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  • NRC Board to Hold Hearings on Texas Storage Proposal
    A Nuclear Regulatory Commission Atomic Safety and Licensing Board will hear oral arguments on petitions for an adjudicatory hearing on Interim Storage Partners' license application for an interim facility to store spent nuclear fuel in Andrews County, Texas.
  • First Female Director Appointed to Head Iowa DNR
    Kayla Lyon has been appointed director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, effective July 8. She will replace Bruce Trautman, who has served as the agency's acting director since May 2018, and is DNR's first female director.
  • Dyno Nobel Settles EPA Case Over Oregon Facility's Releases
    The $939,852 being paid by the company as part of the settlement will purchase emergency response equipment for authorities in Columbia County, Ore. Dyno Nobel also will file revised estimates of its total ammonia releases and will update its Risk Management Plan.
  • Maryland's Governor Signs Energy Efficiency Measure
    The "Maryland Leads by Example" executive order directs the Maryland Department of General Services and the Maryland Energy Administration to develop and manage an energy savings initiative in state-owned buildings.
  • Tennessee Settles Lawsuit Over TVA Coal Ash Ponds
    The settlement requires the Tennessee Valley Authority to remove approximately 12 million cubic yards of coal combustion residuals from its active coal ash ponds at the Gallatin Fossil Plant, closing the coal ash pond complex and remediating the area in accordance with state law.
  • DOE Proposes to Redefine High-Level Radioactive Waste
    According to DOE, the revised interpretation, "if implemented through subsequent actions," could provide a range of benefits to both DOE and the public.

Recent Posts

Illustration of how CO2 is causing Greenhouse Effect

Greenhouse Gases: Human-Made, Natural or Both?

Carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and nitrous oxide are all ‘greenhouse gases,’ which allow sunlight to enter the atmosphere freely but which also absorb and trap infrared radiation, or ‘heat,’ providing a blanket of gases that protect the planet from the sun’s rays. Without these gases, life on earth would be unsustainable, and the earth’s atmosphere would be like that of Mars.

Natural and Human-Made Processes

Greenhouse gases are also produced by human-made processes, through the hydrocarbons used as fuel, which includes petroleum, coal, and natural gas, all of which consist mostly of hydrogen and carbon atoms. Generating and releasing energy to heat homes, power automobiles, operate factories, and fuel airplanes, trains, and other transportation conveyances, also involve hydrocarbons and the release of greenhouse gases.

When hydrocarbons are burned, they are oxidized, and the release of energy provides the fuel which society depends on for its day-to-day operation, whether it is fueling manufacturing processes or public transportation, heating homes and offices, or powering Internet servers.

Illustration of how CO2 is causing Greenhouse EffectGlobal Warming Issues

The key issues revolving around ‘global warming’ or ‘climate change’ have a lot to do historically with what happened when and where and what the causes were. Are they mostly natural, or is there a significant impact from man-made sources? And what can society and governments of the world do to change the situation? Scientists cannot agree on answers to these issues, and there are many of them on both sides of the controversy.

Temperature cycles, natural disasters, and changes in the earth composition have all contributed to the state of the earth today. The science is far from proven that human-made forces have been more influential than nature in causing the temperature changes which have been the subject of so much analysis and controversy. However, there is general agreement that the industrial revolution was the beginning of man’s influence on the global climate, and that changes in the environment have been affected by man’s increasing use of fossil fuels, which generates greenhouse gases.

Warming the Earth’s Surface

Does warming the surface of the earth cause harm to the planet? Not according to Christopher C. Horner, who states that “We cannot even be sure the Earth’s warming is a bad thing. Plants appreciate warmer temperatures (as well as higher CO2 concentrations).” (The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism, p.66).

In many countries of the world Increasing CO2 emissions have been increasing crop yields and, according to Lawrence Solomon, writing in the Financial Post, “Since humans began adding CO2 to the planet’s atmosphere, taking plants off their starvation rations by creating a planet-wide greenhouse, plants have thrived.”

Data from NASA satellites, which began tracking the earth’s biota in the early 1980s, show that as CO2 emissions grew, so did plants, and the earth is much greener than it was when the data began to be collected although the growth in greenery varies from country to country.

As it stands, there are pros and cons to the increase in greenhouse gases which has occurred over the last century or more, and scientists and politicians will continue to wrestle with solutions.

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