Fossil Fuel Combustion: Air Pollution and Global Warming

Authored by: Dan Golomb

Managing Air Quality and Energy Systems

Print publication date:  July  2020
Online publication date:  July  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138342675
eBook ISBN: 9781003043461
Adobe ISBN:


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Currently, fossil fuels supply about 86% of the global primary energy consumption for transportation, industrial, commercial and residential uses. Due to the combustion of fossil fuels, copious quantities of pollutants are emitted into the air, which impact the local, regional and global air quality. Regulatory agencies in most developed countries prescribe ambient standards (concentrations) for air pollutants at a level above which the pollutants could have an adverse impact on human health and the ecology. These agencies also prescribe emission standards for various industrial categories and for automobiles at a level that is considered safe for human health and the environment. The relationship between emissions and ambient concentrations is formulated by atmospheric models that take into account emission rates from various sources, transport by winds, dispersion by turbulence, and the removal processes of the pollutants by wet and dry deposition. It is technologically possible to significantly reduce the emissions of most pollutants by employing various pollution abatement technologies. The reduction of emissions of carbon dioxide, the major contributor to global warming, poses technological, economic, societal and political challenges of enormous magnitude.

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