The Nuclear Energy Option: An Alternative for the 90's

By Bernard L. Cohen | Go to book overview

Chapter 3

/ ENVIRONMENTAL
PROBLEMS WITH
COAL, OIL, AND GAS

Over the past quarter century, we have come to realize that there is more to life than material goods and services, that "some of the best things in life are free." The pleasure we derive from breathing fresh air, drinking pure water, and enjoying the beauty that nature has provided is priceless and must not be sacrificed. Moreover, losing them will lead directly or indirectly to incalculable economic losses. We have come to appreciate the importance of our environment.

Much has been said and written about environmental problems with nuclear power, and they will be discussed at great length in this book. But in this chapter, we consider the wide variety of environmental problems in burning fossil fuels—coal, oil, and gas. They probably exceed those of any other human activity. The ones that have received the most publicity in recent years have been the "greenhouse effect," which is changing the Earth's climate; acid rain, which is destroying forests and killing fish; and air pollution, which is killing tens of thousands of American citizens every

-19-

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