Home » Posts tagged 'CO2'

Tag Archives: CO2

Categories

Join 17,582 other followers

The Shocking Truth: How Far We Are From Meeting Our Paris Agreement CO2 Reductions

Buckle-up everyone, because I’m about to destroy your perceptions about how far we are from meeting our Paris Agreement COP21 CO2 reduction commitments. Stand by to be amazed!

You might think that we’re doing well in regards to our clean air commitments, after all, there are more electric cars (EV’s) replacing internal combustion engine cars (ICE) and coal power plants in many countries are being shuttered and replaced with natural gas-fired power generation (much, much, cleaner!) and that renewable energy (RE) represents almost all of the new power plants built over the past 5-years. (True, by the way)

Not bad. But far from good, as you’ll soon see.

So, let’s take a look at how far we are from meeting our 2015 Paris Agreement COP21 clean air goals. Remember, I said to ‘Buckle-up’!


What’s it Going to Take?

The short answer, of course, is more than you’ve got, more than your city has got, more than your country has got, and (so far!) more than our world has got. For example…

Let’s say that global aviation (all aviation, all the time — whether commercial airlines or private aircraft, helicopters, drones, etc.) represent about 2.1% of global CO2 emissions (even the airlines agree with this metric) and that starting tomorrow, all airlines and private aircraft in the world would suddenly stop flying. Forever.

Would THAT be enough for us to meet our COP 21 carbon emission standards?

No it would not.

OK, so, that wouldn’t do it, so let’s add all global shipping in the world (all ships at sea and on lakes that deliver cargo to various ports around the world) which combined add about 2.2% of the annual global carbon dioxide additions to our atmosphere. (Nobody disputes this number either)

Would THAT be enough for us to meet our COP 21 carbon emission standards?

No it would not.

Wait a minute. If we ended all annual global aviation and all annual global shipping tomorrow and forever! — doesn’t that represent a total of 4.3% of all annual global CO2 emissions?

Why, yes it does.

But even that won’t allow us to meet our COP21 CO2 commitments? Shouldn’t that amount of CO2 reduction be enough to meet those targets?

Nope. Not even close.

No, the scale of the global warming problem is much worse than we are able to correct via a simple 4.3% reduction in the annual global CO2 output.


I Need to Get to The End of This! What’s it Going to Take to Meet Our COP21 Targets?

Let’s get a look at some other, larger numbers.

Global transportation (all kinds of transportation, everywhere, on land, sea, and in the air) account for 29% of all global CO2 emissions. What if we cut all of it, beginning tomorrow and forswear all kinds of motorized vehicles forever; Would that do it?

Yes, it would.

But, we’d be forced to give up all cars, trucks, trains, ships, aircraft of all kinds, and any other kind of motorized vehicle, and we’d need to shop locally and travel on foot, bicycle or horseback. Forever.

OK, we can’t do that. Give me another option.

You got it!

So, primary power production (creating electricity from a combination of hydroelectric dams, thermal power plants that are coal, oil, or natural gas-fired, and nuclear power plants) that is consumed by residential users account for about 30% of annual global CO2 emissions.

Ready to cut the cord and live without electricity forever?

Probably not.

But, just for the sake of argument; If every residential user of electricity on Earth stopped using electricity tomorrow, would we meet our COP21 clean air commitments?

Yes, we would.

OK, we can’t do that. Give me another option.

Righto!

Industry (all industry, including all agriculture, everywhere on the Earth) create about 41% of annual global CO2 emissions — that’s everything from building ships, cars, aircraft, military equipment, paint, oil, diesel fuel and petrol production, beauty products, furniture, carpets, clothing, tires, shopping carts, all kinds of food and drink packaging, all food production, and farmers burning their fields to clear their fields for the next years’ crop.

Ready to give up on all that?

I didn’t think so.

But, just for the sake of argument; If every company and farm stopped producing tomorrow, would we meet our COP21 clean air commitments?

Yes, we would.

OK, we can’t do that. Give me another option.


What If We Shaved a Few Percentage Points From Each of Those CO2 Producers?

Would that work?

Maybe. But it would depend upon our level of commitment. It depends if we care about future generations of humans, of animals, and of the plant life on this planet enough to stick with it. But it wouldn’t be easy. In fact, life on Earth would change dramatically, in ways we can’t begin to imagine.

