Climate Change in Washington - Pollution


Global greenhouse gas continues to increase and many nations and states are taking actions to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, including Washington state who has teamed up with Oregon and California in effort to reduce emissions as part of the West Coast Governors’ Global Warming Initiative. The main Global greenhouse Gas released in Washington include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and other gases that contribute to global warming. The different emission types are placed into three categories: energy, industrial processes and agriculture. Different greenhouse gases range in their individual impact on global warming. For instance, one pound of nitrous oxide is 296 times more potent than a pound of carbon dioxide in contributing to global warming. This means even small quantities of gases emitted into the environment, like nitrous oxide, can have significant impacts on global warming.

For Washington state in particular, energy related emissions are the dominant source of GHG emissions and have increased from 61.2 MMT CO2-equivalent (CO2-e) in 1990 (excluding residual fuel for transportation) to 74.6 MMT CO2-e in 2004, while their share has increased from 79% of total emissions to 85% over the past fourteen years. Carbon dioxide is the dominant GHG followed by methane, nitrous oxide, perfluorocarbon and sulfur hexafluoride. Non-energy industrial global greenhouse gas emissions have lowered from 14% to 9%, mainly due to reduced emissions from aluminum production. This has been the result of two key elements: process changes that reduced CO2 and PFC emissions per ton of aluminum generated, and the post-2000 decline in aluminum manufacturing rates. Non-energy agricultural greenhouse emissions have remained fairly constant but their percentage contribution has lowered as total emissions have increased. Here is a broken down list of pollution contributors in Washington State: 45% transportation, 16% in state electricity generation, 12% industry, 9% residential and commercial, 2% non-CO2 (other gasses), 9% industry (non-energy), 7% agriculture (non-energy). As you can see, the majority of energy GHG emissions and almost half of total emissions are from the transportation sector.

Read more about this topic:  Climate Change In Washington

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