Transition Brockville archive

Tag : Carbon emissions (13)

Fossil-fuel CO2 emissions nearly stable for 3rd year in row

The Guardian / Arthur Neslen / 14 November 2016

growth-in-co2-emissions-2016Global carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels have seen “almost no growth” for a third consecutive year, according to figures released as world leaders begin to arrive in Marrakech for a UN climate summit.

After zero growth in emissions last year, researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have forecast a rise of just 0.2% for 2016, signalling a break from the average 2.3% year-on-year increases in CO2 output from fossil fuels until 2013. The rise in 2014 was 0.7%.

Growth in emissions has stalled despite global economic growth exceeding 3% a year, and is mainly down to China burning less coal, according to a study in the journal Earth System Science Data.


Ethanol from carbon dioxide is still a losing proposition

EnergyTrends Insider / Robert Rapier / 27 October 2016

Earlier this month a research paper was published by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) called High-Selectivity Electrochemical Conversion of CO2 to Ethanol using a Copper Nanoparticle/N-Doped Graphene Electrode. The paper reports on some truly interesting science, and the researchers were measured and cautious in their conclusions.

But something got lost in translation as media outlets sought to portray this as a “holy grail,” “game changer,” “major breakthrough” or “solution to climate change.” The benefits, one story said, were unimaginable. Part of the problem, in my opinion, is that the press release from the Department of Energy was titled Scientists Accidentally Turned CO2 Into Ethanol.

The word “accidental” plays into the misconception people have of how science is done. Many take the romantic view that game-changing, eureka discoveries are merely awaiting the next lucky accident, so when they read this headline the translation becomes something like “New Discovery Solves Climate Change.”

That’s because the public loves its energy miracles. People love the idea of a car that can run on water or the car that gets 400 miles per gallon (which of course GM and Ford suppressed) or the magic pill you can pop in your tank that greatly enhances fuel efficiency. So it isn’t surprising that this kind of story goes viral (in notable contrast to the articles debunking these viral stories.)

In order to understand what’s really going on, let’s consider a fundamental principle of thermodynamics.


Breaking news: Atmospheric CO2 affects global temperatures

South Bend news-times / Garrett P Serviss / 12 September 1918

South Bend News-Times 1918Experiments show that the power of the atmosphere to trap heat is largely due to the water vapor it contains. It is also due, to some extent, to the carbon dioxide gas that is one of its minor constituents. Carbon dioxide is a remarkable heat retainer, but there is only a very small quantity of it in the air compared with the vast bulk of the atmosphere. It only amounts to about 3-100ths of 1 percent. But there is this significant fact about it, viz., that its amount is variable, to a slight degree at the present time, while there is evidence from past geological history that it was once vastly more abundant than it is now.

Now, how much carbon dioxide must the air gain in order that a perceptable effect on the temperature may be produced? Arrhenius answers that if all the carbon dioxide now in the air were removed the average temperature would fall nearly 38 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, if the present amount were doubled the temperature the temperature would rise more than 7 degrees, and if it were quadrupled the rise would amount to nearly 14 1/2 degrees.


EVs: Reducing Ontario’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Plug’n Drive / May 2015

EVs - Reducing ONs GHGsThis report examines five different electric vehicle (EV) growth scenarios to estimate potential greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions and illustrate how EVs can form a key part of Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan, which calls for GHG reductions of 15% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, or, 26.6 and 141.6 megatonnes (Mt) respectively.

An EV driver in Ontario can reduce their vehicle’s GHG emissions by 67-95% by switching from a comparable compact, full-size or mid-size gasoline car to an electric car. Plug’n Drive calculated the potential emission reductions and cost savings of the five scenarios. If Ontario were to achieve a 25% increase in EV sales to 2020, the Province would have more than 100,000 EVs on the road by 2050, reducing Ontario’s GHG emissions by as much as 9.19 megatonnes, or 6.5% of Ontario’s total reduction target for 2050. At the same time, EV owners would save a total of $4.4 billion on fuel costs.

The results of Plug’n Drive’s analysis confirm that EVs are one of Ontario’s best opportunities to reduce GHG emissions. By creating a robust set of EV friendly policies that include incentives for cars and charging stations, changes to key pieces of legislation (Building Code Act, 1992 and Condominium Act, 1998) and aggressive off-peak electricity pricing, the EV growth rate can be further accelerated, providing even more GHG emission reductions.


How green is your bike?

Momentum / Laura McCamy / 27 April 2015

GreenCycling_XtracycleSeveral bicycle manufacturers we contacted for this story were unwilling to discuss the carbon footprint of their manufacturing operations. Based on a study by Shreya Dave of MIT in 2010, they probably don’t need to worry about it. Dave’s Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) considered a variety of modes of transportation, from walking and bicycling to planes, trains, and automobiles. She calculated the life cycle energy use of the typical bicycle to be 60 kilojoules per passenger mile traveled (PMT): 51 kilojoules for manufacturing and 9 kilojoules for maintenance over an estimated 15-year life span. Electric bikes were only slightly more energy intensive at 82 kilojoules/ PMT, because of a small amount of fuel use and increased manufacturing costs. Compared to the 4027 kilojoules/ PMT consumed by a sedan and even the 1441 kilojoules/ PMT of Boston’s Green Line train, bicycling was a big winner in lifetime energy use. The only mode that bests it is walking, which comes in at 0.


Warning labels at the pumps?

National Post / Victor Ferreira / 11 May 2015

Rob Shirkey with gas pump.jpgCity council in West Vancouver, B.C., unanimously voted to support the placement of warnings, similar to those found on cigarette packages, about species extinction, ocean acidification and respiratory problems in children on every gas nozzle. The municipality will present the idea and look for support at the Union of B.C. municipalities in September, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Conference in 2016.

The Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities and the city of Moncton, N.B., have voted to support the recommendation. City council in Guelph, Ont., will be voting to do the same in late May.

Rob Shirkey, a Toronto activist and lawyer, founded Our Horizon in 2013 and has been travelling across Canada, presenting the idea of warning labels as a simple fix that can change the world.


«page 1 of 3

The Transition Framework

Transition initiatives share many of the same goals as other groups, and work collaboratively with a variety of organizations in their local areas. Transition differs in that it focuses specifically on preparing communities for the changes associated with unprecedented resource depletion and transitioning away from fossil-fuel dependency.

— Transition U.S.
TB Projects

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Like to receive a monthly digest of our key posts plus local news and event listings?


View past issues

Subscribe to our Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.