Archive for CO2 Emissions
www.e360.yale.edu 11th July 2012
Quoted from source:
“The European Union has introduced strict new auto emissions standards that officials say would cut carbon dioxide emissions by a third by 2020. The new standard, which must be approved by all member states and the European Parliament, would require that new passenger cars emit no more than 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer driven, compared with 130 grams today, and 147 grams per kilometer for vans. Connie Hedegaard, the European commission’s climate chief, said the new standards would help European automakers compete with foreign manufacturers and cut fuel costs for consumers. According to EU estimates, the average driver would save about €340 in fuel during the first year, and between €2,900 and €3,800 during the lifetime of the vehicle. In addition, the EU predicts it would save about 160 million tons of imported oil. Greenpeace officials, however, called the plan too weak, saying that, among other loopholes, it allows manufacturers to continue producing heavy-emitting vehicles in return for building zero-emitting electric cars, regardless of how many electric vehicles are sold.”
www.sciencedaily.com 1st March 2012
A new study by Colombia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory indicates that today’s ocean acidification through human carbon emissions is happening faster than at any time during the past 300 million years. Over this time there have been four mass extinctions caused by natural ‘pulse’ emissions of carbon into the atmosphere, which sent temperatures soaring. According to lead author Bärbel Hönisch, ”What we’re doing today really stands out. We know that life during past ocean acidification events was not wiped out — new species evolved to replace those that died off. But if industrial carbon emissions continue at the current pace, we may lose organisms we care about — coral reefs, oysters, salmon.” The study is the first to explore the geological record for signs of ocean acidification over time. The research team behind the study came from five different countries and reviewed hundreds of paleoceanographic papers to come to their conclusion. In the past 300 million years, there was only one time period where the ocean acidified as quickly as it is today. Spanning 5,000 years roughly 56 million years ago, a mysterious surge of carbon into the atmosphere caused an estimated 6 degree rise in global temperatures. The carbonic acid created in the ocean by the absorption of CO2 led to the dissolving of carbonate plankton shells on the seafloor creating a layer of mud. Normally these shells help regulate the acidity of the oceans.
e360.yale.edu 2nd November 2011
Quoted from source:
‘One of the Obama administration’s signature environmental proposals — requiring tough new fuel efficiency standards for cars — is under attack from a powerful lobby of car dealers. President Obama had forged an agreement with major U.S. automakers requiring that automobiles would get an average of 54 miles-per-gallon by 2025, nearly double the current efficiency standards. After taking billions in government bailout money, carmakers like General Motors and Chrysler were under intense pressure to agree to the new standards, which are currently being formulated. Now, however, thousands of U.S. automobile dealers are supporting Republican legislation that would upend that agreement and soften the fuel efficiency standards. The bill, introduced into the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, would block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from being involved in fuel efficiency decisions, leaving the matter up to the Department of Transportation, which has traditionally supported a more gradual jump in efficiency standards. The car dealers say the agreement between Obama and the automakers bullies consumers and dealers into accepting overly strict mileage standards that will significantly increase the costs of cars.’
e360.yale.edu 19th July 2011
Quoted from source:
‘The shipping industry has become the first global business sector to agree to mandatory carbon dioxide emissions reductions. At a meeting of the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization, member countries agreed to set CO2 emissions standards on new ships beginning in 2019, with the goal of improving energy efficiency by 30 percent by 2024. The member countries also agreed to more modest efficiency improvements and emissions reductions in the world’s 60,000 existing ships. Of the world’s top 10 shipping nations, only China voted against the agreement. Brazil, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Chile also opposed the accord, and it remains to be seen if these countries will adhere to the majority decision. The agreement allows developing nations to apply for a waiver from the rules until 2019, and the Clean Shipping Coalition warned that the agreement could result in most new ships registering with countries that get a waiver. Overall, however, environmental advocates said the agreement was a positive step that could reduce CO2 emissions from shipping by 50 million tons by 2020. Shipping accounts for about 3 percent of human CO2 emissions.’
www.telegraph.co.uk 30th June 2011
Plans to raise the speed limit on UK motorways from 70 mph to 80 mph have been criticised by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). According to the Committee, led by Lord Adair Turner, the increase would increase the amount of CO2 emitted by motorway traffic as well as cost the economy £150 million because of growing taxes on pollution levels. Philip Hammond, the Transport Secretary, is contemplating the speed increase as it may be in the interest of businesses to do so. The CCC however claim it is eco-driving that will save the money. Limits on driving speeds could save 5 million tonnes of carbon annually amounting to about £1 billion of savings over 10 years (carbon is currently valued at £30 a tonne). Eco-driving has currently not taken off though as only 10,000 drivers were trained for it in 2010, compared to the 350,000 needed annually to reach carbon reduction targets. The UK is already behind on its EU promise to reduce CO2 emissions by 50% by the year 2025. In 2010, emissions rose by 3% when they should be declining by that amount every year.
