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carbon footprint and air quality

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Sarah Ahn

on 18 January 2013

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Transcript of carbon footprint and air quality

Theory and History of Carbon Footprint Air Quality and Carbon Footprint General Information The FIVE distinct regions of the atmosphere:
(Based on temperature changes)
1. Troposphere
2. Stratosphere
3. Mesosphere
4. Thermosphere
5. Exosphere Homosphere (Troposphere to Mesosphere)
Heterosphere (Thermosphere and Exosphere) The TWO regions
of the atmosphere:
(based on composition) Pressure
in the Atmosphere Boyle’s law
Gases are compressible
Pressure in the atmosphere decreases as altitude decreases
Majority (99%) of atmosphere’s mass is within 30km of Earth’s surface Furthermore... What is carbon footprint? The total amount of greenhouse gases produced to indirectly and directly support human activities
Most often expressed in kilograms or tons of CO2
The sum of all CO2 emissions induced by the daily activities of humans in a given time frame (usually a year) Examples... 1. Traveling by public transportation (train or bus) a distance of 10 to 12 km (6.5 to 7 miles)
2. Driving a car a distance of 6 km or 3.75 miles (assuming 7.3 litres petrol per 100 km or 39 mpg)
3. Production of 1/3 of an American cheeseburger (1 cheeseburger = 3.1 kg of CO2!) The Carbon Footprint Theory States that the main cause of global warming/global rise in temperature is the rise in CO2 CO2 CO2 1. Earth re-emits infrared radiation absorbed from the sun’s radiation
2. It is then absorbed by greenhouse gases and radiated in all directions, eventually escaping to outer space Human contributions to the Greenhouse Effect through premature release of greenhouse gases (anthropogenic = resulting from a human influence)
There are also natural and geographical (more on that later...) Flaws in the Carbon Footprint Theory! The Flight-related (Aviation)
Carbon Footprint Aviation is one of the fastest-growing sources of carbon emissions
4~9% of carbon emissions
Since 1990, 83% of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere increased through international aviation
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Calculating Carbon Footprint Carbon footprint can be calculated for your house, air travel, car/motorbike usage, bus and rail transportation, and more
There are businesses that exist to provide carbon footprint calculation services for companies/organizations of any size, such as Carbon Footprint Ltd.
Carbon footprint calculator website: http://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx Theory and History of Air Quality Major air pollutants and contaminants 1. Particulate Matter
2. Nitrogen Oxides
3. Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)
4. Carbon Monoxide (CO)
5. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
These are known as criteria air contaminants Anthropogenic factors affecting air quality 1. Burning fossil fuels (i.e. heating, transportation...) - CO2
2. Deforestation - CO2
3. Farming - Methane
4. Industrial processes - Nitrous oxides
5. Livestock waste (carcasses, feces, urine) - Nitrous oxides
6. Nitrogen fertilizers - Nitrous oxides Natural factors affecting air quality 1. Volcanic activity - CO2
2. Natural forest fires (or the burning of organic matter) - CO2
3. Cellular respiration - CO2
4. Decomposition of plants in swamps - methane
5. Animal digestion - methane
6. Production by bacteria - nitrous oxides Geographical factors affecting air quality Interaction between air pollutants, topography, weather, etc. often determines regional air quality

i.e. Windy and wet weather disperses air pollutants; therefore air quality is cleaner
i.e. Calm and still weather (especially in closed-space areas) allows air pollutant concentrations to build up, thus worsening air quality. Regulation of Air Quality
in Canada Canada began monitoring air quality since 1974
Air quality has improved greatly since the 1970s (i.e. Concentrations of CO, NO2 and SO2 have greatly decreased across Canada)
Statistical analysis shows a decrease of the two air pollutants of most concern to human health [1999] Canadian Environmental Protection Act An act respecting, allowing and contributing to a sustainable development of Canadians through pollution prevention
Acknowledges the need to control and manage the most persistent and toxic pollutants and wastes if their release into the environment is unpreventable
Will continue to establish environmental standards and guidelines [April 1, 1999] Ontario’s Drive Clean Program initiated Purpose: To improve air quality of the province of Ontario by reducing one of the main sources of air pollution, motor vehicle emissions.

