Environmental Aspects of Fossil Fuel Use
Pollution: Almost all fossil fuel use is by burning (or "combustion"). Burning
produces waste products due to impurities in the fuel, especially
particulates and various gases such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen
oxides, and volatile organic compounds. These waste products may
affect our environment or people, in harmful ways. We have gone
to great lengths to minimize the adverse effects of fossil fuel
combustion, and continue to make progress.
Then too, there are serious disagreements over whether some effects
of fossil fuel use are harmful at all. In some cases the amount
of waste is so small that the effect, if any, is difficult to
detect. Mercury from coal burning is an example.
Climate change: At the other extreme, all burning produces carbon dioxide and
water vapor as byproducts. This is because carbon is part of what
makes fossil fuel useful. But whether these byproducts are harmful,
or beneficial, is a matter of intense public debate. Some argue
that they are beneficial, because water and carbon dioxide are
necessary for plant life on earth, which is the basis for all
life. Some people believe, however, that our carbon dioxide emissions
contribute to harmful global warming and climate change, either
now or in the future. Those who fear climate change have proposed
new government policies to drastically reduce the use of fossil
fuels. Those who do not fear climate change are skeptical of these
proposed policies. There is also great debate about the science
of climate change.
Trade Associations and Public Interest Groups:
Air and Waste Management Association represents many pollution research and engineering professionals.
Has many regional sections, such as the Pacific Northwest International Section and the Midwest Section.
American Farm Bureau is concerned about the impact of climate change policy on the
use of fuel to produce fertilizer and conduct farming.
American Meteorological Society publishes important journals regarding weather and climate change.
Most weather forecasters and climatologists are members.
Association of Environmental Engineering Professors includes many university contacts.
Canadian Environment Industry Association - national federation of nine provincial environment industry
associations from across the country.
Cato Institute is a leading critic of energy and environmental policies, especially
the economic aspects.
Center for Security Policy is concerned about sovranty issues and climate change policy.
Cities for Climate Protection features municipal officials calling for action to prevent climate
Citizens for a Sound Economy is concerned with the economic impact of pollution control and
the global change issue.
Climate Action Network is a global network of hundreds of climate change policy activist
Climatechangedebate.org is a popular listserv that looks at science and policy issues.
Climate Institute says it "works to protect the balance between climate and life
on earth by facilitating dialogue among scientists, policy makerss,
business executives and citizens."
Competetive Enterprise Institute studies the impact of regulation and climate change policy on
our industrial competitiveness.
Consumer Alert is concerned with cost issues of environmental regulation.
Emissions Marketing Association promotes trading in emission allowances.
Environmental Conservation Organization is against big government programs.
Environmental Defense Fund -- general environmental activism, promotes global trading in
carbon dioxide allowances as part of climate change policy.
Environmental Working Group targets coal fired power plants and climate change policy.
European Science and Environment Forum - an independent, non-profit alliance of conservative scientists.
Friends of the Earth has an active climate change policy web site.
Global Climate Coalition represents many industry groups on climate change issues.
Global Climate Change Information Programme is one of many groups providing a link between scientists and
politicians, economists, and the general public.
Globalwarming.org is a leading skeptical web site.
Green-e is a national certification program for "green" electricity.
Greening Earth Society looks at the benefits of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It
also has numerous online studies on climate change policy. A leading
Greenpeace International is a radical international political organization.
Heritage Foundation is a leading conservative critic of environmental policies.
HOTEARTH.net is a climate change activism site.
International Society for Environmental Ethics is a scholarly association.
Junk Science Home Page criticises shaky environmental and global change science.
Lexington Institiute looks at environmental policy from a conservative viewpoint.
Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association - non-profit association providing technical information on emission
Metropolitan Washington Environmental Professionals - promotes contacts among interested persons in the Washington,
DC metropolitan area. Membership includes scientists, lawyers,
activists, regulators, consultants, and others.
National Association for Environmental Management - not-for profit, non-advocacy association of professional environmental
managers dedicated to advancing and promoting sound environmental
National Association of Environmental Professionals - says it is commited to achieving the highest standards of ethics
and competency within the environmental professions.
National Center for Public Policy Research coordinates an environmental policy task force.
National Consumer Coalition has several studies on the cost of proposed climate change policies
National Environmental Trust has both anti-pollution and climate change programs.
