Articles tagged with "carbon emissions"
In a recent post, I discovered something rather alarming–the fact that in the last decade (2000 to 2010) both world energy consumption and the CO2 emissions from this energy consumption were rising as fast as GDP for the world as a whole. This relationship is especially strange, because prior to 2000, it appeared as though decoupling was taking place: GDP was growing more rapidly than energy use and CO2 emissions. And even after 2000, many countries continued to report decoupling.
I decided to sift through individual country results, to see if I could see a pattern emerging behind these changing results. When I did this, I found three major groupings of countries:
1. Southeast Asia, excluding Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. This group has been rapidly industrializing. In total, the group’s energy consumption has grown as rapidly as GDP in the last decade, and CO2 emissions have grown faster than GDP. This group includes China, India, Korea, Vietnam, and a long list of other countries in Southeast Asia, including nearby islands.
2. Middle Eastern Countries. This group showed energy use growing more rapidly than GDP, suggesting that it was taking more energy to extract oil and to pacify its population, over time. I included all countries in this group that BP includes in its Middle Eastern grouping, even though Israel (and perhaps some other countries) do not fit the pattern well.
3. Rest of the World. This group is the only group showing a favorable trend in energy growth relative to GDP growth, even in the last decade, although the pace of improvement has slowed. Two reasons for this favorable trend seem to be (a) continued growth of services, such as financial service, healthcare, and education, which use relatively little energy and (b) outsourcing of a major portion of heavy industry to Southeast Asia.
When we look at CO2 emissions broken out into these three categories, the shift over time is quite surprising:
The vast majority of the CO2 increase since 1980 has taken place in the Southeast Asia and the Middle Eastern areas!
Another guest post from Hans Noeldner.
Somewhere along the way, we-the-people seem to have reached a consensus that when it comes to allocating natural resources, money should do the talking. In fact many true believers contend money is the only legitimate communicator.
“How much oil should I be able to burn? Every barrel I can afford.”
“How big a house – how many houses – should I be able to buy? Just as many as I can afford.”
“How much CO2 should I be able to emit? Not one damned molecule less than I can afford.”
“And if I want to burn and buy and emit more, then acquiring more money naturally gives me the right to do so.”
If our economy fails to charge us the “true cost” of denying future generations the fossil energy they might need to feed themselves 50 years hence; if our economy suffocates vast swathes of bio-productive land beneath highways and parking lots for our Happy Motoring convenience, if our economy fails to extract “flood money” from us to recompense millions of coastal dwellers for the loss of their ancestral homelands beneath rising oceans; well…perhaps the solution is to internalize those costs somehow.
In today's (20/06/07) review of the news over at the European Tribune, we have the following story:
[A]ccording to figures released yesterday by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, which advises the Dutch government, soaring demand for coal to generate electricity and a surge in cement production have helped to push China's recorded emissions for 2006 beyond those of the US.
The agency said China produced 6,200m tonnes of CO2 last year, compared with 5,800m tonnes from the US. Britain produced about 600m tonnes. But per head of population, China's pollution remains relatively low, about a quarter of that in the US and half that of the UK.
(Note: their report only takes into account carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning and cement manufacturing. The graph on the right comes from a separate article in the Christian Science Monitor - courtesy of Magnifico )
That "relatively low per capita level of emissions" was a very real argument when Kyoto was first drafted, as we were talking about a different order of magnitude in individual emissions, and China had a point when they said that it would be unfair to 'penalize' their development (ignoring right now, of course, the fundamental debate about whether it would actually have 'penalised' them to take a lead over the West in sustainable development) by curbing their emissions - in essence, their argument was to let the first world tackle the problem, which it substantially created, first, before China did anything.
But now, we see that Chinese per capita emissions are equal to half the British ones, and two thirds of the French ones, and are set to overtake the latter before the end of this decade. On current trends, they will catch up with US per capita emissions before 2020. And current trends in that respect are largely driven by regulatory and investment decisions already made or made in the next few years - as regards power production, as regards environmental standards for cars, as regards construction standards and their enforcement - so they no longer have the luxury to wait and see.
Early last year, then NY Governor Pataki (R) who had presidential ambitions at the time, touted ethanol as part of his sustainable energy plan for NY State. Since then much of the world has seen as corn ethanol has major sustainability problems of its own. That's not to say that biofuels or even some types of ethanol might not play a role, but it just shouldn't be the centerpiece of a sustainable energy plan.
UPDATE by Prof. Goose
Tonight President Bush will ask Congress to join him in pursuing the goal of reducing US gasoline consumption by 20% in the next ten years (and petroleum consumption by 10% by 2017--thanks Chris V.). Here is a .pdf (125Kb) of the press release and "the plan."
