Thursday, February 28, 2013

Scrubbers & Gas Slash Air Pollutants By 55% To 70% Just Since 2005

Nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides are the two principal air pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act, and the emissions of both have been slashed since 2005.  In fact, sulfur dioxide pollution is down 70%, or from 10 to 3 million tons per year, and nitrogen oxides are down 55% or from 4 to 1.8 million tons.

Why the massive decline in air pollutants?  In the above link, EIA states two reasons explain the huge drop. First, modern pollution controls have been installed on 91,000 megawatts of coal fired power. Second, especially since 2008, cheap natural gas has displaced large amounts of coal.

The air we breathe today is much cleaner than just 5 years ago and is getting cleaner still, thanks significantly to pollution controls and more gas-fired generation.  That's a wonderful fact!


  1. John could you please clarify about sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, are these pollutants only regional or can they travel worldwide like CO2. In other words does China's pollution of Sox and Nox affect us or only regionally in China? Thanks
    Fred K (Pittsburgh)

    1. Nox and Sox levels are regionally variable. They are regulated as they are associated with smog and acid rain to name a couple environmental and public health problems. Co2 concentration in atmospehre is essentially global. Some of the Chinese pollution--mercury, soot--does go around the world to some degree.