National Registry of Environmental Professionals - provides legal and professional recognition of education, training,
Natural Resources Defense Council -- general environmental activism, plus a major program on fossil
fuel power plant emissions.
Nature Conservancy is active globally in land use and climate change issues.
Ozone Action is active in pollution and climate change policy issues.
Pacific Institute is active in climate change and environmental policy research.
Pew Center on Global Climate Change is a leading climate policy advocate with numerous studies online.
Resources for the Future specializes in economic analysis of environmental policy issues.
Risk Assessment & Policy Association has members involved in attempts to quantify environmental risks
due to fossil fuel use.
Skepticism - Global Warming provides links to resources skeptical of climate change doomsday
Science & Environmental Policy Project says it is "a non-profit, non-partisan public policy institute
dedicated to making sound science the basis for environmental
policy decisions." Run by Fred Singer, a leading climate change
Sierra Club has an active climate change program.
Small Business Survival Committee studies the cost impact of environmental regulations.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce has several studies on the cost of proposed climate change policies
World Resources Institute is a major international environmental organization.
World Wildlife Fund - Climate Change Campaign - focusing on issues related to global warming and its possible
impact on wild animals.
Society and Culture:Environment and Nature.
Society and Culture:Environment and Nature:Global Warming.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency and each state government enforce numerous environmental regulations
governing use of fossil fuels.
All new federal regulations are first proposed for public comment,
then published in final form, in the Federal Register. Here is link to today's Federal Register.
Recently proposed or enacted EPA regulations regarding air quality,
together with supporting studies, can be found at the AIRLinks site.
Most states are members of the Environmental Council of the States.
US Government information:
Agency for International Development's Environment Office is concerned with the environmental aspects of foreign aid programs,
many of which involve fossil fuel use.
Department of Agriculture has a USDA Global Change Program Office that is especially interested in the impact of climate change
on plant growth. Soil storage of carbon is studied at the National Soil Survey Laboratory.
Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center is run by Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Department of Energy conducts extensive research on reducing the adverse environmental
effects of fossil fuel combustion.
--Atmospheric Chemistry Program (ACP) - provides DOE with advanced information on the atmospheric environment
that is required for long-range energy planning.
--Environmental Sciences Division - supports basic research in two general program areas: environmental
processes/global change and environmental remediation.
--DOE's Energy Information Administration has statistics and reports. See especially the Environmental information menu at EIA.
-- DOE also funds the National Institute for Global Environmental Change which is operated by the University of California.
--DOE's Office of Biological and Environmental Programs has a
Global Change Education Program and funds students.
DOE's Office of Fossil Energy has many pollution and climate change related programs. In particularly
they are doing research into carbon storage or "sequestration" as well as clean coal technology.
Environmental Protection Agency Global Warming Site has many links and reports, including state-by-state and sectorial
NASA Global Change Directory is the focal point for government climate change information.
NASA gets about $600 million a year in climate change research
money. Much of it goes into satellites, see especially the EOS Project Science Office.
National Science Foundation is the primary funder of basic research.
--NSF's global change research programs support research and related activities that advance fundamental
understanding of dynamic physical, biological, and socioeconomic
systems as well as interactions among those systems.
--National Center for Atmospheric Research is NSF funded and active in climate change research, especially
in its Global Change Division.
National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) conducts extensive research and data collection on weather and
--NOAA's National Climate Data Center (NCDC) is the world's largest active archive of weather data. NCDC produces
numerous climate publications and responds to data requests from
all over the world. There is also a Climate Prediction Center and an extensive NOAA Climate and Global Change Program.
--NOAA includes the National Weather Service.
--NOAA Paleoclimatology Program - scientific data and information related to climate system variability
and predictability. Paleoclimatology is the study of the patterns
of ancient weather.
President's Council on Sustainable Development is concerned with many fossil fuel issues.
US Global Change Research Program spends over $1.8 billion per year on scientific research into
the possible causes of climate change, including:
--Global Change Data and Information System (GCDIS).
--USGCRP's National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of
Climate Variability and Change is looking at regional impacts and coping strategies for the
Journals and Newsletters:
American Geophysical Union: Contents and Abstracts of Recent AGU Journals and books. Principle
source of climate change research results. Many thousands of pages
American Meteorological Society publishes important journals regarding weather and climate change.
