Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Politics and the Environment Prep Work

The logo for the Environmental Protection Agency.
For homework tonight, read the articles below and respond to the accompanying questions on loose leaf paper. The assignment is a 25 point homework grade.

First, read the Atlantic Magazine article "Dirty Coal, Clean Future" by James Fallows at the magazine's website. You can find the same article as a pdf here.

Use the article to answer the following questions on loose leaf paper (20 points).

Again -- the article is long. I recommend you read the questions first so you know exactly what information you are attempting to find.
  1. Why is carbon dioxide arguably the most significant of the greenhouse gases?
  2. Explain the “positive feedback” loop that may happen when carbon dioxide levels reach 450 ppm and above.
  3. Compare the per capita CO2 emissions of the United States, China, Europe, India and Kenya. What do they share in common? What is different? What’s unique about France?
  4. Summarize the four components of the “carbon wedge” identified in the article.
  5. The average American annually uses electricity produced by how much coal?
  6. What “externalities” of coal usage are unregulated?  What is the consequence of this lack of regulation?
  7. What is the energy efficiency of coal?
  8. How long does it take to secure a permit to build a new coal-fired power plant in the U.S.?
  9. Describe the process of CO2  sequestration.
  10. Describe the process of underground coal gasification.
Then, read Paul Krugmans's New York Times editorial "Here Comes the Sun." Summarize his main points on the same page as questions 1-10. (5 points)

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