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Objective: A short paper (4-6 pages, double spaced) on the causes, consequences, and
possible cures for acid rain.
Description: Acid rain is a serious problem, as outlined in your text book in Chapter 18.
The main causes are the presence of two strong acids, H 2 SO 4 and HNO 3 , in the
atmosphere due to pollution. Start by reading your book and do additional research as
necessary. You should get your information from at least three different sources and
include a reference list at the end of the paper. You will find the internet helpful for
this assignment; include the address of any web sites used in your references. Remember
that using text unchanged from another source without quoting the source is plagiarism
and is considered cheating. Your paper should address all of the following items:
1. What is acid rain? Isn’t normal rainfall acidic? What are the sources of pollution that
lead to acid rain? Briefly describe the chemistry involved.
2. Acid rain causes damage to both living organisms and materials. Discuss some of the
main ways acid rain is damaging. Are all materials affected equally? Are some
organisms more prone to damage than others?
3. Does acid rain occur to the same extent all over the world? Do the regions that have
the most pollution suffer the most damage? What other factors determine the extent
of acid rain in a region?
4. Does the technology exist to prevent (or significantly diminish) future acid rain? If
so, give some examples.
5. Can anything be done to reverse the damage that has already occurred? Can the
environment be “cleaned up”?
6. New York and other northeastern states filed lawsuits against industries in
midwestern states that pollute the atmosphere. What is the basis for these lawsuits?
What impact do you think lawsuits will have on diminishing acid rain?
7. New York State has developed a policy that will require a greater percentage of
power used in New York to come from renewable energy sources, e.g. solar, wind,
etc. How much of the energy consumed currently in New York comes from
renewable sources? What would be the impact of increasing the amount of renewable
energy, as the policy proposes?
8. Locally, National Grid has initiated programs to encourage individuals and businesses
to upgrade to more efficient technology. Describe some of these programs. How
much will they help?
9. What has the federal government done to address the problem of acid rain? What
role should the government play in dealing with this problem? In your opinion, is the
problem of preventing acid rain best dealt with at the local, national, or global level?
10. Who do you think should pay for cleanup and prevention efforts? Is there anything
individuals can do to help with this problem?