www.boston.com 6th December 2010
Quoted from source:
‘The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a global warming pollution case filed by environmental groups and eight states, including Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut. In a 2004 lawsuit, the groups claimed American Electric Power Co. and four other electric power corporations that at the time were the U.S.’s five largest emitters of greenhouse gases were contributing to a public nuisance: Global warming. A New York federal district court ruled against the groups in 2005 but an appeals court overturned that decision last year. Oral arguments are expected in the spring according to Matthew Pawa, a Massachusetts lawyer representing some of the environmental groups.’
e360.yale.edu 6th December 2010
Quoted from source:
‘Accelerated wildfires across wide swaths of the Alaskan interior caused by rising temperatures have released more carbon into the atmosphere over the last decade than was stored in the tundra and boreal forests, according to a new study. Over the last 10 years, the area burned by wildfires in interior Alaska has doubled to 18.5 million hectares — 71,000 square miles — largely because of an increased number of late-summer fires, which consume plant litter, moss, and organic matter in the soil that have accumulated over thousands of years, researchers say. It’s a trend that could portend “a runaway climate change scenario,” in which warming temperatures cause increasingly intense fires that release more and more carbon into the atmosphere, said Merritt Turetsky, a professor at the University of Guelph in Canada and lead author of the study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience. Researchers say the study supports a growing body of evidence that northern ecosystems are bearing the brunt of climate change, and that warming temperatures are turning these carbon sinks into large-scale sources of carbon.’
www.bbc.co.uk 6th December 2010
The latest round of talks at the UN Climate summit in Cancun has centred around the 1 gigaton of CO2 emitted by the shipping industry. Shipping emissions are currently exempt from national carbon accounts leading to uncertainty about how they can be reduced. The Carbon War Room, which was co-founded by Sir Richard Branson, has proposed a solution, which has so far the backing of Papua New Guinea alone. The idea dictates that ships be charged different fees for docking depending on how much greenhouse gas they admit. To help the process along, the Carbon War Room has published an online tool grading 60,000 vessels on their emissions, complied mostly from data of the International Maritime Organisation. The effects of the tool are two fold. Not only will companies be allowed to see the emissions of their carrier ships, thereby being able to choose a less polluting ship, but also governments will be able to use it if they decide to introduce the carbon tariffs at ports. The Carbon War Room, a non-profit organisation created to encourage business to take a leading role in the fight against climate change, has claimed that the shipping industry could reduce its emissions by 30% by improving efficiency alone.
www.guardian.co.uk 3rd December 2010
Plan: To hold emissions to a maximum temperature rise of 2C.
Progress: Little. But many rich countries only interested in implementing unambitious Copenhagen accord.
Outlook: Bleak. Hard to see how big emitters like the US will compromise to greater cuts.
Plan: Reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (Redd). To set up an international forest and land use agreement which will allow countries to offset carbon emissions by protecting forests – and locking away emissions – in developing countries.
Progress: Little. Informal discussions taking place but Saudi Arabia is hostile.
Outlook: Good. No final agreement but all parties determined to deliver one.
Plan: To raise $100bn a year by 2020 for developing countries affected by climate change, and set up a giant carbon fund.
Progress: Good. Financiers confident money can be found. Some of the key elements like governance of the fund and allocation of more money for adapting to the impacts of climate change – such as flooding – are heading in the right direction.
Outlook: Close to agreement. This could be one of the deliverables at Cancún. Developing countries will have to agree to a large tranche of risky market-driven money rather than guaranteed public funds, but look like keeping control over the funds.
Plan: To reach agreement so all countries have access to new low-carbon technologies.
Progress: Talk of regional or international centres to provide advice and information.
Outlook: Good but probably to be concluded in 2011.
Plan: To get rich countries to sign up to extending the Kyoto protocol and state their plans for emissions cuts.
Outlook: Critical. Kyotyo protocol is totemic issue for developing countries who say it is the only legally binding treaty forcing rich countries to cut emissions.
Plan: Close loopholes in negotiating texts that could mean a rise emissions.
Progress: None. EU, Australia, Russia New Zealand and Canda are trying to open more loopholes.
Outlook: No prospects for agreement.
Plan: Commit to an international program by which countries would monitor, report and verify one another’s progress on emission reduction commitments and climate aid pledges.
Progress: China and the US have indicated they are prepared to compromise, and an Indian compromise proposal on self-financed actions at home is shaping up as a deal-maker. Countries are now discussing setting up a new oversight body for long term finance.
