Environmental Law Essays Example
• Choose 1 U.S. environmental law. State the name of the law and the date the law was passed.
The Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005 is the environmental law of U.S, to control the impact on the environment due to human activities.
The E P Act of 2005 was signed into a law by the President of U.S. on August 8, 2005. (Energy Policy Act of 2005, n.d.)• Summarize the major provisions of the law that you chose.
The provisions of EPAct of 2005, emphasizes the use of alternative fuels, alternative fuel vehicles (AFV), to improve the air quality, fuel efficiency etc. Some of the major provisions of the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005 are:
Section 203 of the act states that renewable energy will contribute the federal electricity consumption 3% from fiscal years 2007 to 2009, 5% in fiscal years 2010 to 2012, and 7.5% in 2013 and thereafter. (Energy Policy Act of 2005., 2005).
Section 702, requires the U.S. general Services Administration and other federal agencies that procure vehicles for fleets to allocate incremental cost of AFV across the other vehicles.
Under section 706, the Department of Energy (DOE) is required to conduct a research program to commercialize the hybrid flexible fuel vehicles and improve their fuel efficiency.
Under section 711, DOE is required to speed up the efforts to improve technologies used in batteries and other rechargeable energy storage system used in the hybrid vehicles.
Section 1341, provides tax credit for purchase of AFV. The section provides a base tax credit of $8000 for purchase of light duty fuel cell vehicle, and provides a fuel economy credit of up to $2400 for light duty hybrid electric vehicles and trucks. (Energy Policy Act of 2005., 2014)
Under section 1501, gasoline sold by the refiners, blenders and exporters must contain renewable fuels (such as ethanol) in an increasing amount.
• Describe the economic impact of the law. Provide specific economic data from credible references.
In addition to promoting alternative and renewable energy, the other perspective of EPAct of 2005 is to reduce the dependence of fossil fuels, and its import, increase domestic energy production, and encourages the expansion of nuclear energy. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program under the EPAct of 2005 has set a minimum blending percentage for the renewable fuels with the gasoline sold by the refiners, importers, blenders. The RFS program is expected to reduce the import of oil by 2 billion barrels. According to the Renewable Energy Association the ethanol industry can easily comply with the fuel standards required by the RFS, and ethanol is a low cost source of renewable fuel in U.S. produced mainly from corn.
So, in spite of reducing the oil import cost, the EPAct of 2005 has encouraged a rapid rise in ethanol production, which gave an economic boost for U.S. agriculture. The ethanol industry is building new bio-refineries and expanding their existing bio-refineries to boost ethanol production. In 2007 ethanol production increased 34% than in 2006. In 2007, ethanol industry created 240000 new jobs, and added $47.6 billion to the national GDP. (Ethanol., n.d.). As a result of EP Act 2005, new E₈₅ (Ethanol 85%, Gasoline 15%) pumps were installed nationwide for flexi fuel vehicles.
• Has the law improved the environment or situation? Provide specific data from credible references.
Renewable fuels are clean source of energy. By 2012, the RFS program estimated to cut GHG emission by up to 13.1 million metric tons, which is equivalent of removing 2.3 million cars from the road. Ethanol is the most widely used bio-fuel in the world. In 2007, DOE study found that GHG emission from corn based ethanol is 18 to 28% less than gasoline.
As a result of less emission of GHG, the impact of global warming will not worsen the environment further.
• Do you think that sound science has proven that global warming is a credible threat or not? Earth`s atmospheric temperature is balanced by the absorption and release of solar energy by the atmosphere. When the solar energy enters the earth`s surface, some of the energy is absorbed by earth, and the remaining portion is reflected back into the space. There are some green-house gases (GHG) present in the earth`s atmosphere like carbon dioxide (CO₂), water vapour (H₂O), etc., these GHG absorb and retain the solar heat within the earth`s atmosphere, and heat up the surface of earth like a greenhouse. Carbon dioxide is the main heat trapping GHG in the atmosphere that is responsible for major global warming. As the GHG emission increases in the atmosphere, it increases the surface temperature of the earth. There is strong scientific evidence that significant global warming is occurring, and the main influencing factor for global warming is increase in emission of CO₂.
Since 1800, the CO₂ accumulation in the environment has increased from 278 parts per million (ppm) to 398 ppm in recent years, and as a result, the average global surface air temperature has increased by 1.5°F (0.85°C). (Herring, D. ,2014)
Science has proved that global warming is a credible threat for the entire ecosystem on earth. According to the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, many existing diseases and conditions will get worse as a result of climate change, and affect the vulnerable people like the elderly, poor, and children with increased risk due to the climate related health effects. In 2012 U.S. experienced an extreme weather, and it was the warmest year on record. As a result of the extreme weather the heat stress affected the productivity of livestock, crop, as well as it did impact on the quality of life and economy.
The warmer weather holds more water vapour in the atmosphere; consequently the wet regions will get wetter and dry regions will get dryer weather. The problems associated with flood are likely to be amplified in most wet regions as a result of climate change. In the east and north-eastern U.S. increase in heavy shower has resulted in flash flooding, loss of lives, property damage.
The ocean absorbs the excess carbon dioxide emitted in the environment. So, as a result of excess emission of CO₂ the sea water will also become acidic.
• Should the United States adopt additional policies or laws to curb greenhouse gas emissions?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already adopted several additional policies and programs in order to curb the greenhouse gas emission. ◦ What should these policies or laws regulate or encourage?
The additional policies and programs will regulate the GHG emissions as well as EPA will advance the study of climate change through research programs and encourage different activities to reduce GHG.
Under the Carbon pollution standards, carbon emission from power plants will be reduced nationwide by 30% below 2005 level.
Under the voluntary energy and climate program, emission of GHG over 345 million metric tons was reduced in 2010, which is equivalent to GHG emission from 81 million vehicles.
Under the vehicle greenhouse gas rules, EPA has estimated to reduce the emission of six billion metric tons of GHG by 2025. (What EPA is doing about Climate Change., 2014)
Energy Policy Act of 2005. (2005, August 8). Retrieved February 4, 2015, from http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2013/10/f3/epact_2005.pdf.
Energy Policy Act of 2005 (H.R. 6). (n.d.). Retrieved February 4, 2015, from http://seco.cpa.state.tx.us/energy-sources/biomass/epact2005.php.
Energy Policy Act of 2005. (2014, April 6). Retrieved February 4, 2015, from http://www.afdc.energy.gov/laws/epact_2005.
Ethanol. (n.d.). Retrieved February 5, 2015, from http://seco.cpa.state.tx.us/energy-sources/biomass/ethanol.php.
Herring, D. (2014, January 23). Global Warming Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved February 5, 2015, from http://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/global-warming-frequently-asked-questions#hide7.
What EPA is doing about Climate Change. (2014, February 8). Retrieved February 5, 2015, from http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/EPAactivities.html.