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What GAO FoundIt is uncertain how power companies may respond to four key Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, but available information suggests companies may retrofit most coal-fueled generating units with controls to reduce pollution, and that 2 to 12 percent of coal-fueled capacity...
Tall smokestacks--stacks of 500 feet or higher, which are primarily used at coal power plants--release air pollutants such as sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) high into the atmosphere to help limit the impact of these emissions on local air quality.
Carbon offsets--reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from an activity in one place to compensate for emissions elsewhere--are a way to address climate change by paying someone else to reduce emissions.
Household energy use accounts for nearly one-fourth of all energy consumed in the United States, amounting to more than $200 billion per year spent by consumers. Recent increases in energy prices have heightened consumers' interest in making their households more energy efficient.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reports on federal funding for climate research and to develop technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, among other things. The Climate Change Science Program (CCSP), which coordinates many agencies' activities, also reports on science funding.
Power plants emit pollutants that have been linked to various negative health effects. In 2003, two new power plants, owned by Sempra Energy and Intergen, began operations 3 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border near Imperial County, California.
In March 2005, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a rule that will limit emissions of mercury--a toxic element that causes neurological problems--from coal-fired power plants, the nation's largest industrial source of mercury emissions.