So, while your text does introduce the concept of carbon neutral it did not mention carbon offsets, which have become a hot ticket in “climate change mitigation.” There are many companies out there now marketing carbon offsets to reduce your “carbon footprint.” Terrapass is a popular one. You can offset one year’s worth of air travel (an estimated 8,000 pounds of carbon emitted) for just $50.60 as of 5/5/2011. Your money goes to support wind farms and methane capture projects-that’s how the carbon is “offset.” Some companies will even plant trees to offset carbon produced by your lifestyle.
So, does this approach really mitigate global climate change or just encourage more “bad behavior” (burning of fossil fuels)? Watch this clever parody of carbon offsetting by a couple of Brits:
Since it is so close to the AP exam and all of you have fulfilled your scribe post obligations, I won’t start the list over. So, here is a collection of links from past classes on major air pollution issues and global climate change for those that missed class. While written a year or two ago, all the info is still correct and relevant:
After testing a handful of vehicles in each class, we tried to analyze the class data for trends. It has become harder and harder to do as vehicle emissions have become so much “cleaner” over the last decade (yes, I said it). If we had the time, this is the data I would love to gather:
Relationship between CO2, CO, HC (Click to enlarge)
One reason vehicles emissions have improved so greatly in the USA, is catalytic converter technology. Catalytic converters speed reactions to reduce the amount of NOx, CO, and HC coming out of an automobile. Check out how catalytic converters work at howstuffworks.com.
Catalytic converters are pollution solutions!
Why does all this matter? Well, NOx have a key role in the formation of ground-level (tropospheric) ozone and photochemical smog. Reduce NOx (and CO and HC), and you reduce ground-level ozone and photochemical smog. You need to be familiar with both types of smog (below) on the AP exam.