions of people who live downstream.
- Decrease of crop harvests. Elevated concentrations of surface ozone is likely to affect crop yields negatively. The impact is crop specific.
The report also addressed the global concern of warming and concluded that the brown clouds have masked 20 – 80 percent of greenhouse gas forcing in the past century. The report suggested that air pollution regulations can have large amplifying effects on global warming.
Another major impact is on the polar ice caps. Black carbon (soot) in the Asian Brown Cloud may be reflecting sunlight and dimming Earth below but it is warming other places by absorbing incoming radiation and warming the atmosphere and whatever it touches . Black carbon is three times more effective than carbon dioxide–the most common greenhouse gas–at melting polar ice and snow . Black carbon in snow causes about three times the temperature change as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. On snow —even at concentrations below five parts per billion— dark carbon triggers melting, and may be responsible for as much as 94 percent of Arctic warming. As a result arctic sea ice cover is shrinking year-round, with more ice melting in the spring and summer months and less ice forming in the fall and winter. Arctic sea ice melted over the summer of 2010 to cover.