Call to Action

Why Industry Must Curb Emissions:
China, the United States, and the European Union are responsible for the majority of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. In 2006, China emitted 6,017.7 million tonnes (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2009), the United States emitted 5,906.7 million tonnes 5, and the EU-25*, 3,906.6 million tonnes. In 2007 they emitted a combined 57% of global yearly CO2 emissions. Therefore, any reduction in emissions should first target these three regions. Although road transportation provides a significant portion of these emissions, it is one of the easiest to reduce.
The Chinese government is actively seeking new ways to decrease China's dependence on oil. It is using a system of tax cuts and raises in an attempt to lower the CO2 cars emit. The tax is 1% for cars with engines that are 1.6 liters or less. Vehicles with larger engines are taxed up to 40 percent (Bradsher, 2009). This gives auto companies an incentive to design more efficient vehicles. Even though the Chinese government is more stringent with emissions control than the U.S., however, some are still worried that the country will see a dangerous rise in CO2 emissions.
The European Union:
According to a 2004 study done by the European Commission and the IPCC based on the EU-25, 12% of European Union CO2 emissions could be attributed to passenger cars. This percentage is growing, just as with China and the United States. Europeans are more likely to retain older cars, which will release more CO2 into the atmosphere than newer, more environmentally-conscious models.
*The EU-25 refers to the size of the European Union from 2004 to 2007, which then consisted of 25 member states (Zhang, 2006; Europa-Gateway to the European Union, n.d.).
The United States:
In 2007, the transportation sector was responsible for about 33.5% of that year's total emissions. Unfortunately, the U.S. government has not imposed strict measures to reduce its emissions. American dependence on foreign oil is one of the main reasons for the lack of progress. Currently, the U.S. is falling behind countries like Japan and the European Union which are actively setting and pursuing reductions goals.
Recently, the global recession has brought U.S. car sales to an all-time low. Yet the transport sector still remains a major component of U.S. emissions.
Effective Methods for Lowering Emissions:
Carbon Taxes:
Cars that emit a certain amount of CO2 considered harmful for the environment should be taxed. This will give auto companies an incentive to develop eco-friendly cars and it will encourage people to purchase these models if they will be cheaper for them to own (Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, 2008).  In a similar fashion to some European countries' policies, every gram of carbon an engine holds should be taxed the same amount (Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, 2008).
Redesigning Catalytic Converters: (Short-Term Solution)
A catalytic converter is in the exhaust of a vehicle and it changes exhaust gases into more environmentally-friendly compounds (Japan Automobile Manufacturers' Association Inc., 2008). The reduction catalysts , made of palladium and rhodium metal, converts nitrogen oxides (NOx) to oxygen (O2) and nitrogen (N2) molecules (MacLeod, 2009; Mongabay, 2008). Then the oxidation catalysts, made of platinum and palladium metal, convert hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and O2 to CO2 and water (Mongabay, 2008). A good short-term solution would be to develop new converter models that captures CO2 before it leaves as exhaust.
Alternative Fuels: (Long-Term Solution)
Only about 20% of the gasoline's thermal energy is harnessed for doing useful work. A new fuel need to be develop that is readily available to the public, and is be able to power the machines that modern civilizations depend on (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2009).
Scientists are currently developing ways to use hydrogen fuel cells to power cars. It is safer than gasoline because it is less flammable. Because of its light weight, hydrogen would quickly disperse if one of the fuel cells ruptured, making it harder for it to be set aflame. Hydrogen is also much cleaner because it produces water vapor and heat is released into the surroundings (Energy Information Administration, 2008).  In a fuel cell, hydrogen is not burned, but it is used to generate electric currents that can be harnessed for doing useful work. The process is very clean because no greenhouse gases like CO2 and NOx are formed (European Automobile Manufacturers' Association, n.d.).
