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5 February, 12:31

The combustion of wood or coal leads to which of these enviormental issues

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  1. 5 February, 14:08
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    Burning wood or coal leads to contributes to the greenhouse effect, because burning wood and coal releases carbon dioxide.
  2. 5 February, 14:26
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    Over the past quarter century, we have come to realize that there is more to life than material goods and services, that "some of the best things in life are free." The pleasure we derive from breathing fresh air, drinking pure water, and enjoying the beauty that nature has provided is priceless and must not be sacrificed. Moreover, losing them will lead directly or indirectly to incalculable economic losses. We have come to appreciate the importance of our environment.

    Much has been said and written about environmental problems with nuclear power, and they will be discussed at great length in this book. But in this chapter, we consider the wide variety of environmental problems in burning fossil fuels - coal, oil, and gas. They probably exceed those of any other human activity. The ones that have received the most publicity in recent years have been the "greenhouse effect," which is changing the Earth's climate; acid rain, which is destroying forests and killing fish; and air pollution, which is killing tens of thousands of American citizens every year, while making tens of millions ill and degrading our quality of life in other ways. We will discuss each of these in turn, and then summarize some of the other problems that have drawn lesser attention. But first we must begin with some basics.

    Coal, oil, and gas consist largely of carbon and hydrogen. The process that we call "burning" actually is chemical reactions with oxygen in the air. For the most part, the carbon combines with oxygen to form carbon dioxide (CO2), and the hydrogen combines with oxygen to form water vapor (H20). In both of these chemical reactions a substantial amount of energy is released as heat. Since heat is what is needed to instigate these chemical reactions, we have a chain reaction: reactions cause heat, which causes reactions, which cause heat, and so on. Once started the process continues until nearly all of the fuel has gone through the process (i. e., burned), or until something is done to stop it. Of course, the reason for arranging all this is to derive the heat.

    The carbon dioxide that is released is the cause of the greenhouse effect we will be discussing. A large coal-burning plant annually burns 3 million tons of coal to produce 11 million tons of carbon dioxide. The water vapor release presents no problems, since the amount in the atmosphere is determined by evaporation from the oceans - if more is produced by burning, that much less will be evaporated from the seas.
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