We don't yet know what President Bush will say specifically in the SOTU speech about environmental issues, climate change or our nation's addiction to oil. However, by tomorrow he may be playing catch up to an array of local, state and private sector efforts to reduce green house gas emissions. Here in New York City and around the country local municipalities are making real commitments to reducing carbon emissions. In California, Gov. Schwarzenegger is trying to reduce the carbon emissions from tailpipes with an ambitious approach to capping carbon emissions and reducing them to 1990 levels by 2020.
And now a group of large corporations looking to reduce their exposure to all these new and varied state and city level legislation have banded together to call for a national limit to carbon emissions set at the Federal level.
Many energy producers and manufacturers have expressed concern that various state efforts, if not coordinated, could lead to a scattershot system of regulation. Others worry that harsher measures, like a stiff tax on fossil fuels, the biggest contributor to global-warming gases, could be imposed if they do not reach a consensus on a legislative approach.
[ED by Prof. Goose] Jerome a Paris also has an article on the EU energy plan today, it can be found here. It will be up on TOD:Main tomorrow morning.
Wednesday the European Commission released a series of Communications proposing a new revolutionary Energy Policy attempting to address EU’s energy challenges for the XXI century. This is a set of first comments to such proposals.
For a first perspective on what’s at stake, here’s a small graph published by the BBC, that’s worth many thousand words:
Posted by Dave Cohen on September 27, 2006 - 4:07pm
Tags: bioenergy, carbon emissions, climate change, ecological footprint, fossil fuels, jeffrey dukes, mathis wackernagel, overshoot, peat swamp forests [list all tags]
Sustainability requires living within the regenerative capacity of the biosphere. In an attempt to measure the extent to which humanity satisfies this requirement, we use existing data to translate human demand on the environment into the area required for the production of food and other goods, together with the absorption of wastes. Our accounts indicate that human demand may well have exceeded the biosphere's regenerative capacity since the 1980s. According to this preliminary and exploratory assessment, humanity's load corresponded to 70% of the capacity of the global biosphere in 1961, and grew to 120% in 1999.
Posted by Dave Cohen on August 1, 2006 - 1:28pm
Tags: biomass, carbon emissions, climate change, coal, degree-days, electric car, electric light rail, electricity, global warming, igcc, natural gas, power plants, streetcars [list all tags]
The time has come to put the ongoing biomass debate in a larger context. My thanks to many TOD participants for their informative comments. I usually work the "problem" side of climate change, peak oil and natural gas supply in North America. Here I intend to address the "solutions" side of the debate. It is important to remember that no solution is without its attendant problems.
This post is lengthy and complex because the larger picture requires that I talk about a number of different subjects: electricity generation and usage trends, the weather & climate, coal trends, natural gas trends, CO2 emissions as they relate to electricity demand and biomass for power generation. However, if you'll bear with me, a coherent picture emerges at the end. I will confine myself to the United States and not talk too much about oil.
Pond scum just might be the answer to solving the CO2 woes of the industrial age. Host Bruce Gellerman visits with Dr. Isaac Berzin, founder of GreenFuel Technologies Corporation. Berzin is working on a prototype that uses algae to convert power plant emissions into biofuels.Here's the audio for the interview (mp3). The primary issue for algae-based fuels is stated succinctly here [Biofutur, No. 255/May 2005 by Olivier Danielo].
In the context of climactic changes and of soaring prices for a barrel of petroleum, biofuels are now being presented as a renewable energy alternative. Presently, research is being done on microscopic algae which are particularly rich in oils and whose yield per hectare is considerably higher than that of sunflower or rapeseed. At the industrial level, bioreactors which use microalgae to trap CO2 and NOx [NO2, nitrogen oxide] are in active development in the United States....It's worth noting that NREL, which has been active in algae farming research, has had its funding cut in the most recent federal budget round. However, Greenfuel Technologies anticipates a profitable privatized business for bioreactors. Let's take a look at the true promise of algae farming in the context of high oil prices and climate change.
Some species of algae are so rich in oil that it accounts for over 50% of their mass. NREL [National Renewable Energy Laboratory] has selected approximately 300 species of algae, as varied as the diatoms (genera Amphora, Cymbella, Nitzschia, etc.) and green algae (genera Chlorella in particular)....
Diatoms, or Bacillariophytes, are unicellular, microscopic algae.... These organisms are widespread in salt water, where they constitute the largest portion of phytoplankton biomass, but they are also found in freshwater. There exist approximately 100,000 known species around the world. More than 400 new specimens are described each year. Certain species are particularly rich in oils.