Bureau of National Affairs publishes several newsletters.
Climate Change Bibliography from Pacific Institute lists over 1300 articles.
Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association -- technical studies on pollution.
Global Change is a climate change policy newsletter.
Linkages says it is "A Multimedia Resource for Environment & Development
Policy Makers". It provides free online reports of treaty negotiations.
McIlvane Company publishes pollution equipment market reports and newsletters.
National Geographic Online - has photos, maps, globes, and magazines related to the environment
and the climate.
Regulation Magazine from CATO often features enironmental issues related to fossil fuel use.
Science On-line has contents and abstracts for the weekly magazine Science.
Washington Pest includes satirical climate change humor, and the Gore-Unabomber
Weathervane - an electronic forum on global climate policy from RFF.
World Climate Report provides a biweekly update on climate change issues and data
from Greening Earth Society.
American Council for Capital Formation has numerous economic analyses of environmental and climate change
Canada Country Study assesses potential climate change impacts on Canada.
Center for International Earth Science Information Network has extensive resources.
Climate Variability and Predictability Program is an international research effort.CLIVAR is an interdisciplinary
effort within the World Climate Research Program (WCRP) focusing on the variability and predictability of the
slowly varying components of the climate system.
Commission for Environmental Cooperation - combined effort of Mexico, Canada and the US working together
to protect the environment.
Earth Report 2000 is a compendium of environmental policy related facts from CEI.
Energy and Environment Research Center at the University of North Dakota specializes in research on
possible toxic chemicals from fossil fuels, especially mercury.
Global Change Course at Iowa State University has many online slides.
Global Environmental Assessment Project is an international, university-based project to look at the
role of large-scale assessment in policy formation.
Hadley Centre in Great Britain is a leading climate modeling group, running
the 5th fastest computer in the world to support its model.
Idso Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change is concerned with the beneficial use of carbon dioxide by plants.
It also provides plain language digests of many climate change
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - numerous technical papers and working group information from
the United Nations Environment Program.
--IPCC Data Distribution Centre has global climate data as well as climate modeling results.
--IPCC/OECD/IEA Programme for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories is a combined international effort.
Laboratory for Paleoclimatology and Climatology - involved in the analysis and modeling of climate changes and
their impacts on ecosystems.
Oakley Environmental Research is an Australian not-for-profit organisation which conducts research
into environmental journalism, policy and debate.
Ohio State University does leading research on soil storage of cabon.
PACE Global Warming Resource Center supports the theory of global warming.
Paleoclimates from Arctic Lakes and Estuaries (PALE) - major goals are to reconstruct Arctic climate variations over
the past 150,000, 20,000, and 2000 years and to understand the
interactions of these variations with the global climate system.
Paleoclimatology and Climate System Dynamics - an introduction to the field, and how it relates to global
Still Waiting For Greenhouse is a leading climate change skeptic site from Tasmania.
Student Pugwash USA - says it "encourages young people to examine the ethical, social,
and global implications of science and technology."
UK Climate Impacts Program is an assessment of adaptation strategies for Britain.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is leading a global effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
United Nations' offices dealing with environmental issues include
the Program for the Environment and
Web Directory - Paleoclimatology and Paleoceanography has many links on reconstructing past climate using fossils and
World Bank Environment Department assesses the environmental impact of proposed Bank projects in
lesser developed countries.World Bank environmental lending is
coordinated by the Global Environmental Facility.
WorldWatcher Project has a climate change model online that students can use.
A few sample firms:
(Environmental services and products related to fossil fuel use
is a vast industry. See the many Trade Associations listed above
for member companies.)
Air Monitor designs air pollution monitoring equipment.
Air Science Consultants does environmental consulting for power plants.
Battelle Memorial Institute does environmental research.
Bechtel does both environmental engineering and construction.
CH2M Hill -- environmental engineering.
Environmental Financial Products develops emission trading markets.
Environmental Systems does environmental consulting for power plants.
Flour Daniel -- environmental engineering and construction.
Foster Wheeler -- environmental engineering and construction.
PACE Environmental Products makes emission monitors and also does consulting.
Trigen Energy is a leading developer of low emission fossil fuel power and
Trinity Consultants provides air quality modeling software and services.
Woodward Clyde -- environmental engineering.