Addressing humaninduced contributions to climate change

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Based on energy consumption data from the Energy Information Agency released June 1, 2007, Oklahoma's total carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion in million metric tons for 2004 were 98.97, made up of contributions by source from: commercial, 2.31; industrial, 19.79; residential, 3.72; transportation, 28.92; and electric power, 44.23. All areas had improved over 2003 estimates. Oklahoma ranks eighth in the nation in terms of its potential to produce wind energy, with the ability to provide 17 times the state's entire annual electricity consumption through well-sited wind farms.

Oklahoma joined the Climate Registry, a voluntary national initiative to track, verify, and report greenhouse gas emissions, with acceptance of data from state agencies, corporations, and educational institutions beginning in January of 2008. A number of private-sector initiatives to reduce carbon pollution have been started in Oklahoma, inspiring the use of renewable and alternative forms of energy. In 2001, the state passed the Oklahoma Carbon Sequestration Enhancement Act, a voluntary program allowing agriculture and industry to join forces in reducing harmful carbon pollution by restoring vegetation that absorbs carbon dioxide in the soil. The principal soil conservation effort is directed toward covering the badly eroded lands with pasture grasses or trees to prevent further soil removal. Contour plowing, strip cropping, terracing, crop rotation, no-till farming, and other soil-conserving measures are also actively encouraged.

Oklahoma lawmakers have shown their reticence to implement climate-change reduction schemes before adequate research is completed. Republican U.S. Senator James Inhofe, representing Oklahoma, is concerned with the implications of creating federal laws with economic impact to address the global warming issue. Inhofe is skeptical of the impact of human action on global warming, and has submitted arctic climate assessments from a variety of scientists for support of current global warming being part of a natural cycle. When Representative Dennis Adkins, Oklahoma's state house energy chairman, testified in Washington, D.C., he indicated federal global warming legislation passed in a hurry could be costly to the economy and the people. He also pointed to advances that Oklahoma and other states are making with renewable energy options and their limitations. He urged federal lawmakers to consider the impact of regulations on the economy and the environment.

sEE ALsO: Carbon Sequestration; Drought; University of Oklahoma.

BIBLIOGRApHY. Environmental Protection Agency, www. epa.gov (cited November 2007); Oklahoma House of Representatives, www.okhouse.gov (cited November 2007).

Lyn Michaud Independent Scholar

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Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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