OK, we can’t do that. Give me another option.

I can’t, because there aren’t any.

It looks like we’re all out of options.


Throw Me A Bone, Here!

OK, there’s one chance in Hell (IMHO) for us to avoid a future global rapid warming scenario where the planet’s air temperature would become too hot to allow life to continue on the surface of our world.

And that is?

The BMW i3.

What?

The BMW i3 is a smallish SUV crossover that runs on battery power — not a large battery — that has a tiny one-cylinder onboard petrol engine to charge the battery when the vehicle is underway. The BMW i3 always travels on battery power (the petrol engine isn’t connected to the driveline, it exists only to keep the battery charged) and it has an onboard five-gallon petrol tank.

All of which means that the i3 takes you everywhere you want to go on battery power, and if the battery gets low, the tiny petrol engine automatically starts up to recharge the battery. You wouldn’t even notice it unless I told you it was on and charging the battery pack. It can even charge the battery when you park the car while you’re shopping if you choose that option setting via the onboard software.

How many cars and light trucks would need to be powered by such a system in order to meet our COP21 Paris Agreement clean air targets?

All new cars and light trucks would need to be powered by such a system for the world to meet its CO2 commitments, and we’d need to begin no later than 2022.

Could it be done?

Yes, of course.

Some larger trucks might need a tiny two-cylinder diesel engine to charge up their batteries (much larger batteries than the i3 uses) but that upgrade would prevent gazillions of gallons of diesel fuel being added to the Earth’s atmosphere annually.

The essence of this approach means that for millions of drivers, they’ll buy about five-gallons of petrol per month — instead of buying five-gallons of petrol per day for the average driver.

And when billions of people start using five gallons of petrol per month instead of five-gallons per day, that’s when annual global CO2 emissions will fall by approximately 14% — which is enough (barely) to meet our COP21 clean air commitments.

See the scale of the problem now?


Want to See the BMW i3 — and it’s Brother, the Mighty BMW i8 Supercar that Employs a Slightly Different Propulsion System?

Keep in mind, that in every way, the only difference between the BMW i3 and normal cars is the propulsion system. And similar applies to the BMW i8 supercar — although in that car, the system is geared to blazing acceleration and high speed performance.

Here are a couple of pictures of the future for you…

BMW i3 with range extender option

BMW i3 electric vehicle (EV) with one-cylinder petrol engine range extender option


BMW i8 Hybrid supercar

BMW i8 electric vehicle (EV Hybrid) supercar


Written by John Brian Shannon

Empowering UK Cities to Meet CO2 Targets in the Post-Brexit Era

by John Brian Shannon

C40 Cities Initiative, CO2, UK cities

Image courtesy of the C40 Cities Initiative.

Whether you believe in global warming and sea level rise or not, most people would agree that breathing clean air is better for you than breathing toxic exhaust fumes and that drinking clean water is healthier for human beings. If you don’t believe that statement, you’ve got bigger problems than polluted air in cities.

A British citizen emits more CO2 in two weeks than some people in Africa do in a year, research shows

“The UK ranked 36th in the world for its CO2 emissions from consumption spread across its population, totalling at 8.34 tonnes per person in 2017 – the last year when such data for the UK was available. The global average for that year was 4.7 tonnes of CO2 per person.” — The Independent

As always, there’s a hard way to go about accomplishing something and an easier, more efficient way of getting things done. Which brings me to the point of this particular blog post, and that is… there is no reason that UK cities need to ‘go it alone’ in their quest to lower CO2 emissions — rather, by aligning with the C40 Cities initiative which provides expertise and other supports to member cities, UK cities can streamline their progress and get even better results by taking the C40 cities route to clean air and water.

Cities around the world are building a brighter future

“Human civilisation is facing an environmental crisis on a global scale. The world has failed to stop carbon emissions rising in a way that is consistent with a sustainable future for humanity and now we face a climate emergency. But the world’s leading cities are taking action to respond to the climate crisis and create the future we want.” — C40 Cities

There is help in numbers. There is also an unparalleled degree of technical assistance offered by the C40 Cities organization, and member cities share the results of their various CO2 reduction programmes with other member cities. And, being part of a larger group dedicated to clean air and water and better health for citizens means that UK cities won’t be ‘going it alone’.

