Explain the sources of PM, ozone, NOx, and CO2 emissions.

Environmental Issues


Number Of Pages:
1     Single-spaced (450 words)


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Type of Document:
Admission Services-Admission Essay


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Synthesis Exercise: Writing to a Policy Maker Now we’ll try to synthesize the information from this section of the course. Your job is to write a very brief essay (300-500 words, just a few paragraphs) to an imaginary policy maker in a country just starting to institute environmental regulations for air pollution and CO2 emissions. The energy system for this imaginary country relies mostly on coal, natural gas, and oil, with a small amount of hydroelectricity and solar power. Most of their major cities have a PM2.5 of 15 to 30 ug per cubic meter. There is some use of indoor cooking fires in rural areas. You will try to give them some guidance on the impacts of their pollutants and greenhouse gases, roughly how much money might be spent to mitigate each, and possible unintended consequences of regulation. Later in the course when we’ve covered more material you’ll repeat a similar version of this exercise where you recommend specific solutions (such as particular technologies or social changes). For now, just stick to the environmental impacts themselves, their sources, and the possible costs, benefits, and unintended consequences of mitigation. Make sure to do the following: 1) Explain the sources of PM, ozone, NOx, and CO2 emissions [1 point]. 2) Explain the benefits of reducing these emissions by listing a few of the significant impacts of air pollution today [1 point], and of climate change in 2050 and 2100 under Business As Usual scenarios [1 point]. Contrast the impacts of air pollution and climate change when appropriate (based on the time scale of effects, geographical area affected, etc) [2 points]. 3) Briefly describe a way that policies could help reduce both CO2 emissions and air pollution at the same time, and a way that they could reduce one while exacerbating the other [2 points]. 4) Note a few unintended consequences of policies – for example, impacts on energy prices and land use [2 points]. 5) Finally, recommend approximate levels of spending to mitigate each as a percentage of GDP. This should be partially informed by the facts you’ll describe above, and also by what you personally consider most important. Try to clearly state the values that influence your recommendation. For example, if you highly value economic growth, you might say “I recommend spending X% of GDP because that is most likely to maximize long-run economic growth.” [3 points] Other Guidelines: a) Content matters much more than writing style or formatting. Writing should be clear, but does not need to be elegant. b) Brevity is valued. 300-500 words is not very long. You do not need to dedicate more than a few sentences to each of 1) through 5) above. c) Take some time reflect on numbers 3-5 especially. These kinds of higher-level tasks aid retention and help you build some of the main skills we hope to develop in this course, such as the ability to make recommendations based on clearly stated facts and values, or to note complex interactions-between or unintended-consequences-of policies.


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