Example research essay topic: The Dangerous Reality Of The Greenhouse Effect – 1,404 words

Air pollution is a very big problem in the United
States. A large part of air pollution comes from
cars. The Environmental Protection Agency says,
“The most polluting activity an average person
does everyday is drive their car”(1 fact sheet
OMS-5). Most people probably aren’t aware that
they are polluting the environment. Maybe if
everyone knew how serious this pollution problem
is, they would find ways to reduce the pollution.
Most pollution that is released by cars comes from
the exhaust, mainly in the form of hydrocarbons (1
fact sheet, OMS-5). Hydrocarbons are organic
compounds, a combination of two or more elements,
that contain only carbon and hydrogen (2 fact
sheet, OMS-5).

Hydrocarbons are released when fuel
in the engine burns partially. When hydrocarbons
come in contact with sunlight they form ground
level ozone. Ground level ozone is a major
ingredient in the formation of smog. Ground level
ozone is responsible for irritating eyes, damaging
lungs, and it complicating respiratory problems.
Hydrocarbons aren’t the only pollutants released
through car exhaust. Two more pollutants released
through car exhaust are carbon monoxide and
nitrogen oxide. The first reduces the flow of
oxygen to the bloodstream, and could harm people
with heart disease.

Nitrogen oxide is formed when
a car engine gets hot. It contains chemicals that
aid in the formation of ground level ozone as well
as acid rain (2 fact sheet, OMS-5). Acid rain
destroys the outsides of buildings, statues, etc.
Acid rain can also contaminate drinking water,
damage vegetation, and destroy sea life. These two
pollutants are two of the most dangerous
pollutants released through car exhaust. If these
two pollutants were cut down just a little bit our
planet would be a safer place to live. Carbon
dioxide is another gas released through exhaust
emissions.

It isn’t dangerous directly to humans,
but it is considered to be a “green house gas.” A
“greenhouse gas” is a gas that is associated with
global warming. Global warming is the gradual
increase of temperature due to human activity.
Certain gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane,
and ozone allow radiation from the sun to break
through the atmosphere and go to the earth’s
surface. Global warming affects all living things
on the entire planet (4 fact sheet OMS-5). Another
type of hydrocarbon pollutant occurs through fuel
evaporation. These hydrocarbon pollutants are
produced four different ways. The first way is
called diurnal.

This is when the venting of
gasoline vapors occurs due to the temperature of
the car’s engine rising. The second way is running
losses. This is the venting of gasoline when the
car’s engine is running. The third way is called
hot soak. Hot soak occurs when gasoline evaporates
after the car has been turned off. The fourth way
additional hydrocarbons are released occurs when a
person is refueling a car.

This occurs when a
person fills up their gas tank. While the tank is
being filled gasoline vapors are forced out. One
way to cut down on this type of pollution is to
have the car tuned properly. The refueling problem
can be reduced with the use of vapor recovery
system. This system traps the vapor inside the
tank. These systems are present at many gas
stations in highly polluted areas (4 fact sheet,
OMS-5).

Some cities around the world are very
dangerous to live in because of car pollution. One
city is Athens, Greece. In Athens the number of
deaths rises on days with greater air pollution.
Just breathing the air in Bombay is the same as
smoking half a pack of cigarettes a day (97Brown).
Over 150 million people in the United States live
in areas where the Environmental Protection Agency
considers the air to be unhealthy. The American
Lung Association says, “The unhealthy air leads to
120, 000 deaths every year” (97 Brown). The
citizens of earth are killing themselves. They are
killing themselves for convenience.

Even though
the actions taken by the government and car
manufacturers have reduced car emissions a lot
since 1970, the number of miles an average person
travels in a day has doubled (4 fact sheet OMS-4).
The average person must find a way to reduce the
number of miles he or she drives. One way to do
this is to carpool. If a large number of people
started to car pool, pollution produced by cars
would be reduced. This would reduce the amount of
smog in urban areas, making these polluted areas a
better place to live. There are many other
alternatives to reduce car emissions besides
carpooling. One possible solution is to use fuels
cleaner than gasoline.

There are many types of
alternative fuels that could be used, and the
number of fuels increases as technology becomes
more advanced. One type of alternative fuel is
alcohol. One type of alcohol is methanol. Methanol
is made from natural gas and coal. Another type of
alcohol is ethanol. Ethanol is produced from
grains or sugar.

Cars fueled by alcohol could
produce as much as 80 to 90 percent fewer
emissions than cars fueled with gasoline. Both
methanol and ethanol are high-octane liquid fuels.
The reason why these two fuels are possible
alternatives is because they are efficient and
made from natural ingredients, and they pollute
less (4 fact sheet, OMS-4). Another alternative
fuel is electricity. This isn’t a very efficient
fuel right now, because the technology is limited.
Recent advances in the production of electric cars
could make this a reality in the future. It is
possible for cars powered with electricity to
release little or no emissions. If this
alternative fuel becomes a reality and is used in
most cars, it will knock a big chunk out of the
pollution problem all around the world (5 fact
sheet, OMS-5).

Another alternative fuel is natural
gas. Natural gas is only good for cars where
driving long distances isn’t important. It is
possible for natural gas to produce 85 percent to
95 percent less emissions than gasoline-fueled
cars (5 fact sheet, OMS-5). With this alternative
fuel car emissions could be reduced a great deal
to benefit the entire world. Another way to reduce
pollution released by gasoline-powered cars is to
test them for dangerous amounts of pollutants
regularly. Emissions testing programs are already
in effect in California, Arizona, and Colorado.
Texas will have an emissions testing program soon.
The test is very simple.

A car is tested for
hydrocarbons and other ground level ozone forming
chemicals that are released through car exhaust.
If the level of pollutants is high, the car fails
the test. Then the car must be taken to a
mechanic, so the engine can be tuned to release
fewer chemicals into the air. After the car is
taken to a mechanic and repaired, the car is
tested again. This test does cost the car owner
money, but it’s a small price to pay for the
reduction of pollutants released by cars (105
Brown). Researchers are working on a machine that
can test cars for hydrocarbon pollution while the
car is on the road. This system is called the
remote sensing device.

The device is placed on the
side of the road. As a car drives by it measures
the level of hydrocarbon emissions released by the
car. The system can’t measure nitrogen oxide
emissions yet, but researchers are working on
another system to go along with this device. If
the car is releasing a high level of hydrocarbon
emissions a video camera takes a picture of the
car’s license plate, and sends the license plate
number and the emissions data to a computer (1
fact sheet, OMS-15). Then the owner of the car is
notified about the polluting car, and they are
required to have the problem fixed (2 factsheet,
OMS-15). If remote sensing devices are used to
detect hydrocarbon emissions, polluting cars can
be recognized sooner than regular testing, done
year by year.

If the remote sensing devices are
used people don’t have to worry about their car
being tested. They just have to get their car
repaired when the device says it’s polluting the
environment. Air pollution caused by cars is a
serious problem that can be reduced by average
everyday people. If the citizens of earth don’t
act fast, and reduce the amount of pollution
caused worldwide, earth will be a horrible place
to live. If something isn’t done soon there might
not be a place to live at all. References: Brown,
Lester R.

The World Watch Reader: On Environmental
Issues. New York: Norton, 1991. 97-105. The
Environmental Protection Agency. Website
www.epa.gov.

Research essay sample on The Dangerous Reality Of The Greenhouse Effect