Outlook: Significant steps so far suggest there could be a breakthrough.
www.independent.co.uk 27th November 2010
The latest rounds in UN sponsored talks on climate change are set to take start in two days time (29th November) in the holiday resort of Cancun in Mexico. Spectators hope that a viable alternative to the Kyoto Pact will be put into place following last year’s failure at Copenhagen. The summit will be hosted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 194 parties are due to attend. The two main objectives are as follows:
1) ACTION BEYOND 2012
- launching a new financial vehicle, unofficially dubbed the Green Fund, to help poor countries cope with the impact of climate change. It could be the main source for aid, promised in Copenhagen, that could reach 100 billion dollars a year by 2020.
- setting financial encouragement to tropical countries so that they preserve their forests rather than cut them down. Logging and land clearance have accounted for between 12 and 25 percent of global emissions annually over the past 15 years.
- encouraging the transfer of clean technology from rich countries to poor economies.
- agreeing ways to measure and monitor countries’ actions, including emissions curbs.
2) FUTURE OF THE KYOTO PROTOCOL
The renewal of greenhouse gas reduction targets. This is difficult due to the lack of support from the USA and the absence of developing economies like Brazil, China, and India. Even the European Union, which saved Kyoto following the USA’s refusal to ratify the treaty in 2001, is doubtful that such as renewal is possible.
e360.yale.edu 23rd November 2010
Quoted from source:
‘Chinese officials say international climate talks next week in Mexico will succeed only if wealthy countries are willing to share technologies and funds to help developing nations reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While Western nations had pledged at last year’s climate summit in Copenhagen to pay into a $30 billion fund to help developing countries deal with the effects of climate change, details of the fund have not been finalized. Xie Zhenhua, a senior Chinese climate envoy, said that developed nations must cut their emissions “massively” to allow development space for emerging nations. China’s tough negotiating stance comes as a new report shows that emissions from China and other developing countries are having an increasingly significant impact globally. According to the annual Global Carbon Project report, released this week, global carbon emissions dropped only 1.3 percent in 2009, far below the projected 3 percent decrease, largely as a result of emissions increases in China. Greenhouse gas emissions in China reached 7.5 billion tons in 2009, a 9 percent increase.’
www.independent.co.uk 10th November 2010
The British government has admitted that its policy of doubling the amount of biofuels used in the country by 2020 will actually increase carbon emissions. The UK is signed up to an EU agreement that states that signatories have to source 10% of their transport fuel from biofuels by that date. The problem is that a large amount of land is needed to grow these fuel crops. It has been estimated that in order for the target to be met, an area of between the size of Belgium and the Republic of Ireland needs to be cultivated. But the carbon dioxide given off by clearing the vegetation off this land will, potentially, be more than the savings made by replacing fossil fuels with biofuels. As Europe does not have enough land to satisfy this demand, the crops are mostly grown in other countries such as Brazil and Indonesia (pictured). A study by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) has stated that the deforestation will produce as much as 56 million tons of CO2 per year, or the equivalent of between 12 and 26 million extra cars on European roads by 2020. Although the EU has banned biofuels bought from new land, i.e.: forested land cleared to grow them, biofuel companies have got around this law by buying up existing fields thereby forcing the farmers to clear land for their own means. This is known as Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC). The results of the IEEP study has caused the British government to reassess its position on the subject. Ministers are now urging the European Commission to rethink its plans on biofuels, a move welcomed by environmental groups.
www.guardian.co.uk 23rd September 2010
The government of the People’s Republic of China has declared that it has achieved its goal of artificially foresting 20% of its landmass by this year. The mass plantation scheme has been dubbed the ‘Great Green Wall’ and was started as far back as 1978 in an attempt to arrest the advance of desertification in the North and West of the country. By 1981 it was officially decreed that every man, woman and child over the age of 11 to plant three saplings a year. The aim of the scheme is to have a forest stretching 4,480 km from Xinjiang province in the far west to Heilongjiang province in the east, covering 400 million hectares or around 42% of China’s landmass. With 5.88 million hectares being planted in 2009 alone, according to government statistics, this fete is not that unlikely. The effect of the green belt are double-fold. As well as preventing the advance of northern deserts (currently covering 27% of China’s landmass and increasing by around 15,000 km squared a year) the belt has now become a tool in China’s attempts to curb their soaring CO2 emissions which have now surpassed the USA’s as the largest in the world.
However, the exercise may not be as advantageous as the Chinese government makes out. For one, only a limited amount of tree species are being planted reducing ecological diversity and preventing the forests from becoming thriving wildlife habitats. Furthermore, some scientists have claimed that the plantations actually accelerate environmental degradation as they use up valuable water supplies in arid areas.