* How the program works:... Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) Rating and advisory scale developed by the Canadian federal government (with consultation from provincial/territorial governments)
Helps Canadians understand and respond/choose appropriate actions to the possible effects of air quality on any given day Effects on Human Health:
People most at-risk: Children, seniors, and sick people
Poor air quality can induce health problems like the following:
Short-term effects: irritation of the eyes,bronchitis, allergic reactions; can aggravate already existing health problems, such as asthma
Long-term effects: lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, brain damage, nerve damage Effects on the Environment Poor air quality is harmful to the environment
Acid Rain
Impacts aquatic life; if pH drops below 4.8, it becomes a serious threat (i.e. can kill fish) Air Cleaning Filters Carbon Monoxide Detectors As Carbon Monoxide is odourless and colourless, it is a deadly gas that can kill you without you being able to detect it
Between 2000 and 2007, an estimated 414 Canadians died from CO poisoning
Bill 20 (aka. the Hawkins Gignac Act) an “Act to amend the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997, to require carbon monoxide detectors in certain residential buildings”*
Currently status: Ordered for Third Reading
Essentially, if this is passed, carbon monoxide detectors will be required in all buildings that have suites designed for residential occupancy, a fuel-burning appliance, and/or a storage garage. Demonstration ! THANK YOU FOR LISTENING TO OUR PRESENTATION! Atmosphere absorbs ultraviolet solar radiation; exposure to ultraviolet causes long term skin damage and cancer
Layers of gases sustain life on Earth through heat retention and greenhouse effect, which reduces the temperature of night and day Greenhouse Gases: Gases (i.e. carbon dioxide) that absorb infrared radiation and thus contribute to the greenhouse effect
The main man-made greenhouse gases are: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases Greenhouse Effect Anthropogenic Greenhouse Effect In reality, it is impossible to perfectly measure one’s carbon footprint, much less the world’s carbon footprint, it is only an estimate (too many variables)
CO2 is NOT actually the most effective or powerful greenhouse gas
CO2 = 0.04% of the homosphere; causes 25% of the natural greenhouse effect
Water vapour = 4% of Earth’s atmosphere; causes 67% of the natural greenhouse effect
Methane = 0.0002% of Earth’s atmosphere; 23 times more powerful than CO2 as a greenhouse gas
Nitrous Oxides = 0.00003% of Earth’s atmosphere; 300 times more effective than CO2 as a greenhouse gas
Other greenhouse gases include ozone and CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) The rise in CO2 contributes to the... Canada enforces strict policies for its air quality objectives:
Industrial operations may not release substances into the air without obtaining approval from provincial governments
The provincial approval process imposes restrictions on emissions sources to ensure local pollution levels do not exceed ambient air-quality objectives
Emissions from diffuse and mobile sources, such as motor vehicles, are controlled through standards and regulations imposed by all levels of government. Actions Taken to Improve Air Quality Vehicles must have an emissions test to determine any emissions problems/repairs needed.
Once passed, the vehicle license can then be renewed and/or the ownership can be transferred.

Possible emissions problems: smoke being released from the tailpipe, missing catalytic converter, etc.
An estimated 2.48 million tonnes of CO, 256 000 tonnes of CO2, 266 000 tonnes of hydrocarbons and NOx (nitrogen oxides) were reduced between 1999 and 2008 Harms forests/vegetation as it can cause trees to lose leaves, damages their bark and stunts their growth. Air pollutants exist both indoors and outdoors
The abundance of air pollutants can be 2 to 5 times higher indoors than outdoors; In fact, indoor air quality is one of the top five environmental risks to public health
Confined airspace; pollutants will just keep circulating
Thus, an air cleaning filter is used to reduce the amount of particulate matter that reaches the air one breathes in by attracting and catching them as the air passes through the filter on its cycle through one’s home Some applications: Some Applications What are some examples of activities that add to your total personal carbon footprint? Background Information Air cleaning filters must be replaced/cleaned after a certain time (depends on the type of filter; i.e. fiberglass, washable, pleated 3-month, or micro allergen reduction filters) in order to remain effective and to avoid restricting proper airflow
The following activities/conditions will substantially contribute particulate matter to the air:keeping (furry) pets
smoking tobacco
construction work (i.e. sanding)
using a fireplace/wood-burning stove
burning candles
having unclean ducts Air Cleaning Filters MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) is the standard rating method used in the industry by most manufacturers, which rates a filter's ability to capture medium to large particles between 1 and 10 microns
The company 3M, uses their own scale, MPR (Micro Particle Performance Rating)
MPR rates a filter's ability to capture submicron particles between 0.3 and 1.0 micron
This particular filter made by 3M received a MPR of 1000
Since 99% of particles in the atmosphere are smaller than 1 micron, this filter is far more effective than other filters Filter Ratings As air passes through the filter, the fibres that constitute the filter capture large airborne allergens, while the electrostatically charged fibres are what camptures microscopic airborne particles Science behind
the Filter What are greenhouse gases?
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