Problems with Using Hydrogen: (National Review, 2003)
A vehicle running on hydrogen fuel cells would have to store about 11-29 lbs (5-13 kg) of the gas to fuel the car for a range of at least 300 miles. Hydrogen also contains less energy per volume than does gasoline. Tank volume required is extremely large. Extensive research on shrinking the necessary storage space is currently underway.
Electric: (Zhang, 2006)
Electric vehicles (EV's) are powered by emission-less batteries that must periodically be recharged.
Problems with Electric: (Zhang, 2006)
The biggest problem is the limited range of electric cars. They cannot travel more than 100 miles between refueling. Sometimes, they are difficult to recharge. Electric Vehicles themselves produce no exhaust, but when the electricity is produced, pollution will be released into the atmosphere.
Bioethanol/Biofuels: (Millennium Development Goals Indicators, n.d.)
Biodiesel fuel, which is synthesized from biomass, is a possible replacement for gasoline. However, biofuels' potential to reduce CO2 emissions is being debated as the process of clearing trees and vegetation will leave an enormous carbon footprint. This is because if trees are cut down, they will not be able to convert CO2 into O2, thus causing a net raise in the CO2 levels of that area. In addition, a strong incentive must be provided to convince farmers to grow trees for biofuel production.
Eco Driving: (Bradsher, 2009)
Congestion wastes fuel and increases the amount of CO2 released per trip. If a car is stuck in a traffic jam, it is still burning fuel. When drivers have no choice but to stop for short periods of time, they can turn off the engine to save fuel. More on this and other eco-driving techniques can be found under Individual Emissions Reduction.
Why the Steel Industry Must Curb Emissions:
The U.S., China, Russia, India, the EU-27, Brazil, Japan, Korea, and Ukraine are responsible for 90% of CO2 emissions from the steel industry. Steel production has risen sharply from 200 million tonnes in the 1950s to 1,239.5 million tonnes in 2006. Based on the average value of 1.7 tonnes CO2 released per tonne of steel produced, we can assume that the steel industry released 2,106 million tonnes of CO2 into the air during the year 2006 (World Steel Association, n.d.).
The primary blast furnace is responsible for ninety percent of worldwide steel industry emissions. It is used for about 65% of all steelmaking. China's overwhelming growth coupled with Chinese steelmakers tendency to use older technology has caused it to become the emitter of 51% of the steel industry's carbon dioxide (Mines and Communities, 2007).
Blast Furnaces:
Blast furnaces convert raw iron ore into molten iron so it can be used later to produce steel. They are lined with special refractory bricks that can withstand very high temperatures. First, raw iron ore is fed into the furnace by a conveyor belt along with coke (Bluescope Steel, n.d.) and limestone (ATSI Engineering, n.d.). Coke is a form of coal that has been baked in an oven in order to carbonize it (Wva-USA, n.d.). Bituminous coal is heated at high temperatures to drive off unwanted compounds until only solid carbon is obtained. This solid carbon is referred to as coke (World Bank Group, 1998). Inside the furnace, carbon monoxide reduces iron oxide into raw iron (Bluescope Steel, n.d.). CO2 is the second product of this reaction (ATSI Engineering, n.d.).
Effective Methods for Lowering Emissions:
Alternate Methods:
An alternate method of steel making is the electric arc furnace method which is responsible for about 10% of global steel industry emissions (Mines and Communities, 2007). Nitric oxides, carbon monoxide, and CO2 are emitted, but this process requires less energy. It does not require as much energy as the blast furnace process because ore is not being smelted.
Potential CO2 Reduction Technologies for the Steel Industry:
1) Steel production via molten oxide electrolysis:
conventional method:
iron oxide  + carbon → iron + CO2
(0.5 ton carbon per 1.8 ton CO2 per steel)
Molten oxide electrolysis method:
iron oxide + electricity → iron + oxygen
(no carbon)                     (no CO2) (Sadoway, n.d.)