(edited 24th September with the help of http://rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com/)
www.independent.co.uk 21st September 2010
The petrol company Shell has designed a fuel that allows a car to travel the same distance on 1 litre less petrol. This equates to a saving of around 2kg of CO2 emissions every time a car is topped up. The ingredients of FuelSave, as the new product is called, are a closely guarded secret but it is known that it comes in three forms to replace the conventional unleaded, diesel, and diesel ‘extra’ brands. At the moment, the most efficient cars are ones that use diesel fuel but even these are only 30% efficient (i.e.: 30% of the fuel is used to power the car). The new fuel concentrates on making the engine operate more efficiently. For example: a lubricant has been added to ensure the engine’s pistons are constantly oiled; and a detergent to speed up fuel ignition.
Environmental agencies are skeptical of FuelSave. Charlie Kronick, senior climate advisor for Greenpeace UK, stated “at the end of the day, society just has to use less oil. Shell are doing better marketing; lubrication improves the efficiency of your car but that’s about it.”
www.guardian.co.uk 17th September 2010
Shipping companies around the world have have begun to adopt ‘slow steaming’ in an attempt to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. The world’s largest shipping company, Maersk, has reduced gas emissions and fuel usage by 30% alone saving £65 million in fuel. Most companies have reduced their average speed from 25 knots to 20 but many have opted to go as low as 14-17 knots making their vessels slower than cargo ships of the 19th century, such as the Cutty Sark. The decision to lower ship speeds has resulted mainly from the recession and growing fears about the state of the oil industry. Prior to the economic dip of 2007, the Emma Maersk, one of the largest cargo ships in the world, would produce up to 1,000 tonnes of CO2 a day which is more than the 30 lowest polluting countries in the world. Other organisations have taken different measures to combat CO2 emissions. The Arc Royal of the British Navy and the passenger liner Queen Mary 2 have coated their hulls in an ‘anti-fouling’ paint that prevents barnacles from attaching themselves. The maintenance of a stream-lined hull can cut a ship’s emissions by 9%. Other methods include fitted kite-like ‘skysails’ and forcing compressed air out of the hull so a vessel rides on a cushion of bubbles.
Sources: www.independent.co.uk 13th September 2010
The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) has released a study advising simple measures for the reduction of livestock greenhouse gases. It is currently estimated that 18% of the world’s greenhouse has emission come from livestock in the form of deforestation for pastoral land, methane emissions from the livestock, and nitrous oxide emitted from manure. One measure is to change the diet of cattle to lessen amount of methane given off. This could be achieved by sowing pastures with a nutritious grass called Brachiaria which has the added benefits of increased milk production and weight gain by up to three times. According to the ILRI, if just 30% of farmers in tropical countries adopted this program, along with others such restoring degraded grazing lands, supplementing diets with crop residues, and adopting more productive breeds, then annual carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced by 30 million tons.
Such an approach to livestock rearing in tropical countries could generate $1.3 billion for poor farmers on the European Climate Exchange (calculated at $20 per ton of CO2).
Sources: www.guardian.co.uk/environment 10th September 2010
Quoted from source:
“The entire five-year period of the European Union’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) that ends in 2012 is set to deliver carbon savings of less than a third of 1% of total emissions, according to a new report.
The analysis by emissions trading campaign group Sandbag predicts that only 32m tonnes of pollution permits will need to be surrendered to meet the cap on greenhouse gas emissions – a tiny fraction of the 1.9bn tonnes of carbon emissions covered by the ETS each year. The “miniscule” saving is the result of the economic crisis having driven down industrial activity while the caps remain at the same level.”
Click here to read the full article.
Sources: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment 10th September 2010
Environmental groups in the US are resigning to the fact that stringent climate change legislation will not be passed through congress. Signs that the green movement is suffering in the advent of a potentially devastating mid-term election are making themselves visible. For one: the Clean Energy Works, a coalition of 80 grassroot groups who paid for 45 staff to lobby in Washington D.C. for the climate bill, has shut down. Other groups are petitioning the president to propose greater efficiency and lesser pollution levels in cars instead. This will be achieved through a minimum 60 miles per gallon fuel efficiency by 2025. The project would begin in 2017 and spur development of hybrid and electric cars so that, by 2025, 55% of vehicles on the road would be the former and a further 15% the latter. This would save 49 billion gallons of petrol per annum by 2030 reducing carbon emissions by 353 million metric tons a year. With other green groups petitioning for the government to face up to China on the subject of renewable energy subsides, President Obama is under pressure to make some headway on environmental issues but this may be difficult as the November mid-terms are expected to be a blow for the Democrats.