Europe's Biggest CO2 emitters

Europe’s Biggest CO2 emitters. Image courtesy of Statista


Clean Air and Clean Water Works to Lower Healthcare Spending

Macmillan Cancer Support says that half of the UK population will develop cancer in their lifetime — which puts an unbelievable strain on the NHS, on families where half of them will face some kind of cancer in their life, and on the GDP of the United Kingdom.

Although there isn’t a direct link from highly polluted city air to cancer, it is widely acknowledged that respiratory ailments of all kinds are common in cities known for poor air quality and respiratory cancers represent some percentage of those ailments.

Half of UK population ‘will get cancer in lifetime’

The number of people in the UK who will get cancer during their lifetime will increase to nearly half the population by 2020, a report has forecast. Macmillan Cancer Support said the projected figure of 47%, up from the current 44%, would put huge pressure on the NHS. But the charity said that more people were surviving cancer compared to 20 years ago. — BBC

Even though cancer survival rates have improved in recent years, it becomes ever more costly as new (and astonishingly expensive!) technology comes online to improve the survivability odds of cancer. Prevention therefore, becomes more important as the incidence of various cancers increase and treatment becomes more expensive.

Cancer in the UK 2019

In the 1970s, only 1 in 4 cancer patients would survive their disease for ten years or more. By 2010, this had risen to 2 in 4, and survival continues to improve today. This is due to groundbreaking research, innovative new treatments, and the tireless efforts of staff right across the NHS. However, there is still much to be done. This report summarises the current state of cancer in the UK, recognising where progress has been made, and highlighting the challenges that we continue to face. Cancer Research UK’s ambitious vision to see 3 in 4 people with cancer survive for ten years or more by 2034 serves as a driving force […] across the UK to achieve this.” — cruk.org

By working to improve air quality in UK cities, respiratory disease rates will fall — including cancers of the respiratory kind — which will help to lower NHS spending. See how it all weaves together? Investing in clean air in cities means lower healthcare spending.

And that’s a point sometimes forgotten by some of the good-hearted clean air purists pushing for lower CO2 emissions. Clean air in cities will save us money! Even hard-nosed business tycoons should understand that kind of logic.


What Can You Do?

What can you do to help improve the air in UK cities and lower your chances for air pollution caused illness?

Here are five ways to become part of the solution instead of part of the problem:

  1. Leave your car at home and use public transit to commute to any UK city.
  2. Install a programmable thermostat in your home and set it to ‘Eco Mode’.
  3. Install double-glazed windows, insulated exterior doors and seal drafts.
  4. Once per week, consume plant-based protein instead of meat protein.
  5. Shop locally. Decide to buy your meat and veg from local suppliers.

By choosing to lower your CO2 footprint, you’ll be working to lower the overall air pollution in the city in which you live or work, and you’ll help lower your chances of contracting some kind of respiratory disease (including respiratory cancers) and you’ll be setting a fine example for your family, friends and associates.

Living a healthier life, emitting less CO2, and living in cleaner cities will help to deliver the kind of transformation that Britons and UK cities need to survive and thrive in the 21st-century.


Related Articles

  • The UK Grows its Economy as it Replaces Coal with Renewables (LettertoBritain)
  • The U.K. Cut Emissions to the Lowest Level Since 1888. Here’s How (Fortune)
  • How Westminster Politicians Could Help the UK Environment (LetterToBritain)
  • UK power cut: National Grid promises to learn lessons from blackout (BBC)
  • How UK Utility Companies Select Power Producers (LetterToBritain.com)
  • What will it take for the UK to reach net zero emissions? (The Guardian)
  • Want realtime energy information on the UK grid? (GridWatch.co.uk)
  • Floating wind farms just became a serious business (Quartz)
  • Building a Failsafe Energy Grid post-Brexit (LetterToBritain)
  • Will 2020 Be the Year that Britain Shines? (LetterToBritain)
  • Theresa May: Environment Speech, 2018 (LetterToBritain)

How Westminster Politicians Could Help the UK Environment, post-Brexit

by John Brian Shannon

Bet You Didn’t Know that Half the World’s Oxygen is Produced by Microscopic Phytoplankton that Live in the Top 6-feet of the World’s Oceans…

It’s true. A simple Google search provides hundreds of reputable sources to prove that assertion.

