hat are greenhouse gases? Greenhouse gases are gases that trap heat within our atmosphere. Carbon Dioxide is one of the gases that is transmitted into our atmosphere naturally as well as through the actions of activities which humans perform on a daily basis. Some of the other gases which are naturally transported into our atmosphere are the following:
Methane (CH4): Methane is emitted into our atmosphere through the production and transportation of coal, natural gases and oils. Methane gases are created by means of livestock as well as other agricultural practices. Decaying of waste in solid landfills also creates methane gases.
Nitrous Oxide (N2O): Agricultural and industrial activities are the causes for the emitting of Nitrous Oxide as well as fossil fuel combustions and solid waste.
Fluorinated Gases: These gases consist of Hydroflucarbons, sulfur hexafluoride and perfluorocarbons. These gases are emitted through practices of industries. This gas is sometimes utilized to substitute for ozone depleting substances. They are emitted in small quantities but because of the potency they are commonly referenced as High Global Warming Potential gases. ("High GWP gases").
A rising concentration of greenhouse gases over time produces an increase in the temperature upon the Earth. Over time the change in the temperature affects many things such as precipitation levels, storm severity and sea levels. This is commonly called "climate change". The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests that the climate of the Earth has shown an increase of 0.6 to 0.9 degrees Celsius over a period of a century. The IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report (Summary for Policymakers) states that due to the increased anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations that the global temperatures have increased since the mid-20th century.
The EPA (Environmental Protections Agency) proposed that industries report their greenhouse emissions. Environmentalists praised this step by the EPA in what they deemed a very important step in protecting the environment. If this rule is enacted, some 13,000 industries nationwide will be forced to report to report their emissions into our Earth's atmosphere. This will not only be limited to a single industry. All manufacturing industries will have to perform this task.
This proposed rule which falls under the Clean Air Act would include 85% to 90% of greenhouse emissions within our nation. The requirements would not only include carbon dioxide emissions but many other gases such as nitrous oxide, methane and hydroflurocarbons. If this proposed rule is enacted, the first reporting will begin as soon as 2011. The estimated cost as reported by the EPA will on average cost the industries $160 million dollars but will fall to $127 millions dollars in 2012.
The EPA has officially stated that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases do indeed pose a danger to the health and welfare of our communities. Industry officials have stated that they would rather aid in shaping standards as compared to a federally regulated program. Legal experts have stated that the EPA will have no choice but to regulate the greenhouse emissions under the Clean Air Act if the proposed rule comes into effect. The House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry A Waxman (D-Calif) has pledged to pass the bill by Memorial Day.