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Gas Engines Improve Air Quality and Save the Environment?

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  • GuerrillaVille
    Fodder for debate and chewing on...pun intended. ajc.com Opinion Cars improved the air ... that s no bull By DWIGHT R. LEE Published on: 02/27/07 The motto
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2007
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      Fodder for debate and chewing on...pun intended.

      ajc.com > Opinion
      Cars improved the air ... that's no bull

      By DWIGHT R. LEE
      Published on: 02/27/07

      The motto of all environmentalists should be "Thank goodness for the
      internal combustion engine."

      The abuse heaped on the internal combustion engine by environmentalists
      was never justified. But a recent story on cow flatulence in the British
      newspaper, The Independent, makes the environmental benefits from
      gasoline-powered engines even more obvious. Based on a recent study by
      the Food and Agricultural Organization, The Independent reports that
      "livestock are responsible for 18 percent of the greenhouse gases that
      cause global warming, more than cars, planes and all other forms of
      transport put together."

      Long before global warming became an environmental concern, however, the
      move from the power provided by animals to that provided by gasoline had
      greatly improved the environment. The emissions that came out of the
      tailpipes of horses were much more lethal pollutants that those now
      coming out of the tailpipes of cars. Horse emissions did more than make
      our town and cities stink; they spread fly-borne diseases and polluted
      water supplies that killed people at a far greater rate than the
      pollution from cars and trucks ever have.

      Photochemical smog is clearly a health risk, but not nearly the health
      risk of cholera, diphtheria and tetanus that have been largely
      eliminated with the help of gasoline powered transportation.

      Before the internal combustion engine it wasn't just cows, sheep and
      pigs emitting pollution down on the farm. Tractors and other types of
      gas-powered farm machinery eliminated the horses, mules and oxen that
      had provided most of the power necessary to grow and harvest our food
      and fiber. This not only reduced the problem that still exists from
      animal waste that environmentalists, with justification, still complain
      about. The internal combustion engine also eliminated the need to
      produce food to fuel millions upon millions of agricultural beasts of
      burden. It has been estimated that in 1900 it took about 93 million
      acres of land to grow the food for the farm animals that were replaced
      by current farm machinery. Most of that land has now gone back to
      woodlands, greatly increasing the number of trees that are reducing the
      problem of global warming by absorbing carbon dioxide.

      The above consideration should have been enough to warrant an
      environmental shrine to the internal combustion engine. And now we find
      that by eliminating all those farm-yard animals, the internal combustion
      engine also eliminated vast amounts of methane-producing flatulence,
      which is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than the carbon dioxide
      produce by burning gasoline.

      Even though the internal combustion engine is less polluting than what
      it replaced, it is obviously not pollution-free. Efforts should, and
      will be made to make it even less polluting than it is, and some day
      internal combustion will be replaced by an even less polluting
      technology. But history will look kindly on the internal combustion
      engine as a major contributor to the steady progress toward a healthier
      environment that has been made over the centuries.
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      Posted for fair use purposes only.

      GuerrillaVille--The City of Information Warriors
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