Anyway, the phytoplankton eat tonnes of CO2 every day and release tonnes of oxygen into the atmosphere 24/7/365. More oxygen is produced during warm and sunny days when the plankton can better utilize the heat and light from the Sun to turn CO2 into life-giving oxygen.

But what’s that got to do with the UK environment you ask?

Not much really — other than half of the oxygen in the air you breathe is produced by trillions of tiny organisms living in the sea, and without them, life as we know it on planet Earth couldn’t exist.

We need oxygen; The plankton need CO2. See how it’s all woven together?

And somehow, even with humans definitely NOT HELPING the phytoplankton and the zooplankton by dumping billions of tonnes of liquid and solid pollution into the seas in recent decades, an almost perfect balance has continued on the planet for billions of years — although the total number of square miles of plankton in the world’s oceans has decreased correspondingly over the past century.

So, we might not be able to do much about the number of microscopic organisms in the world’s oceans that eat CO2 and thereby produce 50% of the world’s oxygen, but we can do something about the non-plankton oxygen producers (trees and grasses) in the UK.


Where Does the Other Half of the World’s Oxygen Come From?

The other half of the Earth’s oxygen is produced by trees and grasses, along with relatively small amounts of oxygen released during volcanic eruptions.

Think about it. If all the plankton in the world’s oceans were to suddenly die from excessive pollution — all the land-based oxygen producing plant life in the world plus all oxygen releasing volcanoes in the world — wouldn’t be enough to sustain life on Earth for very long.

A sobering thought.

However, that shouldn’t stop UK politicians from creating the necessary legislation to require planting 100-million trees per year in the UK to help cleanse CO2 from the air, nor should it stop them from creating legislation that requires ships heavier than 20-tonnes to run on battery or hydrogen power whenever they’re operating within the UK’s 12-mile maritime zone.

Indeed, some jurisdictions already have such legislation, while some require ships to shut off their engines and hook-up to (much cleaner) shore power while tied-up at dock.

It’s not that hard to write and pass sensible environmental legislation, and the proof is that some jurisdictions already have such legislation.


Planting 1-Billion Trees over 10-Years & Legislating Clean Propulsion Use Within UK Maritime Areas & Mandatory ‘Shore Power’ for Ships in Port is the Morally Right Thing to Do

Yes, it sounds a bit hard. But if the UK doesn’t do it, human health and the environment will suffer as compared to not doing those things.

Would it solve 100% of the UK’s air quality problems? Not even close.

But it would make a measurable difference in UK air quality and work to lower the personal cost of respiratory illness, reduce the cost of lost productivity to businesses due to employee respiratory illness, and allow lower NHS respiratory illness spending — especially in regions near the country’s ports. If done aggressively, it could even help the economy.

And even if, in the worst-case scenario, that 10-years-on under such a clean air act — that UK air quality improved by (only) 30% and respiratory-illness-related productivity losses fell by (only) 30% and NHS respiratory healthcare budgets fell by (only) 30%, we’re still talking major savings and a success story that any government would be pleased to brag about in future elections and at each significant milestone along the way.

Creating the necessary legislation to plant 1-billion trees over 10-years, to require all ships to use a method of clean propulsion while in UK waters, and to require ships to plug-in to (cleaner) shore power while in port, are the low-hanging fruit on the way to meeting the UK’s clean air targets, to helping citizens live healthier lives, and to lower NHS spending on respiratory illness.

It’s a complete no-brainer that UK politicians should pass such legislation in early 2020.


Related Articles:

  • UK needs to plant 1.5 billion trees to tackle climate change (The Independent)
  • Tree-planting in England falls 71% short of government target (The Guardian)
  • General election 2019: How many trees can you plant? (BBC)
  • UK Tree planting: Your questions answered (BBC)
  • Shore Power a Modest Step Toward Cleaner Air (BCSEA)
  • Shore power lacks global investment, tax exemptions (JOC)
  • Air pollution ‘kills 40,000 a year’ in the UK, says report (NHS)
  • NHS announces air pollution ’emergency’ as study shows our dirty air is killing us (The Telegraph)