2) Using hydrogen as a reducing agent in blast furnaces (Fabricating & Metalworking, 2009)
Project goal: to “development of technologies for the reduction of carbon-dioxide emissions from blast furnaces, and CO2 gas separation and recovery.” (Fabricating & Metalworking, 2009)
Phase 1: part 1(110 million, 2008-2012) & part 2(165 million, 2012-2017)
Method to reduce CO2 emission: “hydrogen gas as a reducing agent in order to bring down the amount of coke employed in smelting iron ore in a blast furnace.” (Fabricating & Metalworking, 2009)
“The smelting process involves a mixture of coke, limestone and iron ore in the form of iron oxide being charged into the furnace." (Fabricating & Metalworking, 2009)
Preheated blast air + coke → CO + heat
CO + FeO → Fe(l) + CO2
Blast furnaces= 70% of CO2 from steel mills (Fabricating & Metalworking, 2009)
Source of Emissions
Total CO2 contribution per year, estimate
Recommendations for Change
Total US Emissions
6010 millions of tonnes (World Carbon Emissions, by country)
Each American individually reducing emissions by 33.3% (EIA, 2009)
Space Heating in Households
910 millions of tonnes (EIA, 2009)
Reduce opportunities for air leaks, maintain proper insulation, use a more efficient heating system (i.e. 56% efficiency to 96% efficiency upgrade) (EIA, 2009)
Electricity used for Lighting
9.92 millions of tonnes (EIA, 2009), (The United States CIA, n.d.)
Replace 10 incandescent bulbs with fluorescent light bulbs (per household), take advantage of daylight and turn off lights when you leave a room (Wilson, 1999)
68 millions of tonnes (EIA, 2009)
Use wash cycles that require less heat, install washers and dryers as close to water heater as possible to minimize heat loss through piping, only run full loads instead of two small loads, avoid overdrying clothes, dry multiple loads in a row to take advantage of the existing heat, and clean dryer filter after each use. (Wilson, 1999) Also, concentrated detergents leave less of a carbon footprint (Dunn, 2009)
16.42 millions of tonnes (United States Department of Energy, 2007), (American FactFinder, n.d.); at least 0.2089 tonnes (assuming 18 loads/month, maximum emissions release) (Dunn, 2009), (Dish-Up Savings, 2008)
Use energy saving cycles, use a no-heat air dry feature if available, don't pre-rinse dishes, wash only full loads, use an energy star dishwasher that consumes 1.5 kWh (Hoak, Parker, & Hermelink, 2008)
Water Heating
85.0 millions of tonnes (Redefining Progress, n.d.), (EIA, 2001)
Cutting down on the amount of hot water you use is the easiest way to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions, but you can also insulate your water heaters to cut down heat loss by 25-40% (Wilson, 1999), and lower the thermostat temperature of your water heater (normally 120 degrees Fahrenheit is sufficient) (, can install a drain water waste recovery system (Department of Energy - Water Heating, n.d.), take shorter showers
Air Conditioning
74.36 millions of tonnes (Redefining Progress, n.d.), (EIA, 2001)
Use ventilation at night and keep house closed tight on hot days, only cool occupied rooms, when using air conditioning, keep all doors and windows closed, use ceiling fans, use effective shading and move your thermostat down 2 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and 2 degrees up in the summer (EIA, 2009)
148.2 millions of tonnes (EIA, 2001), (EIA, 2001)
Switch to high efficiency refrigerator, cover liquids in the refrigerator, allow items to cool to room temperature before placing them in the refrigerator,keep your freezer full, place your refrigerator in a naturally cool location, mark items you put in you refrigerator to locate items faster and do not leave the refrigerator door open
1180 millions of tonnes (Green & Shaffer, 2003)
Use high gears, keep your speed steady, be aware of upcoming traffic flow, turn off engine at short stops, habitually check tire pressure and make adjustments when necessary,avoid traffic jams by referring to on-board computer systems such as GPS to find alternative routes,remove any items that produce unnecessary weight to the car and any unused roof tracks. (ACEA, n.d.)